Things to Know about Dublin (Daytrips and Drinking)

We saved Dublin for the end of the Ireland portion of our trip so James could be there for Bloomsday and so that we could fly directly from there to Edinburgh and avoid going near horridly dull Glasgow. We stayed at Isaacs Hostel (located close to the bus station and Connoly DART station with cheap beds and a fun lounge area overrun with World Cup fans from around the world) and used Dublin as a base for daytrips into the surrounding area.

Daytrips

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a fantastic way to cheaply visit the coastal villages 30 minutes out of Ireland’s biggest tourist magnet. James met Heather (from Summerland B.C.!) and went on a coastal walk with her around Howth.

Howth Harbour

To find the Connoly DART Station on the north side of the Liffey, by the way, one must carefully follow the vaulted railway lines and circle the station completely before the entrance will appear. It has some sort of magic spell over it which confused other travellers we met as well. The less than 2.50 euros spent each way are so worth it, especially because of these seals begging for fish in the harbour.

Seals calling for fish

Another good choice is Bray. It’s in county Wicklow, so James went there just to earn the Wicklow sticker for Erin (the guitar). Follow the beach and breathtaking cliffside walk over smuggling (now train) tunnels towards Greystones.

Bray Head coastal walk

Malahide also has a scenic beach and its castle is set in a forested park. Inside, there are lots of portraits and history about the family…not worth the admission.

Malahide Castle

Pubs, Late Night Bars, and Clubs

We didn’t actually hit as many pubs as you’d probably think we would have. Dublin is expensive, and the price of pints in the Temple Bar area goes up as the night progresses. We did a lot of Guinness drinking around the rest of the country, and although we did go out in Dublin we didn’t try to research the definite guide to drinking there. In fact, I’m not sure how one would do that. There are far too many pubs and only so much alcohol our livers can handle.

Porterhouse. We didn’t actually return to James’ favourite pub from his last trip. Try the oyster stout.

Fitzsimmons, Temple Bar. Multi-levelled with something for everyone. A good raised area in the dance section downstairs for dance exhibitionists like James.

The Auld Dubliner, Temple Bar. Excellent DJ rolling out sing-along after sing-along. 60s-present. Closed out with traditional songs.

The Hop House, Parnell Street. Korean bar where James watched South Korea’s World Cup games. They had free makali and haemul pajeon!

Korea loses to Argentina

Woolshed, Parnell. Crowded (the biggest audience we’ve ever had for) karaoke on Thursdays. Our tattoo artist Rob was there!

Brice singing Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"

Dragon. We didn’t go, but a Brazilian woman at the Auld Dubliner assured James, whom she thought was gay, that this is the place to be for gays on Sunday. And the George too.

Krystal. Again, we didn’t go, but it’s the club of choice on Saturday nights.

Things to Know about Cork

To help other travellers and for everyone’s general interest, here are some things to know about Cork (and in some cases the whole of Ireland).

Slang and Accent

The Irish accent is gorgeous. Not that we didn’t know this before. But it’s something else being surrounded by it all the time. They speak quickly, turn th into t or d (and s into sh in Dingle). “It’s tree-tirty”. “No bodder” (no bother, no worries). “Tanks”.

In Cork, they put the word like at the end of most sentences. “It’s bullshit, like”. (In Dingle, instead of like they say hi. “It’s bullshit, hi”.

If you’re putting forth a suggestion, add so at the end. “Let’s get anudder pint, so”.

They swear a lot, usually using eff or feckin’.

Savage means very good, often for describing someone’s attractiveness. Used like the more globally popular wicked. “Didja see dose savage girls at da bar like?”

Locked means drunk, pissed, etc.

For time, they wouldn’t actually say “tree-tirty”, they’d say “half-tree”.

Him is replaced with himself and your man. If you’re talking about someone and then they arrive or call… “So then Brice said…<cell phone rings> ah! It is himself.” After you use a person’s name once in a story you’re telling, you can use your man afterwards: “James got feckin’ locked last night like. I’m surprised your man made it home.”

Drinking

Cork has the minority complex associated with most “also-ran” cities and countries in the world in its competition with Dublin. They claim not to care (but do), and Dublin is probably only vaguely aware of Cork’s existence. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with ordering a Guinness in Cork, but most of the locals drink Murphy’s instead. If you go anywhere else in Ireland, only tourists drink Murphy’s just to try something different.

Smithwicks (an ale) is scorned. Bulmer’s cider is popular among the Irish cursed with a hops allergy.

There are three main types of drinking establishments in Ireland, but off-licence liquor stores should really be counted as a fourth.

Pubs: Stand around small tables for pints and a chat until 12:30 on weekends and 12:00 on weekdays. Lights will flicker to signal last call. (The Corner House)

Late Night Bars: Larger venues usually with a cleared dance area and a stage for live music. No cover. Open until 2 a.m. (Crane Lane, The Slate)

Night Clubs: There’s a cover charge to get into these top-40 dance clubs. High heels and gold chains. We haven’t been to one yet in Ireland, but from what we’ve heard (and judging from queues we’ve passed by) they’re meet (meat?)-markets—as dance clubs are anywhere in the world. (Mangans “If you want to get a venereal disease”)

Off-Licence: Attached to the side of pubs or inside convenience stores, off-licence liquor sales in Ireland close at 10 p.m. This is a relatively new law intended to reduce drunkenness, but it has had the opposite effect. Before, people would buy some drinks to have at home just before 11 p.m. and then hit the pubs for a pint after. Now, they rush to the off-licence stores to join the 10 o’clock queue and buy more than they need—which they still drink. And then still go to pub, but drunker than they would have with the old law. We’ve heard this story from two different lads in two different towns, so the earlier closing time seems to be having the same effect across the country.

Food and Coffee

Brice is a coffee addict, so it’s important for us to find good coffee shops as we travel.

Cork Coffee Roaster

The Pavilion Cafe. We only had beer here anyway…

KC’s Chipper. Famous pita place with a perfectly efficient staff to keep the constant queue on the move.

Hillbilly’s Chicken. Essentially a KFC with bouncers. It’s located in the square by the fountain where everyone gathers after a night of drinking. Because everyone is wrecked, Hillbilly’s employs large scary men to make sure that the crowd of starving drunks doesn’t get too rowdy. But they do. You should definitely check out this area after a night of drinking to see the drunken antics of the locals. No one goes there during the day.

Shopping

We had some stuff we needed to buy that we didn’t bring with us. Here are the cheapest places to shop in Cork.

Penney’s. In the middle of St. Patrick’s. Hoodies for 7-9 euros. Shirts for 4-6 euros. It’s like an H&M but even cheaper.

Argos. A warehouse of deals. The store is full of catalogues where you pick the item you want and then they get it from the back. We bought a ¾ guitar for 32 euros.

Pro Musica. Not necessarily cheap, but a good selection of instruments. We bought tin whistles for 5 euros (and have seen them cheaper elsewhere since…), an instructional book, and a guitar case.