We arrived in Dublin on a rainy night, but we were stoked nonetheless! I cant remember how many times we said, "GUYS! We are in Ireland!" over and over. We had to take a 30 minute trek through Dublin to get to our hostel, in the dark, in the rain, while carrying our luggage for 10 days, but not even this dampened our spirits!
After checking into our hostel, we wanted to find a good place to eat. We chose The Brazen Head (the oldest pub in Dublin) as a good starting point. Before coming to Ireland, I was really excited about trying my first beer in an Irish pub. Its not that I was excited to drink beer; I was just really excited to say that my first beer ever would be in Ireland. However, the country is really known for their Guinness beer, which is unlike most American beer. Instead of being an off-white, fizzy beer; Guinness is black with more foam and less carbonation. Rich bought me my first beer in The Brazen Head, which is the oldest pub in Dublin.....and I took a swig and got the foam all over my face, much to the satisfaction of my friends and a couple Irish guys!
We ended up eating dinner at the pub, and the food was absolutely incredible! I ordered traditional Irish stew with lamb, and it was uh-mazing! It was nice to eat something that seemed a little more American in contrast to all the Italian food I had been eating. And it was cold and rainy, so the stew was a perfect end to a great day.
The next day we took a bus tour of Dublin with two Australian guys who were also staying in our hostel. The bus tour was nice because we heard a live tour of the city, and we could get off on the various stops around the town. We made a stop at the Jameson factory. Jameson is the most famous whiskey in Ireland. I was surprised to discover that the process for making the whiskey is very similar to that of beer, with the exception that it is distilled. Our tour guide showed us where they stored the barley in the factory, and we saw a cat in the rafters. When the factory was first started, they had a cat that was an incredible mouse-killer, and they liked him so much that when he died, they had him stuffed. Kinda creepy........ Personally, the whiskey was absolutely awful, but thats just my opinion. I dont understand how people drink that stuff.....Katy, Melissa, Rich, Nick, and an Australian guy with us took a whiskey test and even received diplomas for their outstanding knowledge!
For lunch, we stopped at a bar and got some fish and chips!! They were quite tasty....Afterwards, Lauren and I jumped back on our bus tour, but then got off by the oldest coffee shop in Dublin. Background info: Italy doesnt have good coffee. They just drink espresso all the time, which is an extreme shot of coffee all at once. Their servings are very small and you have to drink them at the bar. I usually have to put in some milk and whole bunch of sugar. So we were EXTREMELY excited to get a LARGE coffee in a TO-GO cup and take it with us!!!
We also took a tour of the Guinness factory. I know it sounds like all we did was learn about alcohol, but that's what Ireland is famous for.... :o) The Guinness factory was really nice and incredibly interesting. Arthur Guinness took out a 9,000 year lease for the factory!!! And now he only pays 45 lbs in rent per month.....The factory is 64 acres large....Once you get to the top, you can see all of Dublin. We went at night, and the city was absolutely gorgeous all lit up.
Highlights of bus tour:
Arthur Guinness had 21 children. Many think that his wife didnt want that many and would have gotten a divorce if it had been possible. Divorces were not allowed in Ireland until 1995! And still now you can only get one if you have been separated for 4 years.....There was no number 13 stop on the tour, because everyone is so supersticious and would not get off. In Dublin, there are 650 churches and 800 pubs! You can see their priorities are straight......haha
That night I got to meet up with my friend Becca from KSU!!! I was SO glad to see her....O how I missed my Becca. She is studying abroad in Florence, and I hadnt seen her at all until we met up in Ireland. We caught a showing of High School Musical 3! A must because it was in English, and I wasnt going to watch it for the first time in Italian when it was on the big-screen......I was sad we didnt get to hang out very long, but it was still so great to see her!
The next day we took a 3 hour bus ride to Galway, which is a smaller town on the other side of the country........more details about that later.