Okay so we all know the band Kodaline, right? The band I was originally meant to see last year, before they rescheduled? The band I was meant to see on their new date, but couldn't because I'd accidentally bought a holiday to Germany? The band that I decided I was going to see this year, regardless of how much tickets may cost, or where in the world they might actually be performing? We all know that band, right? So this month, I decided to fly all the way up to Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, just for one evening of Kodaline. Was it extremely tiresome to travel cross-county to hear a couple sets? Yes. But was it also extremely worth it to get to see Ireland? Also yes. Definitely, definitely, yes.
So, after booking two tickets to see Kodaline at the famous Marlay Park, I also booked a couple nights stay in a hotel in Dun Laoghaire, because it seemed close to both the park and the centre of Dublin. Only problem was - the hotel was pretty shit. Imagine mould, rotting and peeling walls, holes in bedsheets and in off-colour towels, and stagnant "complimentary" breakfasts, all for a rather large price. In all honesty, if I had actually read reviews on the hotel in the first place, I probably would have stayed in the beautiful Royal Marine just down the road, which only cost twenty quid extra. I don't want to discredit the hotel by naming it, but let's just say that if you are planning on booking a hotel by the coast in Dun Laoghaire and the rating is lower than the hits Trump is taking at Sanders, then do yourself a favour and just stay the heck away. Also, the host was pretty scary - at one point I told her I was vegetarian, in regards to what I could eat in the morning (which turned out to be nothing because the food was so awful), and she stared me dead in the eyes and said in a thick Russian/ Polish/ Kosovar accent, "that was a bad move". Spooky, much?
So the hotel was awful, but the location wasn't. We were situated right by the coast, which is my favourite thing ever, surrounded by all these little shops and cafes - and there were basically no tourists, just Actual Irish People (with their gorgeous classic, jet black and ginger-haired, green-eyed selves) milling about. I say this like it's a surprise to find Irish people in Ireland, but every time I spoke to one and was greeted with a beautifully thick accent I was slightly taken aback, and would dully comment to my co-traveller, "they're Irish". No crap they're Irish Amy, you're in Ireland.
You're probably now like "cut it with the commentary, I want to learn how I can see the best of the Republic of Ireland in three days, and three days alone, as that is why I'm actually here", and as I'm not one to fail to deliver what y'all have sought after, here we go.
Suspended bars such as The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire were one of my favourite places to go to, because you could sit outside on the top bit and have a stunning look out over the coast as the sun went down, drinking blue lagoon cocktails and having chocolate sundaes (right?). It was a relaxed way to start my venture into Ireland, because I would sit with my co-traveller, talk about life, and look over across the town. Literally beautiful.
The Spire of Dublin is a staple monument that you see when you get into the city, and is often used as a meeting point. It was originally meant to be built to celebrate the year 2000, but according to a random Irish guy lounging around the area, the builders were a tad lazy and only actually built it a couple years later. The spire is often regarded as the sort of thing that if you haven't even glimpsed whilst staying in Ireland, then did you really go at all?
The River Liffey is one of the most famous rivers, as it runs through the centre of Dublin, and is featured in many different songs and movies. The equally famous Ha'penny Bridge, built in 1816, arches across the river near the main shopping streets in the city, and the architecture of it is so super pretty, I really recommend y'all check it out.
Penney's is basically Ireland's Primark, and I'm sorry, but it is so weird that they've given it a whole new name whilst still having Primark tags on their clothing, that you should go just to point out how ridiculous it all is.
The Leprechaun Museum is a small museum in Dublin that opens to be a long walk through a bunch of rooms, some with giant furniture to show you what life would be like as a leprechaun, some made of steel to imitate houses that wanted to keep fairies away, and also a little room that looked like a garden, where our tour guide told us the heartbreaking story of Tír Na NÓg - where the moral of the story is basically just 'don't ever try to help people or you will fall off your horse, age 300 years and die'. It's a little pricey for such a short tour, but was pretty cool nonetheless.
The Temple Bar is a super famous bar in Dublin, mainly just because of the events they host. I personally don't consider it to be anything special, but any tourist shop you go in will have at least a gazillion things, be it magnets or keyrings, with a picture of this bar on the front, so maybe I'm just missing out on the appeal.
