After searching feverishly for deals and stressing over a lack of availability, I've finally decided to spend more than what I'd originally hoped and stay somewhere that speaks to me.
Garden Lane Backpackers - Being located nearly 2 km. from city center is what originally got my attention. Although I loved the craziness of being smack dab in Dublin city center, I love the idea of being in a quieter area when it comes to my nightly strolls. I also love that it's a new and unexplored area. I mean, 2 km. is really not that far, but I never made it that far from city center last time around so it's far enough :p
I also love the clean, sleek, super newly renovated look of the hostel. Everything looks so fabulous and fresh, it makes me excited to stay there. There were so many beautiful spots and the building itself is so visually attractive and inviting from the outside. I especially loved the rooftop patio <3It's actually the only address on the street!
What I also liked was that they offer the kind of amenities I'm looking for, like onsite laundry, walking tours, and a central (but not too central) location. It's super ideal for me!
Check out their website and look at the pictures! I bet you'll agree with me about the beauty of the hostel!
I do not own these images. Images Taken from http://canbe.ie/garden-lane-backpackers/
I have to tell you guys, there's something so intriguing about staring into history regardless of where you are located. History is part of the reason we are where we are today, and explains a lot of how things came to be. I started really enjoying history as I've gotten older and making a trip to the Dublin National Museum of Archaeology was a must visit for me.
The building itself was quite a sight to behold. Architecture is something I've also taken a liking to, especially as I've been religiously watching HGTV as of late. There's definitely no shortage of interesting architecture in Ireland and the Museum itself is pretty awe inspiring to stand in front of. It certainly leaves you awestruck before even entering and kind of sets you up for the experience you will have once inside.
The museum of archaeology displays several exhibits from across the globe while also displaying temporary exhibits, each with their own theme. Throughout the exhibits, you will see artifacts from all over the world, historical pieces relevant to Ireland's history, as well as prehistoric pieces, giving you a glimpse into what life was like hundreds of thousands of years ago. I spent a good 4 hours walking through the museum, reading the stories attached to the pieces and trying to engulf myself in the history. It's important to set aside a good portion of your day for an activity like this so that you can truly engage and interact with the various exhibits.
Learning about the country I'm going to be staying in for a while is so important to me because I told myself I wanted to really engage and envelop myself in everything Ireland has to offer. To do that, learning about the roots and the start of the country are crucial.
The Dublin Museum of Archaeology is located on Kildare Street, Dublin 2, and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am. - 5pm and Sundays 2pm. - 5pm.. The museum is closed Mondays and Good Friday / Christmas.
I implore any of you who choose to visit Ireland to take the time out of your schedule to visit the museums. I can't tell you enough what an experience it was walking through the exhibits and staring directly into the past of a country with such a colourful history.
Leaving Windsor and ending up in Ireland was definitely a big change. Aside from the fact that there were significantly more people everywhere, there were quite a few big differences between my hometown and Dublin. Here's some of the big things I noticed that were super different!
1. POPULATION - Windsor has a population of less than 250, 000 people while Dublin has over 500, 000 people so it was definitely significantly more busy everywhere. I was astounded walking down the streets of Dublin's city center at just how many people there were. This was the definition of little fish, big pond. Seriously crazy!
2. SECURITY - Being that there were so many people in such a condensed area, there was security everywhere. Police regularly walked the streets while every business I saw had security standing by the door. Everything from clothing stores to fast food restaurants had security posted by the entrance ready to deal with situations should they arise. Despite everything being so hectic, it was nice to see that there was someone to go to if something was wrong.
4. TOURISM - Getting lost was something I became quite accustomed to the first few days I was in Dublin,. It seemed reading a map was not my strong suit so I was regularly asking people for help / directions. At Least 1 in every 3 people was a tourist because they were either lost or had no idea where I was trying to go. It was super easy to spot the tourists as well because they all had their DSLR cameras hanging from their necks, maps open, eyes wide, looking for their next spot. Depending on where I was, there were more tourists than locals! Very different from Windsor, people don't seem to visit here lol
5. DEALING WITH THE CITY'S HOMELESS - There were a great number of homeless people holding signs and shaking cups, no different than Toronto or any other large city. What I was super impressed with was that volunteers regularly set up stations around the city center offering hot drinks, food, and clothes for the city's needy. It was so nice seeing how caring they were, engaging in conversation and providing food and beverages out of their own good will. In Windsor, there are places for the homeless to go but I must admit, seeing stations set up like that throughout the city is not something I've seen here. We could learn something from Dublin!
I'll have more to share as time goes on, I am looking forward to heading back this year because there are so many things I have yet to learn about this beautiful country.
One of the places I spent the most time was the National Gallery of Ireland. It took me atleast 3 hours to make my way through the different eras of Irish art, all of which were astounding and so beautiful to witness. From the paintings themselves, to the frames that enveloped them, there was such a feeling of historical value that was hard to ignore.
