We have arrived! After a long drive into New York John F. Kennedy Airport(we are enternally thankful to my parents and aunt and uncle for driving us), getting a bag detained by TSA(Matt had a bottle opener that he forgot about from a Florida trip for work), waiting in the airport from 3:30-8:00 for our flight to board, and then a long 6 hour flight, we made it to our first stop on our Ireland tour, Dublin.
From the airport, we caught a taxi to our hotel, the Camden Court Hotel. Our cab driver was from the Southside of the River Liffey and he told us that southsiders always make fun of the northsiders and vice versa. He pointed out a few sights along the way to our hotel, which was about 20-25 minutes. After checking in and making ourselves feel more human with fresh clothes and hot showers, we set out to start seeing Dublin.
Our first stop was a food stop or should I say, dessert stop at the Queen of Tarts. Which is a very yummy bake shop across from Dublin Castle (there is another location on Cow Street).
After our snack, we ventured to Dublin Castle, which was right across the street. One of the things I love about Dublin so far is, stumbling upon a historic site accidentally while you were looking for another. We thought we were closer to Trinity College, but we were right near Dublin Castle.
Dublin Castle(in Irish Gaelic: Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath, Gaelic terms are under all of the English words on tour sites since Gaelic is still a spoken language in Ireland), was until 1922, the seat of British rule in Ireland. The building is now an important government building and has had many Irish presidents' inaugurations.
A majority of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland from 1171–1541, the Kingdom of Ireland from 1541–1800, and the United Kingdom of Great Britian and Ireland in 1800–1922.
There were so many portraits of some of Ireland's historical and political figures. There were also elaborately re-finished ceilings, which fortunately still had some of the original chandeliers from the 1800s.
Next we headed to Christ Church Cathedral which was on the way to Old Jameson Distillery.
Christ Church Cathedral is today the home to the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin. However, today the church is only used in practice by the Church of Ireland's archbishop and has been since the Reformation. It was founded sometime after 1028 after one of the kings made a pilgrimage to Rome.
Over the years it has had several renovations by many kings and queens of England when Ireland was under Great Britain.
It was after we toured the church that we realized that suddenly we were five hours a head of everyone back home. So, after leaving the church, we decided to refuel and stop for our first pint of the velvety, black stuff. And, what a better place than the Brazen Head, reportedly Ireland's oldest pub.
While we sipped our pints, we finally relaxed a bit before our tour at Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery. The distillery was over the bridge and down the road from the Brazen Head, and handy arrow-like road signs pointed in the direction of tourist sights have been very helpful so far in locating places of interest.
The Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery was a fun tour, although the building no longer produces the whiskey. It is mostly produced out of Cork these days. However, they do age some whiskies still and had one when we entered that has been aging for 14 years so far in a Kentucky bourbon barrel.
When the tour was over, we went to a tasting room that had three different whiskies poured. The guide walked is through the samples, noting that the two, the left and the right were American made. The whiskey in the middle was Jameson. After small sips and then sips of water in between, it was very noticeable the difference between them. I was surprised I actually enjoyed the Jameson sample the most, especially since I am not a whiskey drinker.
Then we proceeded to another bar where they had a Jameson cocktail of ginger ale, lime, and whiskey. It was very refreshing. We sat and enjoyed our cocktail and then decided on a dinner spot.
Dublin has so many food options. It was hard to narrow it down. We decided to head back through Temple Bar area, even though it is very touristy, but our cabbie told us you can find authentic Irish food there since the area tends to cater to tourists.
Getting back to Temple Bar, we picked Gallagher's Boxtyhouse after reading reviews on Tripadvisor, a handy tool for travelers.
A boxty is a pancake made out of potatoes and then it is usually stuffed with something and a sauce our gravy is poured over it. The Boxtyhouse had several versions, I had the chicken boxty with a leek and Irish bacon sauce. Matt had the classic Guinness Stew, which I read to try to sample some at all of the places you might eat, for every place does it a little differently, the same with the classic Irish stew and Dublin coddle, a stew with sausages instead of lamb or beef.
After we ate, we walked off our Guinness and dinner by way of Trinity College campus, Dublin's very famous university, which was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592.
This concludes Day 1 of Dublin. We are so glad we made it and arrived safely with no major problems. We decided on an early night, no pubs for us. The time change is taking its toll. We'll tackle the pubs tomorrow after a good night's rest! Some drinks might be needed after our adventure tomorrow!
We will be venturing outside of Dublin to Wicklow and Enniskerry! Looking forward to touring the great estate and gardens of Powerscourt!
- Cheers! Thanks for reading!