– ‘Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted’
A little trip was planned for July.
A reunion of sorts.
It included my amazing friends from University, Amy and Amelia.
Amy lives in Tandragee which is in Northern Ireland, not far from Belfast but in the countryside. I flew into Belfast and joined her in making the most of her days off, visiting The Giant’s Causeway and exploring the quaint towns of Port Rush and Port Stewart.
Yes it was cold.
Yes it was windy.
But it’s Ireland, is there any other weather?!
We picked Amelia up and we jumped in Amy’s sweeeeeeet camper van to begin our mini road trip to Dublin! I’d never made it this far south before and I was excited to explore the cute wee town everyone had been raving about.
First impressions not great I have to say….we arrived on a rainy, blustery day to the sound of screeching car horns and wailing children on the tram. Everybody looked defeated and sullen and like they just wanted to get home.
We had booked a tour around the Guinness factory at St James’ gate which we could have easily spent all day at but the process had to be sped up because we had a dinner reservation at a secret bar in the town centre (not so secret, I found it on Google!) Down the stairs we went, towards an Italian restaurant’s loos to find a bookcase that opened up to reveal an underground speakeasy with tables nestled all around the small bar. We enjoyed a dinner of pastas and breadcrumbed cheeses and salads along with speciality cocktails. Bliss!
We were staying in Howth with the camper, a quaint rustic town a short train ride from Dublin. It had a cute weekend market where we picked up some supplies and got busy chatting to some National Geographic expedition leaders over coffee who were visiting with a group of children from The States.
I was pleasantly surprised by Dublin’s array of vegetarian, vegan and health food options around the city. We had dinner at an all-vegan place named Cornucopia one evening and ate our way around the city pretty healthily thanks to the variety of plant-based delights. Dublin is extremely quirky and has many bespoke, creative shops that totally appeal to our arty minds. We spent time wandering around the market stalls, browsing things we couldn’t afford and visualising what our dream houses would have in them.
I was thrilled by the beauty of Dublin’s lane streets, right in the Temple Bar area of town (where there is the most buzz!). Bunting hangs from the buildings, courtyards are covered with fairy lights and cobbled streets lead you to live music and cheery Dubliners reaching for a pint of Guinness. We stayed watching a band play on Saturday night in the early evening at the Stags Head where quite a crowd had formed. People of all nationalities were dancing in the street and cheering to the sound of the banjo and the band’s raspy voices.
When we could bare to drag ourselves away, we moved on to find a PACKED TO THE BRIM bar with two artists playing a succession of the best parts of good songs. What an atmosphere in here! We quickly grabbed ourselves a drink and wedged past the flailing dancers intent on staring into the dark eyes of the good looking lead singer. Every song they played in here was familiar but from a compilation of years. Think ‘Over my shoulder’ by Mike and the Mechanics, ‘Bamboleo’ by The Gipsy Kings and ‘Despacito’. The duo played with such passion and intrigue. It was so hot in that little bar and all they had were their two guitars and a couple of mics. We stayed until they closed their buzzing set and cooled down by strolling around the laneways, watching people playing games on the streets and ducking in and out of bars we liked the look of.
After two days in the city it was time for our stint down in the Wicklow Mountains just south of Dublin. The weather totally turned it on for us as we swerved past old farm houses and big open spaces in the lush landscape before finding our way to a sweet wee campsite set by a reservoir. We ate a picnic and drank red wine that night, wrapping up when it got cold and talking about what we had missed from each other’s lives over the past few years.
The final day of our long weekend took us briefly deeper into the mountains where we basked in the delicious warm heat, before we headed back home to catch our flights.
What a sensational weekend!