I don't consider myself an art connoisseur, but it was hard to deny the beauty of each of the paintings before me. Each painting did such an excellent job of telling a story, critical to Ireland's history. As you make your way through the gallery, you'll find sculptures and paintings indicative of the era, each from an artist who has such a big story to tell. I can't tell you guys how much I was lucky enough to learn about some of Ireland's colourful history just by reading the provided descriptions of the paintings before me.
After I finished, I truly felt inspired to learn more about Ireland. I wanted to learn more about the artists whose paintings I had just spent hours admiring. Much like the museum did, the art gallery inspired my historical interest. I've always had a little interest in history but Dublin brought out this yearning to learn more about the history that moulded the country I was now staying in. Quite an awe inspiring feeling.
The National Gallery of Ireland is open Monday through Saturday, 9:15am - 5:30pm, Thursday, 9:15am to 8:30pm, and Sunday, 11 am to 5:30pm closing only on Good Friday and December 24th - 26th. The Gallery regularly hosts events that you can learn more about through their website. You can also find ways to volunteer, donate, and find more information about some of the artists featured in the gallery.
Be mindful that some of the areas of the Gallery are photography free. There are staff throughout the Gallery that can answer your questions and let you know where you can and cannot take photos.
I insist that you all take the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Ireland if you find yourself on a trip to Dublin. You may not fancy yourself an artsy fartsy type, but it will be hard to deny the awe of the Gallery and the art that is displayed within it.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND
One of the very first places I was lucky enough to visit was Dublin Castle. Located smack dab in the city center, this massive and architecturally stunning building was certainly a sight to behold. Everything about the castle screamed history, walking in and seeing the stone tower, standing in the central courtyard, and walking through the front doors, all gave me this amazing sensation. There's nothing quite like walking into a castle, being transported back throughout a colourful history full of important visits, historical wars, and exciting stories.
Dublin castle served as the seat of English, and later British rule until 1922 with the coming of Irish independence. Throughout its history, the castle has seen its share of ups and downs coinciding with crucial parts of Ireland's history. Originally constructed as a medieval fortress, the castle suffered a major fire in 1684 that severely damaged portions of the castle. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the castle was transformed into a stately palace and was utilized by Viceroys and accommodated stately visitors. Parts of the medieval and viking structures were spared the worst of the fire and are available today for visitors to see.
Some of the famous visitors to the castle include Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy, Charles Dickens, and Queen Elizabeth. Today, the castle is used for many important purposes including the inauguration of every Irish president since 1938. There are several activities and functions held within the castle as well and it is open to the public aside from days when state activities are occurring. It continues to be one of the most architecturally inspiring parts of Georgian Dublin.
What can you expect to see when visiting Dublin castle? Whether you decide to take a guided or self guided tour, you can expect to some seriously amazing pieces of the castle's history. You can walk through the state rooms that exhibit elegance and prominently display several portraits of important figures in Ireland's history. You can expect to be enveloped in Ireland's fight for independence and stand in awe of some of the architecturally stunning aspects of the inside of the castle.
The self guided tours allow limited access to the castle so I would strongly suggest taking the guided tour. The tour guide has extensive knowledge of the historical importance of the castle and the stories they tell are quite exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed my guided tour and would strongly recommend it to get the full, historical experience.
Dublin castle is located on Dame street, Dublin 2, right in the center of the city. It's certainly hard to miss! This is a must visit if you're visiting Dublin, worth every penny paid to step back in time and experience some of Ireland's rich history.
General Enquires - 353 1 645 8813
You can also visit their website for details of upcoming events, hours of operation, and other important information. www.dublincastle.ie
The Museum of Decorative Arts took over the Collins Barracks in 1997 when it was decided the building would be transformed into a museum. Prior to this, Collins Barracks was an operational army base for over 200 years playing an incredibly big role in Ireland's colourful history. In fact, the building supposedly holds the record for longest running operational army barracks in history.
Named after celebrated Commander in Chief of the first Irish Free Army Michael Collins, the building has a deeply rooted history in Ireland having operated during some of Ireland's most intense wars and conflicts. The building is separated into 4 squares that are built around a central courtyard named Clarke Square. The building was used to train fearless, obedient, and loyal men whose daily lives were quite strict. Depending on status, you would expect to share a room with up to 6 soldiers and be expected to cook and complete general cleaning duties like cleaning the stables or polishing boots.
The history of the building is displayed throughout with intricately designed ceilings and crown mouldings reminiscent of the time period they were constructed. The museum boasts over 150, 000 artifacts celebrating Ireland's decorative arts along with social, political, and military history. As you make your way through the building, you feel the overwhelming presence of history and can almost put yourself in the position of a soldier stationed there some 200 years prior. There's nothing like the feeling of becoming invested in the history that so proudly displays itself throughout the museum.