Dame Street is a very large street in the capital, which is home to an abundance of architecturally beautiful buildings. I passed one of the banks whilst on a bus, and Jesús, it was stunning.
The Guinness Storehouse is where, you guessed it, the world-famous beer, Guinness, is stored. I didn't go in, but it's just as impressive from the outside as it is apparently in the inside - with giant containers of beer standing around it, and a little bar at the top called the Gravity Bar - similar to the Forty Foot I mentioned earlier, with a view of the city.
Phoenix Park is a gigantic park in Dublin, and to put its size into perspective, Hyde Park is 1.42 km², whereas Phoenix Park is 7.07 km². Now I thought that Hyde Park was big, so imagine my astonishment at the size of this one. If you still don't get how big it is, Central Park, the biggest in New York, is only 3.41 km². Phoenix Park is huuuuuuuge!
St Patrick's Cathedral is a beautiful medieval building situated in Dublin, which is apparently fighting against the Christ Church Cathedral, minutes away from it, to be the best in the city. I personally think that the latter is the most stunning, but I'll leave it up to you to decide.
The National Maritime Museum of Ireland is situated in Dun Laoghaire, and was originally built for seafarers as a church, in 1873. This was, quite frankly, the best maritime museum I have ever been to in my life (which is saying something, because I've been to one in basically every country I've ever visited). It was so incredibly interesting that I spent hours upon hours scouring the whole place. The best thing about it, is that they have a conjoined cafe, which is basically a place selling super healthy raw foods and smoothies, and everything there is absolutely divine. During my time in this half-church, half-museum, I learnt the story about Clare O'Malley, who is an incredible Irish woman that everyone should learn about at some point during their life.
City Sightseeing is a tour bus company that can be found in a bunch of major cities, and as I live by London I tend to see them transporting tourists from one place to another, and always thought that they were a bit of a sell-out way to travel because you don't have to do a single thing yourself. But when I was in Dublin with my co-traveller, with both of our legs absolutely killing from all the walking we were doing, we decided to finally hop onto one of these buses. And, as it turns out, they're brilliant. We went on a circuit tour, which took nearly two hours, and we saw all of the major parts of the city, with a guy explaining what they were and what they did. What the buses are designed to do is tell you a little about a place, and then drop you off so that you can do the rest of the exploring yourself - which is a great idea, and not actually what I was expecting them to be doing. In all honesty, the bus I went on completely changed my mind about tour buses, and if y'all ever see one, you should definitely hop right on it.
Marlay Park is where Kodaline was playing when I stayed in Ireland, and I was expecting it to just be a simple, little outdoor venue with a couple hundred people. However, as it turns out, around 38,000 people turned up to the concert, and I honestly felt like I'd taken a wrong turn and ended up at Galstonbury Festival. Everyone was wearing flower headbands and anklets and short-shorts that showed the world their buttcheeks, and I had accidentally gone to my first full-blown festival. There were a couple opening acts, one being Jess Glynne, who I didn't recognise by name, but as I listen to popular radio stations whilst in the car a lot, I basically knew every single one of her songs. And then when Kodaline came on, everyone started dancing and singing and trying not to topple over - because who's sober at a festival? - and it was pretty brilliant. I honestly can't recommend a better place to go to a concert, especially when the main band is Irish and playing in Ireland, because everyone goes absolutely mad. On a sidenote though, if you need the toilet then you're screwed, unless you're okay with waiting for thirty other people to go before you, by which time you'd better prepare to hold your nose.
And so, I had a pretty epic time in Dun Laoghaire, and I can also completely relate to people who die over their accents, because they're a lot softer and easier on the ear than Northern Ireland accents, whilst still being absolutely gorgeous. I hope that I've helped some of you if you're ever planning on going to the Republic, and if so - let me know if the comment section below!
Have a good month, y'all!
*Also, as a sidenote (mainly because I want to make the following pun), the weather in Dun Laoghaire is quite similar to London most of the time, but when I went, the weather in London wasn't great, but in Ireland it was stunning - Dun Laoghaire? More like Sun Laoghaire, am I right? *people boo in distance*