Top Of The Mornin' To Ya, Dublin!

March 27, 2017

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After our time in Vegesack, I unfortunately had to wake up at a reasonable hour to get to class. I'm going to miss class next Friday due to traveling, so I figured I should be responsible and go. It wasn't exciting in any way, but I went and felt good about it. The professor means well (as opposed to some on this campus) but is super boring. The professor before him was so awesome! He offered students a ride on his boat in the North Sea and stuff—pretty nify. Anyway, I left, went to lunch with the gang (Dariya, Renata, and Daniel), and packed my bags for Dublin. I caught the 2:37 train to Bremen Hbf, took the tram to the Flughafen (which was perfectly timed! Wonderful!), and tried to figure out the confusing airport that is Bremen. I'm so glad I don't use it very often. It's not the best.

I got past security much more quickly than I was expecting and went to sit in the terminal. UNLIKE PREVIOUS TRAVELS, I was prepared for this lull. I brought my iPad and played Risk on it...it was a great use of time. I totally could have studied for a test or practiced my German...psht, nah. I actually ended up sitting there for about 2 hours, only to take a 30 minute connecting flight to AMS. I had enough time to make my next plane, bought some food (EXPENSIVE AIRPORT FOOD *SHAKES FIST ANGRILY*), avoid these Chinese tourists that were YELLING near the gate, and board my flight as it started to get dark. The flight into Dublin was beautiful, and the experience wasn't terrible 10/10 would fly KLM again at this point.

Dublin Airport was, again, confusing. It had tons of terminals/zones and I wasn't sure where to go when I got there. I was instantly surprised by the Gaelic everywhere...totally wasn't expecting as much Gaelic in Ireland as there was. I texted Kristina (who I was here to visit) and she found travel plans to our AirBnB for me to follow. It was only 10 Euro to get from the airport to our AirBnB...not sure how to feel about that since they have 10 Euro buses that go from Dublin to Limerick. Anyway, they said to find Zone 19 at the station and I COULDN'T FIND IT FOR THE LIFE OF ME. It was 10:20 and I was searching but couldn't find it. The bus left at 10:39, so I was freaking out (in typical Bobby fashion). Eventually, I found a guy selling tickets and asked him where Zone 19 was. He looked at me like I was crazy and said the bus would stop at Zone 21 (where I was). I don't think there was a Zone 19 after all. Still, I waited at Zone 21 and as 10:45 rolled around I started to freak out. "WAS THE BUS GOING TO COME OR DID I MISS IT," I thought to myself. Luckily (ha, Irish and luck), It came around 10:50 and I hopped aboard. I guess punctuality isn't exactly a thing in Ireland like it is in Germany.

I pulled up to the Blackrock Shopping Center where I was supposed to get off, stumbled out half asleep, and started walking the 2200m distance to our AirBnB. It was a nice walk. The area was pretty, it was quiet, and the weather wasn't too cold. Once I finally got there, I looked in the window, saw Kristina and Cody, and they came to my rescue! I got in, we talked about all sorts of non-sense (mostly Denison gossip because Kristina and Cody are like the Gretchen Weiners of Denison) and made it to bed. It was nice to see familiar faces and be able to catch up.

We woke up early the next day at my bidding (I don’t wanna waste a day in Ireland!) and hustled to catch the bus into downtown Dublin. We were hungry, so we decided to grab a breakfast (a full Irish breakfast, ooo!). We stopped at a little place inside a shopping center (I know, I know…super authentic) and ordered. It was so weird not having to worry about ordering in German. We got a free coffee with the meal which was nice and we enjoyed the food. There was a metric shitton of meat that came with the breakfast (ham, pudding, sausage) and it was really greasy. I’m still baffled that Americans are given the reputation of having terrible diets. Like really? The Dutch eat nothing but cheese and bread and the Irish load their plates with friggin’ greasy meat and we’re the unhealthy ones? Okay. Sure.

We didn’t waste much time eating though. We caught the first bus we saw headed for downtown and paid our 2 Euros for the ride there. Our ride ended up in a good place, and we weren’t too far of a walk from really touristy stuff…I was prepared to take on the world. The first place we went to see was Trinity College. It was one of the most beautiful campus I have ever seen…especially considering it was in the middle of a city. The buildings just oozed history and there were tourists everywhere. If Denison had tourists everywhere all the time, I would hate it—the people of Trinity seemed to embrace it though.

