Written by Swati
March 27th 2023
(Trinity College Old Library)
Another weekend. Another solo trip. Except this time to the incredible city of Dublin and to the Cliffs of Moher! At this point, I consider my travel life a pendulum. When I travel alone too much, I crave company, and after a few hours of company, I’m ready to set out on my own again. These past two weekends I paired and trio’d off with small groups to Germany and Belgium but I was able to snag round trip tickets to Dublin for just 2 days at around 40 euros on Ryanair! Truly the best of both worlds as I’ve been needing some time and space away from campus and the recent onset of everyone collectively hitting the wall, but also rest and time to recuperate from the go-go-go lifestyle.
I love solo travel. I truly do. Gosh it’s so romantic. It’s so freeing. It’s incredible, it’s lovely. It makes the globe feel like a bead. Spin the top and go where your finger lands just because you can. And it provides so much more opportunity to seek out hidden alleyways and street murals. Every minute feels like a movie. While I didn’t have nearly enough time in the beautiful city of Dublin, the time I spent there was magic. Several of Dublin’s historic tourist sites are going through a period of refurbishment, the Dublin Castle and the Trinity College Old Library, but I still appreciated the ability to see them in transition.
The Trinity College Old Library and Book of Kells were historic, beautiful, and so calming. Worth the 15 euro entry fee? Maybe debatable. But when I entered that room, I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather be. A beautiful oak room filled floor to ceiling with the oldest copies of Irish history (but not currently, they’re in the process of tagging and scanning sections of books for their digital collection) and busts of historical figures like Shakespeare, Plato, and Ada Lovelace. I sat on the corner of a wooden bench and just took it all in. I don’t consider myself much of a giftshop person but I made an exception at Trinity College when I found the most beautiful copy of ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce, a notable author from Ireland. I couldn’t resist the gold lined pages and robin’s egg blue hardback cover. And the Irish bookstores! They’re truly a world of their own. I dreamt of being a writer for so long as a child and literary cities strike a chord in my heart. It’s why I harbor such affection for Edinburgh, whose many famous sites are in honor of Sir Walter Scott, a household Scottish writer, and Porto, for their famous bookstore and literary sites throughout the city.
Sprinkled throughout Dublin are gems of bookstores and storytellers. I popped into The Winding Stair and picked up a copy of Letters to A Young Poet and browsed through Books Upstairs, another bookstore right next to my hostel. It was quite freeing to wander these English bookstores and stop myself from buying books not out of a lack of understanding but out of respect for my credit card. I’ve been having the opposite problem in Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France where I pick up copies of books and translate the pages individually, attempting to piece together stories before realizing that I can’t keep collecting books that I can’t effectively understand. Every bookstore proudly boasts copies of books written by James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and WB Yeats, three of the most notable Irish authors. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Salley Rooney, the author of ‘Normal People’ amongst the Irish bestsellers section! The next morning I woke up at 6am for my Cliffs of Moher Day Tour! I had originally planned to spend both days of this short trip in Dublin, but I booked a Cliffs of Moher Tour through GetYourGuide at the recommendation of another group from GTE who went to Ireland last month. Best. Decision. Ever. Stay tuned to find out more!