*Editor’s Note: I’m writing this several weeks after the trip, life and all kept me from getting this sorted before now.
When this whole trip was still in the planning stages, Libby and I agreed we wanted to fit in as much as we could in the short time we had abroad. So after settling on London as a home base, we entertained ideas for side trips and quickly landed on Dublin, a fast flight and a city neither of us had been to yet.
This flight was early, too, but by this time we were pros, getting ourselves up and out in plenty of time. We were in Dublin before noon, our bags dropped with our Airbnb hosts, who dropped us off at the bus stop that would get us into the city center (but not before Libby made friends with the horses grazing nearby).
While we’d done plenty of research on Dublin, our first stop was still a couple of the tourist offices that dot the streets, just to confirm we’d uncovered all the gems, that we weren’t missing anything in our rush to hit the highlights. It was there we discovered The Irish Storytelling Bus. Imagine, if you will, a coach transformed into a cottage, complete with a hearth, a bar, comfortable seats and a thatched “roof.” Add in charming storytellers and a scenic route, and our one night in Dublin was spent in style. The pint of Guinness didn’t hurt.
Before the bus tour, we spent the day grabbing lunch at a local pub complete with live music at 1p on a Wednesday, witnessing the Book of Kells inside Trinity College Library, wandering St. Patrick’s Cathedral and grounds, and made a stop at Queen of Tarts for things sweet and caffeinated. We’d hoped to get outside the city a bit, and were pleasantly surprised to discover our bus tour took us out to the village of Howth, poised on the sea with a view of Dublin to the south.
Our flight back to London was set for Thursday night, so we had a second day to fill in Dublin and, sadly, didn’t get to everything. We did take a great stroll through Temple Bar for lunch, and we managed to fit in the obligatory Guinness Storehouse which, really, is obligatory for a reason. The family business is evident throughout Dublin, and the corner of the city claimed by the company is equal parts throwback to the days of cobble roads and carriages and a modern economic center offering tourists an exceptional historical experience.
In between, we rode a hop-on, hop-off bus around town in order to fit in a few more sights, like Phoenix Park, the city’s largest greenspace – our drive through included a glimpse of the cross commemorating the Pope’s visit and a gang of urban deer out for their evening stroll. We didn’t make it to see the Jameson Distillery or Kilmainham Gaol, a jail that dates from 1796 and so much more.
And yet, I managed to fall completely and entirely in love with the place, and I have every intention of taking a trip dedicated entirely to the Emerald Isle.