One of the things that Cody really wanted to do while he was in Dublin was go inside the Long Room in the old library at Trinity College. It was 10 Euro, but Kristina and I thought it would be worth it so we did the tour. There were 1200 year old books and the library was absolutely incredible. Pictures honestly cannot do it justice. The ceilings were high and mighty, and the book shelves were stacked with the foundation of modern knowledge. It is dumbfounding realizing that the Long Room used to be such a centralized place of education and scholarship. Absolutely beautiful.

As you can see, this room is very long.

While in the Long Room, I saw a book that had a map of old Ireland, so I looked through the older parts of town and noticed some…interesting…things. First, I saw a street called Drury Lane which, if you’re not an uneducated swine, you know is where the muffin man is. So, I made it my mission to travel to this wondrous location. But I also saw the old image for the St. Patricks’ Cathedral and several other older buildings (like a castle). The next step was visiting these places, so Cody, Kristina, and I set out to do it! We headed for Drury Lane, but we were unable to find it…on the way we saw a castle, so we stopped by. It was pretty uneventful, but it was cool to get to see a castle since I haven’t seen one in Germany yet (soon…). BUT THEN WE FOUND IT. Unfortunately, Drury Lane had been renamed Drury Street…so that was very depressing. Furthermore, there weren’t any muffin men…or even bakeries. I was rather angry.

Storming away, we went to the next destination: St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There were many nifty different things here. Along a wall, there were engravings of many important Irish people (Yeats was one of them!) and there were doggos everywhere. We sat there for a while, people watched, and soaked up the history. While Irish is the official language, it was nice hearing the “real” language of English everywhere again. Felt like home.

Once we exhausted St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we made our way for the next most important thing in Dublin—the Guinness factory. This is where Cody really began to shine. Cody knew so much about Guinness and had already done the tour three times before joining us. Before we even entered the factory, he told us so much about the process, history, and beer tasting that was to ensue. I’m not a very big drinker and am not a seasoned veteran of beer drinking, but he made me excited about the experience. We walked in and saw the 9000 year lease, which was pretty cool.

Guinness Storehouse with Kristina (and hidden Cody).

The tour started off and smelled wonderful. We walked through exhibits showing how Guinness (and beer in general) is brewed. They had a barreling process exhibit, a part on mixing hops and barley and water ‘n stuff, and they had a part on how to drink a Guinness properly. It was all good and fun—the factory was enormous and the beer was omnipresent. Guinness is almost more like a religion than a drink, and you could definitely tell this in their factory. As we finished the tour and made our way to the top floor of the Guinness Storehouse, we finally got up to the Gravity Bar. The Gravity Bar is a wonderful experience where you go to one of the highest points in Dublin and look down on the city whilst drinking a Guinness. It’s pretty wonderful. Incredible pictures were taken and views were taken in…it was hard holding a conversation with such astounding views around. To say it plainly, it was difficult deciding to leave. I wanted to stay forever.

First Guinness ever! In Dublin!

Eventually we had to leave. A sad truth, but a…truthful one? From here, we made our way back downtown and went to see the post office that was shot up during the revolution around the time of WWI. It was a beautiful building, and there were still bullet holes in the pillars and front of the building. It was like living history! I loved that a lot.

Unfortunately, this marked the end of the day for us. At this point (idk, maybe around 5 or 6) Cody and Kristina wanted to go back to freshen up before we went out for the night. Of course, once we got back to the AirBnB they didn’t want to venture out too far, but Kristina and I still decided we would take a small walk around and not waste our time in Ireland laying around. Cody, on the other hand, decided he would take a nice nap. It was a long one, haha. We called him several times and couldn’t get him up. Kristina and my walk was really nice. Ireland is beautiful and parts of it reminded me of home. WE EVEN SAW AN OLD MAN SAY BYE TO HIS FRIEND SEAMUS! True Irish experience right there. We weren’t too far from the coast, so we walked to the beach and through the small town we were in. We got incredible photos and played around on rock formations in the area—as the sun set, we watched an old man go for a swim in the ocean in just his undies and proceed to strip naked. There were no fucks given. #Goals for the future. Kristina and I got to have a nice little talk about life and Europe and where we see ourselves in the future…it was really nice, and I honestly really needed it. I miss talks with deeper meaning.

Once we returned to get Cody, we made our way for the small town nearby, grabbed dinner in a small restaurant our AirBnB host recommended, and grabbed some drinks afterward to just talk about random stuff and see guys play billiards.

