November 5- Dublin
Once in Dublin, we grabbed our luggage from baggage claim and rode the rental bus to Hertz for our car.
They were extremely helpful at Hertz, giving us tips about the driving and even places to stay and see. Originally we rented the cheapest car possible (which would have been similar to a Smart Car), but the worker advised upgrading to the next level which would have more room for our luggage as well as save us from having to get gas so much. I was quite nervous to drive as the driver’s side is on the right side of the car and the cars drive on the left side of the road. Both very unusual and daunting aspects for someone who has only driven in the United States. I honestly caught on rather quickly and my nerves dissipated.
Until we reached the parking garage near our hostel. My gosh, I can’t drive up a spiral parking garage ramp in Ireland to save my life. I ended up curbing it on both sides of the car in one small section of the ramp. When I finally made it to the first level, I got out and made Josh take over. He didn’t have any issues at all. That is until he went to actually park in a parking space. It was quite comical. I had to get out of the car and help him navigate. It took him a few tries in a few different spots before he finally succeeded, but he got it. We’re going to be pros at parking by the end of our 2 weeks here, I just know it. As soon as we parked, we rushed to our brunch reservations at San Lorenzo’s. I had read about San Lorenzo’s in my handy Frommer’s travel guide book for Ireland. We got to the restaurant just in time and were promptly seated. For those of you wondering, our reservations were for 3 pm Dublin time which would have been 11 am Seymour time…and at this point we had just finished a grand total of 31 travel hours! Josh ordered an Americano and avocado toast (thick toast covered with avocado, chargrilled tomato, basil pesto, buffalo mozzarella, and 2 poached eggs). I had the french toast stack (thick cut slices of Brioche with bacon, tomato, watercress, and maple syrup). I thoroughly enjoyed my meal- the french toast was thick and filling and was so tasty with the salty bacon and sweet syrup. Josh’s avocado toast was also super delicious- the creamy avocado was so good with the mozzarella and runny eggs.
With our bellies full from brunch, we headed back towards River Liffey through Temple Bar to Abigail’s Hostel where we were staying for the night. I had stayed here seven years previously when I came with a group of friends. It was the exact same as I remembered. While it’s not the most clean and tidy, it definitely is inexpensive and a great location to pretty much anything you would want to do in Dublin (walking or via a bus). We checked in and headed to our room which was a 12 person dorm room with one vanity, two showers, and two toilets. I wish I had taken a picture, but it spaced my mind. It was so much like a college dorm room with six sets of bunk beds and cages underneath to store your luggage. When we first arrived, only three other beds were claimed, but throughout the night, every bed filled up. It is quite an experience to go to sleep with 5 people in the room and wake up to 11 more. Before going to bed, we decided to wander around Temple Bar and took Alex up on his recommendation to try out Porterhouse Temple Bar for a drink. We settled in at the main bar to order a Porterhouse Hop Head IPA for Josh and a Disaronno sour for myself.
We had planned on staying for the start of their live music, but finished our drinks too quickly, so instead we headed on to Gallagher’s Boxty House for dinner. Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. While looking up what boxty is, I came across this funny poem: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you don’t eat boxty, you’ll never get a man.” I can’t disagree, everyone should eat boxty because it’s so delicious! We first ordered some brown bread with butter to share. Seriously, we’re obsessed with the bread here. I ordered the chicken and smoked bacon boxty (free range Irish chicken fillet in a creamy smoked bacon & leek sauce, wrapped in a traditional Leitrim boxty pancake). Josh ordered the corned beef boxty, but after finishing his meal realized he was actually served the seared corned beef (pan seared corned beef with a carrot puree, Irish cider & mustard sauce, and a purple potato and kale hash). Despite it not being what he ordered, he genuinely enjoyed every bite.
You all know we don’t travel anywhere without finding a dessert place. Right in the Temple Bar area, we found a great place called Cloud Nine that served Offbeat donuts, crȇpes, gelato, and ice cream. Josh had a banana and nutella crȇpe with a scoop of salted caramel gelato, while I had a scoop of Kinder Bueno gelato in a waffle cone. For anyone who has never been to Europe, Kinder Bueno bars are hazelnut cream filled wafers covered in chocolate. In gelato form- So. Good. Definitely visiting there again if possible.
We weren’t quite ready to turn in, so we thought why not head to The Auld Dubliner for one last drink for the night. Might not have been our brightest idea as it is one of the most touristy places ever…and it was packed full of young drunk (can’t look you in the eyes or stand up straight in the slightest) “kids”. After we ordered our drinks (Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA for Josh and the most delicious Orchard Thieves cider for me), we found a spot at the bar near where the live music was. Seriously bad idea because one of said young drunk girls puked on the bar top. Literally right in front of us. It was so disgusting. I know I shouldn’t be offended that a super touristy Irish pub had crazy drunk people, but so far everywhere else before this had been very relaxed and nice. We made our way up to a table in a cozy corner away from everyone and enjoyed the rest of our drinks.
We were both quite exhausted at this point, so we went back to the hostel to decide our plans for the next day and to get some sleep.
Tip of the day: Avoid parking garages at all costs.