|Rainbow over Ireland|
Last year two friends and me made another friend who turned 30 a rather selfish gift: a girl's weekend in Dublin. We intended to go there on St. Patrick's Day, but the high costs made us move our trip into May, in the hope that the weather would be warmer by then.
I was already looking forward to being with those three very special friends of mine again. We could have even spent the weekend just around the corner and it would have been fabulous. But going to Ireland has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl and fell in love with Irish folk music.
The idea of grabbing an instrument anywhere and make people dance and party motivated me to try to learn the guitar once. I have no talent for making music however, so I have never really learned to play it right. The only instruments I can improvise on are my tin whistle and my Native American Flute. Singing along proves to be difficult with those however.
Dublin did not disappoint me, there was live music on every corner, in every pub, basically around the clock. And I LOVED it!
|Beautiful weather in Ireland - who would have thought?|
When we arrived, three of us from Cologne, to wait for the fourth to make our little shamrock complete, we went - of course- into the airport pub to have the first pints of the trip. While chatting and looking forward to meeting Pauline again we somehow naturally got to talking to the pretty couple to our right and to the English gentlemen to our left. It made me feel like home immediately and we exchanged numbers with the guys from Manchester, who had sailed from there to Dublin with their yacht. Well, you never know what you might need a yacht for, so we thought, they are funny and kind, why not have a drink later. (We stayed in contact the whole weekend and Nigel, Ian and Pete (was it Pete?) invited us over to celebrate Nigels birthday at the local yacht club, but we somehow didn't manage to get there, which might not have been a bad thing, after all it was a very posh club and we were very drunk most of the time...) Still, it was nice to check with them from time to time. And who knows, we might go to Manchester one day and it is always great to know some locals.
Once we were complete, we took the bus to the city. Public transport is not expensive in Ireland, to get to the city center by bus we paid 3.30 €. We grabbed a burrito from Saburritos, (3 Sr. North Earl), which we really enjoyed. Once we had managed to find our hostel, we did not leave again for that evening. We intended to, but ended up on the floor of the room, talking for hours. Which is the best you can do when you reunite with really good friends. It warms my heart to know how deep the connection between us four still is, even though we do not meet on a regular basis anymore like we used to, when we still lived close to each other. Our conversations cover everything, from serious crisis / health / relationships-topics to the weirdest and stupidest jokes and I love that.
(Good we only found out on the last day that you were not supposed to drink in the hostel rooms, but only in the lobby. But then again, I think we wouldn't have cared...)
Breakfast at the Jacob's Inn was better than I had expected, we could choose from cereals, musli, eggs and toast with jam or Nutella. Coffee, tea and juice were offered as well. The first day we got up early enough to join the offered free walking tour.
|View from the roofterrace at the Jacob's Inn|
|Alan, our tour guide in front of Dublin Castle|
Our guide, named Alan, wearing a woolen sweater under his shirt (wtf?) and a red head, was very passionate about Irish history and a true patriot, telling us about the Easter Rising and the Irish fight for independence. I already knew a lot about it because of school and university, but it was interesting to hear about it, while standing at the actual places where everything happened. The walking tour of about 2 hours covered most of the sights in the city, be it Dublin Castle, Temple Bar District or Trinity College. The inner city of Dublin is really not big and great for walking. Alan took us into one of his favourite pubs in the Temple Bar District (it is not called after the bar, but the"bar" in the name refers to the strip of land belonging to a guy called Temple) The Old Storehouse, 3 Crown Alley. It is a very beautiful pub and Friday noon there were still space and you could get a beer easily. The weather was a bit cloudy that day, but there was no rain, although the forecast for the weekend had been gruesome.
|The Famous Temple Bar - And we didn't even go in....|
After the walking tour had finished, we went for another burrito, this time at Pablo Picante, Fleet Street. It is a funny looking place with Mexican masks, looking like a mixture of wrestlers and superheroes. I have seen them before and on tv there seemed to be running a tv show they starred in as characters from the 60s, but I don't really know what they are. The burritos were really good, while the waitress there was probably the only unfriendly person we met in Dublin.
Across from the burrito place there was a beautiful looking pub, The Auld Dubliner, 24-25 Temple Bar. It was early afternoon, but when we went into the pub, it felt like ten at night in Germany. People were dancing, singing, drinking together and there was a very good singer, covering evergreens.
