Corey Watts

Dublin, Galway, and Guinness in Ireland

Early in the morning on September 9th, I caught a flight from Zurich to Dublin. I was meeting a friend from home there. The flight went smoothly, and I arrived in Dublin and proceeded to the hostel without any problems. Soon after I arrived, my friend Brian arrived. We checked in, dropped our luggage, and went exploring. We grabbed lunch in a nearby pub, had our inaugural Guinness pints, then Brian took a nap – he was very jet lagged. He woke up two hours later, we walked around the city and grabbed an early dinner, then he went to bed. I stayed up and journaled, then talked to my family a bit.

The next morning we woke up and explored Dublin. We visited the Guinness Storehouse and the old Jameson Distillery. I am completely enamored with Guinness, I have been since Europe Semester, and I had a multitude of pints over the next three days. I occasionally branched out to try other beers, but roughly 75% of the pints I ordered were Guinness…and I had quite a number of pints. You know, when in Rome. The Jameson Distillery was also quite fun. We learned about the history of Jameson and the process of distillation, then got to the sampling. The sampling is, of course, always the best part. I’ve had a sizable amount of Jameson back in the States and, while I certainly enjoy it, I generally prefer Scotch whisky. Regardless, visiting both places was a lot of fun.

photo of two men in front of the Jameson Distillery
It's a good tour. But if you had to choose only one the Guinness tour is better.

Quite early the next morning, Brian and I rented a car. We drove all the way across Ireland to the west coast – to Galway. Galway was a great city, both Brian and I agreed we liked it more than Dublin. Galway is smaller and has more culture and character. Dublin is much like any other sizable city, but Galway is more interesting and a bit more fun. That night in Galway we visited probably 4 or 5 different pubs, listened to several awesome Irish bands, and had engaging conversations about a wide range of topics over our beers. Fantastic. We went to bed at a decent time and woke up early the next morning to drive down to the Cliffs of Moher, about an hour and a half south of Galway. Before we left, Brian and I quickly mailed several postcards and went back to a wool shop to purchase a merino wool sweater for one of Brian’s friends. We got back to our hostel, but before we left an Israeli guy at our hostel heard we were driving southwest to the cliffs and asked us for a ride to a nearby town. The three of us left the hostel and started driving. Eventually, we reached the area where our companion wanted to go so we let him off; Brian and then I continued on to the Cliffs of Moher.

To complicate Brian’s driving beyond the newness of driving manual on the right side of the car on the left side of the road, the weather had been growing increasingly more overcast and rainy the past several days and it was was starting to get serious. I was acting as navigator (dare I say I was excelling at my job), and was trying to navigate and keep Brian calm at the same time. By the time we had gotten to the cliffs, which are right on the coast, we could only see ten or fifteen feet in front of us. We didn’t even bother paying to see the cliffs, we just kept on driving. The fog on the west coast of Ireland is completely incredible, it cleared up slightly once we started moving inland again, but it still remained quite overcast and drizzly. The countryside was picturesque, with green rolling hills as far as the eye could see. Besides the fog, one of my favorite things about the countryside in Ireland was all the low, crumbling stone walls. It was straight out of Robert Frost’s Mending Wall. We had several detours due to taking the wrong turn, but we slowly meandered our way back up to Dublin, making several stops along the way.

photo of a man in front of the ocean
This was a particularly good photo of me, for some reason. I thought you'd enjoy seeing it.

We got in bed at a decent hour, and woke up at 2:50am to make it to the airport in time for our early morning flight. We flew via Ryanair, one of the most popular low-cost airlines in Europe. The price is nice, but they bombard you with advertisements the entire flight. If you don’t have headphones in it can be somewhat overwhelming. We waved goodbye to Ireland and proceeded to Edinburgh, Scotland.

#dublin #galway #ireland #traveling #europe2013