My posts seem to have been nothing but books and films of late, but I just got back from a little jaunt to Dublin with my cousin so I thought I'd finally mix things up a bit. Our Laura rang me up a few weeks back to say there was a deal to fly for Dublin for two quid and did I want to go? Obviously, yes I did, so off we went Tuesday morning for two days. I'd been to Dublin a couple of times before, but only for a day each time so hadn't got to do much of the touristy stuff. We'd booked a Travelodge near St. Stephens Green that was really handy for the shops and Temple Bar (the main pub-y area) and also right by Trinity College. After a lot of walking in circles around the square where the bus dropped us off, we finally found where we were staying and were ready to crack on with our trip.
Day one we went to Trinity College first, home of 'The Book of Kells' and the old library. The Book is an old manuscript of the four gospels, created by Irish monks circa 800 and considered one of Ireland's national treasures. There were images of the pages blown up around the exhibition, and the calligraphy and all the little pictures did look very beautiful. The book itself, though, was a bit underwhelming as being in the case we only got to see a couple of pages. Still, at least we can say we've been to see it, and our ticket also got us into the old library, which really was impressive. It was very Beauty and the Beast, with it's sliding ladders and rows and rows of old books that looked as if the pages might crumble if you opened them. It also housed the 14th century Brian Boru Harp, which is one of the oldest three surviving Gaelic harps and was used as a model for the Irish coat of Arms (and the Guinness Logo!)
After Trinty college we jumped on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour around the city. It took us through the park where the Irish Prime Minister lives (much nicer than Downing Street if you ask me) past lots of famous Dubliners' houses (Oscar Wilde, Jonathon Swift and The Duke of Wellington - who was less than proud of being Irish and apparently said that 'living in a stable doesn't make you a horse.' Rude.) We also went past Kilmainham jail - if I went again I'd like to do the prison tour. I enjoyed the bus tour but we were very cold by the end from sitting on the top deck (and sick of the whiny woman who sang on the tour guide tape between locations - she sounded like the girl from Peaky Blinders and that is not meant as a compliment...) so we followed it up with some doughnuts, a cup of tea and a warm back in the Travelodge. There are loads of doughnut shops in Dublin! Would definitely recommend The Rolling Doughnut.
After we were sufficiently warmed, we got ready to go out and went into town for some food. We had a gorgeous meal at an Italian called La Gondola and afterwards went to the actual Temple Bar, which I was expecting to be a bit tacky and overpriced, but was actually great. There was a really nice atmosphere, loads of Christmas decorations and Irish music playing. There seemed to be plenty of locals in there too, it wasn't dead touristy. Not going to lie though, it was a bit over-priced. After Temple Bar we went to another pub which had a guy playing live music - he did a great playlist, and we knew pretty much all the songs.
Day two we were up early again for the Guinness Tour, which ended with a drink in the Gravity bar at the top of the building, that had panoramic views of the city. I couldn't quite face my complimentary pint of Guinness at that hour of the morning, but I did have a sample (it came in a mini pint glass) as my hair of the dog. We followed up the Guinness tour with a poke around the cathedral and then Dublinia which was an exhibition on Viking and Medieval Dublin. Apparently Dublin was founded as a Viking City, primarily used as a slavers port. You see, I learned something! There was a lot more to the exhibition than I expected and it was actually pretty interesting - there was lots of interactive stuff too so I think it'd be good for kids, although again you do have to pay to get in.
Anyway, for a spontaneous two day trip I had a really good time, although I was pretty knackered by the end. It's a really nice city, small enough to get around easily and with lots to see and do. Would recommend!