When my mom and I were plotting our next rendezvous, we decided it would be in Europe. However, it didn’t necessarily make sense for her to come back to Vevey. I like to take days off when I can travel to new places. I knew I had a wedding in England the weekend of May 23rd. Since we had two public holidays this month, I decided to plan something that would encompass both of them. My mom and I had never been to Ireland, so we chose that as our destination!
In order for her to have a place to go when she arrived on an early morning flight, I arrived the night before her. We stayed at The Westbury Hotel in the city centre between Trinity College and St. Stephens Green. It was a great location for us!
My mom arrived early in the morning and was surprisingly very awake and ready to go! We only had one day in Dublin, so we wanted to make the most of it. For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, that typically means I want to see everything humanly possible!
That can’t be done without a good breakfast, so we started the day at Queen of Tarts, which was both adorable and delicious!
Next up? Kilmainham Gaol (or, Jail). This jail opened in 1796. Its history is full of stories of how the British used it as a political prison during many of the rebellions. During our one-hour tour, I realized how little I know about Irish history. I didn’t recognize one name during the entire tour! However, my takeaways were the following:
- the conditions in the prison were awful
- the prison was incredibly over crowded at point throughout its history
- many people lost their lives here
They’ve since put windows in, and it was STILL freezing in May! I can only imagine how cold it would be in winter time without windows! Yikes!
We walked to the Guinness Storehouse just as it started to rain. [As an aside…Thank goodness both of us brought our rain boots on this trip! While we lucked out with mostly good weather, we definitely put our boots to work. They helped keep us smiling…even on the soggy days!] Anyway…I digress…
Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on this property & its water rights in 1759. While they now own the property, the lease is still on display. It spans several city blocks. It’s not the largest of their breweries, but it was a lot of fun to visit!
From learning about the beer making process…
…to learning about how they made handmade their barrels…
…to learning that the Irish agree we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day (My dad was right!)…
…to reliving the biggest advertising campaigns in the company’s history!
Unfortunately, the line to try pouring your own pint was too long, and we had more places to be! We headed out into what was now pouring rain to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Honestly, it wasn’t as over-the-top inside as many other cathedrals, but I liked the floors, the seat cushions, the flags, and as always, the stained glass windows. Plus, it was built in the 13th century, which always blows my mind a little bit when I really think about that.
[Rockin’ the rain boots at Trinity College! I wish I knew how many times she told me she was so happy she bought them. I’m going to guess it was 42 times! Maybe even more!]
And finally…the Book of Kells in the Trinity College Library. Honestly, I heard so much about this, but I didn’t exactly know what they were or what to expect. Turns out, the Book of Kells is a 1,200 year old version of the Biblical gospels. It was illustrated by monks, and both Christian and pagan symbols are visible throughout. It was created during the Dark Ages. Obviously, there are no photographs allowed. It’s incredible to see something so old that somehow lasted through wars, different rulers, and time, and while I know it’s impossible, I would’ve loved to flip through and see more pages.
After seeing the Book of Kells, we went upstairs to walk through the Long Room. I just know Belle (yes, of “Beauty and the Beast”) would’ve loved this room!
We visited all of those places by 14:30, so I agreed to let my mama take a nap for a few minutes. (See how nice I am!) I’m not sure if she was rested at all, but we headed out to the Shelbourne Hotel for Afternoon Tea in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge. The theme was “Elegance & Grace,” and the desserts were inspired by Princess Grace! It was such a beautiful setting, and it was definitely as delicious as it looked!
I should probably take a minute to introduce you to “Rachel,” since she will surface throughout the trip. Don’t be confused by the longer hair, it’s still my mama. 😉 Rachel loves Europe! She makes it a point to sneak into the suitcase for every Euro trip my mama takes.
And just before falling over with exhaustion from her trans-Atlantic flight, we met up with one of my agency partners. She’s originally from northwest Ireland, but lives in Dublin now. She was so incredibly helpful with my itinerary! I sent her my plans, and she worked her magic recommending fabulous places to eat, great places to stay, and general suggestions about how to structure some of our days. It was great to have a local to advise us on the things that were really worth it vs. the things we could afford to skip along the way!
My mama didn’t make it much longer, so we called it a night early. I had low expectations for how she would hold up on day 1. Needless to say, she surprised me! Despite the rain, it was a really fun start to our adventure!