Alan had told us to spend a night out at the Cobblestone Pub, 77 King St N, as Temple Bar District is very touristy and not typical Irish. We liked the pub, although the interiour reminded us a lot of pubs we know from the continent. In the small concert hall next to it, there were four very Irish looking guys giving a concert. The atmosphere was a bit boring first, but we just went in and danced nonetheless. Some of their music was really good, twist mixed with rock, inviting to dance. After we had flooded the little dancefloor, not caring about making a fool of ourselves, others joined and after a while we all had a very good time. After the concert we found out that actually, you had to pay to get in, but as we were motivating people to dance and heating the atmosphere, no one really cared. The bass player was flirting heavily with one of us while still on stage and it was nice to chat with him and some friends of the band afterwards. They are called "Vagabond and Thieves" by the way.
|Vagabonds and Thieves|
|The Shamrock in front of the Old Jameson Distillery|
We walked home, having a weird conversation about what would be the last song we would want to hear before we die. The discussion ended in all of us singing "Bochum" by Herbert Grönemeyer, as well as the traditional miner's song "Das Steigerlied", dancing through Dublin at night, celebrating the city where we had all gotten to know each other.
As we had seen a lot already on Friday and we all love the sea, we decided to sleep in and then take the train to Howth, a fishing village near the sea that Andrea had read about the first time she had been to Dublin. The weather was - very surprisingly - fantastic, with over 20° and full sunshine. We grabbed ourselves some ice cream and went to the pier, to lie down in the sun. I was already thinking of buying me sunscreen - as I turn red like a lobster immediately when I am in the sun - when the clouds came and we hurriedly sought shelter in front of King Sitric Pub, E Pier, Howth, as all the tables inside were taken.
|Howth right after the Storm|
After the lunch at King Sitric, we collected some coffee about three cafés further towards the station and I can tell you, the café did not look like anything special, but Andrea got the salted caramel ice cream there and it must be some of the best ice cream I have ever had. So creamy, yummie and good! So if you are ever there, check out the kiosk-looking thing with the ice cream and try it. We walked around Howth for a bit, but as the weather promised more rain, we went to Dublin again.
|Howth market - Look at all the cupcakes on the right|
Now the bad weather stuck with us for the rest of the evening and on our way to the Temple bar District (to check out if it is really that horrible on weekends, to find out - yes it is!) our shoes already got drenched. We found a nice pub to sit down in the middle of the Temple Bar District after a while - already feeling frustrated by all the drunken, exhausting tourists (like us, haha), we stranded at Bad Ass Cafe Temple Bar, 9-11 Crown Alley. There was a duo playing more traditional Irish songs with a guitar and a banjo, taking over the fiddle parts, which was odd at first, but had its very own charme.
Dublin was full of bachelor parties that day and one looked more miserable than the next. I was so happy to have my "hens" with me, we had a great time, inspite of wet feet.
|Bad Ass Bar - Cheers|
|Temple Bar District|
On the way home to the hostel we passed a rather dodgy looking pub quite near to the Jacob's Inn, so we thought why not to go in to have a nightcap before goint to bed. And what can I tell you? It turned out to be our best night in Dublin! A trio of young musicians, one playing the guitar, a petuite girl the fiddle and a guy with a beautiful voice, looking a bit like a mixture of a hobbit and Jack Black, playing the Bodhrán, a traditional Irish percussion instrument. They were crouched in a corner, playing traditional Irish folk. And people around were going crazy. Everyone was dancing, singing along, cheering.
|Musicians at The Celt|
One groom-to-be even came forward and sang "Seven drunken Nights" with the band, which I thought really brave and also not badly sung. It was a great atmosphere and somehow the way I had always thought Ireland to be like. We were thrown out of the pub (The Celt on Talbot Street) along with the band and walked home, badly drunk. (Watching the homepage of the pub now I want to go back there immediately. People were great, it was a cozy place and Irish music does something to me, I cannot really grasp it, but it has always touched me in a very melancholic, longing way.
Sunday, our travel home day, we were all rather tired and hungover. I was really sad our trip was over, but I made two vows that day: it was not my last stay in Ireland or Dublin and we will do a weekend trip annually, the four of us. Can't wait for the next one. You girls are the best :-) And thank you for the pictures!
In Düsseldorf I checked the possibilities to see Irish Folk bands perform, but our live-scene is disappointingly small. Spotify helped me to get over my Fernweh a bit. Check out this touching performance in the Royal Albert Hall of the Auld Triangle.