Ireland On My Mind: A Weekend in Dublin

“Everybody needs a break,
Climb a mountain or jump in a lake.
Sean Doherty goes to the Rose of Tralee,
Oliver J Flanagan goes swimming in the Holy Sea.
But I like the music and the open air,
So every Summer I go to Clare.
Coz Woodstock, Knock nor the Feast of Cana,
Can hold a match to Lisdoonvarna.”
_
~ Celebrated Irish singer and songwriter Christy Moore 
   Dublin’s fun. It feels very much like a college-town. Like Boston set in Ireland. We stayed in an Irish couple’s townhome, and they were oh-so-sweet. There was breakfast on the table for us in the morning, complete with a little note telling us to “Have a Good Day!” and the husband even drove us to the airport on the last day, talking all about Irish football (I only could understand half of what he was saying due to his thick Irish accent) and the weather and such. And it was just a lovely, lovely weekend filled with Irish countryside and cute cafés and dancing + singing on the streets. With cab drivers and cashiers saying, “That’s alright, love,” and “there you go, love,” when handing over the change.
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   What ice-cream shops are to Boston and Gelaterias to Florence, pubs are to Dublin – there’s one on every corner. And the weekend that we went, there was a music festival happening all around Dublin. It was so fun; there were guitarists and singers and on the main street, passersby dancing and singing, dressed in crazy costumes.
 What we did:
  • Walked all around Dublin city
  • Walked around the Trinity College campus and peered into the old library with the Book of Kells
  • Took a bus tour to see the Irish Countryside and the Cliffs of Moher
  • Stopped at Barack Obama Plaza on the bus tour (a rest stop named after the President, because, according to our tour guide, President Obama has a bit of Irish ancestry, and a very distant relative of his lived in the area around the Plaza, hence the dedication to Barack Obama).
  • Went to a pub and had a Guinness (or two), and observed all the bachelor and bachelorette parties passing on the street below. Also, we were treated to some Celtic dancing from a group of guys in the corner who were having a great time – it reminded me of The Shire in Lord of the Rings. One of them even got on top of the table; it was awesome!
  • Hiked at the Cliffs of Moher and were treated to all seasons in one day – sun in the morning, a little bit of sun at the Cliffs, pounding rain in the afternoon, and a little bit of snow at the top of the Cliffs. Crazy weather.

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What we saw:
  • The Cliffs of Moher
  • Seagulls calling and circling by the Cliffs
  • The Irish Countryside, lush and green and dotted with these yellow flowers that broke my heart, they were so beautiful.
  • St. John’s Castle
  • The Treaty Rock
  • Corcomroe Abbey
  • Trinity College campus (which is so beautiful), and it felt very funny walking on a college campus again. It made me realize how much I miss it. And how much I miss the time before going to college. Yes, it’s stressful and confusing, and I had no idea where I would end up going, but I guess I miss that sense of possibility that I had when touring college campuses. “Will I end up here or there? What will it be like?” Prospect. Prospective student.  Anxious and excited and worried and wondering – I wish I could have all that back.

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What we ate:
  • Falafel and hummus at a Vegetarian café on the main street
  •  The best little sandwich at KC Peaches (No.1)
  • The most amazing Seafood Chowder at Doolin Hotel. And the bread. The bread was SO GOOD in Ireland. Dense and nutty and a little bit sweet.
  • Muesli, toast and jam for breakfast. Tea and coffee.
Snapshot No. 1 Confusing Menus and a Spontaneous Chocolate Something
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  KC Peaches was a place that our hosts recommended, so I decided to give it a try when I walked by it after exploring Trinity College. The place was so cute and cozy, and the menu was little confusing – lots of writing on a chalkboard with nearly paragraph descriptions of each item. Everything looked good, and I couldn’t decide, so I just pointed randomly at a sandwich – a Rugelacht something-or-other that was eggplant and mozzarella, tomato and pesto all layered into an olive-oil drizzled ciabatta bread. “Anything else?” asked the cashier, disarming with his Irish accent and cute smile (ugh. Loses all concentration.) “How much are the muffins?” I said, pointing at the case in the window filled with every cake and tart a heart could want. “I think around 2 Euros. Would you like Bran or Orange-Chocolate?” he questioned, his hand already hovering over the chocolate one. I just nodded, and he laughed, “I figured. Chocolate is always a good choice.”
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