14 Mar Ireland (2 of 4)
Whatever you do when you’re in Ireland, you must enjoy an afternoon or evening at their amazing pubs. In Ireland, much of the social world revolves around the pub – they are places to visit with friends and neighbors, celebrate life events, watch sports or discuss politics, and simply just enjoy the company of your fellow man. You should visit the small pubs in the quaint towns as well as the small, quaint pubs in the big cities. Some of the pubs date back to the 1700s and many (most?) of the traditional pubs have live Irish music and make for a great evening – and not too late of one since pubs close at 11:30 and 12:30 on Fri/Sat.
In Dublin, you have the choice to do a guided pub crawl – most likely in the Temple Bar area. I did a pub crawl where the guides recited James Joyce lines at each pub. You can go to the pubs yourself, of course, but since I was a single traveler and in my early twenties, I didn’t want to just walk into a pub alone. Everyone else on the tour was basically in the same boat – fun people traveling alone or in small groups who simply didn’t want to go to a pub alone. The others on the tour, the tour guides, the pubs themselves and the Irish people made it one of my favorite memories of all my European vacations and I’d highly recommend a guided pub tour in Dublin. Don’t forget to buy a second round if someone buys you the first – and to simply order a Guinness, relax and enjoy!
After Dublin, you have a choice of heading South to the Ring of Kerry, the Blarney stone and other Irish countryside/coastal gems, heading north to Derry and Belfast, including the Giant’s Causeway, or due west to the town of Galway and the Aran Islands. You can’t lose either way – although they are very different experiences. Choose south or west for traditional Irish country and islands and north for interesting modern cities and historical (and present) sites of conflict. Next week – Belfast and Derry.