Things to Do in Ireland

I tend to have a pretty weird travel strategy. With certain things, I’m incredibly type-A and obsessive – I research my hostels as extensively as possible before picking one and then book them (along with my plane and train tickets) weeks or months in advance. Sure, this doesn’t lend itself so well to spontaneity, but it’s saved me quite a bit of cash in some cases and it saves me from the anxiety of making decisions on the fly.

Despite this neurotic planning of accommodations and transportation, I’m woefully bad at planning out how, exactly, to fill the days I’m spending in a certain city or country. I always ask friends who have visited or lived in a place before to give me some recommendations, and I always check to see what places I can cross off in that 1000 Places to See Before You Die book (with which I have a semi-unhealthy obsession), but if I’m going to a less popular destination, I sometimes find myself with vague ideas of things to do but end up sitting around in a coffee shop. Don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite things about traveling is finding new favorite cafes, but hanging out and drinking coffee is something I can do anytime in Brighton or back in the states. Continue reading “Things to Do in Ireland”

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Hosteling in Ireland

Coming from a family with a history of strong identification with its Irish roots (I recall a St. Patrick’s Day when my dad considered pouring Jameson — or maybe Bailey’s — into his mother’s ashes and the only reason he decided that might be a bad idea was that he feared it would reanimate her), I couldn’t go to Ireland and only see Dublin. I wanted to do at least one reasonably long train ride through the countryside and really see as much of the country as possible in my five-day time frame. So my trip ended up involving three cities and two quite different hostels.

Generator Hostel in Dublin was sleek, hip, and polished, with some of the most updated furnishings I’ve seen in any hostel (power sockets — yes, plural — built into each bunk bed headboard? Yes, please!), a nice-looking bar and cafe (which I never actually tried, but it looked like everyone else was enjoying it), a spacious and comfy lobby, and a great location just around the corner from the Old Jameson Distillery and a quick walk from the Smithfield Luas stop. The front desk offered everything from towel rentals to the range of toiletries hotels always have around in case you’ve forgotten something (although, this being a hostel, those toiletries definitely weren’t free). They seemed to take a lot of care to make you forget that you were in a place where rates start at €9 a night, an illusion I was totally willing to buy into. Continue reading “Hosteling in Ireland”