I realize my posts are all crazy and out of order, just bear with me. In case you missed it we took an epic adventure to Canada, Boston, New York City, Washington DC, Scotland, and then Ireland. We’ve been home now for well over a month and yet I am just now getting to our final post. Apologies! But here it is….thanks for reading 🙂
From Scotland to Ireland in just a hop, a skip, and a jump! Our flight from Edinburgh to Dublin was easy enough – since this time we knew to pay for our bags ahead of time to save some cash. After we landed we found our way to the Air Coach headed towards Goatstown, where we were able to stay with some of his family friends. Sadly, after all that gorgeous sunshine in Scotland the rain finally found us and stayed with us for all three days in Dublin. Not sadly, Dublin is full of pubs and the rain just forced us inside several of them. Not our fault. So while we only had two full days in the city, we took advantage by checking out some fabulous watering holes.
Clearly our first priority was going to the Guinness Storehouse. Off we went via bus to the famed brewery for some education and libation. The Storehouse could take you a full day if you read all of the information they have posted on placards, watch all of the videos they have describing the history of Guinness, and partake in all of the interactive options. We spent several hours learning about the process they use to make Guinness and the history of the family in Dublin. To finish off the tour, you are offered a fresh pint of everyone’s favorite velvety stout in the Gravity Bar. Although the skies were overcast, we still had some great views of the city.
From St. James’s Gate we walked to the neighborhood of Temple Bar, where we stopped into the actual Temple Bar, well, because you just should. So we did! There was live music – as there was at almost every bar – that was keeping the place busy and we tried a few new brews while hiding from a quick downpour. After that we went in search of a particular bar that my Irish-Colombian remembered going to a few years ago but he couldn’t remember the name. En route to finding this long-lost bar we became thirsty and required another stop at Quay’s Irish Restaurant, where the fantastic bartenders took excellent care of us and gave us lots of laughs before we finally headed out for dinner at home. Alas, the long-lost bar would have to wait.
The next day we headed back downtown to wander around a bit. We started by checking out Saint Stephen’s Green and then headed toward Grafton Street. Lots of little shops and a cute marketplace kept me busy for a while until we headed to the campus of Trinity College. We meandered along the paths and through some buildings, including checking out the famous Book of Kells. To be honest, not my favorite spot so I wouldn’t recommend spending the money on it. While the idea of seeing a book from the 9th Century was fascinating and impressive, there’s not all that much to see and it’s really more geared toward historic preservation than the actual history of the book and any interesting information about that time indicating the significance of the work. Cool to see, wouldn’t pay for it again though.
From Trinity College we headed over to Dublin Castle, which – just like Edinburgh Castle – we opted out of paying to enter. We walked around the outside to get a few good views and then heard our bellies rumbling.
We decided to head toward O’Connell Street in search of some grub. Sadly disappointed with the extreme lack of options! There were so many stores and street performers, but an absolute dearth of restaurants or pubs. We ended up finding a chain sandwich shop inside the mall and grabbed a quick bite for way too much money. Ah well. Lesson learned! At least on our way back toward Temple Bar we snagged some amazing gelato at a little creperie/gelateria. All was right with the world again!
Back in Temple Bar, we began our search anew in earnest. The long-lost bar must still exist somewhere! After describing what he remembered of it to a few people on the street, we were pointed in the direction of the far end of the main road of bars and pubs and finally found it on a corner: Porterhouse Brewery. The first pub brewery in Dublin, Porterhouse opened in 1996 and has quite a list of delicious brews available on tap. They’ve won many awards for their concoctions and we tested a few just to be sure we agreed with the judges’ decisions. Highly recommended if you’re a beer fan!
From Porterhouse we grabbed the bus back out to Goatstown to enjoy a family dinner at his aunt and uncle’s house. It felt just like my own family: everyone talking at once, lots of food and drink, sharing of memories and stories, and lots of questions about me. It was absolutely one of my favorite nights of the whole trip. Nothing beats a fun family evening like that and I felt right at home!
We headed back to the airport on the Air Coach the next morning at the crack of dawn to make the long journey back home. From Dublin to Charlotte, Charlotte to DC, overnight in DC, and then the next morning from DC to San Salvador, San Salvador to Roatan. When we arrived at Dublin airport we learned about U.S. Pre-Clearance. Pros: you won’t have to collect your checked bags and go through customs during your layover so there’s no stress about missing your connection. Cons: basically the entirety of the system. We had our passports checked a total of five times within the airport. FIVE. Wouldn’t you think that after it was checked the first time to allow me into the secure area I wouldn’t have to show it to four other people? Obviously I don’t make the rules there. But the number of checkpoints and security personnel and metal detectors and questions we had to go through just to get onto our plane was out of control. Be warned: if you’re flying from Dublin to certain U.S. cities you will be required to do this Pre-Clearance check and it will take you much longer to get to your gate!
On the flip side, when we landed in Charlotte we had plenty of time for a relaxing lunch before our next leg of the trip. We stayed with my friends in Virginia for the night and they very generously drove us to the airport at 3am to catch our next flight.
If it weren’t for all of our friends and family along the way for this whole trip, we never would have been able to see and do all the amazing things we did. We didn’t pay for a single night‘s accommodation; we were taken out and cooked for; we were driven around and doted on for six whole weeks. You guys are incredibly amazing and caring and we will be forever grateful for the wonderful way you all treated us during this epic adventure.
Until next time, slainte!