For my 18th birthday present, my Dad took my to Dublin for a few days. It's a family tradition to go to Dublin on 18th/21st birthdays, and my Dad is over there at least half a dozen times a year for work, so it's a familiar place! Only a 45-minute flight from Manchester airport and we were there!
I stayed at the lovely Eliza Lodge, which is above an Italian restaurant in Dublin's famous Temple Bar area.
The first thing to do, of course, is go in a pub. Yes, even at 9am.
Pub #1 is O'Neill's, just around the corner from my lodgings. All Irish pubs are 100% better than English pubs. They look so nice inside and are really rustic.
You gotta start the day with a Full Irish (A Full English + Black/White pudding)! Though I opted for a mini one, as I've been to Ireland before and they don't skimp on portions.
Then, off to Trinity College Dublin! Like a true tourist, I had a guided tour around the campus from a lovely undergraduate chap.
I also saw The Book Of Kells, probably the main reason why people visit Trinity, which is a really old and ornate collection of the Gospels.
In true peculiar fashion, I bought a French book on how to speak Irish from the gift-shop-at-the-end. The English phrasebook wasn't as good, alright?!
This is like Ireland's Oxford, with weird traditions and peculiar names for things. And the beautiful old buildings, of course. Like the bell tower...
... or the Library!
This is my 'I Love Dublin' face:
There are endless places to eat and drink in Dublin, so I managed to find the Parisian Café, Café en Seine. The decor was hilariously gaudy, with statues and vases and chandeliers shoved into every available spot.
Shamefully, I had a Rekorderlig, not a Guinness/Jameson/Bulmers. Save that for later!
Like most capital cities, Dublin has public parks to compensate for how built-up it is.
But also more buildings to marvel at, too. There are a few Georgian squares in Dublin, with houses with wide doors and many storeys.
Grafton Street is Dublin's main street, with chain shops and street performers in abundance. This Brazilian guy was juggling knifes and fire whilst balancing atop a 9-foot ladder. Rather him than me.
Some were less talented (but certainly inventive) ...
Then it was time for tea, at Marco Pierre White's Steakhouse And Grill.
Fancy, I know, but we had the Early Bird's menu so it was only €19,95 for my two courses of amazing food, muahaha!
Though it was still €9,95 for my Cosmopolitan cocktail, ouch. (Worth. It.)
I think I should become a cocktail drinker.
Apparently Marco Pierre White trains all the chefs there personally, so the food was incredible. I had Confit Of Duck, with Bread And Butter Pudding for dessert. Hnnnng. (sidenote: my camera is GREAT at taking photos of food. Hm.)
After that I had to have a food nap. But after the nap, it was time to hit the pubs! We went from The Temple Bar...
... to The Old Storehouse...
... to Peadar Kearney's.
They each had great live music (I love me some folk), but we settled in Peadar Kearney's because the amazing Brian Brody was playing there, whom my Dad has known for years and plays traditional Irish tunes. However, a pub crawl of Americans flooded the pub, so he played The Killers and Mumford&Sons until they left, then it was back to traditional stuff! He is so talented, and a real nice chap.
Here's my 'Yay! Folk + Guinness' face:
Onto Day 2 and more touristy things! As my Dad and I are secretly a pair of 7-year-olds, we went on an amphibious Viking boat/truck ride. Basically, you wear Viking hats, get driven around Dublin by a guy telling you interesting facts, and roar at unsuspecting pedestrians, before putting on lifejackets and having an aquajaunt.
It was very silly and very fun. It gave me the opportunity to see more of the City, such as the two Cathedrals...
... and Dublin Docklands.
After all that giddiness, we had a quiet drink in the tiniest pub ever. The Dawson Lounge is about the size of my frontroom at home. It was so cute!
I had a cheeky Bulmer's Pear. Irish alcohol is great.
Dublin has a tram system called the Dart; public transport is great for looking at the Irish Language.
We hopped on the Dart to go to Howth, a place on the outskirts of Dublin on the coast.
It was kinda drizzly, but I always like seaside towns. We had lunch at the famous Blood Stream pub - I had calamari. Mmmm, seafood.
I think I must have eaten/drunk too much, as I felt really ill when we got back, so had to call it a night. Boo!
Day 3, the final day, was for a last wander round. Here's the Ha'penny Bridge across the Liffey...
... and the view from it...
... and some lovely government buildings...
... and the statue of Molly Malone, from the song by The Dubliners (notice her faded chest from groping hands!)...
... and a green Irish postbox...
... one of the many little alleyways (Hi Dad)...
... and The Bank Of Ireland HQ.
It was then time for my final half-pint [of Guinness] and meal [I had Pâté, in The Old Storehouse].
I found a quirky Danish shop, and bought a cute tin! (because Orla Kiely stuff is too expensive...)
Aaaand one last look around Temple Bar...
And then it was back to Manchester!
I had so much fun in Dublin, it really is as friendly as they say. Never had a bad meal, always lovely drinks, and the music was amazing too. Still, it's very touristy, so there was reams of Americans everywhere! They do love to say that they're Irish, bless.
As for me, I've only ever been to Galway and Wexford before, so to experience an Irish city was great.