Now I don’t even know if I can begin to explain the madness that was Dublin on St. Patty’s Day, but here goes. In typical Irish fashion, the drinking began around 8:30am in our room after we got dressed in our Irish attire.
Then after we went down and had breakfast, we headed out to a pub overlooking the parade on O’Connell Street.
We arrived at the pub around 10:30 only to find a line. I guess it was good that we got there early because we were the 2nd group in line. The pub was 4 stories and we wanted to get as high as possible to have the best view of the parade. We thought the pub opened at 11:30, but it didn’t open until a little after 12. Our friend Graham looked like the Jolly Green Giant that day. The line was definitely the party.
We dubbed this Team America because these girls were from Chicago and I hadn’t met too many Americans thus far.
Our group ended up being a lot bigger than we started with, but that made it more fun. We took up a whole floor in the pub.
Once we finally got into the pub, we all started with a ceremonial first Guinness, with many more to follow.
Once the parade started the streets were lined with people. It was pretty crazy!!
At the end of the parade, they turned the whole Liffey River green, and the strange thing is thing is that it was almost instantaneous! It went from nasty blue color to green in about 3 seconds. It was pretty amazing.
After we left the pub around 3 in the afternoon, we decided that the Chinese buffet would be a great idea. We went there and knocked out that buffet, about 3 or 4 plates a piece. Then I went back to the hostel and took a nap for about an hour and a half. After that, we went out and did it all again. It was such a long day, but totally worth it!! Everyone should experience Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day at some point in their life. It’s CRAZY!!!
We toured the Guinness Brewery and here’s some pics from that. This is the famous waterfall that everyone talks about.
After you go through the whole process of how they make Guinness, which is only 4 ingredients by the way, they have a tasting lab where they give you a glass about a quarter of the way full to try the different varieties of Guinness. I guess each person is only supposed to have one, but we made friends with the bartender and ended up going back 8 or 9 times. Guinness is so much better over here than it is back in the states. I guess it’s just fresher. A couple floors up from that (there were 7 floors total) they had kind of a museum with some amusing signs posted.
There was one sign that said Guinness gives you strength and I think it’s true.
Then on the top floor they have the galaxy bar where they give you a complimentary pint of Guinness at the end of the tour.
From the Galaxy Bar, you have the best view in the whole city. The bar is glass all around so I got some pretty cool pics from up there.
Since I have a little time to kill before I can check into my room today I’ll try and catch up a little bit for the past week. My 2nd day in Dublin I went on a free 3-hour walking tour, so here’s some pics from around Dublin.
First, this is the Temple Bar. It’s the most famous bar in Ireland and we went there the first 2 nights I was in Dublin. They have pretty good live music every night, but the pints are pretty expensive compared to some of the other pubs around.
Then this is the Liffey River that runs through the center of Dublin and divides it into North and South. The North end is a lot older and kind of run-down in parts, while the south is newer and better looking.
Our next stop was Trinity College, which I guess is the most prestigious university in Ireland. It’s similar to an Ivy League school in the U.S.
This next pic is a small street right off of Grafton St, which is the shopping district of Dublin.
Here’s a picture of the Liffey all lit up at night.
One night we walked by St. Patrick’s Cathedral when it was lit up. Our tour guide told us that the whole legend about the snakes was false because Ireland never had any to begin with. So I’m not quite sure about that.
Then this is when I was getting into the St. Patty’s Day spirit over the weekend.
I’ve been busy the last couple days so I guess I have a little catching up to do. I guess I’ll start with today first. This morning I went to see the Book of Kells in the library of Trinity College. It’s an ancient manuscript of the 4 gospels of the bible, written in ancient Latin. There was about a half-hour wait to get in and they charge 8 euros to see it. After all that they won’t even let you take pictures of it. I tried and a short old man ran up out of nowhere to stop me before I could get a shot off. I think he might of been a ninja because I looked all around before I tried to do it. After that excursion I headed over to the National Gallery a few blocks away. It’s the largest gallery in Ireland, but still relatively small compared to the National Gallery in London. One thing that was really cool was that they have a whole exhibit devoted to Jack B. Yeats, probably one of the most famous artists to come out of Ireland. His works are similar to a lot of Monets I’ve seen where you can only faintly make out a picture and you have to use your imagination for the rest. I really liked his works.
After wandering around the museum for a couple hours, I went to the National Library next door. They have a Genealogical Department to help people trace their families from Ireland. When I inquired about the Welch family from the mid-1600′s, the man told me they only really have data from about 1800 on. So I decided to look through the books anyway, and found a Welsh family, which is a variation on the Walsh family. Now Walsh was a name given to many unconnected families and there are Walshs from basically every county in Ireland, not to mention that it’s the 4th most common surname in Ireland. This really didn’t solve anything for me, but the book said that the Welsh variation is used in Munster and Connacht near Wexford and it is also particularly strong in Galway, Cork, Wexford, Waterford, and Kilkenny (which names most of the biggerr cities in Ireland).
I still have a lot of pics from the walking tour I did last Friday and also from the Guinness Brewery tour, but I’ll put those in a separate post.
The Aran Islands are about 40 minutes by ferry off the coast of Galway. I visited the biggest of the 3 islands, Inis Mor.
I rented a bike and rode around the entire island. It was probably around 15-20 miles around, so I definitely had a workout yesterday. Actually, I’m still kind of sore from it.
The best view of the island was from Dun Aonghasa. It was on the very far side of the island from the pier and it was pretty much like walking up a mountain, but the views from atop were pretty amazing.
Here’s a view looking straight down off the edge. It was kind of hard to take this because it was wet and slippery from the sea breeze, but I managed not to fall off. Apparently 5 people fell off from this same spot last year so I guess I made history by not falling off.