Hey everyone, Happy St Patricks Day!! Okay, so I’m a little late on the greeting, but for those of you who celebrated, I hope it exceeded your expectations and you’re still carrying those happy vibes around with you. Being born on St Patrick’s Day, I have always wanted to celebrate my birthday in Ireland and this year I finally made it to Dublin!
Although if I’m being completely honest, this post is bitter sweet for me. I had broken up with my now ex, only two weeks prior but with the trip already booked and paid for, we thought, let’s just go and make the most of it. Well everything that could have gone wrong did, and now that I have a moment to look back on it all, it was no doubt the universe telling me “gurllll… you should have stayed home. Never go on holiday with an ex.” This trip was definitely not what I had always dreamed of.
Arrival… cute cottage houses and ice cold weather
Stepping off the plane I was immediately hit with an icy chill unlike nothing I have ever felt before. As I looked down at my ripped skinny jeans full of holes and tears, all I could think was I am so not prepared for this weather. I had heard that Ireland was prone to a lot of rain but I wasn’t expecting near freezing temperatures. I knew the minute we got to our accommodation I was going to have to change outfits and put on basically everything I brought with me to stay warm.
Making our way to the Airbnb, I was instantly captivated by the vibrant greens of the open fields and the cottage houses that lined the streets. With their beautiful stonework, large front yards and colourful flowers that lined the porches, they were some of the cutest houses I’d ever seen, and I could instantly imagine myself inside, warm and cosy drinking tea by a roaring fire, either writing or reading away.
Arriving at our accommodation, it was more modern than the cottage style I had been admiring during our walk, but still really cute. When it came to our room though, well there’s only one way to describe it… small. Teeny tiny small. Images of the show tiny houses flashed through my mind, only this was the tiny room edition. An attic room in design, I can’t even count the amount of times I bumped my head walking from the bed to the bathroom or the single reading chair. I even had to crouch to fit under the shower head, which was almost comical. At 160cm tall, if I can’t stand upright in the space then I’m not sure who can. Nothing at all like its dreamy spacious advertisement… again this was probably the universe telling me I should have stayed home.
Day One… pre St Patricks Day exploring
The vibe of the city was quite similar to London. Busy streets with a mixture of historic and modern architecture and a lively atmosphere where there’s always something to do and somewhere to eat. Which suited us just fine because before we could start exploring, we were in need of breakfast.
I’d done my research of top places to eat prior to our trip and heard that Balfes was the place to be. When we stepped into the buzzing atmosphere we knew we were in for a treat with the interior being the perfect combination of casual dining meets French elegance and with a stunning menu to match.
If you know me well, you know I love a good hot chocolate on a cold day and when my drink arrived, with a hint of orange added to it, it was by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
After breakfast we really didn’t have much planned, we figured we’d just walk and see where the streets would take us. After about an hour, we ended up at Tivoli Theatre, and its adjoining car park featuring a ton of incredible graffiti work. We learnt that every month the car park closes for a weekend, the walls are painted black, and upcoming artists are invited to tag the walls and share their work. What we saw was amazing and I love that there’s a dedicated space for creatives in this field.
With the weather at -2 degrees and dropping, and after getting drenched by a passing car (again should have stayed home), we decided to call it quits on our self guided walking tour, and opted for the cafe lifestyle instead. We came across a cafe called Kaph and when you need a little sit down and a cup of hot something, then this place will do the trick. The vibe is also more of a local hangout than a tourist spot, which I absolutely loved.
After our cafe pit stop – which ended up being three hours as we avoided the cold outside, my ex on his phone the whole time and me scrolling through photos because post breakup conversations are awkward as hell – we were in need of a change of scenery. After strolling the streets for a little, trying to decide on a lunch spot, we came across Acapulco. Stepping through the door, we were greeted by friendly staff and a décor that reminded me of a Mexican fiesta. Colourful chairs, unique lampshades and fairy lights hanging throughout. It was such a happy and vibrant atmosphere. Which was so needed after our lacklustre day.
Trying to keep out of the cold as much as possible post lunch (especially when it started snowing), we did a little shopping and then headed back to the Airbnb. I ended up buying myself a four leaf clover necklace in hopes of bringing me some luck. I had been looking forward to this trip for so long but it was not turning out at all how I’d hoped.
Day Two… St Patrick’s Day, donuts and Trinity College Library
If I’m travelling to a place that has a beautiful library or bookshop, then that’s where you’ll find me. For over a year I’d wanted to visit Trinity College Library and the minute we woke up, I practically ran there. Why? Because we were actually supposed to visit here on day one, but when we arrived, it was closed due to student protests. There was no guarantee it would be open on St Patricks Day and the way everything else had been going wrong, I was practically begging the universe to at least give me this one thing. So I put on my four leaf clover necklace and thankfully when we arrived, it was opened. Happy Birthday to me!
The only downfall of visiting the library when we did. I missed most of the St Patricks Day parade.
Now I’m not a huge fan of crowds, all that pushing and shoving, trying not to lose the people you’re with or get lost yourself. But I know it’s something you have to endure if you want to experience these once-in-a-lifetime events. Getting there late however, did not work in our favour. As we walked along various points of the parade, we realised that we had slim chance of seeing anything but the backs of peoples heads. There were people everywhere! Crowding around the barricades, standing on building ledges, atop of bins and even plant pots just to get a glimpse of the festivities.
After fifteen minutes in near freezing temperatures, we gave up and headed to find something to warm us up.
Now who needs a birthday cake when you have donuts! Having just purchased a baileys donut from The Rolling Donut, we were happily eating this ball of goodness when we walked past another donut shop. Off Beat Donuts. This one had crowds of people lined up outside, fun quotes painted on the walls, music playing and the staff looked like they were having the time of their life. I looked at Luca and said “we need more donuts!” Stepping inside I was immediately transported to donut heaven. Needless to say, I ate more donuts in two days than I have in the last two years.
All sugared up, it was time for some real food and and an alcoholic beverage to celebrate my birthday. The Yarn had a cosy yet vibrant atmosphere, and their cocktails were amazing.
Overall, it wasn’t the trip I had always dreamed of. It just goes to show how not everything goes to plan and that sometimes in life, things just don’t work out. I’m glad I got to mark being in Ireland on St Patricks Day off my bucket list, but I do hope that one day I can return, see more of this beautiful country and leave with a lot more happier memories.