The Best-Stocked Church In Dublin – A Year Of Ireland Part One

A year ago today I left America on a great Irish adventure. With the combined power of my mates from the States, we conquered everywhere from Dublin to Galway, the North to the South, and a decent chunk of continental Europe. Never have I met such an overwhelmingly kind, inviting, hilariously open group of people as the Irish. Now that I’m back stateside, I find myself missing that beautiful island like a 27-year-old misses being on his parents’ insurance. I’m about to get all sappy, so before my keyboard starts dripping syrup let’s begin.

I left behind fond memories of America, and even fonder memories of AMERICA! The Store:

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A bottle of water taught me that freedom is decidedly not free.

Speaking of overpriced things that don’t serve much purpose, how about a Best Buy vending machine?

"Let me just find some quarters."

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“Let me just find some quarters.”

Though I left my fear of flying on a bolt and metal sheet RyanAir called a plane, I began the trip absolutely terrified of getting higher off the ground than I can jump. Seeing this on the wing of my 737 helped my confidence about as much as performing vigilant CPR helps someone whose only problem is being madly on fire:

"Do not walk outside this area" is probably for the benefit of maintenance crews, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

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It’s probably for the benefit of the maintenance crew, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

If anyone were up for a bit of wing walking, though, they’d have to dress warm. In case you were interested, this is the temperature 30,000 feet over the North Atlantic:

Though it's the windchill that gets you.

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It’s the windchill that gets you.

Finally, after 24 hours awake and a relaxing message from the flailing child behind me, we arrived in Dublin.

"...Is a... there... we have... the bed."

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“zzz…Is a there?… We have… to the bed…”

The first picture I took on Irish soil:

Much like the film, it didn't live up to the hype.

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Much like the film, it could have been better.

When we got to the flat, everything was clean and pristine and neatly set up. Major shout-out to StayCity Serviced Apartments. They put up with shit in seven languages and still managed to provide friendly, helpful service. There was a, uh, bit of a snag with the washer, though.

. It's really not that bad if you set a towel down and never wash your clothes.

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It’s really not that bad if you set a towel down and never wash your clothes.

By the way, this compartment serves as both the washer and the dryer. Sharp-eyed readers may notice that drying your clothes in a wet tube doesn’t produce outstanding results. Because of this, each room comes equipped with a drying rack. Believe you me, we used it.

The really fun thing about traveling across multiple time zones is jet lag. If you hate joy and want to counteract this wonderful gift, most people suggest going to bed at the same time you would at home, but in your new time zone. So if you go to bed at 9pm EST, you responsible little buddy you, then you’d be crawling under the covers at 2am EST – 9pm in Dublin. This is a roundabout way of saying that I crashed and burned.

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Guess which bed I didn’t stay up until 9pm in?

We had a pretty kickass view from our balcony.

IMG_6490That’s a soccer (football) pitch down there. We didn’t use it because those kids threw rocks at us. In our defense, they all had wicked throwing arms.

Later that night, we decided to get lost in the city. The whole place was brand new to us. Though we eventually got well acquainted with much of Dublin, those early days were pretty killer on the whole directional front. My terrible navigation skills won me the nickname Falcon, because like a falcon – a blind, deaf, mute falcon with no wings and no claws and at least one psychosis – I get lost crossing the street.

I really wish that were hyperbole.

In any case, as we explored, we were much more concerned with all the new sights and sounds and smells than with taking photos, any thus have only three. Of those, this is the one you folks really need to see:

IMG_2413If I had turned right around and gone home after seeing this, I would have considered it a successful trip.

We got back to the flat a few hours later and left for a pint at the Brazen Head, which is a fine pub and even better tourist attraction. They claim to be the oldest pub in Ireland, dating back to 1198, though much of that claim is up for debate. And what better place to debate than at a pub over a pint of Guinness?

Pictured: Fierce debate.

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Pictured: Fierce debate.

Several pubs stake the same claim as the Brazen Head. The adorably named Sean’s Bar in Athlone has a fair claim to the year 900, and another pub across town claims to be the oldest in the Dublin with an 18th-century founding date. Older than the Brazen Head and founded later? That’s some serious time traveler shit right there. But no one can argue that, although the Brazen Head attracts tourists like the Guinness factory attracts tourists and Irishmen, it’s a pretty fun place every now and then.

. Fun.

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Fun.

That night’s sleep couldn’t have been better if I’d been chloroformed after eating turkey. The next day was all about exploration. And explore we did. Just walking around Dublin’s shopping centers, we saw…

...a towel throwing the whole display into a violent chaos...

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…a towel throwing the whole display into a violent chaos…
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…a regular customer just shopping around. Not really sure why I even took a photo of something so mundane…
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. ...this book based on that Twitter phenomenon everyone's talking about...

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…this book based on that Twitter phenomenon everyone’s talking about…
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. ...the UK Dennis the Menace...

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…the British Dennis the Menace
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. ...and the Irish Bill O'Reilly, who is himself Irish I suppose, so that's kind of strange.

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……and a book that to this day I can only read as “Bill O’Reilly.”

Then we went to check out St. Stephen’s Green. Remember that name, because it will feature pretty prominently in this recap. Probably. I never plan anything. I might completely forget to mention it ever again. But remember the name anyway because it’s a good one. It was pretty grey and gloomy that day but check back in later to see if I’ve remembered to upload a brighter photo.

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The lake at the Green:

. The weather isn't normally like this. It's usually raining too.

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The weather isn’t normally like this. It’s usually raining too.

A crowded Dublin sidestreet:

Coming from a small town, I'm pretty sure this is busier than New York.

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Coming from a small town, I’m pretty sure this is busier than New York.

That evening we had a fantastic dinner at a swanky restaurant called The Church.

It was built in a church.

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It was built in a church.

The next two pictures are a bit shaky because at this point in the trip my blood was made of alcohol.

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Must've been a hell of a communion.

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Must’ve been a hell of a communion.

And that was the night I got a view of heaven.

This is Part One of a one-year anniversary retrospective I’ll be compiling over the next several weeks. Stay tuned for the rest, or for more detailed stories of particular places we visited, poke that link in the black box at the top of the page that says “Pavlov’s Hedgehogs.” Until Part Two, Brillo and I wish you a good night.

. Fun fact! I slept on the floor that night,

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Fun fact! I slept on the floor that evening.

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One response to “The Best-Stocked Church In Dublin – A Year Of Ireland Part One

  1. This was awesome… I like the sleepy picture… and freedom is free, but it makes freedom water more expensive… also freedom fries, freedom rocks, freedom gasoline, and freedom condoms.

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