The Emerald Isle is a magical place, and when you finally decide to travel Ireland, you will find that many of your experiences here will possess a unique charm of their own. Here are seven things that will likely happen to you when you travel Ireland.
1- You Will Fall Back In Love With Guinness
Don’t get me wrong, I already loved Guinness. LOVED IT.
Guinness is creamy and delicious and somehow satisfies the craving for coffee, chocolate, beer, and a milkshake all at once. It’s the best.
Yet for whatever reason, in the United States I tend to most often sway toward IPAs. I also enjoy trying new beers, and since you can always count on Guinness to be around at home, I sometimes skip it in favor of a more hoppy, unique American craft brew. And sometimes that’s ok..
But in Ireland, you will order up your first pint (mine came straight from the Guinness Storehouse) and after that it’s the only thing you’ll want, at all times of the day, everywhere, for as long as you travel Ireland. It’s just so extra good!
Do you already love Guinness too? Stay tuned because the Guinness Storehouse video tour is coming soon!
2- You Will Receive Conflicting Advice On Ireland Travel Destinations
Go to Temple Bar.
DON’T go to Temple Bar!
To be clear, Temple Bar is often referred to as both a famous pub > The Temple Bar Pub , and generally an entire district near the heart of Dublin. The Temple Bar District website calls it “Dublin’s Cultural & Creative Quarter”.
In a nutshell, Temple Bar is Pacific Beach in San Diego. It’s Venice Beach in Los Angeles and it’s The French Quarter in New Orleans. It’s the young, crazy, wild, touristy, and slightly alternative district that adventure seeking travelers go crazy for and stuffy people and sometimes even locals detest.
You will hear that there are nicer, more authentic, older, less expensive, and overall better pubs in Dublin, which yes, maybe there are.. but still.
Temple bar is famous, Temple Bar is fun, and Temple Bar is at least worth visiting to say you’ve been.
So when you travel Ireland, and specifically Dublin, go to Temple Bar. Have a beer, have some lunch, check out the shops, take this iconic photo, and make the decision for yourself. Personally, I thought the entire Temple Bar area and the Temple Bar Pub itself was great fun.
Another destination we heard was ‘overrated’ and ‘not worth the hassle’ was The Blarney Castle and Gardens.
Specifically, visiting the Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone.
Look at this castle. Does it look like a hassle??
No. It looks amazing, and it was.
The Blarney Castle is downright lovely and I’m SO glad we didn’t listen to the crazy people who said to not go here.
Kissing the Blarney Stone itself is a tad silly I suppose, but aside from gaining the gift of eloquence (that kissing the Blarney Stone is said to bestow upon you) the Blarney castle itself is worth a visit, period. It’s absolutely beautiful, lush, well maintained, charming and magical. Aside from being able to climb atop the castle and enjoy fantastic views, you can also walk the sprawling castle grounds visiting gardens, rivers, fields, and exhibits.
Just 20 minutes outside of Cork and three hours from Dublin, I highly recommend visiting the Blarney Castle & Gardens as part of your Ireland travel adventures.
By the way, the reason visiting the Blarney Castle is said to be ‘not worth the hassle’ is mostly due to long lines that can develop during peak tourist hours. However, my mate and I have developed a unique line avoidance technique that we’ve implemented in our travels all across Europe. Learn the specifics of our secret technique in this post about Visiting Florence and the Statue of David.
While David definitely draws a crowd, we did not wait in line for him either, no we did not. And guess what else.. The Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone Video is coming soon!
3- You Might Experience True Irish Luck
I am confident to say that my boyfriend and I experienced a true ‘luck of the Irish’ miracle while in Dublin, and this leads to me believe that you might too.
It all began while on a short tour of Trinity college at high noon in Dublin… We noticed a group of about 10 people wearing matching Modest Mouse shirts.
Now, Modest Mouse is AWESOME. I have loved them for 10 years at least and while part of me is thinking ‘hey cool’ the other part is thinking ‘why on earth are 10 people all wearing the same band shirt’?
