Day 1 in Dublin: the National Museum of Ireland, the Book of Kells and Irish culinary delights

I arrived in Dublin at 8am yesterday morning a tad grumpy. There were two screaming babies on my left and a bickering couple sitting on my right. I slept a little now and then – but overall, I spent the night tossing and turning in my chair. Told you I hated flying.

I’m always overjoyed whenever the wheels of the plane hit the ground. I cleared customs and collected my baggage within 30 minutes. YAY!

I got in a cab. An Irish grandpa was driving it. He talked and talked and talked from the moment we got in the cab till the moment we got off. The taxi to the city centre costed around 44 euros. Google had estimated it as around 20 euros. Hmm… Told you Google Maps sucks.

First Impressions of Dublin 

Dublin reminded me a whole lot of Leicester in the UK minus all the brown people. On Saturday at 8am, it was a small sleepy town that had yet to wake up from the night before. It was refreshing to see a place so quiet first thing in the morning. With a population of 530,000 people, I wouldn’t describe Dublin as a big city. 

I arrived at my accommodation for the night around 9am. The lady at the counter said I couldn’t check in till 3pm. Her response made me even grumpier. So I left my bag and went off to get some breakfast and do some sightseeing.

Breakfast at Mannings Bakery and Cafe

I had the Light Breakfast at Mannings Bakery and Cafe. It came with brown bread, a poached egg, sausage, a rash of bacon and… BLACK PUDDING. MMMM… For those of you who’ve never tried black pudding – let me assure you that it is delicious. Just don’t be put off when people tell you what’s in it. Black pudding is… blood sausage made from pork fat or beef suet, pork blood and oatmeal. 

YUMMY. It’s been a LONG LONG time since I’ve had a breakfast like this one. I approve. 

The Weather

With temperatures of 20 degrees in the day and 13 degrees in the evening, I would describe the weather in Dublin as very comfortable. It’s August and summer right now – but to me it feels more like autumn or spring. It also randomly rains for 20 minutes every now and then. So it’d be wise to bring a small brolley with you everywhere you go. 

The National Museum of Ireland 

The National Museum of Ireland is a free collection of museums that are really worth checking out if you’re a big history buff. The museums place a strong emphasis on Irish culture, art and natural history. Everything is written in Irish first and English second. I visited the Decorative Arts and History Museum which was really boring. Snooze fest…zzz….zzz…. and also the Archaeology Museum. 

The Archaeology Museum features displays on prehistoric Ireland, including early work in gold, church treasures and the Viking and medieval periods. It is definitely worth a visit for those of you interested in seeing artefacts from the various periods of prehistory. Some of them will definitely get you raising an eyebrow or two. I enjoyed this museum.

Lunch at Queen of Tarts

The Queen of Tarts came highly recommended by a friend of mine who used to live in Ireland. I had half of the tuna sandwich and soup set, as well as the Baileys cheesecake. The cheesecake was so good that I wanted another. There are two Queen of Tarts branches within a block of each other. I’ll definitely try to go back again before I leave. 

The Book of Kells 

The Book of Kells exhibition is housed in Trinity College. Written around 800 CE, the Book of Kells contains a richly decorated copy of the four gospels in Latin. Although I couldn’t read anything, I was deeply moved by the detail of the manuscripts. The illustrations, ornamentation and bindings are deeply complex, ornate and extravagant. 

My favourite part of the exhibition was the Old Library – with its stacks of books. If there weren’t so many people, I would have gladly sat there for hours and hours on end. The admission fee was 13 euros. I LOVED this. 

Dinner time at Arthur’s Pub

Arthur’s Pub is the closest restaurant to the super famous Guinness Storehouse. I went there for dinner since it’s really close to where I’m staying. I had also totally run out of energy at this point. I ordered a lemon, lime and soda; a goat cheese salad and the Irish lamb stew.

I was utterly perturbed when the goat cheese salad showed up with an entire wheel of goat’s cheese. I was expected a sprinkle, but hey – I’m not complaining. 

The highlight of the meal was the Irish lamb stew. It was flavoursome without being gamey or overpowering. It was hearty and yum yum yum. I was so full that I didn’t even have space for dessert. 

And then it was time to sleep. Till next time. 


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