You have the option of taking a self guided tour for 7 euros or a guided tour for 10 euros with a tour guide knowledgeable in the history of the building. I went with the guided tour and learned of many of the buildings secrets and some of the most interesting stories that occurred within the building. Most prominently, an escape that occurred was one of the stories that most intrigued me. I strongly suggest taking the guided tour so that you may learn of some of the historically important stories involving the building and some of the people that were housed within it during its history.
On display are several pieces of original and recreated clothing articles, silverware, and weapons that were indicative of their time. There are countless displays of traditional clothing and the stories behind their time period and significance. It was truly astounding seeing some of the original uniforms and reading about what time period they were from. It was also really interesting seeing the progression of their uniforms and weaponry as you explore years of history.
Stepping back into time is an experience that I cannot compare to anything else. The museum is an amazing experience and opportunity to engage and learn a history that is quite colourful and exciting. With every step into a new room full of displays, you are once again taken back and plopped right into history that welcomes you and expects that you will take something away from the experience.
The Museum of Decorative Arts and History is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and 2pm - 5 pm on Sundays. You can contact them by phone at 353 1 677 7444. If you are taking a trip to Dublin I implore you to visit the Museum. I also suggest setting aside a good portion of your day to truly engage in the experience. There are plenty of interactive displays and opportunities to learn that it would be a mistake to hurry through.
First impressions are funny, although we should never rely on a first impression as an indicator of the place you are staying, it's hard to avoid coming to your own conclusions. I think it's perfectly normal to form a first impression about a place, person, or thing, and it can be fun to challenge those impressions as time goes on.
With that being said, I'd like to share with you guys 5 of my first impressions about Dublin. It's important to note, I haven't strayed too far from the center of town, but there's so much action here that I've been able to form a bit of a first impression. Here's my 5 first impressions about Dublin!
Gosh it's been difficult without being able to update the blog! I have having withdrawals from all of you! I wanted to give y'all an update on some of the things I've been doing since I arrived!
I will update you guys when I can and I'll be sharing lots of pics and videos once I get settled into my own place and can set up my computer. I'll try to get back on here and update you guys when I can until then! Make sure you're following me everywhere to see all of my pictures and stay up to date on what's happening with me!
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Take care everyone and cheers from Dublin for now!
Can't believe the time for me to fly out has come so seemingly quickly. I believe I'm mostly ready but at the same time I've got about 100 million checklists started in my head all containing things I still need to do. Who knew planning an International move could be so overwhelming....just kidding...I was pretty much aware this was going to be a big challenge.
I've always liked to challenge myself whether through work, school, or even in my personal life. Challenges are a good way of recognizing our own potential and I'm always trying to become a better version of myself. There's always more to learn or experience and I'm finally taking my own advice as far as leaping into a massive challenge like this one. There's going to be a lot of firsts coming up for me in the next week. I spent a good portion of my life too focused on working and partying and not focused enough on life experience.
I'll be FLYING for the FIRST TIME, staying in a HOSTEL for the FIRST TIME, VISITING ANOTHER COUNTRY ALONE for the FIRST TIME, moving to ANOTHER COUNTRY for the FIRST TIME..etc The list could literally go on and on. I couldn't be more ready to start experiencing these things and really trying to engulf myself in change. I think I've stagnated so long that this sort of a change almost seems unimaginable which makes it all the more exciting.
With all of this being said, make sure WE'RE CONNECTED! I'll have plenty of posts, pictures, and videos coming up. :D
I can hardly believe I'm inching towards less than 3 weeks before I arrive in Dublin! Time has flown especially considering today is my last day of work at both jobs. It's going to be a doozy considering I'll be working from 6 am until 10 pm tonight! Nothing like going out with a bang!
A little update, I've managed to secure a volunteering opportunity with the Vegetarian Society of Ireland which I'm most excited about. I've also secured an interview with one of Ireland's longest operating Vegetarian restaurants, Cornucopia. www.cornucopia.ie/ So I have that to look forward to as well. Securing these opportunities is definitely giving me a little reassurance as far as dropping off in Ireland with absolutely no direction. It's definitely good to know that I've covered a few of my bases.
I've been in touch with a few different people in regards to renting a room and although I've yet to find a place, there's options so I'm not entirely lost. The sooner I can find a place though the better. That would be the biggest piece of this puzzle that I'd like to fit together. Knowing how crazy their rental market is, having a place secured prior to arrival would be a dream come true!
Aside from that, I've got some basic stuff to complete like purchasing luggage tags, making a few copies, and visiting with friends and family for the last time. As we wind down into the final weeks, I'm mostly looking forward to everything being so new. I'm so ready for a change / challenge and this is going to be exactly what I need!
The adventures of a LGBT , Vegetarian, Canadian Expat in Ireland.
I'll be sharing everything I encounter and all the fun and exciting things that happen to me in this beautiful country!