Dublin. The emerald city.
Well, I don’t know if it is actually called the emerald city but it has a nice ring to it yes? And that is exactly how Dublin was, a shining green star at the beginning of our journey and a wonderful place to start our Eurotrip 2014.
We arrived in the morning, thoroughly exhausted from our overseas flight but unable to check into our hostel for a few hours. So we did what any weary travelers do and headed out for some bleary-eyed sightseeing. This would be our only day in Dublin after all as we were driving to Galway early the next morning with our tour group. So we picked a tentative route to St. Stephen’s Square and set off down the cobbled streets, clutching our scarves in an attempt to shield our necks against the chilly air. It felt good.
About 5 minutes later, we reached the park, confirming our suspicions that Dublin is in fact the smallest and most walkable (and amazing) city in the world. This was further confirmed when the clouds opened up to reveal the sun, warming our faces and elevating the grass to a whole new level of green. We took our time in the park, sitting in the sunshine among fellow Dubliners, closing our eyes in contentment. We were finally in Ireland!!
Once it was time to check into our hostel, we quickly unloaded our backpacks in our room and rushed back outside into the softening light of the day. We walked in the opposite direction and soon found ourselves at a castle in the middle of the city. No big deal.
It turned out to be Dublin Castle (well duh), situated next to a beautiful garden with an assortment of flowers and of course, greenery. We walked around in wonder, thrilled to have this beautiful place all to ourselves.
We continued on our walk and literally ran into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, dramatically lit in the slowly dwindling light. Although it was closing in on 8 o’clock, it was still so light out! We sat on a bench and just contemplated the beauty around us (oh and the Free Wifi available everywhere in Dublin).
Realizing how late it actually was, we decided that it would be a good idea to find some food. We walked back towards the Temple Bar area, crossing the River Liffy as a light dusting of rain began to coat our hair and shoulders. We turned our faces to the sky and saw an arching prism of color framing the buildings across the river. It was a rainbow, teasing us with the promise of leprechauns and pot of gold at the end of its colorful trail. But we had already found our gold in the cheerful streets of Dublin so we continued on our quest for food and first pint of Guinness. This was Ireland after all.
We eventually found a great little pub serving delicious Irish food and I devoured a steaming dish of corned beef, mashed potatoes and creamed carrots. Man, it was good. Finally ready for our first drink of the trip, we walked to the famous Temple Bar and ordered two pints of Guinness. Hasty in my need to taste the local delicacy, I grabbed the beer and took a long pull. I was quickly snapped out of my reverie by the bartender reprimanding me for drinking before he had topped it off! Whoops. I definitely learned my lesson that patience is rewarded with Guinness and did not make that mistake again! There were many times to perfect it after all.
The beer was so delicious, like a tall glass of water on hot summers day and it quenched my thirst immediately. I licked the foam from my lips, smiling in trepidation of the days to come. Group tours have the potential to go horribly wrong and I worried that we wouldn’t be able to experience Ireland on our own terms.
But if our first day in Dublin was any indication, Ireland was going to be an unforgettable experience.
We would just have to wait and see.