- Guinness beer is actually red.
- Busses are all over the place here, and they have WiFi for some reason.
- There is a period of time known as “the Troubles” that divided Ireland.
Today was our second day heading into Dublin, this time with Barb and John. John’s dad drove us part of the way in and then we took a bus the rest of the way. Once we got into the city center we got tickets for a Hop On Hop Off bus tour that would take us to various points of interest in the city.
The first stop that we got off on was a pub that promised a free Irish coffee if we showed our bus tickets. There were various expectations; John thought an Irish coffee meant coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream in it, and I knew that it meant black coffee with whiskey in it, but was hoping it tasted better than it sounded. Turns out it did not. I tried to mix some of the cream into it that was floated on top, but it was still incredibly strong and bitter tasting of both dark instant coffee and whiskey. John doesn’t like whiskey but finished his, and I do like whiskey but couldn’t drink much of mine. After our coffee we stopped next door for sandwiches at a Subway type place, and we found it odd that they gave the option to either pay while your sandwich was being made, or wait to pay until after you had wandererd off and eaten it.
Back on the bus, we stopped off at the castle grounds. There was a small Museum of Revenue, which we found kind of funny because we had never seen such a thing. It had a bunch of framed stamps and other such things. I was feeling pretty underwhelmed until I got to the back of the museum and saw the displays of how the Irish coast guard and the Guarda seize contraband. They had cases of drug paraphernalia that they had confiscated, and explanations of how they policed trade and the shipping industry. There was a computer game set up where you could click around the cabin of a cargo ship and you had to search and find a certain amount of contraband before the time ran out. It amused me greatly after having learned how to search jail cells in school.
After we left the castle grounds we hopped off the bus at the Guinness Storehouse for a tour. It was a self guided tour that took you through the whole beer making process in a building that was shaped like a giant Guinness pint glass. There was a Guinness tasting, which took place in a very Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory type room. It was bright white and there were four big cylinders that had white smoke rising out of them that was scented with each of the different flavors (hops, roasted barley, etc.) that go into Guinness. Towards the top there was the Guinness Academy, where you got to learn to pour your own pint. I’ve poured plenty of pints of beer before, but it was kind of fun to experience it and watch everyone else do it too. We even got little graduation certificates afterwards. With our pints of beer we took a glass elevator that also reminded me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory up to the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor of the Guinness pint glass shaped building. It was a big round room with a bar in the center and all glass walls that looked out over the city of Dublin. On the glass walls it had information about the different buildings you could see. It was really cool, but I’m terrified of heights and did not go closer than arms length to any of the glass walls.
By the time we had finished at Guinness, it was time to meet John’s friends Joe and Chris for drinks and dinner. We went to a bar/restaurant called The Bank, which really did used to be an old, ornately decorated bank building. The food was great, and I tried a couple different new kinds of Irish beer. We then met Ray at The Stag’s Head bar for a drink. Katie, Barb and I were so full from dinner that we didn’t stay long, and instead wandered off in search of more European chocolate bars. I cannot stress enough how good the chocolate is here.
After drinks and our chocolate search, we followed Joe to the bus station. Joe walks faster than probably anyone else I know, and we all ran across town in the rain trying to keep up with him and not get hit by the busses that were inevitably coming down the roads as we ran to cross them.
We made it to the bus station, and hopped aboard a bus that took us to Dunslaughton, (I am 100% sure I didn’t spell that right but I tried), where John’s dad picked us up and drove us the rest of the way home.
Friday we head to Belfast for the weekend!