Well it has been an interesting week.
I spent 5 nights at the Kinlay House in Dublin and let me tell you I am ready to go back to my apartment rentals. First, the good things. It’s in a spectacular location, right in the middle of the city and within walking distance of everything in Dublin. It also cost €90 for 5 nights, plus a €2/day locker rental. It was almost exclusively filled by a revolving door of young backpackers like myself, but most of them were out late where I was asleep by 10. I stayed in a 20 person, mixed sex room. Beds were in groups of 4 with partial walls so there was some privacy and protection from lights and whatnot.
My first issue with the hostel isn’t this specific ones fault, I think hostels just aren’t for me. I like to settle somewhere, leave my shampoo in the shower, unpack my clothes, leave my phone charger plugged in, etc. Here, I didn’t feel like I could leave anything out. I wasn’t even just living out of a backpack, I was living out of a backpack in a locker that was down the hall from my bed (the lock of which was very hard for me to use), talk about frustrating.
However, it was the showers that were the final straw. Each was controlled by a single button, and below are the amount of time the water stayed on for each shower for one button press.
- Shower 1: 6 seconds
- Shower 2: 30 seconds
- Shower 3: 38 seconds
- Shower 4: 15 seconds
I kid you not, the best shower ran water for 38 seconds. I was fortunate enough to get shower 1 on my first try. What good memories.
Talia and I split up at the airport in Heathrow, she went to Atlanta and I went to Dublin. I got sick the last day in London so the flight wasn’t great for me (hello ear pain) but I made it alright. I took a €6 Airlink bus to town and walked maybe half a block to the hostel. By the time I got checked in and found an ATM all the sights were closed so I got dinner and relaxed until it was a reasonable time to go to sleep.
Cliffs Of Moher, Burren National Park & Galway City Day Tour
Today was the first of two tours I booked to see as much of Ireland as I could. I guess I was pretty worn out from the travel day yesterday because I did a lot of napping in the bus. We drove a couple of hours first to the Cliffs of Moher. They were impressive enough, but it was WAY colder than I thought and I really wished I had some gloves. I made use of my selfie stick then took cover inside the visitor center.
Our second stop was just a 10 minute photo op in the Burren, a cool looking rock area on the coast. We then had dinner in Galway (Galway was overpriced like Dublin, I paid €9 for dinner and was hungry after).
On the bus ride, we passed a ton of small castle ruins. The country side was mostly sheep and cows separated by little stacked stone walls.
This was my first full day in Dublin, and boy I made the most of it. I had breakfast at the hostel then walked to the Chester Beatty Library. The library wasn’t all that interesting but it was free and didn’t take long. It was right next to the Dublin Castle, I was hesitant to spend €9 to get inside, but I definitely thought it was worth it. Every room in the castle was gorgeous and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I then went past the hostel to the other side of town where Trinity College and their library are. The campus is beautiful but I thought the Book of Kells was a huge waste of time and money. If you want to see it, google some pictures, I wish I had.
I was feeling a bit discouraged and very tired after the Book of Kells disappointment, but I stumbled upon a Starbucks while heading back to the hostel. I had some hot chocolate and a muffin and played on my phone for a bit and when I left I was feeling much better. So good in fact, that I decided to go past the hostel and head to St Patrick’s Cathedral. I loved this Cathedral, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Cathedral I didn’t adore. I took a guided tour around it and all my earlier discouragement was turned around. Overall I called it a good day.
Today was my second day trip! This one covered the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, and Cork City.
The first interesting thing about today was that it was snowing in central Ireland! In fact, we could only see part of the Rock of Cashel because the grounds were closed due to the snow. Because of the closure, our stop at the Rock of Cashel was a quick one and we headed on to Blarney Castle where it was not snowy.
Blarney Castle was hands down my favorite thing from this week. The grounds were gorgeous, everywhere I went I could have sworn was the most beautiful spot in Ireland. I didn’t kiss the stone cause eew, but I saw it and walked all through the castle. I adore castles and nature so this was basically my perfect stop.
After the Castle we went to nearby Cork City. I spotted a steeple in the distance and followed it until I reached what turned out to be Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Still haven’t met a Cathedral I didn’t like. There were two other churches in the city that I would have like to see, but we had limited time so I had to get back to the bus. If I ever come back to Ireland I’ll be sure to spend some more time in that area.
The next three pictures are all Blarney Castle. I’m telling you this place was crazy out of a fairytale gorgeous.
And the next three are Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Let’s just all agree that cathedrals are life ok?
I got up this morning not really having a plan. I was feeling kind of tired of Ireland in general so I moved pretty slow and didn’t leave the hostel until after 9. I walked down to the O’Connell Bridge then followed Rick Steves’ O’Connell Street Stroll down to the Garden of Remembrance which was very pretty.
I then turned around and went back over the bridge to Grafton Street and down to St Stephen’s Green. It was a pretty average park and it was very cold today so I didn’t stop long before heading toward the Guinness Storehouse. I don’t like beer and I’ve never even had Guinness but it was on the list and it wasn’t even noon yet so why not. The storehouse was mildly interesting at best. I did try some Guinness and confirmed that yes I don’t like it.
From the storehouse I could have gone another mile on to Kilmainhan Gaol, the jail where the leaders of the famous Easter Rising were executed, but quite frankly I didn’t want to. So instead, I handed back to the hostel, packed up my backpack, chatted with the guy in the bed across from me (he and his friend are both engineers!), and wrote this entire blog post. I’d say I’m more than ready to head to Iceland tomorrow.
Thoughts on Dublin and Ireland
I can sum up Dublin in one word: Overpriced. It was all expensive pubs and shopping. I’m so glad I only ended up with two days in the city, I’m not sure what I would have done with a third, maybe the zoo? I did like that I could easily walk anywhere I wanted to go.
Ireland overall was nice. That’s it, just nice. It was pretty (though if you want natural beauty go to Alaska) and it had castles (but really Germany is the place for castles). It has an interesting history and its people are all very friendly, but it wasn’t exactly a game changer and it’s not at the top of my return to list. I did enjoy my time here though, I had an awesome time at Blarney Castle and there weren’t many disappointments.