Every single person I talked to who has been to Dublin said Dublin was not that great. Poor Dublin! I felt like we couldn't go to Ireland and not go at all, though. So we drove the 3 hours from Derry and dropped off the car at the airport and were freeeee! We got a cab to take us to our hotel in the city center.
Dublin's hotels are wildly expensive, New York style. I found the Harding Hotel, which seemed to be in a good location and looked nice, but was suspiciously reasonably priced. I was a little worried about it, but it turned out to be great!
It was in a busy but cute neighborhood right in the center of town.
Walking around, it's pretty easy to see why everyone said Dublin wasn't worth the time. Not because there's anything wrong with it, necessarily, but because it seems a bit generic, like any big city. Very Londony.
I had really wanted to see the Book of Kells in the Trinity College Library but the guidebooks made it sound like a miserable experience, packed with tourists at all times. We did walk over toward the college but the entire street was filled with people milling around outside tour buses for blocks and blocks, so we turned right around and got out of there.
We went to the National Museum of Archeology instead.
This was a good decision! They have a bunch of cool stuff! I put Ben in charge of taking the photographs for this excursion.
The Temple Bar area is the tourist hotspot neighborhood and was about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. It felt like Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Dublin Castle was also supposedly nearby but we had trouble finding it. Also, it kept raining and then not raining and at this point I was pretty much ready to come back to North Carolina and sit in the nice sunny heat.
We couldn't find the castle, it turns out, because it's been added to over various time periods and is very haphazard. The oldest part is the round tower.
We got takeout falafel for dinner to eat in our hotel room, which was right across the street from Christ Church Cathedral. The church bells kept ringing and ringing and ringing, and whoever was ringing them was not doing a very good job - off key, off rhythm - it was bad enough that I started googling to figure out what was going on. It turns out that on Friday nights they have PRACTICE SESSIONS for THREE HOURS where anyone can sign up to try their hand at ringing the church bells. Whose idea was this?? Right in the center of an urban area?!
Our trip home the next morning was uneventful, from Dublin through Boston back to Raleigh, all in economy class like regular people. SIGH. Another one in the books.