Luck of the Irish
Updated: Apr 26
Let me start off by asking, "Would you want to spend St. Patrick's Day in Dublin?"
Because I sure did. But I couldn't. I had lacrosse. Classic.
In 2020, St. Patrick's day was on a Tuesday and on Tuesdays, I had lacrosse practice. There was no way that I was going to make it to St. Paddy's Day in Dublin.
My friend Kat and I booked plane tickets, an Airbnb, and tickets to the Cliffs of Moher for the last weekend in February. Not only were we going to Ireland at the "wrong time" but one day before leaving, our Cliffs of Moher day trip was cancelled due to bad weather.
What we didn't know back in February, was that everything happened for a reason. Had Kat and I planned the trip on St. Paddy's Day, we would have had to cancel due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Instead, we were incredibly lucky that we got to go on one last international trip before the borders were closed.
On top of being lucky with the timing of the trip, it also worked out well that our Cliffs of Moher trip was cancelled. We ended up visiting the completely underrated Howth as well as getting to spend more time at Temple Bar and Quays.
Looking back, Ireland was my absolute favorite trip during my time in Europe. I guess that's why they have a saying: Luck of the Irish.
February 28, 2020
After lacrosse practice, Kat and I rushed to the airport to catch our flight to Dublin. Our first stop was to our Airbnb, which was located in St. Patrick's Park. Unlike most of our other trips (cough, cough - Edinburgh, London, and Geneva), I was very happy with our accommodations. I would highly recommend staying at this Airbnb because of the superb location and the cleanliness.
Once we left the Airbnb, Kat and I walked around aimlessly for a bit. Since this was our second time going to Ireland together, Kat and I didn't want to spend much time sight seeing. Instead, we wanted to emerge ourselves in the culture.
We decided the best place to mingle with the Irish was at Temple Bar.
Our original plan was to have a beer or two at Temple Bar, find somewhere to eat dinner, and then go back to our hotel room early to get a good night sleep before our day trip to Howth.
Well, if you have read any other of my blog posts, you will know, I rarely go to bed early when I am traveling. I tend to get so caught up in the moment and want to enjoy every bit of my trip. So to no one's surprise, Kat and I did not go home early that night.
After a few drinks at Temple Bar, we went to The Old Storehouse for seafood chowder. Next, we headed back to Temple Bar and then we bar hopped. The best bar we stumbled across was Quays. It had live music (including the most talented one-man-band I have ever heard in my life), a great atmosphere, and a fun staff. Around 2:00am Kat and I called it quits and went back to our Airbnb to get some beauty sleep!
February 29, 2020
Despite the lack of sleep, Kat and I woke up on Saturday excited to go to Howth.
To get from Dublin to Howth, we took a 30 minute train out of the city. Across from the Howth train station was an outdoor market. We weren't in a time crunch so we decided to stop. Since I was hungry (typical), I purchased seafood chowder from one of the vendors. I also purchased a new pink winter hat to keep me warm during the hike.
After walking around the market, Kat and I made our way to the bottom of the mountain. It was marked with several walking trail options so we decided to take the path that would get us to the top the quickest since it was raining.
In spite of the weather, the hike was incredible. The water was incredibly blue and the views from the top of the mountain were breathtaking. I would say that the hike was relatively easy considering most of the way up, we were walking on roads. It only became rocky towards the end of the hike. It took us about one hour to get from the bottom to the top because we took several breaks to take pictures and enjoy the scenery.
When we finished the hike, we high tailed it back to the train station so we could warm up our hands.
By the time we got back to Dublin it was around 5:00pm. We got ready for dinner and the night ahead of us. Since it was our last night in Dublin, we wanted to spend the rest of our time bar hopping around Temple Bar. We spent most of the night at our new favorite bar, Quays and got home around 4:00am.
March 1, 2020 - Bonus Day
Given the fact that Kat and I came home very late the night before, we slept until 11:00am. We had to check out of our Airbnb at noon and then catch our 3:00pm flight. We were both sad to be leaving Ireland that we decided to go to The Old Storehouse for one last Irish lunch.
Since we had to check out of the Airbnb, we dragged our luggage with us. Over bowls of seafood chowder (my third bowl on this trip) we decided we should eat quickly then go to Quays, for "one last drink."
At Quays, Kat and I both ordered my all-time favorite Irish beer, a Hop House. Yeah, the taste is really good but I like it because it has a huge #13 on the can, which is my favorite number. As we were drinking our beers, Kat and I became friendly with the bartender and decided to order another round. After two beers, we started thinking, what if we stay for one more night?
Our bartender agreed that missing our flight would be a great idea. Kat and I looked at each other and decided we were going to stay. This was a HUGE deal for me because I am not a spontaneous person. I was responsible for switching our flights to early the next morning so we would make it back before our Monday classes. Kat was responsible for checking us into a new (and affordable) hotel room. After 15 minutes, it was finalized. Kat and I were staying an extra day!!!
We said goodbye to our bartender friend and promised him we would see him later in the night. First we had to go back to the hotel to drop off our bags and regroup.
Since it was too early in the evening to go back to Quays, Kat and I walked around Dublin for a bit and then grabbed dinner.
After dinner we walked past a tourist shop selling lots of St. Paddy's Day decor. Even though it was completely embarrassing and ridiculous, we went into the store and bought matching headbands. I will admit, we looked like lunatics.
From there, Kat and I went back to Quays as we promised the bartender. When we were talking to him, I told him I used to be a waitress in the United States (which was true) and I asked him if I could try bartending for the night. He agreed and allowed me behind the bar to start taking orders.
I gotta give bartenders credit. It is a VERY hard job!! I could barely keep up. After 20 minutes I retired from being a Quays bartender and went back to the customer side. Below is a picture of me and my bartending squad.
Even though I didn't last very long, my night as an Irish bartender did not end there. Kat and I made our way across the street to another bar. I explained to the bartended that I just bartended at Quays for 20 minutes. He agreed to let me give it another shot at his bar. To make me feel more part of the team, he even gave me a sweatshirt to wear while I worked my 10 minute shift.
Thanks to these bartenders and my best friend, Kat, this was the absolute best night of my life. I met the coolest people, I listened to great music, and I got to have a bonus night in Ireland.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, I am extremely lucky that lacrosse prevented me from going on the real St. Paddy's Day and that the original day trip to Cliffs of Moher was cancelled. All of the negatives led to the best trip yet.
Ireland, I will be back!