dublin _ ireland.

I love surprises - for myself and for other people - so when I found out Austin had never been out of the country I couldn't wait to make his first international experience a surprise. I decided to pick up a working trip to Dublin, Ireland and of course I didn't tell him. Since I was working the trip, it only gave us a 24 hour experience of this diverse city. When the time came, I told him to meet me in NYC and I would let him know where we were going only hours before our trip. I researched a few things for us to do during our quick trip. We arrived at JFK where I gave him a card which read "I am LUCKY to have you." It took him a moment but after some thought he said, "Are we going to Ireland?!? YESSSSS!" I had been to Ireland but never Dublin so I was excited for us to share this new experience together - I know it's one we will never forget. 

We got on the hop on hop off bus tour and heard some history of the city. Tip: If you do this tour, be sure to print your ticket ahead of time. They ended up figuring it out for us but it's much better if you have your printed ticket. We got off at the Guinness Factory and explored for hours. That place is truly incredible. We have both had our fair share of beer tours but this by far tops them all (DUH!). Because of the time change, me working the red eye flight and him barely getting sleep on the flight, we were hitting a wall while sipping on our Guinness. We crossed the Ha'penny Bridge and headed over to the Temple Bar. The Starbucks on the other side of the bridge is pretty cool and it also has a bathroom (important info). 

The temple bar area is all very cool but it was pretty touristy. We spent a few hours walking around the area trying to find the area with the hanging umbrellas. There is a new adventure down each ally way - lights, umbrellas, murals, graffiti, and more! We heard live music in the streets and people celebrating the rugby match. We were looking for a place for dinner, quite exhausted at this point, when we decided to take the train back and order room service. It was 8pm by the time we got back and we were ok with that. We woke up early for some traditional Irish breakfast. They even had a full honey comb out on the table! It was delicious! 

We would have loved to visit a museum, check out The Book of Kells, enjoy a traditional Irish bar with the locals, visit the Jameson tour, and eat at The Brazen Head. Looks like we have a list for next time. 

Every trip I take I learn more about traveling, myself, and the new city I'm exploring.


  • Stop over planning already! If we see one new thing we've never seen before then it is a successful trip. The span of 24 hours should be spent planning to do 3 things and filling the rest with whatever adventure is thrown your way. But no matter the length of your vacation, don't ever over plan. Leave time to think, explore, and rest. You will most certainly miss something because every city has so many new things. Make a note of those things and plan to see them again some other time.

  • Find your perfect travel buddy. I spend too much time trying to make every trip perfect for Austin and I've come to realize (finally) he's just happy to be somewhere new with me; everything else is bonus. He said at one point as we were about to cross a street, "Even if all I did was stand on this very confusing Irish street corner, I would be content. Because I've never been to this street corner and neither has a lot of people." Find yourself one of those people and do literally everything with them.
  • Know when you're tired - and let that be ok. Don't push yourself too much. We really wanted to find a fun Irish bar with some fish and chips. We wanted to clank our glasses together and fall off of bar stools (gracefully of course because we aren't from Ireland). But we will have to save that for next time. Instead we put on our slippers, ordered room service, I took a bath, and we watched a movie. I have a much harder time being ok with this when I'm in a new city but I'm learning. 
  • Not everything will go the way you think it will - especially if you over plan (see point #1). Be ok with that. Smile often. Don't be disappointed in what you didn't do and be excited about the things you did. 
Rachel Fenimore