Last week, I took a spontaneous trip to Dublin for 3 days by myself. This was the first trip I've taken outside of London since my arrival and my first solo trip since Madrid. I've grown to really enjoy traveling alone, so I was definitely up for a new adventure.
One of the best parts of being in Europe is having access to Ryanair. For those of you who aren't familiar, Ryanair is an airline that sells super cheap tickets to all over Europe. Of course, the selection is more limited since they are a smaller airline, but they do fly to a few major cities, like Dublin. So, when I found roundtrip tickets to Dublin for a mere $45 USD, I couldn't resist. Finding cheap plane tickets is like finding the last pair of shoes you've been eyeing for months on sale and in your size, but better.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from Dublin. I mostly went because I wanted to check Cliffs of Moher off my bucketlist. Plus, I recently saw Leap Year and P.S., I Love You, which sparked this sudden urge to go to Ireland! So off I went into the unknown…
After a short one hour flight and half hour bus ride, I eventually made it to my hostel in Dublin. I stayed at Abrahams Hostel (82-83 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, Ireland) during my trip for a little less than $10 USD per night. It was nothing luxurious, of course, just a bed to sleep in at night, but the people were friendly and there was free breakfast, so I was pretty content!
After quickly settling in and claiming my bunk bed, I went back out into the city for an evening stroll. While munching on an Irish pie, I walked down the streets of Dublin taking in all the new sights, sounds and smells.
One of the best parts of traveling solo is all the people I meet along the way. We may not keep in touch or see each other ever again, but in that moment, it's like we've been friends for a lifetime. I was wandering outside of Temple Bar when a stranger came up to me. We ended up chatting and being each other's company at the bar, which is a lot better than drinking alone.
Eventually, we had to part ways because I had made plans with someone else. But before I get into it, here's a little backstory: I recently joined the Couchsurfing community in hopes of cutting down the costs of accommodation when I travel. It's similar to Airbnb, except instead of renting out a bedroom, people offer their spare couch or mattress for free. Those who cannot host may offer to meet up and show someone around instead. This sounds ideal in theory, but it does raise some safety concerns (especially if you're a solo female traveller), and I've read my fair share of horror stories on the internet. But despite my better judgment, I decided to meet up with a local who said they could show me around Dublin by car. Now usually, getting in a car with a strange man in a foreign city would raise some red flags, but I have a tendency to throw caution to the wind when I'm traveling (and I read through all his references and made sure he wasn't crazy before I agreed).
So, we met up that evening, had dinner, and he drove me all around Dublin (turns out he's a taxi driver), showing me all the important landmarks. He was kind, polite, and I never felt unsafe once. This was definitely a good start to my stay in Dublin.
I woke up feeling really excited about my second day in Dublin. I had booked a Paddywagon tour to the Cliffs of Moher, so I had to be up quite early for the bus ride. But as I'm rummaging through my belongings, my worst travel nightmare comes true: I'm missing my passport. I had gone through all of my belongings twice, and it wasn't anywhere to be found. No one had turned it into reception either, so it must've a) fell out of my bag sometime during last night or b) someone had pick-pocketed me. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to panic, as my bus for the tour was about to depart.
Needless to say, this definitely put a damper on my whole day, but the beautiful sights of Ireland's countryside managed to take my thoughts off of it a little.
The tour had a packed itinerary, and we stopped at plenty of scenic locations, but the star of the show was of course the Cliffs of Moher.
As soon as I got back from the tour, I started to retrace my steps by revisiting every bar I went to last night. I had no luck at the first two bars, but third time's a charm because I found it at my next stop! It had fallen out at the restaurant where I had dinner. I have never been so happy to find something...seriously, the most stressful and scariest 12 hours of my life!
After quite an eventful second day, I decided to take it easy with my last few hours in Dublin. I didn't have to be at the airport until 5pm, so I decided to do a free walking tour and a bit of shopping before I depart.
All in all, I think it was quite a successful trip to Ireland. I left with checking another country off my bucket list, new friends, and most importantly, my passport! And on that note, Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! ☘
*Originally published on Violets for Vivien