It was 8 am when we arrived in Dublin, Ireland. After dropping off our bags at my cousin Niall’s house, Mike and I decided to go into the city center to start our first day. Mike’s excitement to see Dublin for the first time and my eagerness to show him the places I have been before helped us combat our tiredness from traveling. We made our way down Grafton street, the bustling shopping area, to Trinity College. By the way, the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was a hot day, which is unusual for a typical summer in Ireland. As we explored the grounds of Trinity College, which was founded in 1592 and is known as the oldest university in Ireland, we decided to see the Book of Kells. The manuscript contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and is believed to have been written in the year 800 by Celtic monks. The preservation of the Book of Kells was incredible to see and unfortunately no photos were allowed, however the Old Library was beautiful. When I walked into the library I felt the same emotions as when I walked into the New York Public Library for the first time, feelings of awe at the way the sun shined through the tall windows.
Continuing to be our own tour guides, we made our way to Temple Bar area, which is popular for listening to live music and drinking. But, instead we finally found Dublin Castle close by and wanted to look around. Dublin Castle is more than 800 years old and has stood during many pivotal events throughout Ireland’s history. This was one of my favorite places we visited on our first day. I loved the park outside the castle walls. Mike and I sat there along with others that were enjoying their weekday lunch break or escaping their homes to soak up the sun’s rays.
Courtyard Park outside Dublin Castle
By this time we were ready for lunch and a drink. Mike was anxious for his first Guinness in Ireland, but that had to wait until the evening. I took him to the Porterhouse at Temple Bar which has fantastic craft beers, but no Guinness. At the end of our meal the jet-lag was catching up to us, so we hopped in a taxi back to Niall’s to nap before going back out in the evening.
Ha’penny bridge in the background
Niall tells us as we walk into John Kehoe’s pub, “You will compare every pint Guinness you have now to the one you will have at this pub”. And he was right. That was the best pint of Guinness I had during our entire trip. It’s fair to say though, that we did not make it to the Guinness Storehouse, so I’m sure that would have been a good comparison. After our drinks we took a stroll around the neighborhood to see Dublin at night and then went to Niall’s for the evening to rest for another full day of sightseeing.