My husband’s birthday was last week, so to celebrate we took a weekend trip to Dublin. It has been years since I have been in Dublin (I trained as a teacher there) so it was lovely to go back.
The city centre itself is small and easy to get around on foot, and we caught the Luas (tram) in from our hotel every day, which took 9 minutes. Our hotel was next to the Guinness Storehouse but we did not end up going there, for some reason!
My family used to be the Guinness bottlers.
We were all checked in to our hotel by 11am the day we arrived in Dublin, so we went out and did Grafton Street (where we stopped for tea and scones at Bewleys).
We then popped into Avoca, Penneys, Dunnes, Boots, and went by the Post Office on O’ Connell Street. After that we went to a restaurant and pub near our hotel for a birthday dinner.
The next day it was off to Trinity College to see the Long Room and Book of Kells. I am always in awe of the Long Room. So many ancient handbound books, arranged in order of size, and still in use.
I have written before about how the word books would be one I use to describe myself, so this kind of place is my heaven. Reading is a key to so many things – knowledge, inspiration, research, other worlds – and yet when this library was created, not that many people knew how to read. Reading is something we take for granted, but I come from a country where literacy is not a given so I try to remember how lucky I am. My dad taught me to read when I was very young and that has been one of the great things that life has given me.
The last time I was here, I saw the real Book of Kells. This one is a copy because there is renovation work taking place and they want to protect the original from theft and dust.
After that we went for a walk around Temple Bar. It is very touristy but we figured we may as well!
That night we went to Flanagans in O’Connell street for fish and chips. It was unprepossessing and not touristy which was really nice.
The next day we went by train to Belfast. It takes about 90 minutes from Dublin and is a really pretty trip – you travel by the sea for part of the way which is lovely. It was weird to realise that we were leaving the EU. The Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border is such a sensitive issue that it would be such a pity if it ends up being a hard border again. The border issue was covered extensively in newpapers in both Dublin and Belfast.
We wandered around looking at Belfast city centre
And then stopped at Bootleggers for a very late lunch as we would be on the train until about 8pm. We watched them making Irish coffees so we thought we would have some before we went home. I am not much of a drinker (one glass of wine is my maximum) but I love hard cider and Irish whiskey!
On our last day we went in to town for a long walk, tea (at Lily’s café) and lunch and then flew home again.