Susanna and I heard some good things about Ireland and we decided to visit in April 2017. We chose this time of year mainly to avoid the high tourist season of the summer months. Susanna did most of the research and planned the routes for the trip. Our route was to travel counter clockwise by first spending a bit of time in Dublin then hop on a train to the west coast and explore Galway as well as the surrounding areas for a couple of days. From there we would take a bus to Killarney to take in more sights and then do one night in Limerick before catching a flight back to NYC from the Shannon airport. We avoided renting a car as they drive on the left side of the road and instead used tour operators to get us to some of the sights we wanted to see.
We did a night flight and arrived in Dublin in the morning. We hopped in a taxi and off we went to our first hotel, the Hotel Spencer. The Hotel Spencer is a modern hotel located in the City Center and close to many attractions. The hotel staff was quite friendly, checked us in and then we decided to explore the surrounding area. As soon as we stepped outside we were steps away from the River Liffey, which flows right through the center of the city. I had two camera systems on this trip, a Fuji X-T2 and Canon 6D and I put both of them to work immediately. Dublin is a very walkable city and we spent the next couple of days taking in the sights with no real structured plan; just the way I like to travel.
We stopped for lunch one day at Drury Buildings, a swanky cocktail bar / restaurant that Susanna found online. Before the trip I was informed that the Guinness Stout tasted differently in Ireland than in the US. It was just passed noon and I was eager to put that to the test. I ordered up the burger and Susanna had the Irish Breakfast. One quick note;I tried to order my burger medium temperature and I was told nicely that it only comes out one temperature and that is well done. I thought….ok, let’s see how this goes. The food ended up being great but the Guinness Stout was the real winner.
It was extremely smooth with a creamy texture and I knocked down a couple for starters. While listening to great music (mellow house) we chatted up with the bartenders, Sean and Maria. When Sean found out we were from NYC he asked if I knew about the Dead Rabbit. I said I work right across the street from the place and he was excited as this bar was voted the best in the world, which was a big deal in the bartending world. What I would come to found out in Ireland is that the bartenders I met took their profession very seriously and follow what’s going on in the bar scene internationally.
After lunch we hit the streets again but didn’t get very far before we hit our first public house, PMacs. What drew us into PMacs was that the door was wide open and it was dark inside but you could see candles lit all over the place. The bartender was quite friendly. Susanna got a nice cocktail while I ordered another pint of Guinness perfection. I thought to myself I need to keep it together or I won’t make it through the day. One more down and then we hit the streets again for a few hours and made our way over to Dublin Castle, the Temple Bar area and then the Jameson’s Distillery.
Along the way I took a few shots to capture the energy of the city whether they be scenes on the narrow side streets, musicians or the crowds in the main areas.
At the Jameson's Distillery I did what every normal person would do; I ordered a Guinness! Actually, I ordered a flight of Irish Whiskey which you can see in the upper right corner from the photo above. This experience set the stage for the rest of the trip of which whiskey sampling would be routine.
The next day we did a hop on, hop off bus tour and that exposed us to other areas of the city including the Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Docklands. Additionally, our thoughts were reinforced that the facts and the truth do matter.
We both really liked Dublin and had a great time in the city. The following morning we would take a 2 hour train ride to Galway and explore more of the country. My next post will cover Galway.