I unfortunately didn't really get my camera out to take many photos on this trip but I did use my phone out quite a bit to take some video! Here's a little something I put together:
Dublin was a wild experience that started off with a 40 hour day. A few of the people I traveled with and I got a late train to London from Southampton in order to catch our 6:30am flight to Ireland, which was exhausting. Once landed in Ireland, I didn’t really notice much of the city at first glance because I was so over tired, we just marched like a group of zombies to get to our Airbnb. We had a short rest once we got there but didn’t want to sleep so that we could keep a decent schedule. We decided to do the best thing one can do to battle tiredness in Dublin, go to a pub. We went to the Porterhouse Temple Bar; it was relatively small but had several floors to compensate for its size. Almost everything is made of creaky old wood that gives the place a historical feeling and nice warm lighting. These are things that I found to be common in Dublin pubs, with each still a little bit unique from the others in some way that kept them interestingly different while still having a cozy familiarity. There is always a good selection of beer, local or imported, including Guinness (which is noticeably and obviously better in the city it’s made in). This was made even more clear the next day when we visited the Guinness Storehouse.
The Storehouse is a visitor area in the middle of the Guinness brewery where people can go to learn about the history of the beer, how it’s made and there’s even an opportunity to learn how to properly pour a Guinness (if you’re willing to wait in line). There are plenty of opportunities to taste the beer and new variations they’re working on. In one large room, waiters hand out small cups of beer as a man on stage guides all the tasters through the proper way to taste it. The waiters then surprisingly hop on the stage and start river dancing to an accompaniment of live drums being played by two men in kilts. This show was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip, the atmosphere is amazing; the room is packed full of people who just had a taste of delicious beer and then are unexpectedly treated to an amazing show by the people who just served them that beer. But, of course, this isn’t the only area in the building to try the beer.
The main area is on the top floor in the Gravity Bar. There is a beautiful panoramic view of Dublin and, if you didn’t lose your entry ticket like I did, you can get a free pint of Guinness. I lost my ticket almost immediately after I entered which was pretty disappointing because I really wanted to keep it as a keepsake (and free beer). Luckily, one of the wonderful friends I traveled with doesn’t like beer and let me have hers (thanks Taru) and another gave me her ticket after because she knew I wanted to keep it (thanks Agata). This was a great place to end the tour of the Storehouse with a group of friends, good beer and a fantastic view.
The next day was the main event, St. Patrick’s Day. We woke up good and early to head out and see the parade. We wanted to get a spot along River Liffey, a big river that runs through the center of Dublin, but as we got closer and closer it was getting more and more packed so we ended up just finding a good spot on the side of a road right beside the barrier. After waiting in the cold for a while as more spectators crowded around us, the parade finally started and it was excellent. There were lots of people in crazy outfits, some interesting floats, one of which was a large mechanical spider whose legs reached up and down by people operating levers underneath the body. Even Liam Cunningham (Sir Davos from Game of Thrones) went by in a fancy old car, which was a very welcome surprise. What was more surprising was the amount of American marching bands that passed through. They were very good and entertaining but I’m a little bit confused as to why there were so many there on such an Irish day in the country's capital.
The end of the parade was marked by the true heroes, the ones that probably got the biggest cheers from the crowd throughout the parade; the street cleaners that come by to pick up after the horses.
The night of St. Patrick’s Day is when things really start to kick off in Dublin. The bars open and people clad in green hats, shirts, dresses and face paint pile into the streets. It is an amazing atmosphere to be in, especially in the famous Temple Bar area of the city. Everyone is in good spirits and out to just have a great time, the air is lively and positive with, as you can probably imagine, a mild hint of friendly intoxication. The one thing that did make me a little bit sad about the experience is it was very tourist heavy. It’s hard to be surprised that tourists would flock into Dublin on St. Patrick’s day but it was still a little bit disappointing how few actually Irish people I met while there. It would have been nice to have stayed a little bit longer and explored Ireland to try and get a more authentic experience. Despite that, it was still an amazing time overall and there is not a thing about it that I regret.