After working a summer of festivals and totaling almost 4000 miles around the UK we thought it would be a shame not to see Ireland and drink our weight in Guinness! All before we ventured to ‘The North’ to live and work in the Highlands.
Living mostly outside in our tent in muddy fields we thought we deserved a break so we chose to fly to Dublin after a short stint at home in Edinburgh. Staying in a hostel in the South side of Dublin we spent five days doing walking tours, pub crawls, drinking, sightseeing, drinking, eating then drinking and touching Molly Malone’s left boob.
We learned all abut the difference between Irish whiskey with an (e) and Scottish whisky. Being a Scot, Jenni was routinely subjected to being told Irish whiskey is the ‘real deal’ so to speak, a claim she refutes. Admittedly our tour around Teeling distillery – a new distillery in Dublin’s Smithfield area, was to be recommended and we discovered we are partial to a triple distilled tipple after all!
Dublin is Europe’s equivalent to the ‘city that never sleeps’ with plenty of hustle and bustle and 667 pubs and bars that never seem to close although they can get more expensive in more touristy parts (Temple Bar) past 10pm and midnight. Top tip: get to know where the locals go!
Our Top 5 Dublin Activities:
- Sandeman’s Free Walking Tour – A three hour pay-as-you-feel walking tour of Dublin’s Southside. Our tour guide Conor was excellent craic with loads of good wee anecdotes. You get these tours all over Europe and they’re always worth going along whatever your budget is.
- Irish Whiskey Museum – It’s not there to promote one brand, you genuinely get to know about a wide variety of Irish whiskies old and new, and the bar has some lovely whiskey flights as well as bartenders with a good knowledge of the whiskies which is priceless really! If you do one alcohol related thing outside of the pub we really do recommend the whiskey museum.
- Dublinia – Dublinia is a historical museum and visitor attraction in Dublin, focusing on the Viking and Medieval history of the city. You can wear armour, immerse yourself in an archeological dig and even hold a sword. We also spoke to a forensic scientist who showed us real skulls and various injuries and causes of death. There’s also a great view of Dublin from the tower at the top of the building, all in all worth the money in.
- Chester Beatty Library – Free to get in, this gives you a unbeatable view of Dublin castle and the Celtic design on the grass outside of the castle grounds. Manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts complete this amazing collection – all the result of the collecting activities of one man – Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Right now you can also see a Francisco Goya exhibition showing his Disasters of War series of drawings. This a free education in all religions and cultures world wide.
- Food and Drink – There’s the touristy pubs which cover anything in Temple Bar and the Guinness storehouse but we found O’Neill’s was best for sport and a carvery for a relatively cheap price. Chinese restaurant M & L offers real Schezuan cooking if you ask to eat from the Chinese menu. Just over the River Liffy is The Grand Social which is a super chill place with loads of rooms and bands to dance into the wee hours with such as Ska collective The Bionic Rats. Finally, get yourself some Murphy’s gin ice-cream – boozy sugary awesomeness!
We left Dublin to visit a place just on the outskirts of the village of Bushmills, probably best known for its whisky and close links, genealogically speaking to the likes of Dolly Parton.Who knew?! We arrived at Giants Causeway.
Giant’s Causeway is a natural phenomena, it’s 40,000 basalt columns which came about as a result of a volcanic eruption. Climbing across the columns, to the edge of the water on a clear day you will have Scotland in your sights and Ireland below your feet. Along the road we crossed the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, an old fishermen’s bridge which took them from the mainland to a small holding on an island just offshore. Even with a fear of heights at 30 metres above the water it’s advisable to look down at the emerald green sea below for a truly breathtaking sight…just don’t jump up and down!
But that view….
It wouldn’t be a roadtrip without a bit of tourist fodder, so when they told us they filmed a bit of Game of Thrones here it had to be checked out… so we give to you a car park.
We couldn’t cross the border without a trip to Belfast to take the Political Black Taxi Tour. This is a tour taken by local members of the community who will drive you around what are still divided communities to see the murals and Peaceline wall. It really does bring home the realities of life during what has become known as ‘The Troubles’ and how this still permeates modern life in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland. The guides aren’t there to be biased, they work to put an end to the divide and give outsiders different perspectives to how history has shaped the country and the struggle that continues.
As we left Ireland to return to Jenni’s home of Edinburgh we had no idea where we were going to go. Don’t forget we traded our entire lives in to live on the road, to do seasonal work and see the world. Sometimes this a quite a terrifying prospect but with a little bit of perseverance something always pops up.
Within one day we got offered the opportunity to live in the Highlands, in Sutherland for six weeks before heading to the French Alps to live and work in a ski lodge. We also have blog news…we’re set to be interviewed about our summer of festivals so keep tuned for that!
Here is a sneak peak of our new temporary home… we’ll have more to show once we have time to go roamin’ in the gloamin’ so until next time! x