I had always wanted to go to Ireland. In June 2003, I finally arrived there after a train ride from London to Hollyhead and a ferry trip from there to Dublin. I arrived around 5pm and then met my friend at the Kinslay House hostel in the middle of the city. To protect the innocent, I won’t give out my friend’s real name, but I will say her name rhymes with “Lisa”. So what does any country-respecting, culturally aware, knowledgable travel wannabe do in Dublin? Drink.
That’s right. It was evening and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, and the St. James Gate Brewery were closed anyway. “Lisa” and I hit the Temple Bar district like every other tourist and started knocking back the black stuff. I must say, the Irish people are very friendly. They approach complete strangers to say “hello”, “where are you from?”, and “care to join me for a pint?”. We had great fun meeting Irish people in Dublin. And even greater fun pub crawling and starting mosh pits with them.
The surprising thing I found about Ireland was that there were people from all over. Irish people (der!), French, English, Norwegians, dick heads, fellow Americans, Canadians, Australians, Wookies, Germans, and the occasional Nerd. And we were all drinking in Irish pubs together, having a great time. See! World peace can be achieved with alcohol!
I’m just going to summarize my first night in Dublin. Let’s just say “Lisa” and I consumed enough Guinness to fill and olympic-sized pool, and things got kinda fuzzy after that. But day two! Mwahaha!
During the day I toured the St. James Gate Brewery. This is where Guinness is made and all things holy occur. At the end of the tour, one will end up at the top of the facility in a place called the Sky Bar. From here, you get your free Guinness, and can look out over the city of Dublin all around you from seven stories up. The Guinness Brewery is a Mecca for beer aficionados, drunks, barley connoisseurs, alcoholics, Irish culture lovers, and Alcoholics Anonymous dropouts.
Afterwards, “Lisa” and I visited Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. For those who don’t know what the Book of Kells are, they are actually four books. The books are the four gospels of the New Testament which were written and hand drawn over 1,200 years ago by Irish monks. They are an orgy of intricate artwork, color and Celtic knot-work which shows holy scenes from the Bible. There is so much hand-drawn artwork, one sometimes forgets there is the occassional gospel verse. But who cares about those? I wish I could include pictures of the stunning artwork, but when I tried to take a shot one of the security staff gave me the stink eye and said “No photography allowed.”
We dined at one o the many Irish cafes and then bivouacked back at the hostel. The battle plan was to gather more intelligence from the fellow guests on the pubs in our planned drinking assault. We knew there would be little resistance from guerillas (AA and MADD members), and that we had a high probability of mission success. Winning the hearts and minds of the locals while getting stupid drunk. This despite the also high probability of of high liver casualties. All in all, we hoped to not remember the night. Fortunately, I remember every bit of it.
Before we set out, “Lisa” informed me she would be staying in that night. She had had a rough time the night before, sustaining a high casualty rate to her upper cranium region (hangover). Therefore, it would be a solo mission without wingman (err…woman) support. No matter. I set out out to the Temple Bar and commenced with Operation Guzzle and Flirt.
The evening went well. I was knocking back the pints whilst socializing with a random group of drunken Irishmen and a couple of American girls. We all ended up pub crawling around the Temple Bar district. The Quays Bar, Farrington’s, and others were invaded by our lot. One of the friendly Irishmen with, Cormac, invited us all back to his flat for more drinks. We went there before someone suggested a night club. I don’t remember the name, but it was one of those underground clubs (literally).
By this time, I was drunk enough to pay 9 Euro for a long island iced tea. Thats about 14 bucks in ‘Merican. And half of that drink ended up on the dance floor. I was wearing an Indiana Jones-styel fedora all night, sortof. You see, Irish ladies love the hat. I can’t explain it but I wasn’t complaining. It got passed around all over the club.
Anyway, while that was happening, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came on over club sound system. The energetic guitar riffs mixed with the blood in my alcohol system made me want to head banging. While head banging, I also started inadvertently bumping into everyone next to me on the dance floor. In good fashion and good sportsmanship, before any aforementioned bump, I would exclaim “Mosh!” And then commence with the head banging. Some people didn’t seem too keen on the idea(I can’t imagine why), but the Irish men loved it and joined in. They would yell, “Mosh!” and bump right back. Soon, I had a full blown mosh pit going in the middle of the dance floor at some night club in Dublin. Good times.
As the end of the evening drew near (more like early morning), I returned to the hostel. You see, in a hostel you purchase a bed in a room full of bunks which is shared with other travelers. That’s what makes them so cheap. As I entered the dorm room, I noticed my friend “Lisa” wasn’t in her bunk. In my drunkenness I felt I needed to make sure she was ok. After all, she had had a rough night the day before. One of the other travelers in the room saw me looking around.
“Are you looking for your friend?” She asked me.
“Yes. I just want to make sure she’s alright?”
“I think I saw her in the next dorm room over.” She pointed out the room to me.
I walked to the indicated dorm room and knocked on the door. Not a millisecond later the door flung open. Out poured two buck-naked men who ran down the halls of the hostel. Not only were they clad their birth outfits with added body hair, they were giggling like school girls as the pranced around this Irish establishment. “Tee hee hee!”
Then a third man, fully clothed, poked his head out of the room and yelled in an English accent towards his naked companions, “You couple of sausage jockeys!”.
I walked into the room and found my friend there. She was also fully clothed, but suspiciously had her camera around her neck. I looked at her, then back at the two naked British gentlemen who were just returning from their late night romp, and then back at her. “Lisa” just looked at me with a complete innocent look on her face and asked, “What?”
The night pretty much ended after that. I nursed a hangover the following day by taking some headache meds and seeing the sites of the city. The next night was another dose of pub crawling with great people, beer, and craic. And then we went to Doolin and Galway for more shenanigans. But that’s another story.