During my last week abroad I decided to become a tourist. I had lived in the country for three months, yet there were so many things in Dublin I didn’t do yet. I would be leaving the country in a few days with no idea on when I’d be back.
And I went by myself.
I grew up in a small town. I was always told to never, EVER go to big cities by myself. Granted, I am petite and look very young. I could understand my parents concern. After living outside Dublin for months, I decided I would be safe. I needed to do this for myself. I loved the people I had traveled with, but I knew seeing Dublin would need to be a solo experience.
I loved it.
I started my day out early, catching a bus from UCD (where I crashed the night before) to Trinity College (located in the middle of Dublin). I hopped onto the red line of the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus. Using my Dublin Pass (which I definitely recommend for seeing multiple museums and churches in a day for CHEAP), I started at the Little Museum of Dublin.
Being a week day, I was the only one there. I had free roam of the entire museum and was able to practice my Gaeilge with my tour guide. She told me I spoke pretty well for an American – I’ll take it!
Next, I took the bus to Christ Church Cathedral. There I lit two remembrance candles for my grandmothers. I knew they would love my adventures abroad and would absolutely love this church. The crypt is the oldest remaining structure of Dublin. Located in the crypt were costumes used in the show “the Tudors.” They also had a case with a mummified mouse and cat, found in the pipes of an old organ when they did renovations. Bit creepy, but it was definitely cool to see.
Dublina the viking museum was next. They mentioned and had displays of local viking findings. You also had access to a high tower that was attached to Christ Church Cathedral. You had astonishing views of Dublin from the top. It was well over 100 stairs to climb, but the view was worth it.
I then walked the few short blocks to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, another glorious church located in Dublin. I recommend seeing both, especially since they’re so close!
I caught the bus again and ended up at Teelings’ Whiskey Distillery. Spending three months in Dublin, I still had not had Irish whiskey. Obviously, I was not living up to the life I should have been. Now, I’ve been told to go to Jameson except their distillery was closed for the time being. After a tour of the factory, my group had complimentary samples of their whiskeys, including a cocktail. I brought an entire bottle home with me!
As we sat and talked about our experiences in Dublin, two members of my group mentioned going to the Guinness Storehouse – which was my next stop anyhow! So we walked the few blocks and were drawn in by the smell of Guinness.
We talked about our travels and places we hoped to get to one day.
I added Iceland to my mental bucket list.
The Guinness Storehouse was… interesting. It was EXTREMELY touristy. Parts of it I enjoyed. With each ticket, those of you over 18, receive a coupon for a free pint of Guinness. You can use this ticket on one of two floors. You can learn how to pour the perfect pint on the 5th floor. Or you can head to the top floor and relax in the Sky Lounge. The lounge is encased in glass. Everywhere you look, you can see all the sites of Dublin. They even have places marked on the glass so you know what you’re looking at. The experience up there made the whole storehouse worth it.
Knowing the sun would set early, I caught the next bus home to Maynooth. I had made it. I had gone a whole day, by myself in a foreign city. Not once had I been fearful. I embraced it. I could go at my own pace. I could see what I wanted to. I was free to be myself.
If you ever go to Dublin, please visit the sites I’ve mentioned. They will be worth your time and money.
And if you have the chance to travel alone, I recommend that as well. There’s something so freeing about the experience, even if it’s only for a day. You learn more about yourself.
And you find out just how well you can read a map.