Monday, November 5, 2012

Ireland - Day 6

We woke up early in Limerick with the hopes to get on the road to Dublin at a decent time.  We grabbed some breakfast at our hotel, Absolute Hotel, and got on the road.  I'd agreed to drive from Limerick to Dublin because it was easy driving on the main interstate (instead of the narrow roads we'd been encountering).

The drive from Limerick to Dublin is about 120 miles along M7.  It was easy, until we got to the outskirts of Dublin, then we hit traffic (it was about 10am).  Not only did we hit traffic, but I had to pee, badly.  It took us about 45 minutes of stop and go traffic to finally arrive at Ballsbridge Hotel (we drove 9 miles in 45 minutes) on the southwest side of town.

The hotel was by far the worst hotel of our trip.  We were greeted in a gorgeous atrium type space and even while walking to our room we peaked in rooms along the way which looked white, crisp, and modern.  Nope, our room was no such thing.  We were apparently in the old, unrennovated portion of the hotel. We had a tube TV and antique looking furniture.  We're guessing this is due to the voucher/package deal we head.  Lucky for us, we were barely in our room,  It was tolerable enough to sleep and shower in.

After dropping off our belongings, we hopped at cab to St Stephens square, which is the park near the "center" of the city.  It cost about 10eu to get there (which we realized we could have easily walked). We didn't have much of a plan set up, so we started off by walking to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

St Patricks was originally a wooden church which was later replaced by a cathedral in 1220.  It's significance is that this is where Saint Patrick baptized converts when visiting Dublin. It's the largest church in Ireland. You can tour the inside for $5.50eu, but because we were hungry, we passed.

We walked north (towards the river) on Patrick Street/Clanbrassil Street Upper to stop and admire Christ Church Cathedral. It's the second medieval cathedral in Dublin (St Patricks being the first) and was originally founded around 1028. It's interesting to note, per our guidebook, that neither of the two major churches are Catholic.

One more thing to mention about Christ Church is that their choir sings four times a week.  I really wanted to go to this at 6pm on Wednesday night but our schedule didn't align. This would be so cool to check out and it's free! More info here; we also learned about it from our guidebooks.

We walked west on High Street and followed it to Thomas Street to Jame's Street. We stopped along the way into a convenient store where I picked up what was similar to a chicken curry hot pocket for lunch. Yum!
Based on our Dublin map, given to us by the hotel, we didn't think walking from Christ Church to Kilmainham Gaol (a prison) was going to be that far (however, Google mapping it later we realized it was about 1.75 miles/2.8km). By the time we arrived, we were all a bit weary. We were cheered up to learn that our admission (usually $6eu/adult) was free. ALL Ireland Heritage sites (operated by Office of Public Works) are FREE on the first Wednesday of the month! Woohoo! (Although I want to note that the $6eu admission for Kilmainham would be WELL worth it).
Kilmainham Gaol (KG) is a former prison which was primarily used by the British in 1800s and early 1900s to house Irish rebels.  Truly having known very little about Ireland's history (except for assuming there was a civil war because there's "Ireland" and "Northern Ireland"); the tour of KG was very informative and interesting. This was by far, my favorite site visited in Dublin and a must-see on my list.

The picture below has extreme significance in Ireland's history. This is where James Connolly, an "Irish rebel"  was killed tied in a chair after falling over while standing awaiting execution because he was so weak; this caused a uproar and realization of how the Irish needed to break away from Britain. 


After spending about an hour or so on the tour, we walked back to Guinness Storehouse, which was guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.  Tickets at the gate are $16.50eu/adult. Tickets online are discounted 10% ($14.85/adult) and there was wifi when we entered, so we bought the tickets via my iphone on the spot and walked up to the ticket counter to get them without any issues (and skipping a small line).

As we'd heard, the Storehouse doesn't allow you to see any production, but it is well set up and more or a less a museum of Guinness, which also walks you through the brewing process and Guinness' history.

What we could see of production facilities out window

Admission to the storehouse includes 1 free pint of Guinness; this can be used to  "Pour the Perfect Pint" on one level, or it can be used to get a Guinness up top at the Gravity Bar, which is known for it's views of Dublin.  Gravity Bar does NOT except cash, so if you want to pour your pint AND get a beer at Gravity Bar, you're screwed.

Unless you talk to the young ticket collector.  He advised us to do the Perfect Pint, then go to the bar/restaurant and pay for a Guinness there (they take credit cards) and sneak it upstairs to Gravity Bar.  Which is exactly what the boys did (us girls didn't want two Guinness having walked so much and eating a lite lunch).

Learning the perfect pint.

 Time to top 'er off (push away from you) 

The guys perfected their pints and then we headed up to Gravity Bar for the view.

It was Tuesday afternoon around 3:30pm and it was crowded.  It took a bit of a wait, but we were able to find a table of four chairs to sit down and relax with a Guinness in hand and a view.

After spending some time admiring the view, we trekked back to Christ Church area where Ben's keen beer eye came into play.  He noticed a sign for a happy hour with some craft beers.  We decided it was late enough to get dinner, so we entered Bull and Castle. YUM! Delicious food and a great craft beer selection.

Beef and Guinness Pie

It was amazing!
From dinner, we wandered over to Temple Bar (which is the name of a neighborhood and also a bar in the neighborhood). We crossed Ha'Penny pedestrian bridge (which used to have a half penny toll nd funnily enough, something Ben had insisted we find) before deciding to stop in the Temple Bar.
As excepted, it was crowded on a Wednesday night (around 9pm maybe?).  However, we all enjoyed it much more than we thought we would.  For one, they had Brew Dog beer (which I still haven't gotten around to posting about, but it's a UK Brewer that Ben and I visited one of their brewpubs when in London).  After snagging two bar stools for us girls in front of the live music (which they have every night), and having a coffee and Baileys, I probably could have sat there for hours.  The bar has several different rooms (and bartops), so it's a pretty big place.
(I bought their cd!)

After a while, we decided to give another bar a chance so we went to Porterhouse, which Ben had researched and found as a brewery.  Once again, the place was HUGE.  It had several floors and was busy.  We had to wait one round of drinks before finding a corner table on the second level, which was near the band (which unfortunately didn't play Irish music but was still good).  We went through several rounds of beer flights here as they were pretty cheap (and good).

We left Pourhouse looking for another spot and after stopping in a few crowded places and deciding they were "too American" based on the music being played. We ended up heading back to Temple Bar for another round before we stopped in a late night spot for some chicken sharwma (kind of like a gyro) before hopping a cab back to the hotel to call it a night

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips