08 June 2011

Dublin - DAY ONE

So I went to Dublin and it was good.

The End.

Yeah right. I’m so long winded you know that would never happen. I’m so long winded that I’m going to start off at the airport (with a picture!). No! I’ll start out before then…let’s say 3:30 AM, which was when I got up to get ready. That will actually be important information. I ended up choosing a flight that left at 6:30 in the morning because it was 11 pounds cheaper then the one that left at 11:30 AM. When you are on a budget, 11 pounds is a lot…that’s like, 4 pints of beer! So yes, up at 3:30 AM, visa verified by RyanAir by 4:30 AM…cigarette, cigarette, cigarette, coffee, cigarette…through security by 5:30 AM and very much in Dublin by 6:45 AM.

John Lennon Airport at butt crack in the morning

I had heard nothing but horrible things about RyanAir but it wasn’t bad. Sure, the fees tacked on to my 8 pound ticket were absurd (8 pounds quickly turned to 30). The fact that you have to comply completely with the 22cm x 40cm x 50cm carry on luggage dimensions and that you MUST put your purse and any airport purchases within that one bag and still comply with the weight\dimensions is completely lame. And the fact that you HAVE to print out your boarding pass at home or else pay a 40 pound printing fee…jaysus, that’s just mean. But, if you manage to do all that, it’s fine. There are no seating assignments which can be tricky, but on the flights I had the plane was fairly empty. On the flight to Dublin I was pretty nervous so even though there were plenty of empty rows (I mean, LOTS of empty rows), I chose to sit next to a couple. It turned out that the couple was as nervous as I was and understood when I explained my seating choice. Strangely enough, having the nervous couple next to me made me feel better as it was nice to know I wasn’t the only irrational person on the plane.

Once in Dublin, I took the bus into the city centre. The hotel I was staying at, the George Frederic Handel, had emailed me beforehand to tell me that it might be possible to check in before 2 PM if they had a room available. They didn’t, which was a bummer since I could have really used a nap. They did store my luggage for me both before I checked in and after I checked out the next day so even if this was the worst hotel in Dublin, I’d still think they were pretty swell.

So now it’s 8 AM on a Sunday morning in Dublin and I need to find something to do. I’m walking around in a daze when I miraculously find a hotel restaurant that’s open. It looks posh and expensive (and at 9 euros for a continental breakfast it fucking was) but I was too tired to bother going a step further. I did manage to drink my weight in orange juice and hang out entirely too long in their lounge.

By 10 AM I had made my way over to the Jameson Distillery. Or what was once the Distillery and but is now just a big place where they show off stuff that used to make whiskey and sell 50 euro Jameson sweatshirts. A little hint for getting more bang for your 13 euro distillery tour buck, after the crap movie at the beginning that goes on and on and on about how John Jameson was the king of the world and boy, isn’t his hair shiny, raise your hand to be a volunteer. When they ask for volunteers of course. If you start shouting, “I want to be a volunteer!” when nobody has asked for one, it is one sure way NOT to be chosen to be a volunteer. And you want to be a volunteer because it’s a volunteer for an after tour whisky tasting. Which is what you want of course, more whiskey, or else you shouldn’t be on this tour in the first place. That said, there are some people who don’t WANT to drink whiskey (we don’t like those people) and there are even more people who don’t want to drink whiskey at ten in the morning. My suggestion to you is that if you do go on this tour, go in the morning, but make sure NOT to get in with the German tour group because they will drink anything at any time in the morning.

Sadly, you do not get to take one of these home with you...or float one home or whatever.

With a bit of whiskey under my belt at 11 AM, what better way to carry on the day if not to continue drinking? My frame of thought was simply “drink, take nap, eat, see some music, sleep again”. Well, that’s what I figured once I got back to the hotel at noon and my room STILL wasn’t ready. I found an old man’s pub just around the corner where I drank Guinness, read the Lifestyle section of the Sunday newspaper, and chatted to the old man bartender about Oprah and Obama. After only two pints of Guinness that the old man must have spiked, I was feeling pretty good and thought this sign read “Crotch End”.


By 2 PM, I was finally able to check into my very decently sized hotel room and tried to take a nap. I tried, I really did. But apparently the hotel room was located in cathedral zone and it being Sunday must have meant it was special bell ringing day and jaysus, there wasn’t a chance in hell of getting a lick of rest. So off I went again.

Made with real Americans

At this point I was so tired, I cannot tell you where I all went. There was a lot of walking and if I saw some thing or some place that looked interesting, I stopped for a bit. It was in this manner that I ran into the Porterhouse Brewery Co. Now one of my blog buddies, Kim, who up until Monday lived in Dublin, had suggested this place to me. Without access to email and with having a piss poor memory for names, I couldn’t remember what the place was that she recommended until I actually stumbled upon it. I’m so glad she suggested it to me and that I actually ran across it as it turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip.

Inside the Porterhouse Brewery Co.

The Porterhouse Brewery is nice enough, with decent food and really nice beers – but that isn’t the reason why I had such a good time here. On my list of All Time Awesome Things is getting the chance to meet and talk to new people. However, I’m a bit shit at actually starting conversations so this doesn’t happen to me as often as I like. But while I was sitting there at the Brewery, this couple sat down next to me and struck up a conversation. It was brilliant as I was just getting to that point in my solo vacation where I was feeling a wee bit lonely. The couple was Irish, which is rare enough in Dublin, and their names were Mary and Joe (Mary and Joseph…Irish…of course). We talked about America and Liverpool and driving in Ireland and a bunch of other things. They bought me a drink and I felt bad not to be able to return the favor as they had to leave. But they gave me suggestions on some places to go and their email.

Mary & Joe, helping tourists feel welcome...well, this one anyhow.

I want to do a quick clarification on my comment above. Dublin is filled with plenty of Irish people, of course, but depending where you are Dublin it’s a lot like America – every place you go the employees are Irish but the clientele is all American. There was one Irish homeless man I got to talking to on the street. His friend came up to him and he told his friend that I was American. Before his friend could utter a word to match his unimpressed look, I said, “Everyone around here is American.” His friend responded, “No shit.” That’s just the way bits of Dublin are. Americans love all things Irish. They come to Dublin in droves. The tourists go to the sites and the Irish cater to them in the pubs. It’s because of this that I absolutely hated Dublin the first time I went there in 1998. I wanted the “true” Irish experience - an experience I realize now (that I live abroad) is a farce. A “true” Irish experience is going to Tesco at 7 in the morning to pick up those nappies that you’ve just run out of. But now that I know that, I enjoyed Dublin immensely. I enjoyed the touristy shit, the tra-la-la bands playing in the touristy pubs. I couldn’t give a toss I was standing with 200 of my fellow country men listening to “Whiskey in the Jar”. It was fun.

I went here...at some point.

...and here.

I'm going to blame my crappy cell phone for the quality of this, but we all know the real reason.

I can’t remember to many details of the rest of my evening. I stayed in the Temple Bar area which is one of the worst touristy offenders there is in Dublin, going from pub to pub listening to music, having pints. I stopped in the kitschy touristy shops and bought kitschy touristy gifts for a few people. I went to more pubs. I honestly got quite off my face intoxicated. I had a BLT kebab-y thing from Abrakebabra which was just as good as I remembered it from 1998 (though I certainly don’t remember paying 6.50 euro for it!). Finally, a mere 21 hours since I got up that morning, I went to bed.

Since this post is growing a bit long already, I’ll continue with Day Two later on this week.

1 comment:

  1. I notice there is no mention of the heroic efforts of me and the boy to get you to the airport at such an unsociable hour.