A very long overdue post!
Wednesday, 2/22: After five days in London, it was time to say goodbye and head off to Dublin! After taking a train from St Pancras Station to Luton Station (where flights are wayy cheaper than from Heathrow), an hour long plane ride, and a 10 euro Airlink bus ride (round trip) from the airport, we arrived at our hostel, Abigail’s Hostel. The hostel was in an amazing location, right on the border of Temple Bar and in front of the River Liffey. For 60 euros a night, we got a private room for 2, towels (normally, you have to rent), free breakfast (cereal, toast, coffee, fruit, and juice), and a shared kitchen with the other residents. I would definitely stay here again if I ever come back. After resting in our room, we met up with some friends from my university, who are also studying abroad at Edinburgh and happened to be in Dublin at the time, for dinner. Afterwards, we did some exploring of the city, O’Connell Street, as well as Temple Bar. Temple Bar is an touristy area of Dublin near the River Liffey known for its restaurants and pubs. We ended up stopping by a traditional Irish pub and listened to live music!
The next day, Thursday 2/23, I booked a free tour with Sandeman Tour. As I explained in my London post, I absolutely love free city tours because they’re an inexpensive way to see an entire city and learn about its history! We got to learn about the history of Dublin as well as see places such as the Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Chester Beatty Library, Temple Bar, etc. Trinity College was so beautiful. But in typical Ireland-fashion, once second it was sunny and blue skies, and the next second, it was pouring. We ended the tour at the Molly Malone statue, a fictional fishmonger who was also a part-time prostitute. It is said that rubbing her “chest” is good luck, so of course, I had to do it! I couldn’t even keep a straight face.
For the rest of the day, we explored the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, which had an exhibit on bog bodies, people who were used for human sacrifice and then deposed of in bogs, an area of wet muddy ground (you could actually see the bodies!), and Grafton Street, one of the main shopping streets of Dublin.
The next day, Friday 2/24, we woke up early to grab donuts at The Rolling Donut (which were delicious, by the way) and then we headed off to see the Georgian Doors. I had personally never heard of these doors before, until I watched Rick Steves’ Dublin travel video (I trust Rick Steves with my life). The story goes way back to when Ireland was still under British rule. It is said that when Queen Victoria died, Englad ordered Irish citizens to paint their door black in morning. Instead, the Irish rebelled and painted their doors beautiful bright colors. Another story says that as Dublin grew to be one of the most prosperous cities in the British empire, people began to build elaborate houses but had to stick to strict architectural rules. So, in order to distinguish the houses from one another, people painted their doors different colors. Check out the pictures below for some of my favorites that I found!
Later in the day, we walked around St. Stephen’s Green, a peaceful public park complete with fountains and swans, and checked out the Natural History Museum (which had exhibits upon exhibits on animals), as well as the National Gallery of Ireland, where paintings by artists like Goya, Monet, and Picasso were displayed! We then decided to go home to rest up for a big day the next day.
On Saturday, 2/25, we had an day tour with Wild Rover Tours to the Cliffs of Moher, Atlantic Edge, and Galway City. First stop, the cliffs! It took around 3 hours to get there, and once we did, we were disappointed to discover that the views were covered by a heavy fog. We had 2 hours to spend at the cliffs, and our tour guide said to try to make the most out of it, and not to worry because the fog comes and goes fairly quickly! Lucky enough, we were able to catch some spectacular shots of the cliffs during some of the moments in which the fog was lighter and the sun came out. I tried to be reallyyy careful walking along the cliffs because it was pretty slippery and muddy, and according to our guide, one person a month dies at the cliffs, so I made very sure that that person wasn’t me!
Next, we took a quick 20 minute stop by the the Wild Atlantic Way/Atlantic Edge, and snapped some nice pictures by the ocean.
Lastly, we stopped at Galway, a city around 2.5 hours west of Dublin. I had never heard of the city before, but apparently, it’s a fairly well know city, enough to have two songs written about the girls there (Galway Girl by Steve Earle and Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran).
The city was so cute and quaint. Our guide gave us a short tour of the city and informed us of some of its history. According to our guide, the Lynches were a prominent family line in Galway. The first mayor of Galway happened to be a Lynch, Pyerce Lynch. The family was given a monkey from the Spanish as a gift and one night, the castle they were residing in (now known as Lynch’s castle) caught on fire and they were unable to save their one year old son. However, history says that the monkey climbed up into the son’s room and saved the boy, but on the way down, fell to his death, turning his back as he fell so that he would take the hit and not the boy.
Years later, the son ended up killing a man who he thought was eyeing his lady (talk about jealousy!). His father, Pyerce, who was also the mayor, was thus faced with the tough decision of how he was going to punish his son. His son ended up being charged with murder but because he was the mayor’s son, no one would carry out the sentence. So instead, Pyerce ended up hanging a rope around his son’s neck and throwing him out the window of Lynch’s castle until he hung dead to show the people of Galway that everyone is held responsible under the law. This is apparently where the term “lynching” comes from. Pretty gruesome stuff, I know.
So that’s the entire recap of my week of traveling! It was a tiring, but also a super fun and exciting week. And I can’t believe I planned the whole thing on my own! I can’t wait for my next trip xx