After a full day of flying, we arrived in the Dublin airport at about 8:00 in the morning. We were tired, but decided to power through the day and not sleep until that night. After waiting for over an hour to get through customs, we emerged into the misting grey of Dublin town, ready to see the sights of the city. We caught a shuttle bus to the central bus station, which was very close to Isaacs Hostel, where we were staying. Check-in wasn’t until 2:00pm, so we rented some lockers to store our bags. The receptionist also told us there were showers in the basement. Despite being the push-button kind of shower that only gives you about 30 seconds of water at a time, we were thankful for the shower.
As recommended by the hostel receptionist, we had a hearty Irish breakfast in the restaurant of O’Shea’s Hotel, a block from Isaacs. A bit more awake, we walked across the River Liffey toward Trinity College.
Not intending to visit The Book of Kells due to the horrendous lines we had read about, we decided to walk around the campus anyway. To our surprise, there was no line to see the Book (probably because it was raining). The exhibit has a few other historical Bibles and lots of information on the making of them, but it is still a very small exhibit. The Book of Kells itself is truly beautiful, and beautifully preserved, but you really don’t get to see much of it. As part of the entry fee, you also get to visit the Long Hall Library, which is really quite spectacular. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures anywhere in the exhibit, as flash photography can damage the fragile vellum paper. I was glad to see the Book and the library, but it was only barely worth the 9 Euro entry fee.
We then set out in the general direction of the Guinness Storehouse. We stopped in at the Christ Church Cathedral, where a number of scenes from The Tudors were filmed. The cathedral is absolutely gorgeous, and the crypt below it was very eerie. It was well worth the 4 Euro admittance.
On our way to the Storehouse, we walked around Dublin Castle. It’s a smaller castle, but still very cool looking. We decided not to take the tour of it, but walked around the garden grounds in front of it. We spent some time walking around the streets of Dublin, taking in the sights and enjoying the vibrant life of the city. Everything seemed very old and steeped in history in a way that we don’t much get in America.
We finally arrived at St. James Gate after a pretty decent walk. We payed the entry fee to tour the Guinness Brewery and Storehouse. The presentation of the self-guided tour is very good, and the building is shaped like a Guinness glass.
About halfway through the tour of the seven story building Alexis and I began to feel the effects of sleepless flying, so we decided to head to the Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness brewery for our “free” pint. The bar was packed, but provided some great views of the city. We downed our pints and headed downstairs for a bite of food. We both had a bowl of Guinness beef stew in Arthur’s restaurant, inside the brewery. With a bit more energy and a satisfying day in Dublin, we decided to walk back to our hostel. By the time we made it to the Temple Bar area, however, we were thoroughly exhausted, so we caught a taxi back to Isaacs.
Though only about 6:30pm, we called it a day in order to get a good nights rest for the next day’s drive. The people on our floor had different plans, however, and partied from the time we got there well into the night. Despite the noise, we drifted off to sleep.