I can now officially say from experience, a night out in Dublin is phenomenal. The Temple Bar area is busy and expensive (an average of €8ish for a drink) but as long as its a one off and not daily life it is well worth it. You don’t even have to dress up.
Last night was by far my best in a long time, despite coming in at midnight to make sure we actually got up today. The pubs were awesome and every one we dipped into had a live band, which is always a superior and more authentic experience. The Old Storehouse was a particular standout for me.
Despite feeling slightly worse for wear, and waking up sweating from how hot the room was, and the fact it was snowing outside, we were determined to make the most of today.
We headed back into the main city after getting enough of an initial fix of the immediate Temple Bar area. Shopping seemed like a waste of our valuable time; we’re here to travel and explore, after all.
With a hankering for breakfast, we set out in search of somewhere to have a bite. However, as we discovered, if you’re planning on doing much on a Sunday morning, you’re out of luck. Most of the shops and restaurants are closed and even the museums don’t tend to open until after lunch. Giving up and opting for a sausage sandwich from Starbucks instead, we were back on our way.
We walked for a while, heading through St Stephen’s Gardens, a tranquil stop that transports you away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Complete with wildlife, bridges, a large lake and a number of statues to find.
Nearby to the gardens are many of the cultural hubs. As the snow began to fall, we took shelter in the National Gallery. This gallery is just as you’d expect, with numerous connected large rooms housing portraits from different artists and periods. While art isn’t of great interest to me, it’s always impressive to think about all the work that went into those paintings, especially with the lack of modern tools we have to assist us today.
One part we did see was the Hennessy Portrait Prize ’17 exhibition, displaying portraits by various artists. We finally saw a familiar face amongst the pieces, as someone had painted Graham Norton. This exhibition won’t run much longer, but it’s worth a look if you’re around.
Another quick coffee shop break saw us building back up some energy, before we paid a visit to the Natural History Museum. This was a recommendation from my brother, and I too would say it’s worth a look. Like most of the museums and galleries, entry is free with an option to leave a donation, and you won’t need to spare more than an hour.
This place is creepy but at the same time completely fascinating. It is essentially two rooms filled with glass cases housing an array of stuffed animals – and not the children’s play things. What makes it so interesting is having the opportunity to see so many of Earth’s creatures up close that you wouldn’t see otherwise – and you get to realise just how big or small they really are compared to us.
Oh, and we briefly stumbled across St Stephen’s cathedral and Oscar Wilde’s old house too.
After another quick rest stop, we headed out to see Dublin Castle before seeking out somewhere to eat. The castle is not at all how you’d expect a castle to look, especially from the outside, so it could be easy to miss. Unfortunately, we lacked the time to go inside, but for a self tour it’s only €7.00.
Tea tonight was spent at a dark but elegant restaurant called The Turk’s Head. It sounds like a pub, but in reality its a place of peaceful ambience, decorated with mosaic columns vaguely resembling tree trunks, elaborate lamp shades, a large circular bar and quaint, candlelit tables. Nothing like the Irish charm of last night’s choice, but lovely all the same. As the snow began to set in again, we ducked in for our meal and it again was lovely. The Irish seem to really know how and what to cook.
Moving down from the tables to the bar area, we had one more drink before heading back to get ready for pub crawl take two. I’m sitting back on the bed as I write this, resting my feet, satisfied that considering we’d done no research and made no plans, we’ve spent our time well. This was good use of a day in Dublin. And now to get back on it for our final night of this flying visit before the journey home tomorrow x