I was always going to see Ireland. It's in my blood, my dad’s family traces back. When I was living in Scotland I met fellow international students who craved to see as much of the world as me. We decided on Ireland, that part was easy. Picking a weekend that suited everyone, in hindsight should have indicated what we were about to endure.
Our total group of 8 flew to Dublin. We shared a flight with a group of women on a hen’s-do weekend. They blared Shania Twain and Katy Perry and while it was really obnoxious and inconsiderate, I thoroughly enjoyed it. We made our way to the hostel- a dorm room all to ourselves and had activities planned. I adore each woman that I travelled with and some I still keep in touch with all these years later. That being said… Travelling as a group is a logistical nightmare and not always very much fun.
Dublin is a really cool city. One thing our huge party got right was purchasing a hop-on hop-off bus pass for the weekend. That sorted transport and it was an obligatory dorky tourist accomplishment. We also got hit in the face by branches of a tree which was hilarious, be careful on those top levels of the bus! We used the bus to get from each attraction and also learnt snippets of history and trivia by the friendly drivers. (Side note: if you actually retain the information from your tour guides you will do exceptionally well in pub trivia.)
One of the first things we did was visit the Guinness Storehouse. Having studied attractions and tourism units at uni, I could identify immediately that this is a phenomenal attraction. The building itself is stunning. The layout is captivating and interactive. A holistic experience including sensory rooms and your own tasting sessions. And to top it off, you pour yourself a Guinness and drink it while looking out at the view of Dublin? Amazing. I had such a great experience it didn’t even occur to me that I don’t enjoy the taste of Guinness or that it was 10am. Book early for better time slots, folks.
When we left the Guinness Storehouse we looked at each other and said “What do we do now?” Innocent enough, but with 8 individuals desperate to make the most of 48 hours- we hit a snag. Everyone wanted to do something slightly different and nobody wanted to be rude or excluding. I’m timid and was happy to just follow along and go with the flow. This is an approach that can only work for so long.
If you find yourself in this position make sure you speak up and do the things you really want to. Don’t let yourself miss out on anything because you’re too shy. That blows. To fly home and think you should have done something differently will diminish the entire trip.
The next time I visit Dublin I will stay a bit longer because one weekend just did not do it justice. I will pick my travel partners (if any) accordingly. I’ll go back to the Viking Museum because that was so interesting. I will immerse myself in the glorious Irish culture. And I will definitely sink another pint of Guinness.