In planning this trip, we knew we wanted to go somewhere in addition to London (see London’s insane hotel prices). David has never been to Dublin, we like Guinness, and the price was reasonable-so, Dublin it was!
Saturday morning we made our way on the long journey to Heathrow for the quick flight to Dublin. My mom’s friend JoAnne had kindly prepared an thorough travel guide for us, so we knew exactly how to bus from the airport to the hotel.
The only hiccup was a massive demonstration downtown, rerouting the airport bus. Thankfully, the bus had wifi, so we realized we were far, far, far from our hotel. We had to de-bus and wait for another one to take us back. At this point, the itinerary I had planned for the the was shot. I was cranky.
David suggested nixing the bus trip and getting food instead. In our re-route, we ended up close to Crackbird, a Jo Burger restaurant we heard about on The Layover.
Crackbird turned the whole afternoon around. We sat down, and immediately a random song I had stuck in my head ALL trip, came on. I immediately relaxed. The restaurant’s feature dish is soy garlic chicken-basically, fried chicken with soy sauce instead of buttermilk. Horrendously unhealthy, tremendously delicious. With that, a tasty porter, and the awesome restaurant ambiance, all was well again. Two big thumbs up for Crackbird.
We ended up walking to the hotel-a high and low point (walking through serene and beautiful Trinity college-high, squeezing through throngs of tourists-low) but upon entering the hotel, relaxation returned.
Ever the budget traveler, and out of SPG points, I was determined to find a nice, but reasonable hotel. Theoretically, November is low travel month (though everywhere we went was busy) so rates were decent. I found The Marker, a new hotel in the Docklands, a recently revitalized district, and took advantage of an Expedia sale when booking.
We were beyond pleasantly surprised with the hotel. It manages to be both warm and modern, the room was bright and large. I’m all about small, simple living (seriously, often think about how long we can live in our tiny space) but on vacation-a fun and fancy hotel is NICE.
The hotel had a spectacular indoor pool and spa. City vacations are full of adrenaline and discoveries, but they’re not always the most relaxing. It was glorious to spend some time and just chill at the hotel pool.
Nice and refreshed, we ventured back out for a night at Temple Bar. JoAnne recommended Gogarty’s pub and we made it our first stop. The pub was packed, the band was lively, and the Guinness was flowing. We enjoyed our first pint and took in the festive room. 10 years ago, I couldn’t stand the taste of Guinness and avoided it on my first trip to Dublin. What a mistake! I was determined to make up for that bad decision this weekend.
Our next stop was O’Donoghue’s, filled to the gills with revelers on an Ugly Sweater Christmas Pub Crawl. Sadly, there was no where to stand, so moved on to the Stags Head. The upstairs bar, the Parlor Room, was my favorite drinking stop. The room was covered in worn, rosy wallpaper, the mantel adorned with red candles and years of melted wax, and twinkle lights hung from the pretty picture window. We enjoyed a pint and smiled when the Beach Boy’s “G-d Only Knows” began playing in the background.
Guinness is filling, but we were hungry and everywhere looked crowded. When the kind Dubliner next to me recommended Rick’s for a good burger, we decided to try it. “It looks a bit dingy,” he said, “but trust me, it’s great.” Emboldened by the success of our earlier spontaneous food discovery, I thought-whatever Ricks is-we’re going there!
This was a mistake. Every trip has a food mistake, and Rick’s was ours. At its best, it was a glorified Fat Burger. The fluorescent lights and falling over hen and stag parties should have clued me in that this was a late night destination-a place you go for a greasy burger, not for dinner. Lesson learned.
Too full for anymore Guinness, we walked back along the Liffey. Not quite ready to call it a night, we ventured to the hotel’s roof top bar for a night cap. The bar was very chic and glamorous-very not us-but it was fun to pretend for a night :)