Dublin, Ireland was my very first solo travel and I have gotten so many comments asking how my travels where. I decided to write a blog post all about my time there. This post is dedicated to my very first travel diary.
I got off the plane at 7:30AM local time: 1:30AM Chicago time. My body was half coffee half nerves by the time I got to customs.I was so jittery that I almost missed the joke when the agent said “with your last name you could’ve just walked through!”. I made my way to the currency exchange and then bought a bus ticket that would take me the 45 minute drive into the city center. As I got off the bus the driver asked if I knew where I was going “yes, thank you,” I said while my mind’s alarm when off and said “no, wait you sure?” Luckily “south until you cross the river and then a right for a block” is instructions in laymen enough terms for me not to get lost. It felt like a true victory when I found the hostel all by myself, and I almost ran through the door. After paying for the hostel, I put away my luggage and marched myself out the door to wander. And wander I did. An hour later I made it to my destination and I was excited to grab another coffee and rest.
The walk was beautiful. I got to walk down cobblestone streets that were littered with hole in the wall coffee shops, fairy lights strung across the buildings: everything was enchanting.
Coffee in hand, I made my way to a park bench to sit in the sun, write, and get energized. Probably a half hour into my sit a man around my age came up and handed me a clipboard. It read “help support blind and deaf students build a school with your donation” under it had five names, zip codes, and donation around written on it.
“What’s this for?” I asked. He just pointed to his ears and pointed to the paper. He was saying he was deaf? Okay so I looked at the clipboard that was sitting in my lap. I scribbled a name, a fake zip code and wrote a ten. He looked at it and waited for me to hand over money. Wait what? I was just writing things so he would go away. “Oh sorry I don’t have anything” no way was this kid going to scam me out of my cash. He didn’t even have a bucket to collect the money. “Sorry, thanks” I signed to him. He looked at me blankly and shook his head. Now maybe it wasn’t a scam and I probably should have just handed back the clipboard in the first place, but I consider it a win if in the end, I have my money and he doesn’t.
Once I took a much deserved nap to try and conquer the jet lag, I went to dinner and then a pub to drink a Guinness (because when in Ireland, right?) Pro tip: if you’re not sure if you’ll like it, ask for a half pint and they’ll serve it to you in a baby glass. By 10pm your girl was beside herself tired to I happily left the pub and went off to bed.
I was happy to say that each day was more and more enjoyable. The combination of being less lost, and more comfortable allowed for me to truly enjoy my time in the city. I spent the day walking to Trinity College and being immersed among students my own age, bustling to class and talking about exams. It was nice to sit down in the warm grass and harmlessly eavesdrop. Afterwards I made my way to Grafton street (of course I had to listen to Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl while I was there) and had a coffee and the best bookstore/cafe that overlooked the pedestrian ridden street. The rest of the afternoon consisted of museum hopping and eating lunch at the National Archeology Museum.
Day three was my last full day in Dublin. I started off by meeting up with a new friend I met at the hostel the night before. We sat and ate breakfast together while booking tickets to the Guinness brewery tour. Very touristy, we know. But man that was quite the adventure! Karen and I ended up spending four hours there as we traveled through the history behind Arthur Guinness and his 9000 year lease on the property. After we were done learning about the process that goes into making the beer, we had the opportunity to get behind the tap and pour our own pint. After we waited for the beer to change colors we made our way up to the top floor which was a bar with a 360° view of Dublin. From one side I could see the mountains and Hawth peninsula, the other side showed St. Patrick’s cathedral budding out from the city like a flower.
Then I had a moment. I was sitting at the bar with new friends looking out onto this new city and The Script starts playing throughout the bar. To hear that song over the radio, while looking over Dublin with a pint of Guinness, I had a moment of overwhelming gratitude. Gratitude that this is my life right now, that I’m not hearing about adventures but I’m taking them. Yes, I am aware of how sappy and cliché that could be perceived. But it meant something to me. I am capable of so much more than I ever expected.
That evening I met up with Karen and sat down with some locals at a pub to listen to Irish mythology. We sat in on a group of performers singing, playing instruments, and retelling mythological stories. With (another) Guinness in front of me, I was entranced by their performance as they captivated audience members with humor and their storytelling capabilities. Even after the performance had ended, we chose to hang around the pub to chat with our new friends. That’s the thing with solo traveling: you’re forced to make friends. I never thought I was shy but it still was hard at first to put myself out there, and man was it worth it.
Thanks so much for having me Dublin! See you in the future!