Despite living just across the water I have, shamefully, never been to Ireland until now, so I was all excited to get my teeth into everything touristy and explore a new city in a country I'd never been to before.
I arrived ridiculously early in the morning, so after a quick breakfast and a chill in the hotel, we headed out to the zoo! It was a really nice day, so I wanted to make the most of the weather, and I'd heard there were elephants. I adore elephants, I think they're magical.
Now this was quite an eventful trip to the zoo. The first elephant we saw got a little over-excited, provoking a mass exodus of parents with small children before all the awkward questions started flying out of their little innocent mouths. Then, the chimpanzees refused to do anything but stick their bare bottoms up in the air at us, and to top it all off, a rather uncomfortable looking orang-utan suddenly stood up and threw his own muck at us and our fellow spectators. It was hilarious.
After my early flight and an afternoon of walking around the zoo in the heat, I was pretty exhausted. So we headed back to the hotel, had a nap, dinner nearby and then had an early night, so we could manage a full day of touristing the next day.
We started the day with a little wander around the Museum of Modern Art, which was frankly beyond both of us. We did however, meet a lovely old man who was as bamboozled as we were by the bizarre arrangements of living room furniture and morse code decoders, who let us in on his favourite game.
Whenever he ends up at a gallery whose displays confuse him, he likes to go up to the desk on the way out, hand back his brochure about the exhibit and emphatically say something like "marvellous" or "wonderful." That way, he gets rid of the leaflet he has no interest in keeping, those organising the exhibit are happy that their work has made such an impression, and he gets to come across as an informed, arty and culturally aware individual.
On our way out of the gallery, he turned to us and told us to "watch this." He then went up to the girl at the desk, returned the brochure and said, with much gusto, "breathtaking! absolutely breathtaking!" The girl was chuffed, the man was chuffed, and we had to do all we could to refrain from giggling.
The next time I find myself at some unfathomable modern art gallery, I think I will be following suit.
Our next stop saw us take a trip to jail.
I look a bit too pleased with myself to be holed up in a little cell like that, don't I?
Anyway, we took a little tour guide around Kilmainham Jail and learnt about the prison reforms of the Victorian era, the conditions for inmates and the stories of some prisoners involved in the 1916 Easter Rising. It was an interesting, informative and sobering way to spend an hour, and I would definitely recommend it. (It's also very affordable, and the cafe across the streets does great sandwiches!)
To take the edge off the seriousness of the jail visit, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse.
I absolutely love Guinness advertising campaigns. I just think they're so clever, quirky and funny and I only wished I liked drinking Guinness more, so that I could justify having old Guinness advert prints on my wall. This fantastic piece of TV advertising, has been etched on to my memory ever since I first saw it as a little seven year old girl, cross-legged on the floor and transfixed to the telly. Fifteen years on, it's still my favourite TV advert. That's some seriously good advertising.
After learning about how Guinness is made, admiring the print ads, and spending a ridiculous amount of time transfixed to the various TVs showing adverts from decades past, we hopped up to the top floor to claim our free pint in the Gravity Bar, and admire the panoramic view of Dublin.
After we finished our pints (I drank all mine too! *proud face*) we headed back into the centre for some dinner. I love all the vibrant buildings and bars, the flags and the flowers in the Temple Bar area. It may be incredibly toursity, but it's still incredibly pretty.
On the recommendation of our taxi driver that morning, we were heading to Elephant & Castle for dinner. There's one in New York and one in Dublin, and it is so popular we had to wait for an hour for a table, but I am so glad we waited.
Again, on the recommendation of our taxi driver (!), we ordered a basket of chicken wings to share. Now, I am not a massive wings person - I tend to not really be a massive fan of meat on the bone, but oh my god, these were the best wings I have ever eaten. They were delicious. So tender, the meat just melted off the bone, the marinade was delicious and spicy but not too spicy, and oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. So good. I couldn't recommend the wings enough.
And then I had steak. He had a stilton burger. Both were delicious. I was in my element, and left a very, very happy camper.
The rest of my time in Dublin was spent wandering around, enjoying the sights and the sounds of a new city, stopping for coffee and cake in cute little cafes and just taking it all in.
It's a city I'd love to spend more time in. I imaging it'd be exceptionally beautiful at Christmas time, all covered in lights. Just don't expect me to go anywhere else for dinner but Elephant & Castle.
God, I could devour a basket of wings right now.