Guinness and a Prairie Dog: Dublin, Ireland

There are occasional times when moving cities that we must check out early or cannot check in until late. These times are a blunt reminder of the vulnerability that we take on at times during this year abroad. It can be rainy, sunny, developed, or desolate. Cafes may be closed and parks may be dangerous. Our property, passports, and personal information are all in one place and with no home or base in which to take refuge. Constant assessments of the environment and situational judgments must be made to mitigate unnecessary risk and secure safety. I add this to provide insight and context to some of our daily struggles and priorities were to give readers a glimpse into our lifestyle.

Our first day in Dublin involved finding a way to occupy our time for 4 hours while carrying all our gear. We tried, unsuccessfully, to find some dinner. There is a gap window where many restaurants do not open until 5:30. We chose a terrible Chinese buffet, thinking it would do to pass the time and set our bags down for a bit, and to eat slowly. The restaurant was sweltering hot and the food was awful. Disheartened and exhausted, we marched onward to our next temporary home.

Dublin is a city with plenty of museums and attractions. We tried to curtail our budget by being selective over which attracted our interest most. We took a look at the National Library, which had a wonderful exhibit to WB Yeats, an Irish poet. The Irish National Gallery had wonderful art works for perusal, as well. Trinity College was teeming with tourists when we stopped by for a look. Guided tours wound their way across green quadrangles and through the various university buildings. Lastly, the National Museum of Ireland was expansive with far reaching historical facts. After spending time in those 3 places, we made our way back to our unique Airbnb.

Our hosts had a strange pet, a prairie dog. Her name was Lasagna and she would make occasional loud squeaks when one of us sneezed or coughed. She would scurry around the apartment at times and try to grab my finger with her teeth and pull it to her back to give her a pet. My bedside table had a small framed photo of her. She was cute and Hannah usually greeted her and bid her goodbye daily. I think she will be ready for a dog when we get home to the USA.

Our hands-down favorite experience was the Guinness Storehouse Tour. It was not an inexpensive one, so I was skeptical as to its value. It was every bit worth it. The tour took us through the entire brewing experience and history of Guinness, including background on the Guinness family and their influence in Dublin. Hannah and I had gradually found ourselves drinking more beer on the trip than we had at home. Standard Guinness stout was naturally good, but we decided to use one of our “free beer” tickets for a different kind. Hop House 13 Lager was smooth and pleasing to the palate. I was never much of a fa of hopes or IPAs, but it is a beer I will order again in the future.


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