is a place that really needs no introduction. And I actually really can’t believe I haven’t been there until now, considering that I love Guinness, whiskey, and reading.
Ireland, long known for poverty of the sort depicted in books like Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes,” among others, saw a massive expansion of its economy in the 1990’s and 2000’s, earning the “Emerald Tiger” moniker for it’s economic transformation. The global financial crisis of the last few years has, however, hit Ireland particularly hard. These are tough times for the island, but generally speaking you will find the Irish people just as friendly and helpful to tourists as anyone.
I arrived in Dublin, and upon arriving set out to find places where both literature and booze were made. I took a tour of the Guinness brewery (God, it really does taste better in Ireland) and the Jameson distillery. Turns out they don’t actually make whiskey there anymore, but the tour is pretty cool and there is a taste testing. From there I sought out some of the James Joyce spots in Dublin, as well as the Dublin Writers Museum. I also saw Merrion Square, which is a huge outdoor park that is also a kind of Oscar Wilde memorial. Finally, I found out about a tour that combined booze and literature. Naturally, I was on board. It’s called the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, and although it can be kind of goofy, it’s good fun. There are actors who perform scenes from Dublin’s incredibly rich literary history at pubs where you can also get a drink. Best of both worlds.
The Irish countryside is not short on history either. There are medieval castles and ancient archeological sights what seems like every few miles (or kilometers, I should say). Fortunately, there are plenty of places to stay in Ireland
and exploring the countryside in a kind of meandering backpacking way might be the best way to do it. Don’t worry, if you get lost you can always find someone to point you to the nearest pub.