Visit all of the countries in the EU – Ireland, Part 2

...continued from Miles 1 - 6

Mile 7:  The next day, we drag ourselves out of bed for the Dublin City Sight-Seeing Tour.  Normally, I wouldn't choose to do a bus tour, but I really like the way this one gives you a lot of freedom to do your own thing.  One ticket allows two days of access to the bus, which does a regular loop of the most popular attractions in Dublin.  You can hop on and off the buses at any of the stops and take as long as you like at each place (you also can stay on the bus and skip stops).  Also, most of the drivers do live commentary/tell funny stories as you're driving along.

Dublin Sight-seeing tour

Mile 8: We visit Trinity College.   Most people know that it is Ireland's oldest university, chartered in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth.  Being a complete nerd trivia junkie, I also find out that in 1689, the all of the students & fellows were expelled in order to use the college as accommodation for King James II's soldiers.  Trivia aside, the grounds were beautiful.  Even in the middle of February, the college green was just so..well...green!  I mean, look at that!

Trinity College

Mile 9: Dublin Castle.  If I'm being completely honest with you, I zone out during this stop and don't pick up a trivia fact (or five).  Even sans my usual trivia fact, we have fun putzing around.  Putz is a word.  I don't care who you are.   Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and Jonathan Swift would be shaking their heads in disappointment right now.

Dublin Castle

Mile 10: Fuel break for a doner kebab?  Well, twist my arm ;)  Doner kebabs aren't your typical Chicago suburbanite fare, so you can imagine my excitement when I get to make a complete mess of myself, one delicious bite at a time.  Also, it's worth mentioning is that a doner does not equal a gyro.  It's a million times much better, the clincher being the unidentifiable brown sauce.

Love me some doner kebab

Mile 11: We visit St. Patrick's Cathedral, and walk around the garden.  As its namesake suggests, it was built as a tribute to St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint.  This marker is near the gated entrance to the garden, which commemorates St. Patrick's baptism of local converts.  Afterwards, we take an afternoon break by chilling out heating up in the hotel's sauna and making fun of Jedward videos.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Mile 12: Upon the suggestion from the musicians last night, we head to Devitt's pub for some live music & Guinness.  The nice thing about this place is that the entertainment is completely unscripted--just a bunch of people getting together to have a good time and play some music.

Devitt's Pub - upstairs jam sesh

Mile 13: By an some act of God, the next morning we drag ourselves to St. James Gate for a tour of the Guinness storehouse.  My favorite features include the original lease that Arthur Guinness signed (for 9000 years...one hell of a commitment!), the display of Guinness advertisement through the years, as well as the sky bar where we cash in on our free pint.

Original Lease of the Guinness Storehouse

<3 Guinness

Cheers to good beer and a decade of friendship!

Mile 14: There's a birthday in the group & we celebrate at Brazen Head Tavern, which is officially Ireland's oldest pub.  I have Guinness & beef stew, listen to some music with friends & get my daily dose of awkwardness by being roped into singing lip syncing Van Morrison's "Bright Side of the Road" with the band.

Guinness & Beef Stew

***Water Break*** Miles 15 - 26.2 coming soon!