Two and a half months ago, one of my best friends asked if I wanted to go to a festival with her in Belgium in 2 weeks’ time. After a quick glance at the set list I said yes and within 48hrs I’d booked our tickets, she’d booked transport and she’d convinced two of her friends from university to join us.
Fast forward to 4am, 9 weeks later: I was standing in Stanstead airport with the same 3 people, passports and suitcase in hand, ready to fly to Ireland for the first time.
How on earth did I get here?
Well, that weekend at Rock Werchter festival was amazing. The four of us got on so well that on our last night, when an Irishman casually suggested we visit Dublin sometime, we said sure. Why not? And so, within a week of returning to the UK I had bought 4 flights to Dublin for the following month.
My stay in Ireland was fantastic! A week of non-stop laughter, spontaneous plans, new friends, and luckily only few disasters. But that’s not to say we didn’t have several hiccups.
Fortunately, one friend that I was travelling with had relatives living just outside of Dublin who were happy to house us for the week for free. This saved us all a lot of money and we got to live with a dog for 4 days!
Day 1 : Searching for Guinness
We arrived in Dublin before 7am but it took us until late afternoon to visit the city because we were all in desperate need of a long nap. When we got there we had no plans except to find some dinner and have a pint of Guinness. After some exploring and seeing the (frighteningly tall) Spire in real life, we got so hungry that we settled on eating burritos for dinner. A bit more wandering landed us at a €5 cocktail bar which, in hindsight, definitely gave us a false idea of the cost of drinks in Dublin. Our next stop was a pub to try Dublin’s famous Guinness. I drank a whole pint and can conclude that I dislike Guinness. As midnight approached and the pub started to close we left to find the nearby ‘€2 drinks club’. With some help from a guy my friend met on Tinder we made it to the club. At first it looked really small and empty, but we soon realised everyone was at the back of the five level club in an outdoor/courtyard dancefloor. Drinks were handed out in glasses at extortionate prices with a gin and tonic costing almost £10. The club seemed to close abruptly at 2am which signalled us to leave and get a taxi to our new home for the week.
Day 2: A twilight picnic
I woke up at midday still exhausted from travelling and going out. The day was slow and we didn’t fancy going to Dublin so we decided to have a woodland picnic for dinner. We spent the afternoon shopping for food, wine and candles and cooking sausages, caramelising onions and warming up buns. While it was still light we headed out, set up a lovely spot and surrounded ourselves with candles. All was well, until we went to open the wine. We had unknowingly bought wine with a cork instead of a cap! After trying several methods of getting it out or pushing it in, which only resulted in me slicing my thumb with a penknife, one of us ran back to get a corkscrew (and plaster). Very soon, the wine was flowing and the tortilla chips and dips were out. We left just after the sun went down; our romantic setting was beginning to feel like the start of a horror film where four teens get murdered in the wood and we needed to sleep so we could have an early start the following day. Overall, a really lovely evening!
Day 3: Tours, doors and more drinking
Our ‘early start’ became a midday start and we made it into Dublin around 1. I had a Cornish pasty for lunch (a true Irish experience) and by chance, as I was eating, a walking tour group slowed down by us and I thought it might be fun if we joined them. This turned out to be one of our best decisions of the week. Within an hour I learnt so much about the turbulent history and politics of Ireland, as well as getting a better idea of where things were in the City. We heard there was a mythological tour happening soon but decided to try that tomorrow and visit the Whiskey museum instead. Upon arriving we discovered we’d have to pay for a tour of the museum and with none of us being keen whiskey drinkers, we decided to pass and headed on to a road a half an hour walk away, famous for its colourful doors.
We passed several talented buskers on the way and when we arrived on the road itself, we were lucky enough to find a couple who offered to take a photo of us in front of a row of four cool doors across the road. Further down the road lay the national gallery, in which we got very lost trying to find the second floor because I wanted to see their portrait exhibition. By this time, we were all knackered and decided to head home. Due to some traffic diversions we were left waiting almost an hour for the bus, which we ended up missing and sprinting through the city to catch.
We made it back so late that we didn’t have time to rest before making dinner so we’d have time to eat, drink and get ready before returning to Dublin for our last night out. A big bowl of spaghetti and a few bottles of wine later, we were back in the city, first stop, the famous Temple Bar. It turned out to be a very brief visit as our student budget didn’t allow for €9 pints. We were left wandering the streets for an affordable drink. We ended up in (what might have been) a gay bar for a quick G&T before heading to a nearby club which had been recommended to us.
The Workman’s Club was really fun, despite some drinks mishaps; I made a few Irish friends and was introduced to a cool pizza place nearby. Many drinks later, the club closed and the night came to an end. I became the taxi-driver-director as all my friends fell asleep in the back of the cab but thanks to google maps we all ended up back home in one state or another.
Day 4: The hangover and the end
It’s fair to say we didn’t make it to the mythological tour, or Dublin at all before we had to head to the airport. Although our time in Ireland had quickly come to an end, our adventure hadn’t because before touch down we had already started planning our next trip…