Trip Start Apr 25, 2006
76Trip End Apr 25, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I was by no means stoked with the hostel I had managed to select. None of their literature had mentioned that it was situated roughly 20m from the busiest train line in Dublin, 30m from the busiest tram line in Dublin, and right above a boisterous late-night pub. Very ominous sign in the lobby: "Complimentary earplugs - just ask". Still, it was after midnight and I'd been travelling since 6am so was in no condition to do anything else but collapse on a bed. And collapse I did. Not from fatigue, but from the stench produced by 8 unwashed sweaty men confined to a room smaller than a cell. The next morning I learned why they feared the showers - not only were they randomly either freezing cold or blisteringly hot, but they blasted you with such force that you almost had to hold on to something to avoid hitting the wall on the other side of the room. They were also so small that there was simply no option to "test the waters" before hopping in. You just stood there, hoped for the best, then hit the button. Oh yes, the button. On all but one of the showers, you had to constantly hold down the button for water to actually come out. This was a fantastic new twist on the more common shower that at least gives you 20 seconds of water before you have to push the button again. So, after my fastest shower in living history I leapt out - happy to be alive (it was HOT this time) - only to find that a girl was standing there, staring blankly at me
Dublin was a bit of a laugh, but I always say all big cities are the same (or very similar) and really it is no exception. One of the greatest things was a tourist loop bus that travelled around to all the sights, allowing you to hop off any time, knowing that another one would be swinging by every 10 minutes. It's a day-long ticket of course, and the drivers all know plenty of info about Dublin and pipe a guided tour through the speakers. The ones to get are the green/beige double-decker buses with their roof cut off. In my experience about 90% of the drivers were unbelievably hilarious and loved to sing a bit. The pick of them was a cheery chap who teetered dangerously close to clinically insane with bouts of gibberish and extra gusto-filled Irish songs. Strange at first, but endearing at last. When you think about it, the Irish are perfect for tourism - witty, personable, genuinely friendly and helpful - the real challenge lies in dumbing down their gags sufficiently so that they can be enjoyed by the less "sarcasm-endowed" of this world. A skill this particular driver had not yet mastered.
The Guinness Storehouse was stunningly modern and imaginatively presented, with great use of technologies they seemingly pride themselves on there
The Old Jameson Distillery was not exactly a highlight. The tour guide almost saved it, but overall it was a hollow disguise for a money making exercise. Only 9 years old (restored on the site where the distillery USED to be), and only presenting models and replicas to satisfy the paying punter.
I couldn't contain myself any longer, so made a bee-line for the famous Temple Bar area to sample my first pint of Guinness in Ireland. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. The pub (which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent) was in itself as ornate and grand as I'd imagined, but a combination of things dampened any pleasure I may have derived:
1. I waited 5 minutes to be served in an empty bar
2. The bar lady was so surly she would have been more at home in Croatia
3. She then overfilled my glass to ruin the head and spill shit down the side of my glass
4. She opted to put my change on a sopping wet bar mat rather than in my outstretched hand
5. I sat outside on a table that was never cleared or wiped down from the last people
It was clear more Guinness samples would have to be taken elsewhere to improve on this first impression..
In search of cheaper beers outside the Temple Bar area I happened upon a "3.30 euro for any pint" sign. I dashed inside, and about 3 pints in (all were an improvement on my dismal first pint) I met a couple of rough-looking blokes. We shot the breeze for a few hours, allowing me to learn valuable lessons about the plight of Ireland against the English. You see, they were both "ex"-IRA and had clearly not changed their ways after a stint in the slammer. The rolled up Sinn Fein weekly newspaper was a clue, but when they nearly throttled me when I referred to "The Republic of Ireland" it was a little scary. Fortunately they were well versed in the average Australian's dislike of England so I was off the hook, and in fact they bought me drinks for the rest of the night (Note: even hard men buy cider here in the Summer, as it is "refreshing").