The Final Countdown

The short trip from Armagh to Dublin was still a beautiful one. Even though I’m colorblind, I can tell that the green of the Irish countryside is unlike anything else in the world. I’ve been to Dublin before, but it’s one of my favorite cities and deserved another go.

The first day I got there, all I was craving was some good, hearty Irish food and a Guinness. Trust me, Guinness tastes 100 times better in Ireland than anywhere else. My hostel was right on the River Liffey in Temple Bar. It was nice being that close to everything and getting those views. I spent that afternoon essentially hobbling around Dublin getting reacquainted with the city. Walking past familiar places and some new ones as well, I realized that I should make the most of the next day in Dublin.

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The next morning I took the free walking tour offered at the hostel and got to know more about Dublin. The last time I was there, I took a free tour with my friend, but we ended up being on a tour that was primarily about the Viking influence in Dublin. This time around, I learned about the more modern history of Ireland. I just fell in love with Dublin all over again. I wanted to make my way over to the Guinness Storehouse, which was something I had never done before. BUT it was a bit of a walk and I wasn’t really up to the hike after the walking tour.

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I found an Irish pub near the end of the tour, but on the outskirts of Temple Bar (which is pricey) and got myself another hearty meal and a couple pints of Guinness to wait for the rain to pass. The rain is not exactly a pouring down rain like what we get back in Michigan when it rains, but it was heavy for Dublin. Once it let up a bit, I made my way back to the hostel singing Molly Malone to myself (thanks for getting that one stuck in my head, Adam!) and taking in the city before leaving the next day. I didn’t feel too bad about it because I knew I would have one more quick night in Dublin before flying back to the UK. Anyways, it is never goodbye for me when it comes to Dublin…always a see you later.

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The next day brought some more rain, but lucky for me the bus station was literally outside the hostel. I loved Abigail’s Hostel and would definitely stay there again, but I heard some really great things about my hostel in Galway. Trust me when I tell you, a good hostel makes a HUGE difference in your trip. The bus ride to Galway was calm with only a little bit of rain along the way. It’s a surprisingly short trip and only takes about 2 and a half hours. I didn’t know what to expect with Galway. I had never been there, but anyone I met on my travels who had been there said that I would love it. After leaving the bus station I was confused. I expected something much bigger, but after about 45 minutes there, I fell in love.

The Barnacle’s Hostel there was FANTASTIC. I was right in the heart of it all and steps away from the water. I ended up being in a four-person room and roommates with a guy who was actually in my hostel in Dublin while I was there and our paths didn’t cross. We went out with yet another guy who was in the Dublin hostel (clearly I’m bad at meeting people) and some girls from his hostel. It was so nice to actually hang out with people and while that did make a big difference, I still loved Galway. It’s small, but it’s a perfect size and has the best people.

The next day was rainy, but that didn’t stop me from going on a walking tour. I think my tour guide in Galway was one of the coolest people I’ve met and with her accent, I could listen to her talk all day. Stories just sound better with an Irish accent! We only had about 6 people in our group but it was fun to walk around Galway and hear all the stories of the wealthy merchants of the past and the Spanish princes who swept the local women off their feet.

As the group from the night before starting coming back from our day’s adventures, one of my new friends and I decided to get some tattoos. HUGE shout of to Galway Tattoos because the spur of the moment tattoo that was hand drawn for me is amazing and I’m in love with it. It doesn’t necessarily stand for anything, but I am reminded of my entire journey when I look at it.

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My last night in Galway was filled with friends, Guinness (of course), and Irish music! One of my favorite things about pubs in Ireland is that they have live music most nights, which I think just adds to the whole experience. I was sad to leave my new friends the next day but Facebook is there for a reason and I have a feeling we’ll see each other again someday. It was totally a turkey, guys!

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The next day, I caught the bus back to Dublin for one more night on the Emerald Isle before heading to Brighton. The trip was really coming to an end and I was finally starting to feel it. The flight to the UK was short and I was just really ready to get to Brighton. I had been here once before but it was a less than thrilling experience. Brighton in the summer is definitely the way to go. The beach is filled with people and vendors, the pier is bustling, and it was gorgeous outside.

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This hostel wasn’t the greatest and I actually was considering going anywhere else to get away from it, but it didn’t tarnish my view of Brighton. I was lucky enough to have met a girl in Berlin that lived in Brighton and she took me out for a lovely dinner at the Brighton Marina. It was so nice to see a familiar face after months of strangers. It was great to catch up on what we’ve been up to since Berlin, but even better to talk about the future. Sometimes you meet some really awful people while you’re traveling, but you also get some gems that you get to meet up with later and they introduce you to Pier Doughnuts! The important things, right?

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My next day was all about shopping through the Lanes and spending some more time down at the beach. It was a great close to my solo adventure. I remember sitting on the beach with about 200 other people watching the sunset and I felt so relieved that I had made it this far. It was definitely an uphill climb, but the view from the top is amazing.

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