Our last day in Dublin we decided to knock out the rest of the things we hadn’t seen by now, so first stop was Trinity College & the Book of Kells. So for those of you not in the know, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, having been founded in the late sixteenth century. Its also one of the most prestigious schools in the world (definitely #1 in Ireland). Think of it as the Harvard of Ireland.
So Trinity College has a lot of famous architecture, etc. but is also home to the famous Book of Kells. The book of Kells is a manuscript from circa 800 that contains the 4 gospels of the new testament (thank you wikipedia). This book is of extensive importance to Ireland and the catholic church.
After seeing the intricately and ornately bound book of Kells we headed of to see the Dublin Castle, which is largely modern by Irish castle standards. I think only one tower remains from the original medieval castle (from around 1200AD).
Although decidedly un-Irish, I had to make a pitstop at wagamama my favorite noodle shop in Europe (and apparently now in Boston too). So after a heaping bowl of ramen the way ramen was meant to be served (not from an 8cent package cooked on a hotplate in a dorm room), we were off to my second libation related tourist spot: Jameson.
After walking halfway across town, we ended up at my second destination for the trip (remember I was traveling w/my parents and sister, otherwise we would have spent the trip going from pub to pub “exploring”): Jameson Distillery! This is a decidedly different type of experience from the Guinness storehouse, well for one its a LOT smaller. Not bad though. I mean Jameson isn’t as popular as Guinness, makes sense for it to be smaller. The old distillery though is purely a tourist destination, there is no actual hooch making going on there. All the distillation has been moved to a facility near Cork. Basically after your tour (takes 45min) where you find out how a whiskey becomes a whiskey (and not a beer), you are taken to a tasting. In this tasting they let you sample Jameson either with ginger ale, coke, cranberry juice, or on the rocks. I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed this tasting. One thing to note, if you are leaving Ireland soon after this (like I did), the price for a bottle of Jameson in the duty free shop is about 20% less than it was at the Jameson store itself. Though there are a number of varieties you can’t get outside of the distillery very easily.
Once we were through getting our whiskey fix for the trip, we had to head back to the hotel for our flight back early (4am) the next morning.
So tips for visiting Ireland from someone who really doesn’t like reading guidebooks.
- Don’t go to Ireland expecting gorgeous women everywhere, Italy, Spain, Norway, and Sweden all trump Ireland in this category.
- Do eat some of the local food, but remember, its not that much different from English food, and the English all eat Indian & Chinese food.
- Its ok to support English Premiere League teams in Ireland, since they don’t care about their own teams very much anyway.
- Beer is not cheap, actually nothing is cheap. Seriously.
- Some of the best “chips” (fries to us americans) can be had in northern Ireland on the way to giant’s causeway. A dash of vinegar on the fries, also something i’m bringing back over here. yum.
- Guinness in Ireland tastes better than Guinness here. Its creamy enough to drink for breakfast. If you already drink Guinness for breakfast, then hat tip to you my friend.
A quick tip to get savings on your next trip, look for an Orbitz coupon code to save some money.