It is two days before my flight out to Ireland and I am beyond excited. For some reason, Ireland has been really high on my bucket list of countries to go to.
Every photo I see of Ireland, is always so lush and green. The people always seems so friendly. They have this word they use called ‘craic’ which is slang word for fun and enjoyment. I hope to experience that while in Ireland.
Especially that I am studying photography I am even more excited about this trip. What a great way to focus on my landscape photography. Plus I just bought a new GoPro that I hope to use while I am there!
Travel Day – February 15, 2022
[Landing in Ireland on February 16, 2022 – Day 1 of Trip]
So I usually travel by myself – especially when I am traveling for my birthday. I never expect anyone to be able to just travel with me, usually because I like to travel abroad. This year, however, was different…as my friend Blake decided he wanted to travel to Ireland as well. Even though we did not fly out there together, he met there in Dublin when he flew out the next day.
The awesome thing is – I had another friend out there, Will Lambe and his new girlfriend Chelsey, who had already been out there and had decided to extend their trip a few more days so they could hang with me for my birthday.
I flew Scandinavian Airlines to Dublin. My flight was very chill and I had a layover in Copenhagen, Denmark on my there and on my way back. [I had a 21 hour layover on the way back, so I spend the night in Copenhagen, naturally.]. I did not have any issues with Scandinavian Airlines. The crew was quite lovely, the food was good, the in-flight entertainment was solid. The airplane was clean. I would definitely fly with them again!
So as soon as I landed, I got into the country and headed outside. Yikes, it is COLD in Ireland in February. I thought it might be cold like It was when I traveled to London in February a few years prior – but damn, was I wrong! It was 45 degrees Fahrenheit every day – and Blake and I spend most of the time there being cold and wet.
But guess what, I would do it again! Okay, well I mean maybe not again. But I would definitely love to go back to Ireland perhaps around September. That seems to be a good time to go. [Note to self for future travel.]
I stayed at the cute little apartment I found through AirBNB and it was literally across from the Guinness Brewery! I was excited about that because one of the things I wanted to do while in Dublin was to tour the Guinness Brewery, which everyone tells you have to do [and you totally have to do it!]
So my first night in Dublin, I checked into the AirBNB. It was, unfortunately, wet and windy. [Just for the record, it NEVER got above 45 degrees and it rained most of the time I was there.] So again, February isn’t the best time to go – unless you are okay with that kind of weather. I don’t specifically hate it. It can be hard at times, especially because we did a lot of walking. The thing that sucked most about it, was I was not able to go to the Cliffs of Moher because the weather was so bad and it was too difficult to see anything – so I am definitely going back to Ireland again…if only to see the Cliffs of Moher.
So, I met up with Will and Chelsey for dinner at The Celt. It was nice, the food was good, and our waiter was hot…a bit scruffy and with his accent he sounded like someone from Game of Thrones! I was tired from traveling all day but I was just so excited to be there – I had to take it all in.
After dinner we decided to grab a quick pint at The Brazen Head, which I believe is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, and this is where I had first pint of Guinness in Dublin. Some of the smaller pubs are so quaint, and it was not too busy so we sat by the fireplace and just relaxed and had a beer – this is what so much of Ireland is, to me!
After the Brazen Head we ventured out and ended up in The Temple Bar area. This is where the Temple Bar is but there are also many different bars and restaurants there as well. The Temple Bar is really expensive and to me it feels like a bar you would go to here in Los Angeles, and it seems to be set up as what Americans feel like an Irish pub would be….so it definitely caters to tourist. I would say go once, but in my honest opinion, there are so many other pubs to enjoy.
The best part of going to the Temple bar was we met Feliz & Patricia, a German brother and sister visiting for the weekend. Seriously, Felix and Will connected intensely, it was cute, they definitely had a fun travel bromance. We decided to leave Temple Bar, because it really was hella expensive, so we left and found another bar, which was just across from us: The Quays Bar.
I won’t go into detail of every bar we went to, as it seems we went bar happening almost every night. But this was my first night in Dublin and I had to describe it in detail because it just such a magical evening.
February 17, 2022 – Day 2
Guess who arrived today? Blake! Turns out Blake ended up renting a room literally 4 blocks from my AirBNB, so we could literally walk to each other’s rooms. So usually we would met up half way between the two and would walk everywhere.
So first thing we did, we meet up and walk around the Temple Bar area and find a nice place to have breakfast. Blake had traveled all night and needed food AND coffee! We found this quaint little restaurant called The Stage Door Cafe, owned by this fun and outspoken Irishman, Alan. Blake had a traditional Irish breakfast and we both had coffee. Alan was great, he kept referring to Blake and I as the gay Americans in the corner, which is funny because Blake is NOT gay. Alan was actually able to recommend a good tattoo place, which – lo and behold, was right upstairs from the breakfast place. So we made a quick appointment for the following day and went on to explore more of Dublin.
