From Glasgow we flew into Dublin, Ireland. The first thing we did was the free walking tour, which gave us a very in-depth (perhaps a little too verbose!) history of the country. Ireland has been through a lot of tough times through the years – famines, plagues, invasions, uprisings, civil war, financial crises – and Dublin really reflects this. You can still see the bullet marks from the Easter Uprising on the columns of the General Post Office building. But I think overall there’s still a feel of optimism and good humour, which is the impression I got of the people all over Ireland.
One thing that struck us in Dublin was how revered the great poets and writers are, with as many statues around the city dedicated to them as to revolutionaries and leaders. Deciding we should probably make some attempt to sample the nightlife rather than crashing after dinner every night, we went on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. I’ve never been on a more typical pub crawl, but I think this is probably more my kind of thing than the kind where you slam down shots. We sipped pints or whiskey and listened to the guides quote and sing from the works of Irish literary greats, and stories of how they met in or drew inspiration from the local pubs (of course).
Other highlights include the cultural and drinking hub of Temple Bar, Trinity University (where it is still not against the rules to shoot a Catholic with a crossbow), the Book of Kells and Long Room in the university library, and Irish brown bread.
- We were recommended a restaurant that serves brown bread ice-cream (it’s much better than it sounds) and in trying to find it somewhere else stumbled across Murphy’s Ice Cream. We were impressed enough to go and find the original shop in Dingle, where they make all their ice-cream from the rare Kerry cows and natural, local ingredients. The brown bread ice-cream is amazing, as is the sea salt ice-cream!
- The Farm was a really nice change of pace from pub food, which we were starting to get a bit sick of by that point. Lovely organic, free-range and local food.