1. Pub Life
We went to a few pubs and a club in Dublin and had the times of our lives. The drinks, of course, were not the cheapest, but we drank anyway. I discovered the most wonderful concoction: cider. The one that I drank was Bulmer's Irish Cider and it was so good, it is basically just carbonated apple cider with some alcohol, very tasty. This picture was taken at The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to the 12th Century. We always encountered fun characters and good stories in the pubs and had a great time. We also had some great Irish food. The girl in this picture is Raquel. She was in my Freshmen Orientation Club and is studying in Galway this semester so Maria and I went to visit her and she met us and hung out with us while we were in Dublin.
2. The Guinness Brewery
Although I can not find it within myself to drink beer because it always make me sick, this was one of the coolest places I've ever been. And yes, of course, I drank some Guinness while I was there, what kind of Irishman would I be if I didn't take up that opportunity? We learned about all of the ingredients and where they all come from in Ireland, that's right almost all of of what they put into Guinness is grown in Ireland. The only ingredient that is not Irish is the hops that cannot be grown in the Irish climate. One thing that I found to be VERY interesting was that they have been using the same crop of wheat since the beginning of the company. They have been taking some of the seeds from the line and saving them and replanting from there. If anything should ever happen to that strain of seeds, the president of the company has an emergency back-up of wheat in the safe in his office. Interesting, right? We also saw all of the cool advertisements from throughout their history, and it was fun to see how those evolved. We then went to the top of the building and were able to look out over Dublin. Unlike Cologne, Dublin was wonderful to look out on. The Liffey was clearly visible as was the Dublin Spire (the artwork that my friends from Ireland call the most worthless thing they've ever seen) It was a really great way to end the tour, but we weren't quite done. We went back down a few levels and were able to pour our own "perfect" Guinness. I poured mine and, yes, had a few sips of it. I just can't keep it down. I have to say, it was fun though!
3. The Kilmainham Gaol
Alright people, what is that word? It's a common enough word that you've all used before. I encountered it when reading the British version of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Any Ideas? It's jail. That is just one of those words that we have completely changed in the United States! Interesting, right? So was this prison. It was build in the 18th Century and held people from all ages and walks of life. During the Irish Potato Famine it held a lot of children and adults alike who realized that if they were in prison they would get a ceiling over their heads and food, something they were not able to get on the streets. There was one story of an eight-year-old girl who had to work doing laundry and in the kitchens for 6 months because she stole a woman's scarf to stay warm during the winter, and she was here all alone the entire time. However, when the Irish people really started to rebel from the British Empire, the prison had a much more practical use: against revolutionaries. Many men and women stayed within these walls before they were executed for crimes against the British Crown. Some of the most famous names in Irish Independence have their names in a plaque above the cell they stayed in before they were killed. The history of this place was absolutely amazing.
4. The National Leprechaun Museum
THIS WAS SO COOL!! We went here just to kill some time before dinner and I think it was one of the coolest places we went. We learned about how Walt Disney single handedly destroyed the proper image of Leprechauns. They are supposed to have pointy red hats, for example. We had the coolest tour guide who even took time to tell us a real story of the history of Ireland. There was a giant who could turn people into stone with his one eye! A real story of Irish history to be sure. : ) I loved the room that was there where everything was 1/3 times the size of actual furniture, so we were the size of Leprechauns. It was just so cool. We then made a wish in the wishing well and went through a rainbow to a pot (in Ireland they say "crock") of gold. If you ever go to Ireland...go here.
5. The Liffey
OK. It's just a river...but it was so cool seeing it in the morning, night, afternoon, whenever. I just loved it so much and couldn't stop taking pictures of it.
Dublin was amazing and one of the best places I've visited in my entire life.