After a week of constant sunshine, warm temperatures, and the best food I’d had all year, Ireland was looking much better than anticipated. I had flown into Dublin and caught a 3-hour bus to Galway. The small town of Letterfrack was still another hour and a half away, and the site of my college bestie’s wedding was a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic another 20 minutes from there. After a week of revelry in the Irish countryside, it was time to go home, tracing my steps back the way I came. I couldn’t leave from Dublin and not visit it, so I decided to tack on a weekend in the capital to see the difference.

As you can see from these photos, I did the tourist thing while in Dublin. I had a weekend in the city and spent every day-lit hour traversing its streets. Dublin is quite a nice city – walkable and with a good mix of old and new, touristy and quaint.

Sometimes the best moments traveling are those most unexpected. After what was already a long day, a man standing outside a pub stopped me from walking into traffic as I was looking, of course, in the wrong direction. At first I dismissed him as another drunk (I had passed quite a few) and told him I wasn’t a day drinker when he offered to buy me a pint. On second thought, I opted for coffee instead and didn’t regret it.

Gerry was a painter-turned-teacher for delinquent teens, working all year in Dublin and going home on long weekends to Innishmaan in the Aran Islands, where he lived in a cottage with no water or electricity and fished all day. Originally he is from Northern Ireland, and when I asked if he had ever been to the States, he said he had not been past the airport in Boston. The authorities had labelled him a “terrorist” and returned him promptly to Ireland. He had been in the IRA, of course! Left the British army and figured he would rather bomb the Brits than fight against his own. Served 15 years in prison, he said with a chuckle. We talked for over an hour, Gerry all the while ordering “one last” round of Irish whiskey. When I teased him for diluting them with water, he said indignantly, “Well how else do you ‘spect me to drink ten of these a day?” I had found the quintessential Irishman.

Some of the more popular spots to visit in Dublin are featured in these photos: Temple Bar district, Book of Kells at Trinity College, Fallon & Byrne Deli, and Arthur’s Pub.