A Love for Layovers

 No one likes a long layover. Except for me.

_dsc059315 hours is just enough time to get a little taste of any city, and a taste is all it takes to create a hunger for a longer stay. That is me as I currently sit in the Dublin Airpor, hour 14 of 15, drinking nothing other than a Guinness, of course.
Although my liking for darker brews has never been a strong one, I figured ‘when in Ireland,’ right?The world-renowned dry stout was created in 1759 by Arthur _dsc0618Guinness in the heart of Dublin, where its brewing headquarters and storehouse still serve as one of the main attractions in the city’s center. Tickets start from at 14 euros, with an option for student/senior discounts. If you consider yourself a true Irish-man (or Irish-woman…no discrimination here) and have a craving for something that packs a heavier punch, opt for a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery _dsc0605also located near the city center. The Distillery has been in operation since before 1780 when it was taken over by John Jameson and his son, also John Jameson. It is currently under a “re-development” process but will be back in full swing just in time for St. Patrick’s day in March 2017.

The River Liffey, running directly through the city, translates to “An Life” in the Irish heritage.

Dublin offers more than just an extensive history in brews and “the water of life.” The capitol of Ireland itself first began as a Viking settlement as early as the 10th century, and historic landmarks can be found scattered throughout the city’s limits. If you find yourself pressed for time but in need of a European history fix, just like myself, fear not dear friends. There is plenty to be seen within easy reach of the airport and better yet, without much overhead.

Dublin Castle Chapel Royal. Designed by Francis Johnston and opened by Lord Lieutenant Whitworth in 1814 on Christmas Day.

Dublin Airport offers a bus service called the AirExpress, with roundtrip tickets costing only  10 euros. There are two routes throughout the city, I was recommended to take the 747 which makes multiple stops at landmark locations. The Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral can satisfy your history cravings in one simple stop with a little foot action in between. Both locations offer ticketed guided tours, but are equally as enjoyable for those of us who prefer the do-it-yourself/balling-on-a-budget methods. I exited the AirLink Express at the Christ Church stop and proceeded to walk the city from there.

Dublin Castle Record Tower, the last intact medieval tower in the city of Dublin. With walls 15 feet thick (4.6 meters), the Tower served as a top security jail for State prisoners in the peak of its use

Being November, and the start of the holiday season, the hustle and bustle throughout the city is apparent. Holiday décor and Irish pride can be seen on every street corner. With “tis the season” spirit in the air along side the menagerie of historic buildings and modern architecture lining the lively sidewalks, Dublin offers a truly unique aesthetic that can only be found in old European cities.

For those of you who have less of a taste for history and crave instead a shopping spree or bar crawl, the options are endless. I found myself doing some major window shopping and drink/food envy between the Ilac and Jervis shopping centres located along O’Connell and Henry Street. Every fashionistas dream walkway, I kid you not. But like I said…balling-on-a-budget, hence the window shopping. Both streets are lined with creperies and coffee shops filled with scrumptious smells and mouthwatering treats alike.

If you find yourself in need of a sweet treat, pop into CoCo Bó at 65/66 O’Connell St. for a coffee, hot chocolate or ice cream. The café-style eatery offers a ‘Made by Me’ counter where guests can create their own personalized chocolate bar using whatever ingredients their heart desires. If you’re like me and chocolate is life, this place is made for you. I highly recommend the mocha…my taste buds are reminiscing now as type. There are bus stops all along O’Connell street, making it an easy go-to destination for the time-pressed traveler.

Henry Street Shopping Centre

With heavy heart, after my indulgent chocolate experience and short gallivant through the city it was time to head back to the airport. I hardly had a chance to brush the surface of Dublin, but I know I will be back for more. _dsc0598I see brewery tours, St. Patrick’s day celebrations and a shopping spree in the Irish future. My last name is Courtney after all.