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You know how in North America “getting wasted” is having your mortified friends drag you home after passing out in a pub? Well, in Dublin, Ireland, they think that’s just adorable.
In Dublin, pub crawls aren’t so much pub crawls as “if you aren’t flat-lining from alcohol poisoning in a hospital bed, you aren’t really drinking” crawls. Drinking is Ireland’s national sport.
Apparently, drunken antics are such a problem there that when we tried to buy a case of Guinness, the store owner shook her head.
She pointed to her watch. “It’s 10 o’clock at night.”
When I asked our AirBnB host about this, he told us they’re banned from selling alcohol after 10pm because “they think we’re animals.”
And the next day, while waiting for our walking tour to start, this proved to be true.
While standing in the parking lot next to City Hall, we noticed two giant signs. One had a drunken stickman holding up a traffic cone and yelling into it like a megaphone. The other had two stickmen punching each other while holding pints of beer.
Both signs had giant Xs over them.
The tour guide, Lisa, noticed us staring. “That’s what happens when you have too much craic .” (pronounced “crack“)
“Say that again?”
And that’s when we learned the best Irish word of all: “Craic”. Which is Irish slang for “fun”. And ho-boy, do they take their “craic” seriously in Ireland.
In fact, there are 6 levels of “craic”:
- Good craic:
- Okay night of fun, but nothing too amazing
- Mighty craic:
- Better than good craic, but only one person did something crazy
- Savage craic:
- Even better, with enough people doing crazy things and lots of booze, but still not there yet
- Deadly craic:
- Definitely above average but still not the crème-de-la-crème of fun
- The craic was ninety
- The crème-de-la-crème of craic. Free-flowing Guinness, everyone’s hooking up, and everyone’s doing crazy things
- Minus craic:
- So much fun that something inevitably goes horribly wrong, and you wrap back to no fun.
“As your ‘craic-dealer’”, Lisa said, “I’m here to make sure you have as much fun as possible. Because if you aren’t, I’ll know that you’re ‘anti-craic’, and that’s a huge no no in Dublin.”
Clearly, no one wanted to be “anti-craic”, so we all laughed and had a good time as she regaled us with stories about how the Vikings once tried to invade Ireland, but upon arrival, took one look at the gray skies and frozen ground, dubbed it “The Land of Eternal Winter”, left and never came back again.
So apparently Ireland’s shitty weather is their greatest defense against invasions? SWEET! I guess this is also why no one bothers to invade Canada? Hooray for our frozen wastelands!
But my favourite part of her tour was when she took us to “the Clarence hotel”. Apparently, before U2 became famous, Bono had been kicked out of there for looking too “disheveled”. Bono vowed that one day, when he becomes rich and famous, he’d come back to buy the hotel. And even though all he got in response was derisive laugher, a few years later he did just that.
“Wow, that’s a great story!” I said, in awe.
“Well, not really,” Lisa said, rolling her eyes. “I’m not really suppose to say this, but we don’t really like Bono.”
“What? Isn’t he one of your biggest stars?”
“Okay, let’s put it this way. What’s the difference between God and Bono?”
“God doesn’t think he’s Bono.”
The next day, we took a day trip to Howth, a seaside city just 1 hour away. Right away, we knew our next guide, Carl, and us would hit it off when he referred to our meeting point, the Spire of Dublin, as the “Stiffy by the Liffey”.
In addition to the gorgeous cliffside scenery, Carl also introduced us to Ireland’s second national sport…complaining about the Brits.
Funnily enough, before we went to Ireland, we were in Boston and Scotland, both having been screwed over by the British.
And Ireland was no exception.
So we spent a lot of our time with Carl, talking about our “Fuck Britain” tour, which started with Boston and the Tea Party protests, moved on to Scotland with the Massacre of Glencoe, and finally finished in Ireland, with the Easter Rising.
“I think this is why most of our stories have such depressing endings. The British beat all the optimism out of us.” Carl said. “And of course, their reaction to all our misery was “WHAT? You’re not happy? BUT we GAVE you TEA!!!”
Cost Breakdown (in CAD dollars, per couple):
- More cooking…and lots of booze (mostly Guinness) at the Temple Bar.
- We went on a few tours and they were worth every penny.
- One of these tours was the “Sandeman’s free Dublin tour”. This was basically the “pay what you want model”. At first glance, it’s great because it actually incentivizes the tour guide to be really good so they can get a bigger tip. It worked because most of the guides were exceptional!
- The downside is that the guides actually have to pay for each person (around 2-3 euros) who shows up. So if they have a low tip day or if people ditch the tour, they could actually end up OWNING money to the tour company. So please please please if you go on a Sandeman’s tour, tip generously.
- The Howth tour was $21.60 Euros or $31 CAD/person (Lisa gave us a 10% discount) for the WHOLE day. Totally worth it!
- We went on a few tours and they were worth every penny.
- The flight from Glasgow to Dublin was only 15 euros or $21.72 CAD each (including taxes)! Man, I love RyanAir. I know they’ve got a bad rap because they don’t give you blankets, water, ANYTHING, but who cares! It’s freaking $20 bucks for a flight!
- Just a note of caution if you fly with RyanAir. Print your boarding pass AHEAD of time. Otherwise you will get charged at least 50 euros per person to print it at the airport. YUCK.
- We knew RyanAir was going to be tricky so we looked up all the “gotchas” before hand and it TOTALLY paid off.
- The location of the AirBnB was close to downtown and walkable to most attractions. I lost a ton of weight just walking around everywhere in Europe.
Total cost: $144/day/couple
Rating: 3.8/5 Guinnesses.
I loved Ireland but hated the weather. Even though it was late August, it was raining non-stop and I got sick because I was dumb enough to wear sandals. HA! Sandals? In Aug? What the HELL was I thinking?
Next post in the series: Denmark, the Happiest Place On Earth?
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