From last time I wrote, I have continued my travels across Europe. Following a trip to Italy, we departed for Amsterdam, a city known for being both liberal and tolerant, in the final weekend of October. After the Netherlands, we returned to London, recited some Shakespeare at the Globe Theater, and toured the Windsor Castle. This past weekend, however, we traveled to the Motherland: Dublin, Ireland.
In the midst of No Shave November, we successfully landed in the Emerald Isles. After listening to Johnny Tarr by Gaelic Storm on repeat during the duration of the hour long flight, I was more than ready to get settled into the Four Courts Hostel. Our first stop was at Trinity College, the home of the Book of Kells. Highly regarded as Ireland’s nationwide treasure, the texts include an intricate visual design of the four Gospels. The original manuscripts have been on permanent display at Trinity since the mid 19th Century and remain a display of iconography from near the year 800.
From Trinity College, we walked to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland. Dating back to 1198, the location was referenced in James Joyce’s famous Ulysses and continues to be a famous location where weary travelers, struggling with the tribulations of No Shave November, enjoy pints of Guinness. Following with the Joyce motif, we walked to several sites mentioned in his works, including the House of the Dead.
After a long day of walking to the several tourist sites that Dublin has to offer, we concluded our day at the Jameson Whiskey Distillery. After discovering the secretary at the reception was a Packers fan, who knew more about the current status of the team and presented an array of his Green Bay memorabilia, I knew we had found the right place. Travelling through the fascinating elongated process of aged whiskey, it was time to cleanse the palette and appreciate the end of our day. Jorgen, El Superior, representing both Norway and University of Westminster, was selected as an official taster. With expertise, far beyond his years, he baffled elderly and more experienced experts from around the globe, even critiquing Jameson to the tour guide. Concluding the event, all members of the tour were given samples of the product, and we finished our first day in the city.
The next morning, we met up with some students from TCU for a tour of the Guinness factory. Although the wounds have not fully healed from their 2011 fluke Rose Bowl victory, when it comes to beer tours, we are all friends…Horned Frog, or not. With the conclusion of the tour, we relaxed in the Gravity Bar, where the beer “flows like wine.” Here, you receive a complimentary pint of the dry stout and even a free pint glass…well, sort of. While, enjoying a panoramic view of the entire city, we were able to locate our next stop, St. Stephens Green.
The Green, designed by William Sheppard, and opened to the public in 1880, made for a picturesque resting point. As in all aesthetically pleasing environments, a Chicken Bacon Ranch from the local Subway, immediately enhanced its value. All joking aside, the park was a great scenic break in the heart of the city.
From here, we traveled to a local pub to end the day with an authentic Irish coffee. Although we had to initially stop at several nearby Starbucks, for Rocco as Charged was originally confused by this notion, it turned out to be a great success. Nonetheless, the baffled horned frog made up for this classic mix-up by playing a harmonious composition on the pub’s piano, Ray Charles style. The day came to a close and we safely arrived back in London this past Sunday.