First stop on my journey through Ireland, Dublin was a surprising discovery. I really enjoyed walking around the city’s historic center and I would probably not see any problem spending a little more time there sometime soon.
A half-day in Dublin
I landed in Dublin airport an hour late. It’s a short flight from Lyon but the weather seemed to be an issue and we had to spend quite some time on the tarmac before taking off. Once there, I navigated myself through the airport toward the car rental company. This 75€ for the week car-rental deal is what started this whole solo trip. I couldn’t possibly pass on such a deal.
After clicking, it was only a matter of days before I realized what I got myself into: one week of driving alone… on the wrong side of the car. On the wrong side of the road. As nervous as I was when I boarded my shiny new little red Polo, I tried not to show it too much, took a deep breath, turned on my GPS and drove myself to Ballyfermot where I had a room booked for the night.
I chose a neighborhood that was remote enough that parking wouldn’t be a nightmare, but with easy access to downtown since I had a few hours to visit the Irish capital before heading on my road-trip.
Access couldn’t be easier, a nice double-decker took me from my AirBnB straight to the middle of town. Just had to find change. Know that you’ll need change if you want to take the bus in Dublin…
A stroll in downtown Dublin
Sometimes, I simply love putting on my tourist hat and losing myself in the city streets. In Dublin, the crowd was quite young and eclectic. The nice weather of these May days also made it a hot place for foreign visitors, including French visitors… Lots of French visitors.
The city was vibrant. Its energy was exactly what I needed to recharge before spending a lot of time driving during the next few days. It might have been the moment when I felt a little lonely. Suddenly I wished I had someone to share that moment with… along with a beer.
Instead, I treated myself to Irish Whisky Ice-cream.
On the way back toward my temporary neighbourhood, I found myself on the sidewalk looking at a church. A voice next to me stated: “I was baptized in that church…” I turned around. A woman whom could have been my grand-mother was standing next to me. She told me about growing-up in Dublin, and living her entire life in the neighborhood. We chatted for a while and then she left. Although I’m only a Catholic because I was born in that religion, I felt compelled to walk into Saint Audoen’s church and thank “someone” for that moment.
Those encounters are what I treasure in my travels. And I don’t believe we’re as prone to them when we travel with someone else. As it made me feel a lot better about being alone, I realized I didn’t need any company to try my first half-pint of Irish beer. And that’s exactly what I did.
As the day came to an end, I shared some takeout Chinese food and conversation with my temporary roommate. This trip felt very promising… until I remembered that I was going to drive on the wrong side of everything again the next day… But that’s a story for another episode…