“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
My second day in Dublin made me fall even more in love with the city. It’s so fun and lively and there’s so much to see. Admittedly I was spoiled with fantastic weather, but still.
That morning I woke early (first out of my six person room early) and headed down to breakfast before catching the redline tram over to Kilmainham Gaol. I’d seen it listed on good things to do in Dublin, so I of course thought I’d check it out.
I had read online it was best to have a ticket booked ahead of time. Sure enough when I went on to check, several times for the day had already filled up. So I went ahead and booked a 10 o’clock ticket.
I arrived with plenty of time to spare, so had a bit of free time to look around at the museum area upfront. And then before too long the tour began.
It was pretty good overall. Our guide led us through the jail, telling us more about the history and what had happened at particular places. It was an interesting place to see, especially noting the changes between the older and the newer parts of the jail. I was in disbelief when I heard that during the famine period they had ten times their capacity, often putting 5 to a tiny cell. So insane.
After an hour long tour we were allowed to look through the museum on our own time. It’s fairly small, but still a nice collection. I spent about a half an hour just browsing, not reading all the signs. But it does provide some additional insight into the jail.
Once I was finished at the jail I hopped on the rail to get back towards the Guinness Storehouse, my next stop.
Again, I’d seen it listed as a fun attraction, so I figured I’d try.
It’s quite pricey. And as someone who isn’t a big beer fan, it maybe wasn’t the best choice. However, I did still have fun. The facility is very nicely laid out. They make it very fun and interactive and you learn a lot. It’s just a pity that it’s so expensive and crowded, and of course that it basically just acts as one big advertisement for the beer. It reminds me of the Coca Cola museum in Atlanta, except that the coke museum at least has a fantastic tasting room at the end where you can try all kinds of different sodas.
At the end of the Guinness tour you just get a glass of the beer.
Not bad all in all, but definitely not to my taste in beer. And others agreed as I saw full glasses left scattered throughout the bar.
Well, up to you on whether or not you want to do it. It’s not my recommendation overall, but for Guinness or beer lovers this might be just the thing you need.
After that I was torn between going back to my hostel and resting for a bit and continuing on my way.
I’d already decided that my next stop needed to be the archaeology museum.
I ended up stopping at the natural history museum on my way. The place was free, so I figured why not since I had some spare time and since I was already there.
It’s two levels, but otherwise quite small. I’ve seen better natural history museums, but it still had a nice collection of animals and some fun things to see. And again, being donation only, it’s really not a bad pop in if you’re in the area.
I walked over to St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful open park. I didn’t spend much time there, but on a beautiful sunny day it was certainly a sight to behold.
After that I headed to the right side of the block to enter the archaeology museum.
It’s definitely one of my top recommendations for Dublin. Lots of interesting artifacts, and my personal favorite, the bog bodies. Essentially they are mummified bodies that were preserved in the bogs of Ireland and are fascinating to behold! I’d never seen anything quite like them. I’m posting the least gruesome photo I have so you can see.
I was pretty much exhausted at that point, but I was close to the gallery so I figured I’d pop in since it was free.
Well, rather it advertises it is free.
Apparently when I was there they were having a special exhibition, meaning that most of the museum was not free as a result. Only two rooms were open to the public, one of which had children’s drawings, and the other which had a few sculptures. Not too impressive. So be warned you might need to pay to go in. Check if it’s an exhibition you want to see. I wasn’t all that interested in going if I had to pay.
I headed back towards my hostel. I’d thought about visiting the Dublin Writer’s Museum, but I was simply too tired after a full day to possibly go. So I went to the store and bought some snacks for the next few day’s lunches. I have a strict one paid meal per day policy. So I usually just get some snacks for breakfast or lunch (if my hostel doesn’t provide breakfast). So I stocked up for the coming days.
I took a quick break at my hostel before heading out to find dinner again.
Another recommendation from my tour guide the day before had been The Winding Stair, a restaurant along the river not far from the half-penny bridge.
The prices weren’t cheap, but for what was included it was a good deal. Besides, one meal policy leaves a little room for splurging in the evening. So I had the three course meal to spoil myself.
I started with a watercress and potato soup, then lamb with mint and yogurt sauce, potatoes and broccoli, and finally a slice of dark chocolate cherry brownie with vanilla ice cream.
It was exceptionally delicious.
After the meal I headed back to my hostel. I was lucky enough to arrive back in time to the hostel in order to use the steam room. It’s only open for three hours in the evening, and only two of those are open to girls (one girls, one mixed group).
Anyhow, changed into my suit and hopped in the sauna. It was ridiculously warm so I only lasted about 10-15 minutes, but it felt really good and refreshing. So here’s my plug for Isaac’s Hostel with their awesome steam room. Very cool feature!
Then on for a good night’s sleep. I needed to be well rested and prepared for my adventure the coming day. After all, I was about to leave the beautiful country of Ireland and venture off towards a new place… The Isle of Man.