Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Land of the Irish

All right then! Sorry for the lack of posting my avid readers, but when given two months left in Germany I would rather be going out for my usual Dunkleweizen (or two) with the mates instead of staring at a computer screen hoping the creative words would type themselves. But alas here I am back in the states with many many (too many) minutes to spare, so it's time to start reminiscing... go along on this adventure with me won't you?

I had a surprising three days off (turned out to be five days- ya for the low season) and I was thinking about a personal challenge that had yet to be hurdled. When traveling, I am really good at playing follow the leader, holding a map for others, and going with the flow. Can you say perfect Amazing Race participant? It was my time to lead me, myself, and I. I had been wanting to go to Krakow, Poland to see the extermination camp, Auschwitz. About two weeks before, I went to Dachau with my hotel tour. That night I booked my four day trip to Dublin, Ireland. Some day I would like to see Auschwitz, but for this solo trip I wanted to drink in merriment, not drinking in hope to become merry. Now is it cheating to book your first solo trip to an english speaking country? At first I would have said yes, but after trying to work with that accent I know say it's debatable.

So there I was boarding the plane by myself. I know what your thinking- was it boring? Well considering it was a Sunday night and it had been the opening weekend for Oktoberfest that apprently all Irish attended until the last second before boarding, boring is not quite the adjective I would use. I've never felt so sober in my life. And the great thing about the Irish (and drunk people) is that once they hear it's your first time in their country they truly want you to do all their top favorites. I suddenly had a piece of paper going around the plane of what I should see, eat, hear, and everything else left to your imagination. There may have been some unreadable scribbles, doodles from the distracted, and drool on that paper, but boy was I ready!

Now me being silly thought that a Sunday night would be a slow night for the bars. Wrong and wrong for so many reasons! One, this is Ireland we are talking about and two, they had just won a  match earlier that day (a great game I heard). So I reached my hostel, threw down my bags, put in my contacts, met fellow travelers, and went in search of Irish music! I went left, left, right, left, and so forth. Got terribly lost, but when you don't know where you're going are you really lost? Instead we stumbled upon a random, but local pub and realized we weren't lost at all. We were exactly where we should be. There was authentic music being played by the Irish themselves, people dancing with anyone and everyone, and it appeared we were hours behind on our drinking! I grew up with my dad playing Irish music on his mandolin, but I was still taken aback when I recognized some of the songs.... and I guess I surprised every other person in that bar.  Won me with the crowd though! It was one of my favorite traveling memories to date- a Guinness in my hand dancing every so often with Dublin's grandpas, and having flashbacks of my childhood and family back home.

So if you had read my previous blogs you are already going to know what I suggest you do in Dublin right? Look up the free walking tour! You can't be disappointed with something free (but remember the good tip at the end!), if anything you are going to learn one more thing than you knew before.. and with free walking tours times that by three hours and you should be good. 


After that we ended up at Trinity College, I suggest you go to their cafeteria and get a cheap five euro meal. It felt like I was in Harry Potter with the long hallway and such.. and well if that's not reason enough for you to go than I don't know what is. Then I took the tour of Trinity College (you learn the story of murder, weddings, and the exam process of Trinity- if you've graduated its fascinating if you haven't its just damn stressful) and then the Old Library. I felt like Belle with her grand library I just wanted to run around and climb up and down those staircases... as you can imagine that was illegal, so it was fun to at least look.

Now if I had a proper vacation in Ireland I would be able to do so much more (aka Cliffs of Moher and such), but I decided on the Giant's Causeway. They either believe that these stone hexagonal shapes were created by a volcanic eruption or a Giant's way of crossing into another Giant's land. Take your pick. I thought it was fascinating, but it was a rather hard place when you don't have the correct footwear. Just wear sneakers, that's my advice for you. Lots of cracked, uneven hexagon towers plus silly flats equals not so fun, slippery workout for Debra but amusing people watching for other tourists I'm sure. You're welcome fellow tourists, you're welcome.

And of course we are missing one very important part of Dublin- the alcohol! There is both the Jameson Distillery or the Guinness Brewery.. I chose Guinness because 1. It's me and my dad's favorite drink and 2. A couple shots of Jameson is an early goodnight for me. It is a great tour-unfortunately, you don't actually get to see the beer being made, but you do see the process through an interactive museum. One of the best museums I have ever been through and I'm not entirely biased because of the subject matter. You then get a choice of learning how to pour the perfect pint or get a free pint at their bar, which is a 360 degree view of Dublin. I have poured many many many beers for during this Germany adventure, so I went straight to being waited on and gazing out to the gorgeous view. Guess what? It was foggy that one day, but to be fair it was 10am. Oh dear.

All in all when in Dublin go to the bars! Not just for the tasty beer and spirits, but to experience the music. There is not a lot of authentic music being played during the weekdays, but don't let that stop you! Go to the touristy ones, enjoy paying for overpriced beer, and enjoy some Ho Hey, Galway Girl, and Don't Stop Believing with that Irish accent. You can't go wrong.

And then when you are all done with Dublin and if you're really lucky your friends will be waiting for you at the Munich train station, dirndle in hand, and ready to go out and celebrate Oktoberfest. I fully understand that these 13 months are not real life.

Always throw yourself outside of your comfort zone, you never know what could happen, it could be good or it could be bad but at least you don't have the feeling of regret. What I've realized is that people your whole life are going to tell you that the world is a scary and dangerous place. But if you look closely its because those people never left their comfort zone and don't even know the beauty of this world. Never let other people's fear develop into your own.


  1. Good adventure, all around. :-)

  2. Love this Post Debra! I have a Question though, did you go on the tours and visit the museums by yourself? Or did you meet other travelers?

  3. I definitely started the trip by myself, but as with traveling I met many people along the way! I met some other travelers at my hostel that I went out with a couple times and spent the first half of my trip with, but then for the second half of my trip (Giant's Causeway and Guinness Museum) I would start the day with me, myself, and I and then end with a group of people. :)