We arrived to Dublin a little before 10am (2am PST). The process of getting our luggage, car, and euros, was definitely exciting, but I remember it through a haze of mild jet-lag and driving-on-the-left-for-the-first-time anxiety. We had some time before checking into our hotel, so I took the recommendation of my favorite blog, A Cajun in Cali and drove us over to Howth for lunch and a much needed chance to stretch our legs and breathe some fresh air! (The first-time-on-the-left drive to Howth went fine- just don’t ask Padre, I’m 100% sure he remembers that differently).
We started out at The House for some grub, per the recommendation of Carlie (check out her blog, seriously!), and we were not disappointed! Padre and I both had the seafood chowder, and Gene enjoyed some fish and chips (the first of many)!
Everyone we talked to SWORE that Guinness tasted better in Ireland. Padre and I were interested – for science of course- in testing this ASAP! He got his first Guinness, and was very pleased (as you can see!)! I’m not sure if something changes due to transport across oceans, or if it simply tastes better because you’re THERE, but the Guinness – all the beer we tried for that matter- was delicious!!!
We drove down to the parking area by Howth Head (with a BUNCH of other people), but found parking easily. The views were beautiful, even with the overcast clouds. I love the hillsides covered in heather and the small farms with cows and donkeys. We didn’t end up doing the whole trail, as Padre was getting pretty tired, but it was beautiful, and Padre spotted some dolphins on our way back!!
There’s some dolphins here – you can see the back of one just to the left of center in this photo (if you find the buoy, it is up and to the left). So cool!
The drive to the hotel was slightly more eventful! There may have been a moment where I drove us on the light rail line…and some Garda may have been eyeing us thinking “idiot Americans”, but I fixed it and WE WERE FINE, I swear! We stayed at The Ashling Hotel, which is very centrally located – read: super convenient to walk from, not so convenient to drive to! I (incorrectly) assumed there would be places to park while unloading in front of all the hotels we stayed at – NOT TRUE (again, check out my parking and driving post for more info). We found the parking garage, held our breath and (after a 4-6 point parking job) squeeeeeeeeeeeezed the full sized sedan into a spot.
The people at The Ashling Hotel were SO kind, the hotel is gorgeous, and the breakfast buffet – incredible!!! I was disappointed we weren’t staying here when we returned to Dublin at the end of our trip!
Soon enough, it was time for dinner, and we decided we should do the tourist thing, and check out the oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head. There are a few different areas where you can sit to eat and drink, or you can grab a pint at the bar and join the groups outside. We got lucky and snagged a table inside just as people were leaving.
Since it was pretty early, the atmosphere was perfect for us, the service was about what you’d expect from a pub this busy, and the food was DELICIOUS! I wish we could’ve stayed longer and just enjoyed ourselves, but someone had made us reservations at Jameson, for the much beloved tour and tasting, and we had to be off!
Walking into Jameson Bow St Distillery is a little intimidating! It’s buzzing with people, drinking, chatting, waiting for their tours, surrounded by bottles on bottles of Jameson- from the bars to the chandeliers, to the walls- it’s everywhere! We checked in a little early for our tour, so they bumped us up to the earlier one, and still had some time to look around.
The tour itself was really interesting, and our guide was great! I won’t ruin it for you by going in to tooooo many details, but I do really recommend it – I’d probably do it again, if I ever get the chance!
The tasting was by far the most fun – we learned things we never knew about whiskey, and Gene found a new love – in a green glass bottle! Part of the tour includes one drink for each afterwards, and we all enjoyed a Jameson and Ginger – which should really be the sponsored drink of our trip, we had so much of it.
Our walk back to the hotel was pleasant – the weather was mild, it wasn’t too crazy out, and we found some amazing street art, and tenacious Irish plants!
Gene and I had another Jameson and Ginger in the hotel restaurant (Gene also had wings), while Padre went upstairs to get ready for bed. We slept well, had an amazing breakfast, and headed out the next day to explore some of Ireland’s countryside!
As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns! Thanks for reading! 🙂