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!
I know I've said this a million times before, but I absolutely love to eat out. Dining out is like, my favourite thing to do. I enjoy the entire experience starting from the initial impression or the first hopeful glance at the menu to the eating and enjoying of amazing food. As much as I love to cook, there's something about tasting someone else's inspiration that is so wonderful.
Considering I'm leaving to Ireland in just over 3 weeks, I decided to pick some of the restaurants I was most looking forward to trying. Check out my list below and learn a little about the places I'm headed!
Opened in 1986, Cornucopia's focus has always been their customers, their experiences, and the fresh and delicious vegetarian menu they provide. They have an award winning menu and offer a creative and delicious (sounding) meal for breakfast or any time of the day.
They're the same age as me so that's reason enough to visit! I love the ambiance of the restaurant and it looks like such a quaint and homey restaurant to dine at.
I'm especially excited to try the zucchini, potato, and leek gratin. It's baked in pepper sauce and goat's cheese. It sounds like like paradise as far as I'm concerned.
Check out their website below!
Image from: www.cornucopia.ie/
Where has the time gone?
Last week I celebrated my going away party with my Healthy Mama's gang and had an absolute blast. I am so grateful for each and every one of them, it was truly a wonderful evening. When I got home from the party it was like reality slapped me in the face, my departure was getting super close. That party was a reminder that my time to depart was getting ever so much closer and I still have a few pre-departure things to take care of.
My hostel is booked. I will be staying at Abigail's Hostel which is very conveniently located in the city center and super close to everything I need to take care of within my first week in Dublin. I've never stayed in a hostel before but I'm hoping that nervousness aside, I'll be able to meet a few people in the same boat as I'll be in. It's definitely going to be an entirely new experience for me totally outside of my comfort zone. That's the fun of it isn't it?
As far as what's left to take care of, mostly clerical things. I need copies of all of my documents, I have a few documents I still need to print off etc. Otherwise, it's just a few last minute shopping items that I need like a raincoat and an additional adapter. I feel pretty confident that I'm on top of everything I need to be doing.
4 weeks y'all. 4 weeks and I'll be arriving in Dublin for what will be the most exciting 2 years of my life. Time flies when you're anticipating something so much!
Yesterday I enjoyed the company of my Healthy Mama crew for my going away party. My boss was kind enough to host us at her home where there was a plethora of food and some seriously amazing sangria that I may have overindulged in! It was such an enjoyable evening with some seriously amazing people, I am so grateful to each and every one of them.
It's been such a great experience working there but celebrating my going away yesterday was a big reminder at how quickly my trip is approaching. I'm finished work in less than 3 weeks which would mean that two and half more weeks after that, I'm flying out to Dublin. This summer has flown by and I can honestly say I've lost track of time taking care of things over the last month or so.
I'm in the process of collecting reference letters, photocopying all of my important documents, and shopping for some last minute necessities. It's utterly insane how quickly September has approached! I'm really starting to feel those butterflies in my stomach now when I think about the trip. I'm talking in weeks now which is insanely close but I'm feeling pretty ready to fly out. I've taken care of most of the things I need to do pre-departure so I'm a bit stress free as far as that's involved.
My only concern was an article I read the other day about Dublin's housing market. It's extremely competitive and there are a limited number of (affordable) flats to rent which is a tad daunting. I refuse to allow it to scare me but I'll admit, it's definitely nerve wracking considering I may have to increase my monthly budget to find a decent place. I've put out ads in the Irish classifieds as well as several Expat groups on Facebook looking for suggestions so here's to hoping I find the perfect fit!
The countdown is definitely on now, 5 and a half weeks and I'm on a plane to Dublin Ireland!
I am so excited to learn that there are no restrictions on the amount of hours / kind of work I want to do while in Ireland. I was originally under the impression I was only allowed to work so many hours in a week but I've been informed that I can work full time which is great news! It's a total relief to know that I'll be making enough money to live and travel which is all I really care about. I definitely won't be working as much as I do here but at least I'll be able to support myself and still save some money :D
I'm currently looking at a variety of vegetarian / vegan businesses and will be contacting them this weekend with my CV in hopes of setting up a meeting once I arrive. I would love nothing more than to stick with the same industry especially considering I am extremely passionate about this industry. Vegetarian and Vegan food is my life and I know that I would be the perfect fit to any of these restaurants so I'm looking forward to opening dialogue with them!
ACK! So exciting! So little time before I leave and so much still to accomplish! I'll keep y'all posted!