Overall cost of trip: $215 CAD
What a week it has been!! I started my Easter Week in Dublin, Ireland, right in time for St. Paddy’s, and I don’t think there is a better way to absorb the Irish culture then during this day! We arrived in Dublin on March 15th, giving us 2 days to explore before the craziness of St Paddys began. Let me just say…if I had a bucket list, this would be number 1. I can’t even begin to explain the build up for this trip! As soon as I got accepted to the exchange program and started figuring out my travel plans, the first thing I said was that I was going to spend St Paddy’s in Dublin and I’m so happy it worked out.
Ireland is located in North Western Europe and is made up of about 4.5 million people. The capital city Dublin is where I spent my trip. It would have been nice to see more areas of Ireland, but we had booked our trip to London for the night of St Paddy’s because of the price increase of hostel, and the price of flying out the day after were tripled.
I travelled with RyanAir from Bratislava. Only 2 hours from Krems, so it was the most inexpensive way to get there. We stayed at the Avalon House Hostel for 2 nights, less than a 10 minute walk from Temple Bar. It was a perfect location.
My first thoughts when I got off the airplane in Dublin was RELIEF! FINALLY, signs that were in English that I could read! I felt so comfortable and it was exciting being in a place that I felt like I wasn’t too obvious of a tourist. However, even though English is spoken, I honestly still couldn’t understand locals when they were talking! They talk so fast and their accent is so thick, I was actually questioning if it was English they were speaking.
On our first day, we took a Hop on Hop Off bus throughout Dublin, which I highly recommend. The guide was hilarious and it made the trip so entertaining! When I think of Dublin, there aren’t immediate landmarks that stick out, so it was great to get a guided tour to learn about the history, instead of just wandering around aimlessly. After the tour, we had the traditional fish n chips with 2 of our other Canadian exchange friends in Temple Bar, then headed off to the Guinness Brewery for a tour. Even though it seems like a total tourist trap, it was worth it. It really summed up the whole St Paddys in Dublin experience. I learned how to properly pour a Guinness and graduated from the Guinness Academy so I’m basically a local now.
I’m happy we spent time in Dublin before St. Paddys instead of after. It was so cool to see the build up for the holiday, and especially Temple Bar before and during the madness! It’s hard to explain how busy and exciting this city was. In every bar you went into, there was live Irish music playing, and everyone was having such a great time. Everyone was decked out in green, even before the festivities, and the streets were covered in Irish flags and green everywhere possible. It was such an exciting atmosphere to be apart of.
We woke up on St Paddys Day morning in typical Laurier fashion, bright and early and ready to ice each other. We set out for the parade, which was along O’Connell Street. For my Laurier friends…imagine Ezra. But on every single street, with every age group, a parade, and half a million wannabe (and some legitimate) Irish people. It was unbelievable! Truly an experience that you’d have to be there to understand or believe.
PS: Ezra Avenue is Laurier’s party street, and this is what it looks like during St Paddys:
Here’s the official website of all things St Paddys: http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/
After the parade, we walked through Temple Bar (which is a huge tourist attraction, and is made up of overpriced bars and restaurants) but TOTALLY worth it to be there. Only today did I feel justified spending extra on Guinness because when in Dublin on St Paddy’s Day, right?! We went to the actual Temple Bar and it was so much fun. Music blaring, everyone singing and dancing, and of course, a Guinness in hand.
This was one of the most fun and exciting experiences so far. I really love the culture and sense of community Dublin has to offer. I’m not sure if it was just because it was St. Paddy’s, but in comparison to other hostels, bars, and restaurants I’ve been to thus far, the Irish have been so welcoming and accommodating. I definitely would love to go back during a different time of the year to see if it’s the same, and hopefully see the Cliffs of Moher, and possibly Belfast (next biggest city.) This trip was a little pricey, mainly because of the national holiday. Hostel prices were higher than usual and we spent a majority of our time in Temple Bar.
Until my next adventure,