After six weeks spent in Edinburgh, we moved on to Dublin, Ireland. It seems we got lucky—the weather was lovely, which is something you rarely hear about Ireland. After the heavy skies of Scotland, the sunny disposition of Dublin was just what I needed.
As our friend, Tara Calihman put it, Dublin is a big, little city. You can walk across the entirety of the capital in 30-minutes, if there aren’t crowds, which is rare because the city’s population is rapidly growing.
Actually, Dublin is the fastest growing city in Europe…it just keeps dublin and dublin.
(I fell for this joke and am endlessly amused by it.)
But seriously—it’s growing. With tech companies, like Google and Facebook, taking root on the shores of the River Liffy in the “Innovation District” there are a lot of young, opportunistic professionals. With the youthful, growing population, there is a lively service scene with tons of bars and restaurants, packed to the brim with people.
We stayed in an area called Rathmines, which is on the edge of Dublin proper. It’s full of vintage stores and restaurants and right next to a canal that lines the city, where many people make their commute, and I ran almost every morning, past the offices of WeWork and ZenDesk. In the afternoons the pubs along the canal are overflowing with people, enjoying an after-work pint.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard but the Irish like to drink.
Our place in Dublin was insanely small. The city is expensive so when we went to book our AirBnB, the place we could afford was a shoebox. (It’s since been purchased by a development company to be renovated and sold for all of the employees of the new tech companies in town. Sound familiar, Boulderites?) The lack of space tested our sanity and our relationship, so we spent a lot of time outside of the apartment.
There was a lovely cafe that we visited quite often, Grove Road. If you’re in the area, I recommend it. We also frequented a local bar called Blackbird that was right down the street from us a few times. It had a great vibe. There was always a big fire going, stacks of games, and lots of tall red candles burning on every table.
We visited many of the common sites:
- The Library at Trinity College
- Dublin Castle
- Chester Beatty Library
- The River Liffy
- Ha’Penny bridge
- Dublin Flea Market
- Phoenix Park
It was recommended to me, by a local, to visit the EPIC museum, but we didn’t get the chance to go on a tour. We did walk through it and if you’re in Dublin, I think it would be a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.
While in Barcelona, I met a couple who were from Dublin and they shared a whole list of their favorite places. If you’re making a visit, check out the list!
While Dublin was charming, the best part of our time in Ireland was staying with our friends Tara and Adam Calihman, in a little seaside town outside of Dublin called, Greystones.
Greystones is charming AF. Its main street features quaint restaurants and cafes along the sea. The highlight is a restaurant called The Happy Pear. It’s like Boulder shipped a restaurant across The Atlantic. A quirky two-story space, featuring a natural products store on one side, selling organic remedies, granola, fruit, etc., and on the other side, a cafe where you can buy heaping plates of vegan food to be paired with your flat white.
The restaurant is owned by two brothers. As hot hippies, they are the leaders of the health and wellness community in Greystones, hosting a daily dip in the sea every morning to greet the sun. They can be seen all over town, slinging granola, making coffee, or doing handstands. It was the most amusing local-celebrity experience I’ve had.
The night we arrived to Greystones, Jonathan was the special guest at the Wicklow County Innovation Meetup, run by our friend Adam. Jonathan presented to roughly ten people, in the lovely local library, about game design. After the presentation, we continued the conversation across the street at a local pub over pints.
After many drinks, we decided we needed some food, so we made a trip to the nearby Chipper. What an experience. Chippers are Fish & Chip shops that can be found all over Ireland and in Northern Ireland. They serve all things fried from chicken nuggets to fried mars bars. They are a national treasure. If you watch the show Derry Girls on Netflix, you will get a sense of how special Chippers are.
The evening was a perfect kick off to our stay in Greystones. Over the next ten days we cooked with the Calihman’s, went on runs along the water and cliffs, took a dip in the freezing Irish Sea to find out how long we could handle the cold, played games, rode the double decker bus into Dublin to work at our coworking space enjoying the most scenic of views.
One weekend, we spent a day at the farmers market and in the gardens at Kilruddery, a garden estate in Wicklow county. It all felt very Irish.
We also had the pleasure of going to a couple of Tara’s stand up shows to find out if the Irish get American humor. They do! Tara slayed.
One of the unexpected benefits of staying with the Calihman's was simply the time spent in a home with a family that had daily rituals. Traveling from place to place, staying in AirBnBs has been great, but I didn’t realize how much I was missing the security and comfort of the daily routine. We’ve been hustling through the year to get as much as we can out of each place we visit and have struggled to establish a solid routine. There’s a constant undercurrent of anxiety. When we’re working, I worry that we should be exploring, and when we’re exploring, I feel like I should be working. We needed more padding in our lives.
After our visit to Ireland, we reassessed our plans for the rest of the year and decided to slow down. This led us to our decision to spend two months, instead of five or six weeks in Stockholm. A full two months has offered us space and released the pressure to rush to gobble the city up, but instead just live and work and then have the room to spend our time on weekends visiting sites. This decision has been one of the best decisions we’ve made all year.
Thanks to Adam and Tara, the best of hosts, for opening your home and making us feel like part of your family. If you are friends with these fabulous people, I highly recommend making a visit to Greystones. Dublin is great, but you can’t beat the towns on the Irish Sea. We cherish the time we spent there and can’t wait to visit again.