Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dublin: Learning the Irish Way

You know, every country I've been in so far .... all of the stereotypes are true.

The French are pretty, conceited, and bundled up.

The Scottish say 'aye' and 'wee' and wear kilts.

The Swedish are tall, blonde, and shy.

The British are loud, bold, and rich.

Well, the Irish. You know what the Irish are. They're drinkers.

I went to Dublin this past weekend with Carmen, Hilde, Suzan, Maria and Vasilis. We spent every night we were there in the same pub -- The Oliver St. John Gogarty. The pub's hero is a crazy man who's done everything from write poetry, be a surgical doctor, a sportsman,to being and for activism. The pub itself is huge. It's got three floors and on each floor separate bars. They play either crazy obvious singles from 60s+ like "Dancing Queen" to "I Feel Like a Woman" or traditional Irish music.

On the first night we were there, we went and enjoyed the first floor, the one with the obvious singles. We met a handful of ridiculous Irish men, but they were pretty hilarious. That night was also the night I discovered Dublin had TIM HORTONS. I was tres happy.

The next day, we did most of our touring before ending up at Gogarty's again.

The group of us walked around the city but split up when Vasilis and Maria wanted to go on a tour of Trinity College, so the girls and I went to see the giant needle in the middle of the city and walk around the River Leffy, ending up on a pier drinking coffee and tea all classy until it rained and we were the only people left on the pier - covered in all four of our umbrellas. After that, we visited a church I don't remember the name of, had some food, and then ended up in St. Stephen's Green park.

That's when we ended up back at Gogarty's - for the Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl. Two professional musicians, one Irish, the other Scottish, took us and a group of about 20-30 more people (all older than us) to two different pubs, where they sat us down for a pint and played us, well, traditional Irish music. One played violin, the other guitar. It was nice and relaxing, but I got so tired that I zoned out for a while. They provided us with some history and context, and it was interesting. It was then that I realized how much musical history Dublin has, and how many buskers out on Grafton Street and more there really are. There's tons of music stores, but since going to Dublin, I've been pretty bummed I didn't get to go explore them. Oh well - it's probably for the best. The city is ridiculously expensive, so I would have been in trouble.

Anyways, most of the group ended up going back to Gogarty's for another drink afterwards but Suzan and I retreated to our nice hotel for some relaxation. At this point, I was getting rapidly more exhausted after my travelling since Sweden (I only had a day and a half in London between trips and that was spent in class).

The next day, the group of us went to the Dublin Castle and played around in the park for a while. We then split up: I went with Vasilis, Maria, and Carmen to the Guinness Storehouse and the Dutch girls went to explore the castle and city more. I was aprehensive about going to the Guinness Storehouse for so much money but it turned out to be worth it (besides, it includes a free pint). It's actually fun, and seriously the beer version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. You go through a maze of Barely, Hops, Water, and more. You see how they mix everything, their old advertising campaigns, and by then you get up to the gravity bar -- seeing all of Dublin while nursing your pint.

That evening, we went out for dinner and ended up at Gogarty's again - it was a Sunday so less busy, but still entertaining on the Obvious Singles floor.

Our last day was Monday, but it rained. Just like the day we came. So Carmen, Hilde and I ended up walking along the water under umbrellas again and stopped at another cafe talking about horror stories for quite a long time. Then we met up with the Greeks and proceeded back to our hotel before flying back to London.

1 comment:

  1. true or false, though: the tim hortons there aren't very good/not "real" timmy's? a girl i went to HS with is in ireland right now and that's basically what she told me.

    however, i'd like to point out that you're halfway across the world, and it's STILL easier for you to get tim hortons than it is for me to get it, seven hours from buffalo. makes me sad...