Regardless if Kyle and I both work full-time jobs, we still always make it a priority to keep traveling. However, having full-time jobs, (like many of you might know), changes up the pace at which one is able to travel. We had 11 days of vacation time and we got to use it this November. We aren’t very good at staying in one place for too long and thus decided to go to a few of our favorite places in Europe (Spain, France, and Ireland), as well as some new places (Lisbon and Sintra, Portugal). One of the favorite old places, was Dublin. Kyle was lucky enough to study abroad in Dublin for a semester, and I had always wanted to go to Dublin, so when a cheap round-trip flight from Philly to Lisbon had a 10 hour stop in Dublin on the way there, as well as a 24 hour layover in Dublin on the way home, we decided to purchase those tickets, so we could explore another country together.
We landed in Dublin at around 5:30 in the morning. Mostly everything was closed, so we hopped on the 747 Airlink bus to the Temple Bar region of the city and sat in a Starbucks until daylight. As soon as it started getting light outside, Kyle became a fabulous (and patient) tour guide as he navigated the streets with his crazy girlfriend who had ran her first full marathon 4 days prior to our vacation started. I quickly learned that never again will I ever run a marathon and go on vacation in the same week. I’m grateful to have had a boyfriend who was willing to slowly walk around the city with me while I was both eager to explore as well as wincing in pain all day.
We set off by foot to find the Ha’Penny Bridge and from there took a long walk along the river to find the Famine Memorial (for a special request from my grandmother, who wanted to pay respect to our ancestors from long ago). The river was beautiful and I’d love to walk here again, but maybe next time, not after a marathon, or after a red-eye flight.
Next, we set off to explore Trinity College. From the outside, Trinity College was very impressive and was an architectural dream to explore. I couldn’t imagine going to such a beautiful school and still being able to focus on academics, however, students still seem to be able to focus while attending, as it’s a very prestigious college, only admitting the best of the best.
Despite the clear beauty on the outside, real treasures are also inside the college as well. Kyle and I decided to pay to take The Book of Kells Tour. It was mobbed on the day we went, and there was a cluster of people hanging over the actual Book of Kells, so we only got to see a small glimpse, but we eventually made it up the stairs to see the Old Library of Trinity, and boy oh boy, was it amazing.
Books covered shelves upon shelves, and you needed a ladder to access most of them. They all seemed to be very well taken care of despite their obvious aging. There were also book preservation demonstrations going on at the time of the tour and it was interesting to see how cared for these books still are today.
From here, we walked along city and wandered into a few quick pit stops for food, before once more ending up in Temple Bar to catch the bus back to the airport for our journey on the way to Lisbon. These streets of Temple Bar were just as I pictured Ireland to be… old, beautiful, and quaint, but filled with lively amounts of people. I was excited to stop back here on our layover on the way home to enjoy the evening in Temple Bar as well.
That’s precisely what we did, on our return to Dublin. We enjoyed our night staying at The Fleet Street Hotel in the heart of Temple Bar. We went out to Kyle’s favorite Bar from where he spent many nights while studying abroad called The Porterhouse Central. I enjoyed a lovely vegetarian vegetable cottage pie from here, which was delicious! I scarfed it down in about 2 minutes, as it hit the spot on a cold night in Dublin.
We also met up with one of Kyle’s friends from his study abroad experience, and with his friend John we went in a few bars, including The Quay’s, which was packed to the brim (which usually, I’m not a fan of crowds), but this was different, and fun, and filled with happy people singing some of my favorite songs. I loved every moment of it and I’m glad Kyle got to spend time with one of his old friends and that I was able to meet him as well.
Even though our time here was short, I feel as though in one day and one night in Dublin, I was able to see a lot of the things that Kyle loves about Ireland, and for this short period of time, I am very grateful to have experienced this city and this country. I’d love to come back to Ireland one day to explore the country-side as well, but until then, this trip has satisfied my longing to visit Ireland.