I almost don’t know where to start. Dublin. Was. Awesome. I arrived on Friday morning on my first RyanAir flight. It wasn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be. I mean, yeah the crew seemed pretty miserable, but aside from that everything was fine. After I got into the city centre I checked into my hostel and got a lay of the land. First up, Guinness Storehouse. It was really cool. Everything was self-guided so I was able to skip over things and stay longer in other spots if I wanted to. It finished with a stop to Gravity Bar atop the Storehouse for my free pint of Guinness. I must say that the view up there was amazing. Nearly 360 degree panoramic view of Dublin. It was really quite breathtaking. The sun was up and the sky was blue so it made for a perfect end to the tour. Pictures to come once I have the chance to upload them…aka sometime next month probably, haha.
After Guinness I dropped the entirely too large bag of goods from the gift shop back at the hostel, changed clothes and embarked on my quest to find Whelan’s, where Ingrid Michaelson was playing. Ingrid was actually the reason I was in Dublin. I bought the ticket on a whim a couple months ago and didn’t actually book the flight or hostel until within a week before I left. Anyway, I got myself completely lost. I was wandering the streets of Dublin for what seemed like forever. The street signs are not nearly as clear as they are here in London (or anywhere back home for that matter) so it made it a bit difficult to figure out where I was. I finally caved and was about to ask someone for directions to Wexford Street when I looked across the street to see that somehow I had managed to stumble upon the venue. There was a cool little burger place next store so I ate dinner there then waited in line for what seemed like FOREVER. When I finally got into the gig I realized the place was actually rather small. The venue was perfect. My plans to convince Ingrid to marry me were still aligning…but that’s another story. Anyway her opener came on, and he was absolutely amazing. Take a listen to his songTwo Heartshere:
Find and like his page on Facebook. He’s going to do great things.
After the show I booked it out because everyone wanted to buy merch and get it signed by Ingrid. I couldn’t handle getting stuck in that crowd. I stopped at a bar called Doyle’s near the hostel and had a couple beers in there before heading back to retire for the night. When I got to my room I finally met two my temporary roommates. Becky and Alison are from Arizona and were pretty cool. We talked for a short bit and went to bed. I then realized that I had forgotten to bring pajama pants or shorts to sleep in so these strangers had to deal with my sleeping in my underwear, haha. I made fun of Alison’s alarm…saying that it probably would put me to sleep instead of waking me. Well…at 8am it went off and it instantly woke me up. Weird. Anyway, I felt odd that I got up with them so quickly got myself dressed and headed out for another day on the city. Had my first full traditional Irish breakfast at a place at the edge of Temple Bar, a cool area with traditional pubs, Irish music, and of course your tourist stuff. I definitely ate too much. I mean…breakfast came with 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 peices of thick bacon (which is practically ham), baked beans, potatoes, black and white pudding and half a tomato. I ate everything but the tomato. Turns out it was good that I ate this much…but more on that later…
I decided to walk off breakfast. It was raining on and off but I didn’t mind. It felt pretty good actually since I was overheating from the 23 pounds of food I had just managed to consume. I bounced around through shops in Temple Bar, walked through some outdoor shopping centres and made my way through St. Stephen’s Green. This park is absolutely stunning. Lots of cool floral arrangements, fountains, stone steps, willow trees leaning over a pond overtaken by ducks and seagulls and a bunch of interesting statues. My feet were starting toKILLbut I was determined to make it to the Jameson Distillery before I did any resting. I eventually made my way up north of the river to the Distillery just as the ominous gray clouds started dumping buckets of rain into the streets. I was pretty stoked that this tour was actually with a guide, so I didn’t have to aimlessly wander around. I took lots of pictures and even volunteered to be a taster at the end of the tour. That was pretty cool. Everyone got a free Jameson drink, but the tasters got to have a taste of Johnny Walker Black Label and Jack Daniels as well. It was really interesting comparing the flavors. I knew that they tasted different beforehand obviously, but the smokey taste to the Johnny and the sweet taste of Jack were so vastly different. And of course you have the smooth Jameson taste there as well. After getting my certificate of taste testing (haha) I headed back toward the hostel. At this point I thought my feet were going to fall off. I ended up stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe and eating a late lunch/early dinner there. I didn’t realize it until the end of my meal, but the host had seated me in the Beatles section. It’s like he knew. After stuffing myself to the brim for the second I stumbled back to the hostel in a food coma.
When I get to my room, Becky and Alison had just returned from their travels as well. We ended up talking a bit and realized we had a lot in common. After a couple hours of ridiculous drunken party stories and learning a bit about each other we decided to go out for drinks. I was excited to have some new friends and go have a night that everyone expects to have in Dublin…involving lots and lots of alcohol. Turns out we didn’t end up drinking too much because all three of us were so indecisive about where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. This is when I realiezd they were in fact just like me and we were going to be pals for life. We wandered into our first stop and saw some interesting cover band playing in a tiny pub basement for the most ridiculously eclectic group of people I’d ever seen. The bartender made us sit at a table with other random people, one being an older guy in a pink dress shirt having the time of his life. We basically decided it was a one stop shop, pounded our beers and got out of there. After much more aimless walking we made it into another place which was actually quite awesome. It was packed full and there was a 3 piece band playing traditional Irish covers as well as some cool takes on pop songs. The downside to this place was the floor. It was so sticky I actually had to put effort into lifting my feet up. Gross. Once the band finished up we headed back toward the hostel and closed out this other little pub.Upon arrival at the hostel we got changed and headed to the lobby, as the newest roommate in our room was sound asleep and we were all entirely too awake to just go to bed. We ended up sprawling across a couch in the lobby recounting our day and talking about what they were going to do for the next day or two before they were leaving.