We made our way to Trinity College. Now, I hear one of the things you HAVE to do is tour the library at Trinity. It was a rather long line and we weren’t ready to stand in the line, so we continued to explore more of the city. So, whenever I make it to Dublin again, I will have to make sure to tour the library!
We eventually met up with Will and Chelsey and I introduced them to one another and we made our way around Dublin to DRINK. We drank and made friends wherever we went. Oh, to help celebrate my birthday festivities we went to a gay bar: The George. It was a chill vibe BUT we were there a bit early so we made our way down the street for my birthday dinner! Chelsey found this restaurant – Hugo’s – and it was AMAZING. Such a relaxing and chill atmosphere. A bit upscale – but you know, birthday! Gotta live it up. I just have to say the food was so good and we ordered so much wine – both white and red.
I really want to give the biggest shout out to Will, Chelsey, and Blake for giving me such an amazing birthday evening…and to Hugo’s who gave me an awesome birthday desert! After that we walked around all of Dublin and the Temple Bar area again, just bar hopping. Literally just going from bar to another. One would close, we’d go to another. And Dublin has GREAT bars…and most of them play live music. It is truly one of the best things about Dublin.
February 18, 2022 – Day 3
Today is officially my birthday!
Blake and I slept in a bit..naturally from the festivities the night before. But then we had to get up and go get our tattoos. So Blake and I have a commitment that whenever we travel anywhere, especially together, we get matching tattoos. So we made it to our appointment at The Art Room. Will had found this design that had the Irish harp and the word EIRE underneath it, which means IRELAND in Irish.
The best part about today is that we celebrated my birthday again! But this time we met up with our friends Felix and Patrick. They were flying out the following day and wanted to join in the celebration. So they met us at this restaurant called The Gravediggers. This place is separated into two different spaces – the pub and the restaurant AND it is connected to a grave yard! I mean, for a man who makes horror films, this was a perfect locale to celebrate his actual birthday, wouldn’t you think? The Gravediggers is also the oldest bar in Dublin, I believe, so it is definitely worth checking out, and getting a pint of Guinness here.
So again, we bounced around from pub to pub. Even made it to a gay bar, which was crowded…and since it was so cold outside and rainy, we were WAY over dressed. There were some cute guys, but none that seemed interested. We eventually decided to leave and made our way to Darkey Kelly’s. I have to be honest, this was probably one of my favorite pubs in Ireland. They had live music…and we took up the back corner of the pub. And I just remember sitting there talking with Felix, when he turns to me and says, ‘Michael, I love live music, I must dance!’ And then he, with his 6’9″ frame runs to the band and proceeds to dance in front of them. His sister, Pam, gets up and joins him. We get up and join him. Literally the entire restaurant gets up and joins him. It was such an awesome experience to see this entire restaurant get up and dance…the waiters were so surprised they were taking video of it.
Then, of course, Felix made the whole restaurant stop dancing and sign HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me, accompanied by the musicians. It was both embarrassing and humbling. I tried not to cry…but it was so special, considering that I was originally planning on traveling alone! So, this made it all worth it. It really did.
February 19, 2022 – Day 4
Today was a chill day. It rained…a LOT today. Blake and I ended up having breakfast at a different spot today: Metro Cafe. We walked a different part of Dublin today and found a place that seemed charming. I love Europe for that…so many places to just sit and grab a nice coffee and a quick bite. You can talk to people, make friends. Even the waiters/waitresses are so friendly.
After breakfast we walked around a bit more. I finally bought some souvenirs, including this nice green sweater that says DUBLIN on it and, of course, some pins – since I love to collect pins. I also got a beanie, because it was just so freakin cold. I also needed to buy a new umbrella because mine broke the first day I got there.
So as were were walking around, the rain just would not let up so we ended up find a pub to sneak into and dry off, and naturally, get a pint. My actual favorite beer to drink in Ireland was called Rockshore – which I believe was made by Guinness. I prefer more light beers and this was just the one my palate enjoyed. We were also introduced to the shot: the baby Guinness and we had one at least every pub we went into.
So while sitting there we met this chap from London – Liam. He was great and bought us a round for our birthday. Eventually his friend Tudgee [Jason] arrived and we all took a shot, cheered, swapped stories, and even showed off all of our tattoos. These two guys were a lot of fun. I was wearing my hat I had gotten from my friend’s store in Vegas – Nightmare Toys. Liam loved the hat…he actually took it from me early on and was wearing it. It looked really good on him, so I told him he could keep it! I texted Kristy – the owner – and sent her a picture. She was tickled. Guess I need to go back to Vegas and get another hat!
We were gonna meet up with Will and Chelsey later that night as they were flying out the next day but I remember Blake had a date [with a girl he met on Tindr] and I was exhausted after three days of really, really, really late nights and drinking. I was home and in my AirBNB…I passed out early and enjoyed a relaxing evening. Sorry I did not get to give you hugs good bye Will & Chelsey, but I know I will see you back in Los Angeles.