Land of the Free, Home of the best fast food in the world. I LOVE living in Dublin, but oh how I miss the greasy French fries and overly-generous portions of American fast food. There’s really nothing quite like it.
And though Ireland does have a few US chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC, they’re just not the same. The portion sizes are smaller, and they just taste different. (That’s probably because they’re lacking the artificial ingredients found in the States that are illegal in most other places because they aren’t meant for human consumption, BUT STILL.)
I’ve gotten used to, and mostly forgotten about, fast food places they have in the States that they don’t have here in Dublin. But then, every once in a while, I’m reminded. Someone utters the word “Popeyes” and I start foaming at the mouth. I wasn’t even a huge fast food eater back at home, but as soon as I hear magical words like “Taco Bell” uttered, I’m a goner. What’s that phrase again, “Distance Makes the Heart Go Fonder?” Well, that’s exactly what I’m suffering from.
Now, keep in mind that I’m from South Louisiana, and I realize that some of these chains aren’t everywhere in the US. But for me, these are THE best and the American chains Dublin needs, like, STAT.
I know, I know. To say I’ve been AWOL from this blog is a total understatement. NEVER have I gone this long without posting! That just goes to show how insanely busy my summer has been, and how much I have to share! Since getting my visa situation sorted in April, it’s been non-stop! From road trips and rural hikes to markets and music festivals, this summer has been a whirlwind of fun and great weather and I’m only been able to squeeze in a few posts. But the chilly weather is creeping up, which means fall is approaching and the long summer days will be coming to an end soon. SO. Back to business then, shall we?
One of my favorite summer activities was actually one that could be done at any time of the year. A road trip! THE RING OF KERRY to be specific. Ever heard of it? If you’ve been to Ireland or done any research on things to do, you probably have. Along with The Giant’s Causeway and The Dingle Peninsula, it’s one of the best and most well-known scenic routes in the country – a 179km circular route through the Iveragh Penninsula in County Kerry. And what I believe to be one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
Sure, I may be a bit biased with my love for Ireland. It’s a beautiful place with amazing scenery and stunning natural landscape, but there are many other countries that this can be said about as well. But one of the things I think makes Ireland unique is it’s charming people. And during my Ring of Kerry experience, the Irish charm once again made the experience truly memorable.
…OH, but so did the fact that in one day we drove past mountains, beaches, loughs (lakes), medieval ruins, and overall STUNNING views!
You should rent a car (and get over your fear of driving on the opposite side of the road – it’s not that bad!), pull over at as many photo-op spots as your heart desires, drive off the beaten path when you can, breathe in the fresh air, make pit stops at any chocolate factory you find, and enjoy the ride…
Tourists know it as “the” place to go out and have a wild night. Locals know it as the area over-saturated with tourists and overpriced drinks. Everyone knows it as the messy headquarters of drunkenness come nightfall.
But, Temple Bar is actually much more than what both locals and tourists give it credit for. Locals tend to stay away most of the time because of the bad rep the tourists have given it. And tourists mainly go at night and dirty up the streets with trash and bodily fluids during their drunken escapades. But, it’s so much more than what it becomes come nightfall.
Since no trip to Dublin is complete without a look into Temple Bar, 99.9% of all tourists in Dublin WILL end up in there, and WILL want to see what the hype is about and why all the guidebooks always say to visit. Some may find that it’s overcrowded, overhyped, and overpriced. And it is. But there’s a also a certain magic to Temple Bar. You just have to know when and where to look for it.
HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO ME AND MY DEAREST DUBLIN!
I’ve officially hit the year mark since moving to the great place, and what an amazing year it’s been! However, this latest month of Irish life here has been a heck of a stressful one, both in good and bad ways.
Recently, we’ve been #blessed with fantastic, sunny weather in Dublin. Although Ireland isn’t known for having a warm, pleasant climate (because let’s be honest, IT DOESN’T), that doesn’t mean that it’s raining and miserable all of the time…only most of the time.
But really, although the cold and rain are not ideal and definitely gets old after a while, what I love about Dublin is how alive the city becomes on a beautiful, warm day. Especially on the weekends. Nothing is more miserable than being stuck inside at work on a gorgeous day, only for it to be raining all weekend. So if it’s a sunny Saturday or Sunday, you’re guaranteed to see the city buzzing. People flooded to the parks, the zoo, the canals, and of course the pubs with outside seating (it is Ireland, after all).
But you’ll also find that people will enjoy the sun, and get their exercise in, by enjoying one of Dublin’s many walking routes. There are some amazing landscapes just outside of Dublin’s city limits that provide great views on sunny days. But, there are also some amazing views to be seen right in the heart of the city itself!
From a light hike on a rugged coastal landscape, to a sunset walk along the canal, to a light morning stroll admiring 4-story Georgian houses….Dublin has amazing walks and walking paths to choose from that vary in every sense of the word…level of difficulty, length, type of views, etc. But one thing they have in common is that they are all PERFECT for a sunny, pleasant day!
Right after the craziness of St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin went right into full on 1916 mode – something that had been building up all year.
Easter Sunday 2016 marked the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. In 1916, Irish republicans wanted to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic, and strategically planned the Rising while England was really distracted by being involved in WWI. Although it didn’t “work” in the sense that it wasn’t successful in completely throwing off English rule, it was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798and kicked off the struggle for Irish independence.
So there’s a history lesson, and a little glimpse just as to why the 1916 Easter Rising centenary was such a huge deal not only around Dublin, but around the whole of Ireland!
As much as I love city life, it’s sometimes nice to escape the busy streets, constant cars, and general hustle and bustle of Dublin.
When I first moved to Dublin I posted about the cute little village of Howth, just a 20-30 minute train ride North of Dublin’s city centre. Besides being a great and easily assessable getaway for anyone living in Dublin, it’s also great for visitors wanting to see a bit more of the renowned Irish landscape that may not have the time/money to travel far (a day return ticket on the DART train to Howth is only €6!!!)
The best part of this cliff walk, and the day in general, is that I hadn’t planned it at all. I had heard about the cliff walk, but I thought it was just a short trail. We ended up walking for hours (because we chose the longest trail of the 3 options).
If you want to see some breathtaking Irish nature and stunning views, this is something I DEFINITELY recommend.
So, as always, here is my obligatory post recapping yet another month of life here in Ireland! This past Monday marked the anniversary of our move here, bringing month #4 to a close!
And holy crap, what another whirlwind of a month! The expat adventures never end, which I guess come with moving to a foreign country. It’s like…I’m still doe-eyed and loving it (I call it the “Honeymoon Phase”), but I also really feel comfortable and at home here.
So, if you’ve been watching the news recently, or are in the least bit up-to-date with current events (or you follow me on instagram here or here), you are probably well aware of Ireland’s recent referendum. This past Friday, May 22nd, over 60% of Irish voters voted YES to a referendum to change the Irish constitution to legalize same-sex marriage, making it the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote!