Ireland: Dublin

Dooooblin! Having improved my understanding of the Irish accent, I made my way to Doooblin the day after seeing the Chilli’s in Belfast. I was well prepared; I’d accustomed my palette to Guinness, and spent time practising pronouncing U’s as O’s.

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As soon as I got here, I had a great feeling about it. You know how when you get to a new city or town and within a few minutes  you have an initial gut feeling? I had a good one. The main town was a perfect mix of old with new, the people I spoke to were as friendly as I was used to since being in Ireland and the first coffee I ordered was a solid 7/10. We’re off to a good start.

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Contrary to what I’d been told about Dublin, everywhere I went was extra clean and tidy. This is a city with a lot of history behind it; churches and cathedrals can be found on every second street and the architecture is something to marvel at.

I checked in to a hostel called Garden Lane Backpackers, which is a new place run by a friendly fellow. I’d recommend staying there. It’s a short walk to Temple Bar, which is the main district with all the bars and shops (although things in that area are subject to higher prices, as you’d expect). You can walk pretty much everywhere in Dublin unless you’re an especially lazy type.

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On recommendation from my good pal Tony, I visited Saint Michan’s church. This church differs from the rest; underneath the church are a series of crypts which hold the mummified remains of Dublin’s most influential families from centuries ago. You can see some of the bodies in there which are preserved due to the limestone the crypts are built of, and the methane gas coming through the floor, apparently. Unique, anyway.

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If you like coffee, I found the district on the other side of the river from Temple Bar had the best to offer. There’s loads of street art to be seen as well.

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This is the Temple Bar district. As you’d expect, there’s no shortage of Irish Pubs, and from what I can tell, not one hospitality establishment in this city would be caught dead not having Guinness on the menu.

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My friend Estefania and I toured round the place and drank a few of these. I’m well converted to this drop. While in bars and walking around talking to people, you begin to become familiar with Irish slang. I thought we have a lot of weird words in New Zealand, but these guys will give us a run for our money.

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Some of the more important ones are:

Yoke – Can be anything really, from a person, to a piece of food, or drugs.

Meet – Used to mean kissing someone, not just introducing yourself.

Craic (pronounced craack) – Good fun, or good times. It took a while to get used to this one as when someone usually tells me something’s ‘great crack’ in Auckland I assume they enjoy methamphetamine.

Grand – The best you can be. An obvious one but it used a lot. I saw a chick who had a lot to drink trying to convince the Garda (cops) that she was okay to be let into the Chilli’s gig. As she fell over herself she told them she was grand. So, the Irish equivalent of, “I’m sweet as mate.”

Gas – Funny. It was gas.

Gat / Gatting – Booze, or alcohol. Let’s go to get some gat, we’re gattin’ tonight. Don’t ask me.

That should be enough to get you round for a few days.

We also went on a walk to the other side of the river and found the leaning spire of Dooblin, although it’s not too hard to find, you just look up. It’s a bloody big monument. One of the things I also wanted to really do when I was there was go on a good informative tour which tells you about the history of Dublin and the revolution 100 years ago involving the IRA.

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Unfortunately the place I went to go to wasn’t doing the tour that day. We went on another but it wasn’t very good so I’ve left it for next time, after I do some more reading up on the subject as I feel it’s something you should be reasonably familiar with first in order to get the most out of it.

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This girl was all of six years old and played the violin like a champion, so she gets a spot in the blog.

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Above is not the Guinness Storehouse, it’s a castle. Below, however, is the Guinness Storehouse. No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting here.

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It costs 20 Euros to get in but in my opinion was worth it. The place is seven stories tall, with a 360 degree lookout bar up the top. The inside is surrounded in glass which forms the shape of a Guinness glass.

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On the first floor, you can see the contract that Arthur Guinness signed for 9,000 years lease of land where the Storehouse sits in 1759 for 45 pounds a year. It’s no longer in effect as it was bought out when they expanded the site but definitely a cool piece of beer history!

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There’s different stuff on each story. The brewing process, timelines, all the advertising history and so on. There’s a tasting room and a few bars with live music as well. Your entry includes a free pint which you can either have in the bar at the top floor, or you can use it at the pour room and learn the official way of pouring a pint of the red stuff (it’s actually a dark red and not black).

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I only had a couple of days here, but it’s one of the places I definitely want to come back to. Next time I’ll do some more reading on the history of Dublin and give myself more time to learn about it, as well as another trip up to Belfast to do a tour there as well. The Irish have got to be some of the most positive, friendly and upbeat people I’ve met which is a massive draw card to come back to visit again.

‘Till next time!

– Damo

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