It’s kind of lame in the name of rock ’n’ roll…
But I digress, as I am now thanking my lucky Irish stars this group made such a display of themselves. Only thanks to them we decided to investigate a bit, and came to learn that Modest Mouse was in fact playing in Dublin THAT EVENING.
The Trinity college campus tour had just begun and I could suddenly not focus the slightest on ancient academic buildings. Although they were lovely..
You see, Modest Mouse is one of those bands at the TOP of my ‘to see’ list, yet they’ve somehow continually slipped between the cracks rendering me unable to attend a live performance as of yet. So this was literally beyond perfect.
It wasn’t a smooth ride from there. We quickly learned tickets were sold out and had no luck turning to Craigslist. We spent the next few hours chatting up tour guides, bartenders and locals to find out where Europeans might buy a last minute concert tickets online, but still found no solid leads for purchase.
Of course, everybody suggested we do what we knew we would probably do from the start- just head across town on a bus, hang out at the show and hope for a miracle. So we journeyed north to Dublin City University to a small show venue called The Helix.
It was tiny.. intimate.. perfect.
Outside, we immediately encountered a fellow American trying to score a ticket as well, so we teamed with him in our inquisitions to the Irish youth asking if they had any extra to sell. After several discussions, leads, beers and friendships later, we all obtained tickets, and we all saw Modest Mouse, IN DUBLIN, spontaneously.
AND IT WAS AWESOME!
But was it the luck of the Irish? You decide.. And more importantly, when you travel Ireland, keep your heart and mind open to the possibility of your own lucky occurrence!
4- You Will Give Donations For Ridiculous(sly awesome) Photos
Like this ‘Leprechaun Me’ photo booth on Grafton Street. Or this friendly Irish country man outside of Killarney named Tim, with his donkey and goat. (Goat not pictured)
Because why not, you’re in Ireland!
5- You Will Eat Fried Fish And Not Even Care
I generally don’t particularly prefer, or tend to order fried foods.. but the way fish and chips actually are in Ireland simply changes all of this.
Light, crisp, fresh.
Irish food is amazing. I am convinced you cannot get a bad meal in Ireland. That is all.
6- You Will Eat Mushy Peas And You Will Love Them
Mushy peas were more my style right off the bat. Once I read that they accompanied something, I had to order that something, whatever it was. Quite conveniently, it was often fish and chips.
Mushy peas seem like something that could be fed to a baby, but satisfy the sophisticated palette of an adult who appreciates natural, clean, delicious food.
Eat and Relish fancies them up a bit in this recipe: Spring Pea Puree With Mint; aka, Mushy Peas
Irish Food has won again!
7- You Will Be Reminded What True Jolly Nature Actually Is
Can I just say that the Irish are the friendliest and seemingly happiest people I have ever met?
This was the shuttle bus driver at the airport, literally. “We are now arriving at the lovely terminal two! Can I help you with your bag dear? Over here love, please take my hand to get down the steps and go merrily on your way”
The toll booth lady (with a big, warm smile), “Oh thank you, and cheers to you friend. Have a wonderful day now!”
Maybe it’s because I’m currently spending time in southern Italy, where the toll booth operator smugly stares at you with a cigarette hanging from his lips, and only the automated voice system proclaims ‘arrivederci’. Not that their style isn’t endearing.. is just that the Irish are SO friendly!
So, in case you missed the recommendation, VISIT IRELAND if you ever do get a chance. Hopefully you will experience all of these amazing things and more during your own lucky travels in Ireland.
Stay tuned for a handful of AMaeTV videos from Ireland as well as lots more from southern Italy! Follow the blog, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Instagram or Twitter or even like the blog’s Facebook page.
Oíche mhaith agus codladh sámh!
(Good night and sleep well)
Be sure you haven’t missed the other posts in my Ireland Travel Series
▶︎ Kissing The Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle Ireland
▶︎Trinity College Library & The Book Of Kells: Dublin
▶︎Seven Things That Will Happen When You Travel Ireland
▶︎ Visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin