On June 17th, 2018 Jonathan and I hopped on a flight to Limerick, Ireland for two weeks of work and adventuring. Jonathan works remotely for an Atlanta, Georgia based company called Lyrasis who work in the Digital Library space using a software called Islandora (amongst others). Jonathan has been working on the software since moving back to Prince Edward Island from Ontario in 2010, but only with Lyrasis since the fall of 2016.
This particular trip he was leading an Islandora Camp at the University of Limerick, so we hunkered down for a weeklong stay at The George Limerick hotel.
We kept our goal realistic for this first week as we were working full-time hours. Our only goal was to visit a different pub every night! Pretty obtainable. During the day I would work and take short breaks to explore the side streets of Limerick.
As the weekend neared, the excitement rose, especially since our good friend Hannah joined us in Limerick for a night before we headed to Bunratty Castle and the Cliffs of Moher for a day of exploring before heading for Dublin.
Once we arrived in Dublin, we sought out a pub near the airport for some merriment. We arrived at Kealys of Cloghran to the sound of boisterous music and loud laughing and clapping. There was a birthday party happening and they were having a great time! The music was fantastic, the food was tasty and we’d definitely go again.
The next morning we grabbed a rental car at the airport and after a few minor hiccups with getting air-conditioning, we were off to Belfast, Ireland! Ireland was experience I pretty severe heatwave and air-conditioning was necessary – so we were glad we waiting for a replacement car. The jaunt from Dublin to Belfast took us about 2 hours and was as exciting as it was terrifying. Driving on the opposite side of the road takes a little time to adjust to but Jonathan caught on over the course of the drive and we had a lovely time taking in the sights.
It was very impressive to see roadside castles and historic landmarks in Ireland. While the out home, PEI, it lovely, the majority of available history only goes back about 150 years. Whereas in Ireland it’s not usual for a structure to be 600 years old! Like the Bunratty Castle that we visited earlier.
We arrived in Belfast and checked into the Etap Hotel – it was an excellent spot, sort of like a futuristic hostel… or budget hotel. We loved this place! The room was small and would be awkward for two people who just met, but it was great for a couple newlyweds who don’t mind the shower stall being in the common area. We would definitely opt to stay here again.
Between Black Cab Tours (which was freaking excellent), trips to The Giants Causeway, and Bushmill’s Distillery, I worked away on signage for a Music Festival that was happening back home and promoted Local Legends new summer clothing line-up with a contest to see Shawn Mendes in concert.
The Etap Hotel had a great business centre and was definitely set up with travelling business folks in mind with free wifi and plenty of common area with access to plugs for charing, food, and beverages for working on the run. The staff was so pleasant and accommodating, and we loved the room. Yes it was small, yes there was a shower next to the bed, and yes there is a bar next door. But they have great soundproofing, the shower is spacious, and the room is large enough for two! Plus, there was a heat pump so we were able to keep the room nice and cool during the heatwave! In the evening we would scamper across the street to The Points – it was great. Had the best Whiskey Sour of my life there. Take note! lol
We had two really great experiences in Belfast. One was the Black Cab Tour with our Tour Guide, Tom. We were about ten minutes outside the city when we called about taking their Political Murals and Peaceline Tour. We weren’t sure where we were going but the woman who answered the phone guided us to the meeting spot and text me the address. From there Tom picked us up and took as for a fantastic and detailed tour with a first-hand experience as a Catholic man who grew up during The Troubles.
The next night we were looking for a restaurant with great local beers and struck out a couple times due to them being closed so we soldiered on to The Woodworkers. The staff was super welcoming even though we arrived 20 minutes before the kitchen closed. They had a fantastic menu of Local and tasty brews and were very attentive. I had the Vegan Sheppard’s Pie and it was amazing. Loved this place!
We honestly did so many awesome things in such a short period of time in Ireland that I don’t believe I can give it the credit it deserves. We headed back to Dublin, returned our car, and took a shuttle to the airport where we awkwardly purchased two tickets for 3 days of transport aboard the Do Dublin Bus and it was a wicked investment. They literally have a series of Hop on, Hop off buses with live tour commentary that had us in stitched by times. These bus drivers were cheeky! The print materials that accompanied the experience we also cheeky and well done. Good design will sell me on a service EVERY. DAMN. TIME. The maps were clean, the jokes weren’t, they are great!
We kept up our pact to visit a different pub every night throughout the trip and Dublin offered some great options! PLUS, it was Indie Beer Week, so everyone was promoting tasty local brews. This initiative featured some great design work as well – Dublin is on the ball! Anyone who knows Jonathan and I knows that we LOVE a good craft beer and will sniff out a good IPA or Stout from miles away! Some notable breweries were The Porterhouse Brewing Co. and The White Hag Irish Brewing Co.! We couldn’t get enough of the Celebration Stout – we had it P Macs and then a couple days later week sought it out again at The Porterhouse Temple Bar. So good. We track a large portion of our beering about on UnTappd – feel free to follow along!
Speaking of beer, we definitely spent like 7 hours at the Guinness Storehouse – an epic 7-floor spectacle!
Located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse® is Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s the home of the Black Stuff, the heart of Dublin and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure.https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en/about-us
The journey begins at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse our long brewing heritage with Ireland’s rich history. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a pint of perfection in our world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Now that’s our kind of higher education.
The advertising archives were phenomenal, and right up my alley! They have artifacts from the formation of the company in 1759 to the present day! 100% worth checking out for any Graphic Designer travelling through Dublin.
The accommodations we stayed at in Dublin was a Campus Accommodation on Mill St and was conveniently located next to Teelings Distillery, but that sort of where the convenience ended. The price wasn’t bad but we definitely spent a bit more getting around as a result. They didn’t have anything in place to manage the heat, you couldn’t have both the window open and the blinds down, because the window was massive and opened inward. It was generally awkward and uncomfortable. I would not want to live there through a school year. There was a desk and suitable workspace in the unit though and we did enjoy that.
On the final day of our travels, we were both grumpy. Turned out that neither of us wanted to head home and were sad to see the trip end! So we headed to the pub for one last day of debauchery and mind-blowing kababs before packing up and taking the DoDublin Bus back to the airport. Another successful work trip behind us and a friends wedding to look forward to the next day! We are lucky.