Kristina had to leave early the next morning, so we didn’t really get to talk too much (I was sleeping when she left). Therefore, it was Cody and I for the rest of the day (I believe I had to leave by around 2 to catch a flight). We left a little later than the previous day, packed up our belongings, and made our way to the bus stop to make our way into town again. Once we got off we stopped in a little pub to grab some eggs next to Trinity College’s rugby team. Eggs were good. Toast was okay. It was pretty meh altogether. BUT, that wasn’t the point. We left to complete some missions.

First, it was one of my main goals to get Lucky Charms in Dublin. Ultimately, the goal never became a reality, but we tried. In the pursuit, I instead found Cookie Crisps that I carried with me all over Dublin for the day. People looked and pointed but I was a happy camper. Still, it was a sad day with no Lucky Charms. Ya know, they’re magically delicious…

As a side note: the Irish call off-brand sugary corn-flakes “Frosted Flakes” and the Kelloggs brand is called “Frosties” with the tiger and all. Like, wtf! I was not expecting this.

Continuing on, we next decided to visit Tenable’s Dublin office (the EMEA HQ) because it was on my bucket list. I know, I’m a nerd (but a lovable one, that’s for sure…heh). So, we head toward Dublin’s ports and get to see all sorts of fun commercial buildings. It definitely led us into a new part of town. The office was in prime location, looked really pretty, and…well, was closed. We couldn’t see any logos. We couldn’t get in. We couldn’t even look in any windows because they were all covered by big wooden doors. It was rather sad, but I still got pictures with the big wooden doors! And a notice about construction permits or something on the side of the building that said Tenable.

This day was turning out to be a big day of disappointments…trust me, it gets worse later on. However, for the moment it got better because Cody got in contact with Bennett, another Denisonian studying in Northern Ireland, who was visiting Dublin for the weekend! So, we went to a nearby Starbucks (basic) to go potty and wait for Bennett. After some time of charging phones and sipping lattes, in walks Bennett and his entourage of ladies. Bennett—pimp. Lol, well, we all get to talking and exploding our American-ness everywhere for the Irish to scoff at. It’s getting pretty close to the time I need to leave at this point, but we decide to go get lunch and I’m not going to argue. However, I had my Cookie Crisps, so I just ordered a Guinness and ate my cereal. Yum. Didn’t stay for too long before I had to say my goodbyes and take off.

This is where the journey back to Bremen begins. I make my way to Dublin's airport by means of bus and go through the process pretty seamlessly. Sit at Dublin for a while with my Cookie Crisps and play Risk on my iPad until it's time to board. I start getting nervous as our boarding process goes rather slowly and I remember I have a 45 minute layover in AMS, an already extremely short time. I shrug and figure they'll figure it out. Besides, I was distracted by seeing a cute girl I saw from AMS → DUB on the same flight back from DUB → AMS as me.

Well, we're late back. Surprise surprise. The pilot, however, assures the entire flight that they'd be able to make their layovers. So, I rush off the plane (in a slow motion fashion that you have to get off a plane in because of old people) and run through the terminals trying to make it to my gate in time. When we actually were allowed off the plane was when my gate was supposed to stop boarding, so I had little hope. I get to my gate and the lady is like, "Yeah, that was done 25 minutes ago. You're gonna have to go talk to the people at the help desk thingy." She didn't actually say help desk thing...I just forget what it's called.

Angrily, I trudge over to the help desk and wait in a long line of people. At one point they tell us to get out of line and try the touch screen computer things...I do, but it doesn't work...and I lose my place in line. Thanks a lot KLM! Eventually, after like 45 minutes I get through and they tell me they have rebooked a flight for the morning for me and that they'd put me up in a hotel for the night. I had an exam in the morning, so I wasn't super happy...but heck, I'll totally take a free hotel in Amsterdam for the night.

So, I find the shuttle to the hotel, get off and head in. I get my key card and a voucher allowing me dinner at the hotel. I got a 30 Euro dinner for free and chilled like a king. I went up to my room, took a long shower, slept in a comfy bed, and prepared for waking up early the next day. Ugh.

My flight left at 8am so I had to be at the airport around 6:30ish. I caught the shuttle, went through security (AMS security and traffic, ugh, kill me now). Eventually, I make it through, head to my gate, catch my flight back to Bremen, catch the tram, take the train from the Hbf to Shönebeck, and make it back to Jacobs. What an adventure. I'm exhausted at this point, obviously. But I had a midterm that was...underwhelming.

So yeah, that's Dublin!