Strangely enough the story of my Dublin trip begins in Chicago. It all started when I met an Irish guy named David at a bar called the Irish Oak.
After a brief chat, David handed me his Google business card. While we never got together in Chicago, I sent him an email a few weeks before leaving for Dublin. The lesson here – hang on to business cards! Especially if they say Google on them.
David described Mulligan's as an “old man's pub” and told me that it was one of the last old-fashioned pubs in Ireland. I loved everything about it: the red-lacquered walls, the seasoned clientele, the sassy wall plaques and the fact that it was founded in 1782.
The next day I spent the bulk of my time at the beautiful and green Trinity College campus (why didn't I apply there, seriously?)
I went there to see The Book of Kells, a religious manuscript that was created by Celtic monks more than a thousand years ago. According to Wikipedia, it is widely regarded as “Ireland's finest national treasure.”
After seeing the book I highly agree. The book's designs are so impossibly tiny they seem to have been painted by butterflies, and the script is raised and glossy as if it were nail polish. The admission price was 10 euros but it was totally worth it.
I next happily stumbled upon the statue of Molly Malone. Don't know her? She's a famous fishmonger and prostitute who now lives on Grafton street. There's even a song about her that is known as Dublin's unofficial anthem.
Per David's recommendations, I headed to Merrion Square to see the famous Georgian doors. I snapped away like a wild-woman, determined to photograph every door in the square. I even asked an elderly gentleman who was retrieving the paper if his house was a museum. I shouldn't be allowed in public.
I met David and his friends for a Guinness (question – why is Guinness drastically better in Ireland?) and then headed off to The Chop House for dinner.
The food was great. Like amazing. Like how-is-Ireland-not-a-huge-food-destination amazing. I ordered Dublin scallops with black pudding and the combination was Michelin-quailty genius. And it was reasonably priced – my dinner cost only 14 euros.
After dinner we met up with some more of David's Google friends and pub and club-hopped for the rest of the night.
Sometimes you should be a responsible, culture-focused traveler. And sometimes you should take blurry pictures and drink mojitos in an Irish club.
I want to thank David and all of his amazing friends for showing me the city over the weekend. It was so much fun hearing their stories and getting to know them, and getting a glimpse into what Dublin is really like.
Overall writing this makes me miss Dublin, and especially my beloved Ireland which I never tire of visiting. But I'll be back. And I know a half-pint of Guinness is waiting for me.