My second project was to have as much crack as I could cram into my finite time in Ireland.
Don’t freak out, crack is another way to say fun around here and they have plenty of it.
I was given several complimentary tickets to sites around Dublin town. For example, I received tickets to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Guinness storehouse, Trinity College library and a 24 hour pass for the Hop on Hop off bus. There was only one catch. The Marketing team was interested in hearing about a westerners experience with the transportation, signs, people and attractions throughout Ireland. Naturally, I was eager to get started on this project because I enjoy comparing and contrasting cultural scenarios. I was meticulous about noticing the pros and cons of the attractions mentioned above.
I found the Hop On Hop Off tour to be an exceptional way to travel the city quickly and efficiently. This tour comes with a lively tour guide that’s pouring over with knowledge and jokes. The tour was offered in several languages including Portuguese, Irish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. The most convenient part of the hop on hop off tour is the reliable pick up service. Every 15 minutes a bus was in queue and you could pick up on the tour exactly where you left off. I hopped on and off at four stops and every driver was patient, smart and comical. The Irish are never short on tall tales and jokes and we all enjoyed them. During my time at Teelings Whiskey Distillery the guide told us that while the whiskey is aging, about 2% evaporates up into the air. They call that 2% the Angel’s tax. The Irish are also convinced that Angels have wings because their legs were too tipsy from the whiskey!
While I was traveling alone I would hail an Uber, which is actually a taxis driver. All Uber drivers in Ireland are given the options to drive with Uber. In my experience, the biggest benefit of using Uber over Taxis is the money exchange. I perfer for the toll to be taken directly off my bank card, over paying cash to the taxi driver. While I was in the Uber, I also noticed that the highway signs were in both Celtic and English. Most Irish people speak English, but they leave the Celtic signs as a remembrance of their heritage.
Throughout my time in Ireland, I participated in two tours in the West. One was in Howth and another in Galway. These trips ranged from two to four hours and included stops through many villages and plazas. The small villages were dated and it was noticeable that there had not been many updates or modifications to the towns. The roads were very narrow and the homes looked like cottages. The homes either had very small windows or grand windows on them. The guide notified us that the roads were narrow for protection against their enemies. If there was an attacked by a large army, only two to three soldiers could stand side by side. In contrast, to hundreds of men flooding in at once. As for the homes with extremely small windows, they were built during a time of depression. A solider dedicated by the King would go into town and collect taxes from the residents. At this time there was a large tax placed on homes with windows. The larger the window the greater the tax. Therefore, poor Irish men would build homes with little to no windows to skip this tax. The tour stopped at a small bistro in Galway and although the sign said they opened at 9am, we didn’t place an order till 10:30am. The owner of this Bistro, like many other small businesses in town, open when they see fit. As a Westerner, I was slightly frustrated, but as a tourist I accepted their customs. The further we ventured into these historic parts of Ireland the concept of time began to disappear.
Overall, my solo experience as a Westerner was a positive one. Dublin city is much faster paced than the West coast and comparable to New York City. In Dublin, I would not recommend that tourists cycle on the roads without first walking around and using public transportation for a few days prior. Ireland’s city streets are not a place to be unsure, because it’s so different from western streets and law. While I was touring the city by foot, I noticed that the street signs were only located at the top and bottom of the street. This was the most confusing part of my trip in Ireland. Westerners are spoiled with streets that are labeled on every block. In Ireland I was stuck in the middle of the street with no idea on whether to go forward or back.
Along with sharing my pros and cons with the marketing team. I also shared my experience on my personal social media. It was great to be able to share Ireland with my followers and they had so many questions about how to travel and where they should go in Ireland.