We journeyed eastward to Dublin, finally arriving in the big city in the late morning. After the 2.5 hour drive we successfully navigated our way to the hotel. Driving into Dublin actually wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, considering we drove through Galway rush hour a few days ago. If I were to compare Dublin to an American city I’ve been to, I would say that it seems like an older version of Boston. There’s a lot of old architecture that’s still around a city defined by its history, but you see the modern elements that you find with many big cities. The canal going down the middle of the city made for some pretty pictures along the Ha’penny Bridge.
In the middle of O’Connell Street there was a cool monument called The Spire of Dublin, which made for an awesome picture of the city.
The city was also a bit overwhelming, and it did take us a while to get acclimated with navigating the city, thus only got to do two big things on our first day: The Guinness Brewery and our music pub crawl.
The Guinness Brewery was basically “Beer Disneyland” and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory rolled into one. You end up touring the Storehouse, a multi-level museum of the brewery and the beer making process. My Fort Collins micro-brewery tour experience had prepared me for understanding how beer is brewed, but it was fascinating seeing the way the elements were presented inside this big building. For the ingredient of water, they had an awesome fountain that made some for great pictures.
What we’ve heard was right: Guinness does taste differently here in Ireland, moreover it tastes differently in Dublin, and it tastes even better at the Guinness brewery right out of the tap of freshly brewed beer. I have definitely developed a taste for Guinness and have had the chance to refine it over the last few days. At the Storehouse, I used my included pint to participate in the “Perfect Pour” tutorial, where I got to stand behind the bar and pour the perfect pint. It was a neat experience and not a bad way to taste your pint.
We then went up to the top level “Gravity Bar”, which in Willy Wonka form is basically the Great Glass Elevator of the Storehouse. This top-floor bar has a 360 degree view of the Dublin Cityscape, giving some breathtaking scenery while you enjoyed your fresh beer. Having drank my pint downstairs, Bethany was kind enough to share her beer with me.
By the time we finished at the Storehouse, our afternoon was pretty much over. We took the bus and walked back to our hotel so that we could get ready for the Musical Pub Crawl.
If you’re ever in Dublin, I definitely would suggest doing this experience. While initially it seemed a little tourist-y (pretty much everyone attending was American), we were blown away by the talent of the two musicians that led the crawl. The best part about this was that they explained some of the differences in Irish music and musicianship in terms that a musician would understand. I learned why as a drummer, I would make a lousy Celtic Bodhran Drum player. They talked about what stylistically gave Irish music its traits, and what instrumentation made up this type of music.
Our crawl included stops at three bars, the last of which used to be an old convent (check out the curved stain glass window behind us in the picture below). A few pints, songs and stories later we had realized that it was now after 10pm and we had yet to eat dinner. We ended up walking back from O’Connell Street back to the Temple Bar, where we ate in the third story of this pub-restaurant and made our way back home. By that time we were tired, out of beer and ready for bed.
We are going to spend one more day in Dublin before we head back home Thursday night, and are hoping now that we have our bearings that we should be able to do a little more sightseeing (and more pictures) as well.