I have always wanted to go to Dublin and visit Ireland. I'm not even sure where this desire came from but I have had itchy feet for an Irish visit for the longest time and I went into 2016 making it my mission to go.
I'd toyed with the idea of going alone for the weekend of my 25th birthday but luckily I had a willing travel companion in the form of my friend Fiona. We got onto the plane in Cardiff and a very short 40 minute plane ride later we arrived in sunny Dublin. I fell in love with Dublin the minute we got off the bus and walked to our hotel for the weekend - The Dean. More on that wonderful hotel later.
For the first day we decided to take it easy having had an early rise. We dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed back into the city centre to take it all in.
Dublin has some stunning architecture, I loved the beautiful red brick buildings which made reminded me a lot of photos my parents showed me of their life in Brooklyn before I was born. Even though it's only a short flight from Wales, the Euro and bilingual signs in English and Gaelic means that Ireland has its very distinctive feel to it. It of course has it's very own history and Ireland is completely separate to the UK as explained by the commemorations for the Easter Rising of 1916.
Luckily we had a beautiful first day weather wise, so we made the most out of it by heading to Trinity College.
Trinity College was stunning and made me want to find some excuse to go back to university. It was heaving when we arrived and there was a long queue for the Book of Kells which we ended up seeing on our last day. More on that later.
The university was founded in 1592, modelled after the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. It's one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland as well as Ireland's oldest university. It really is a beautiful campus, students offer tours of the college which give you a good insight into the long history of the university.
Visiting the university during the Easter weekend was very interesting as the campus was buzzing. Dublin was gearing up to celebrate the 100 year commemoration for the Easter Rising of 1916.
The Easter Rising was an armed insurrection by Irish Republicans to end the British rule in Ireland and gain independence for Ireland. This all happened whilst Britain was engaged in World War I. Almost 500 people died during the Rising and more then 2,600 people were wounded. Large parts of Dublin were destroyed and the history has left a lasting legacy on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
I won't pretend to understand all of the complexion Irish history but seeing the city come together to commemorate this important part of their history was very moving. It's inspired me to learn more about Irish history because I'm sure I'll be back to visit Ireland sooner rather than later.
There are more Dublin posts coming soon so keep your eyes peeled!