Embarking on a journey to Ireland is like stepping into a storybook filled with lush landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. From October 15th to 21st, 2023, I had the pleasure of exploring this enchanting country with my girlfriend Kaitlin, her sister and wife, Kim and Dominique, and Kaitlin’s mom, Mary Ann. Our week-long adventure was packed with exciting activities, delightful meals, and memorable moments. Let’s delve into the rich tapestry of each day, savoring the magic that Ireland had in store for us.
Day 1 – 10/15 (Sunday):
- Morning Arrival: Dominique and I started our journey together to meet with our currently traveling counterparts as they got to be at Ireland for a full week before us. We did not delay when it came to partaking in the Irish festivities for our tip. As our plane touched down on Irish soil at the serene hour of 5:30 AM, a sense of anticipation and wonder filled the air. The soft hues of the morning sky greeted us as we eagerly embraced the beginning of our Irish escapade as Kim and Kaitlin were able to find out outside of Dublin airport after a little searching. Dom and I were so happy to be united with our PIC (Partners In Crime)
Fuel for the Day: The golden arches of McDonald’s beckoned, becoming our first stop for coffee. It wasn’t just about caffeine; but to see what Micky D’s Is about in another country, It did not disappoint especially with our options at 6AM – – Nothing else was open
Guinness Storehouse Tour: St. James’s Place unfolded the tale of Ireland’s most iconic beverage at the Guinness Storehouse. From the rich history to the intricate brewing process, every corner resonated with the essence of Guinness. The tour culminated with panoramic views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar, a fitting introduction to the city. Did you know that St. James’s Place, home to the Guinness Storehouse, was once the fermentation plant of the brewery? It’s a historical gem seamlessly blending past and present. Although it was very hot in the Gravy bar, the Views that it gave us were breathtaking. If we hadn’t had a packed itinerary, we would have been there longer! But Dublin called our names!
Irish Coffee Tradition:John’s was a revelation, introducing us to the warmth and character of Irish coffee. Sipping our first cups in the heart of Dublin, surrounded by locals, we embraced the Irish way of starting the day. This would be the first of many! Oh Did I mention that we kept track of our drinks for the trip? Good idea?
Lunch at Ned Oshea: Nestled in the heart of Dublin, Ned Oshea welcomed us with open arms and plates filled with mouthwatering fish and chips and roast beef. As we indulged in our meals, an unexpected feline companion named Grainne added a touch of charm to our afternoon. Ned Oshea has been serving traditional Irish fare since 1910, making it a time-honoured stop for locals and visitors alike. This was the first meal that we had in Ireland where we really got to experience the Irish Fare.
The Living Room: The day concluded with laughter and camaraderie at The Living Room. We go to watch the Eagles play, even though it was later in Ireland, because of the time difference. The succulent wings, and tasty Jamo/Gingers Lead to an atmosphere of joy we even met some fellow travelers on our trip, setting the tone for the rest of our Irish journey.
Day 2 – 10/16 (Monday):
Howth Cliff Walk: The rugged beauty of Ireland greeted us on the Howth Cliff Walk, a breathtaking experience along the cliffs, where the crashing waves and salty breeze left an indelible mark on our senses. Did you know that Howth, a picturesque fishing village, is renowned for its seafood restaurants and the freshest catch of the day? While we did not indulge in the seafood, the town’s restaurants did look bustling. If only we had more time!
Howth Castle: Stepping into Howth Castle was like stepping back in time. Surrounded by lush gardens and historic architecture, the castle offered a glimpse into Ireland’s aristocratic past, a stark contrast to the natural wonders just outside its gates. Turns out people were a lot shorter than I am – I don’t think I would have survived back then as the doorways were too small! This was our first castle that we got to see, but it definitely wasn’t going to be our last.
Jameson Distillery: Whiskey enthusiasts among us reveled in the Jameson Distillery experience. Ciaran, our guide, shared the secrets of whiskey making, and the barrel tasting was a sensory journey through Ireland’s liquid gold. Did you know that the Jameson Distillery Bow St. is located on the original site where John Jameson established his distillery in 1780? It’s a place where history and whiskey craftsmanship converge. We were able to actually take part in a cast tasting where they pulled the whisky right from the Barrel! How exciting!
Walshes and Living Room: The day’s adventures continued at Walshes, where the warm ambiance complemented sips of Jamo and ginger. As the sun set, we meandered through Murray’s, soaking in the local culture and friendly faces. Walshes, a pub with roots dating back to 1938, is a testament to Ireland’s pub culture, offering a cozy and authentic atmosphere. We ended by back at the living room the night, as we looked to devise a plan for the next day. Who knows what Tattoosday has in store for us?
Day 3 – 10/17 (Tuesday):
Dublin City Exploration: Our day in Dublin unfolded like a living history book. Ha’penny Bridge, Temple Bar, Christ Church, Dublin Castle, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral – each site was a chapter revealing Ireland’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. Did you know that Ha’penny Bridge, built in 1816, got its name from the toll of a half-penny that was once charged for crossing it? We also revealed to Mary Ann to the truth of where we were heading – – We would all be headed to get tattoos shortly after our exploration, she was excited and so were we!!
Brotherhood Tattoos: Seeking a lasting memory of our journey, we found ourselves at Brotherhood Tattoos. Here, amidst the buzzing needles and ink-stained air, we helped design the shamrock that we would all be getting. A symbol that encapsulated the spirit of our Irish adventure. We all took it like champs, and cake out of it wearing them like proud metals! I was amongst the best company in Irland and I could have thought of no other way to better commemorate it.
Dublin 5K Night Run: The energetic pulse of Dublin after dark beckoned us to participate in the Dublin 5K Night Run. The city’s landmarks lit up as we ran, adding a new dimension to our exploration. Did you know that the Dublin 5K Night Run is an annual event, that brings together locals and visitors for a unique nighttime experience through Sandymont Beach? This was Dominique First 5K and what better place to do it? I was happy to run alongside Kaitlin, as Kim Ran next to Dom! In the end, we finished and went to get our bananas and our finishing medal!
Irishtown House and Takeaway: The night unfolded with a walk from the 5K to the Irishtown House, where the warm ambiance mirrored the hospitality we had come to love. Was the Irish Mob there? Maybe. But It was a great place to wind down after our 5K… and meet the locals. Kim even got to pull the lottery numbers for the night.. haha. The Irishtown House, with its traditional Irish charm, is a testament to the welcoming spirit found in Irish pubs.
- A takeaway from Enzo’s put a delicious cap on the day, providing a taste of the local culinary delights. I thought it was great – Everyone else; not so much. I guess you just have to be in the mood
As we look back on the first three days of our Irish adventure, the bond between us and the joy in every shared experience becomes the threads weaving our memories into a beautiful tapestry. Whether sipping Irish coffee at sunrise, exploring historic sites, or sharing laughter at cozy pubs, these moments have laid the foundation for an unforgettable journey. Little did we know that each day in Ireland would unfold as a unique chapter, adding layers to our collective story. With excitement building, we eagerly anticipate the unfolding tales of the days to come. Stay tuned for the continuation of our Irish adventure in Part 2,