Well I ended up oversleeping by a good 3 hours and misplacing my passport so I missed my flight back to London, couldn’t make it to rehearsal and my phone died.. I got really frustrated but just checked my stuff into the luggage room and went off with the girls to crash their plans for the day. We ended up getting breakfast at a place called O’Shea’s (apropos) and then headed to the Dart (the train) to go to a town called Dun Laoghaire, which was apparently a town they went to in the movie PS I Love You. Thanks for that Becky… While there we happened upon an American Independence Day celebration with an old jazz/blues band playing classic American music. He dedicated Ain’t Misbehavin’ to the three of us. We walked along the pier, into the town centre, browsed through an old book store where Alison found an amazing version of Peter Pan and Wendy and ended up getting coffee at a place called The Sunshine Cafe. As we had coffee, soup, salad and cake, a violinist and guitarist provided an awesome sountrack to the experience. I had forgotten my camera this day and was less than pleased with myself…but the girls took enough pictures. A lot of them apparently look super posed even though I was completely unaware. We shall see… Anyway – our plan then was to go back to Dublin and find somewhere to watch the EuroCup final between Spain and Italy.
While the girls got ready to go out somewhere, I paid for another night in the hostel and used the public pay as you go computer in the lobby to try booking a flight. When I got through to the booking page, my card was declined. This didn’t make much sense to me as I had withdrawn 40 Euros from an ATM just a few hours before and had been using it my whole trip to that point. Becky let me use Skype credit on her phone to call the bank. Upon calling Bank of America I found out that my account had been compromised before my trip and my card was cancelled and a new one mailed. I explained that everything was working fine up until that point and was concerned that I never received email notification since I’m temporarily living out of the country. The customer service representative got bit defensive, even though I was completely calm. No really…the girls were amazed at how well I handled the situation. Basically he told me there was nothing they could do unless my parents had the card at their address, activated it, and booked the trip for me. I called them and due to a bad connection my mom and sister were basically making up the story of what happened. My mom was in the car with my sister and had her call my dad. So I was telling mom, who was relaying to Katie, who was relaying to dad on the phone. At one point this is what was said:
Me: The bank said my card is shut off and the new one should have been mailed on the 28th to you guys.
Mom: Kevin’s bank account was compromised and he’s in trouble!
Katie: Kevin lost all his money.
Me: YOU’RE BOTH MAKING THINGS UP ENTIRELY
…anyway…I ended up calling my dad and they didn’t have the card anywhere, so I just said screw it I’ll go right to the airport in the morning and by then my credit card payment will have cleared and I can use that to book a flight the morning of. All the while I was on the phone, the Euro final was on in the other end of the lobby so there was lots of screaming that I had to talk over.
The girls saw that Gavin James, Ingrid’s Friday night opener, was playing at a pub called The Stag’s Head, so we changed and headed there for drinks and great music. He was once again amazing. The headliner was pretty good as well, though I forget his name. I want to say it was Jamie Lawson? I don’t completely remember. After the gig I talked to Gavin a bit and he ended up inviting the 3 of us out to drinks with him and his friends…after making fun of my Boston accent and asking me to make fun of his, haha. We ended up going to a club called Sin and chatted about music, my demo, him playing in London, and us jamming when he’s here. All sounds perfect to me. The night seemed to go on forever and still wasn’t long enough. His friends were pretty awesome and he was such a down to earth guy himself.
We got back to the hostel around 2:30 and passed out almost immediately. Alison was leaving for the airport before 7 so I asked her to wake me when she got up so I could get to the airport early and hopefully catch a flight at a reasonable hour and price. It seemed like as soon as I closed my eyes she was waking me up to go. Said goodbye to Becky since she was staying one more day before heading to Norway to spend a month with her family at her grandparent’s house. So Alison and I went to the bus stop, and I stopped at an ATM to just check my card to be sure I had money for the bus fare. And my card WORKED. I was both furious and confused. We got to the airport, said goodbye as she went through security to her flight and I searched for a flight of my own. I ended up booking a noon flight with Aer Lingus (with my debit card, which again worked) and spent way more money than I wanted to. But I didn’t care. I had a flight. I had my passport. I was coming home. I did miss work today, but was able to contact my boss yesterday to fill him in on the situation and he was awesome in making sure that my responsibilities were split amongst others and I was good to go.
I have to say that even though I spent an unexpected extra day in Dublin, it was quite possible the best one I had there. I really felt like I’ve known Becky and Alison my whole life and we all got each other’s information so it would certainly be cool to hang out again down the road. Can’t thank them enough for helping make this weekend so awesome. These last 3 days were exactly what I needed to shake off the rut I had been in for the 2 weeks prior. Of course now all I want to do is travel. Every day.
I can do that right?
Who’s with me?