My cousin Sierra had texted me saying that she was going to Ireland with some friends and wondered if I could meet her. I immediately looked into flights and realized how short of a trip it would be, but I knew I could fit a lot in a short amount of time and knew this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I booked my flights and two short weeks later, I was off to Dublin!
I had class on Friday morning until 10 and then walked with my stuffed backpack to the train station to catch the 10:43 train. I flew from Paris and had a layover in Amsterdam, arriving in Dublin at 5:20. They gave us wrap sandwiches on the plane and I hadn’t realized until I ate them that I had really missed wrap sandwiches.
From the airport, I took a bus to the hostel and got to see the suburbs on the way. I met my cousin and her friends there and we walked to an Italian restaurant for dinner.
We got up early on Saturday (well, some of us) and went to breakfast. I got a PB&J French Toast. It was very sweet, but it came with some amazing jam that tasted fresh and homemade.
We walked past the Christ Church Cathedral on the way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
From there, we took a taxi to Phoenix park, about 2.7 square miles in size. It includes the Dublin Zoo as well as some trails and the Irish president’s house. My cousin’s friend Andrew has family who live in the park (his uncle works as a park ranger). His uncle sent some other park rangers to pick us up and take us to his house, so the rangers gave us a little tour of the park as we drove through it. We stayed in his house and talked and then the uncle took us to see the president’s house. It was from the 1700’s, so it looked very modern compared to all the castles I’ve been seeing. I couldn’t take pictures inside, but there was a lot of gold on the ceilings, pretty chandeliers, Italian fireplaces, a French couch, and pastel curtains with windows overlooking the gardens.
Next, we went to Farmleigh, a mansion that belonged to the Guinness family, which is also in the park. The uncle was able to get us a private tour. We got to see the office with a secret staircase behind a fake bookcase and a ballroom connected to a greenhouse.
Andrew’s family picked us up and drove us back to their house for dinner. His aunt made us pita bread and hummus for an appetizer, beef stew with potatoes and carrots, and homemade bread. After dinner, the uncle drove us through the foggy night to a pub with a live band.
My cousin and I walked around downtown on Sunday morning and then through some parks. They were closed when we first walked by at 9, but they opened shortly after.
There were Irish flags and banners all over downtown, probably for St. Patrick’s Day. We walked along the river back to the hostel and then I took the bus to the airport. I sat on the top level of the double-decker bus this time so I could see the city better. One of my classmates ended up having the seat next to me on the plane, so we talked about our trips on the ride back.