Dublin is one of the world’s great cities. Home to history, Irish culture and the legendary Guinness company, it is a city with something to do around every corner. While some cities in the United Kingdom and Ireland start hot and fizzle out in a short time, Dublin continues to offer visitors a brilliant experience day after day.
It isn’t difficult to get to Dublin. On my most recent trip, I was able to reach the Irish capital for just £55 bounds round-trip thanks to Ryanair from Manchester, England. The Irish budget airline may get criticized repeatedly, but it does give travelers the chance to travel for very little. Personally, I have never had a bad time with Ryanair, although I do know people who have.
Arriving in Dublin, it can be overwhelming, but not in the way that many foreign countries bombard the senses. I have found during my travels it to be a great place to explore pubs, watch sports and catch up with friends. Dublin is also a great city to experience a fun-loving culture that can get a bad rap on occasions.
The Guinness Storehouse was a venue I had wanted to see on my previous trips to Dublin. However, time was always too short to tour what is called Dublin’s No. 1 tourist attraction. On my own this time and with no place to be during my trip, I was finally able to fulfill my travel desire.
Despite my interest in visiting the Guinness Storehouse, the stout isn’t one of my favorite beers. In fact, it isn’t even in my top 10 favorite beers. Of course, there is a time and place to drink Guinness. Those times are on cold nights in the winter and when in Dublin. The reason to drink Guinness in Dublin as opposed to other cities around the world is due to the taste. It is just better in the Irish capital. The tour of the brewery is great, but the best part is the Gravity Bar. It is located on the seventh floor and it offers views of Dublin. It is an amazing look over the city. It did cost €20 to enter the Gravity Bar, which I wouldn’t have done had I been on a strict budget. The price of admission did allow me to have a Guinness, so it wasn’t all bad.
With little else planned after leaving the Guinness Storehouse, I contacted a friend living Dublin. He invited me to join him at a soccer match that evening. I wasn’t very familiar with the Irish league, but my interest was piqued by the invitation. After locating the bus which would take me out to Bray, the town where the game would be played, I jumped aboard and rode for about a half an hour. Bray is much different than Dublin and benefits from being on the coast. If I had had more time, perhaps I would have spent it in Bray. However, I was only there for a soccer match between Bray Wanderers and Limerick.
Compared to the Premier League teams of England, Bray was far away from the money and bright lights I was used to. The price for a ticket was just €15, which was also a world away from England’s top professional league and is prices. We sat in the main stand with a number of old-timers who had followed the club for decades. Mixed in were members of younger generations. Fathers, sons and grandfathers sat in threes and spoke about the players on the pitch and whether Ireland’s national team would play in next summer’s World Cup. The match was mostly uneventful as it ended in a 1-1 draw. It did allow me to mark another country and soccer game off my list of places traveled.
After the final whistle, I said goodbye to my friend and caught the bus back into Dublin. I returned to my hostel. Although not a fan of sleeping in a room with strangers, it gave me the chance to travel cheap. Dublin isn’t the cheapest city in Europe, so finding ways to save a euro or two is important even if you aren’t on a strict budget.
When the sun came up the next day, I stayed in bed for quite a while. I had nowhere to be nor had I planned to go anywhere in particular. As happens when I travel alone, I stuck my headphones in my ears and got lost in music. I’m not a big fan of traveling alone and the start of my last day in Dublin made me long for a travel partner.
I dusted myself off and made the best of it, however. The guy working the hostel’s front desk pointed me in the direction of Dublin Castle, so I checked out the landmark. After walking around the castle, I made my way to Grafton Street. Known as Dublin’s best shopping area, I walked along the street and popped into the pubs for a pint of Guinness here and there. I wanted to get my fix before going home.
By the time I walked into my hostel, the sun had set over Dublin. The good news was plenty of guests were hanging out at the bar in the hostel. I saddled up to it and got to talking with travelers from Europe and North America. It was something I wasn’t used to: speaking to fellow travelers on my adventure. Most of the time, I prefer to keep to myself, but it led to a fun evening of drinking in the hostel before finally calling it a night a little after 10 p.m. I had to be up early for my flight in the morning, so it was off to bed as fellow lodgers stayed up to continue having fun.
I left Dublin the next morning feel good about my trip despite being hungover. I had finally visited the Dublin Storehouse. I had also taken in a League of Ireland soccer match. While I didn’t have much planned for the second day, sometimes traveling and playing it by ear is the best way to do things.