I Once Ran Away With the Gypsies

3 Apr

I’ve been slacking on the ol’ blog posts the past few months, so I’m trying to catch up… watch out for posts on Belfast, Berlin, hats, bungee jumping and Ibiza, but for now here’s a bit on Dublin!

Molly Malone stands with her cart at the end of Grafton Street

Molly Malone stands with her cart at the end of Grafton Street

I’ve been to Dublin several times over the years, the first time when I was 17 and my first of many seasons working at Loudoun Castle Theme Park. Back then , the Cadonas – a well-known ‘travelling’ family in Scotland (also known as gypsies) – owned the theme park, and at the end of every season, they packed up the rides and took them to Dublin, Limerick and Cork, then on to Dubai for the Winter. Being short on willing travellers that year, they asked me to go to Dublin with them. My parents weren’t too happy about it… and that’s how I once ran away with the gypsies.

Two weeks in a luxury trailer in Clondalkin – one of the roughest parts of Dublin, working 4 hours a night in a burger van for 400 euro a week, 17-year-old, impressionable me thought I had it made! It was an experience and a half, but apart from a couple of shopping trips to Grafton Street and a handful of drunken nights in the infamous Red Cow on the M50, I didn’t get to see much of Ireland’s fair city.

A busker plays his tin flute on Dame Street

A busker plays his tin flute on Dame Street

Then, when I started Uni at Dundee the year after I made a load of Irish mates and have since spent many a memorable weekend in Ireland – Belfast, Derry, Ballymena, Donegal, Meath, Dublin, Newry, Coleraine – to name a few. But again, never to see much of what Dublin has to offer – aside the pubs that is.

So when I planned my mini Irish adventure over the Christmas holidays there (Dublin – Belfast – Donegal) I made sure I had some time to finally be a tourist in one of my favourite cities.

I had already arranged to meet up with and stay with Uni friends, but I had half a day to myself to do as I please. I set off from my hotel in Temple bar early doors, and walked along Dame Street to Trinity College, not having a lot of time, I resisted the urge to go in and see the book of Kells. Instead I stopped to greet Molly Malone at the bottom of Grafton Street before having breakfast at a nearby pub. After that, I walked along to Merrion Square where a memorial to Oscar Wilde can be found perched on a rock with a drink in hand in the corner of the park. It’s a nice quiet spot to sit and read some of his many famous quotes, my favourite being – “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”.

Oscar Wilde hanging out in Merrion Square

Oscar Wilde hanging out in Merrion Square

I then walked down to St Stephen’s Green, along to St Patrick’s Cathedral, onto the famous Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and St Audden’s Gate. Crossing the River Liffey, I walked along it and up by the fruit market to the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square – a memorial to “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. Finally I walked down O’Connell Street, by the Spire (completely missed the Post Office – doh!) and back to Temple Bar to meet my friend Sarah and get on the rip.

Outside the iconic gates of the Guinness Storehouse

Outside the iconic gates of the Guinness Storehouse

By 6pm, a few too many baby Guinness and some new friends made later, I had to get myself over to my other friend, Lynsey’s place down at the docklands, to head out with her and her friends for her birthday – the rest of the night can only be described as a blur. But as the saying goes, when in Rome…

The next day I was as rough as a dog and on the bus to Belfast – but that’s for another time.

A view across the River Liffey

A view across the River Liffey

The famous Temple Bar

The famous Temple Bar

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