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Day 1: Inked in Dublin

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

A glimpse of the Dublin Castle from the gardens

"We safely landed in Chicago and learned our flight was delayed. At first, I was pissed but literally two minutes earlier I said, 'Too bad we don't have a little extra time to walk around and stretch our legs...'" Oh how the Universe manifests just what we want! Buying plane tickets to Ireland was a bit tricky. I waited until the last minute to buy them so they were pretty expensive (oops).. so why not just pay to have only one connecting flight to get there? I ended up buying from American Airlines and decided to not get caught up in the ticket price. From Phoenix, we flew to Chicago O'Hare and then had a red eye flight all the way over to Dublin. Luckily, we flew with the jet stream, making our flight only six and a half hours, just enough time to pretend to sleep and have a good night's rest before a day of adventuring.

Before we boarded the plane at Sky Harbor, our house mates Thomas and Lou Ann took us out for dinner at the Green New American - a fantastic fast food vegan restaurant that mimics popular fast food chains' favorites, like the Big Mac and Wendy's Chicken Sandwich. Along the way, we ran into three instances of divine numerology - three 333's to guide us along our merry way to the Emerald Isle. We all found it fascinating, especially when the waiter gave us our table number with "333" plastered in yellow on the metal tag. We had to take a picture...

photo creds to Thomas :)
Lou Ann, Me, and Austin at Green New American

The last part of my journal entry for the day was at 1 am someone's time over the middle of the Atlantic. By this time, I was pretty exhausted so I tried my best at sleep despite our seats right in front of the rest rooms. The sun rose quicker than it set and we stared out the window at the emerging island. Clouds blanketed most of what we could see, but through the holes a puzzle of infinite amounts of green covered the island. We landed on the ground with a loud thud and looked out the window at the foreign airlines, the diverse landscape so different from the desert we've been living in for the past several months. In a rush we got off the plane, lugged our heavy carry-ons through customs, and to the rental kiosk. To be honest, I was a bit nervous to rent a car not because of the driving aspect, but because I wasn't using a credit card to rent it! Apparently that's super hard to do, so I did a lot of research and found this service called Indigo Car Hire that can help you achieve the impossible when renting a car. I'll share more on that later. We ended up getting a Dacia Sandero to drive around for the next two weeks, and hopped in right away. Ireland drives on the left side of the road, so needless to say we had a challenging time adjusting to this... while driving on the confusing and busy streets of Dublin! Let's just say there were a few swear words screamed out here and there...

Our first destination of the day was to find food. Any kind of vegan food would do, as we still wanted to keep to our diet most of the time in Ireland (we ended up failing miserably XD). We found this cute little place called Garden of Vegan in the middle of some random sector of the city. The walls inside were covered in sweet little veggie cartoons, all smiling at us with googley eyes. The innocence... I tell you! We enjoyed a bowl of chili and a "Burger with Attitude" while resting for the first time all day. Garden of Vegan was a great place to eat, the food was delicious and there were so many options on the menu to choose from! Austin's beet burger was superb, so full of sauce and healthy at that too. My chili was comforting and filling after not eating for several hours. Before too long, we said goodbye to the veggies and headed to the city center.

Smiling with the veggies at Garden of Vegan, Dublin

Austin and I aren't really city people... if you ask my sister about the one time we took her to Portland, she'll tell you how ornery as old hags the two of us are in the city! We tend to stay away. But we were on a mission. There were the typical things to see in Dublin, like the Temple Bar and the Guinness Store House, but we decided to skip over those two and to keep on walking. The busy cobblestone streets carried all walks of life, from tourists to locals, and we found ourselves in a river of fish.

Austin posing out front of The Temple Pub (we didn't actually go in)

One of the first sights we saw was the Dublin Castle and Gardens. We decided to skip the tour of the castle and rather lay on the lawn of the gardens, perennials of all sorts lining the old stone walls, gates on the entrances decorated with mysterious tri-spirals in wrought-iron. It felt like a time capsule observing the ancient architecture around us - how interesting it was to think about the people who built the castle, if they could even fathom what their city looks like in modern times. After a short rest, we continued on our way.

Pondering the old and the new on the cobblestone Dublin streets

"Hey look, a skate shop!" I pointed out on one of these busy streets. "Let's go inside and see what they got."

Up the rickety stairs we climbed climbed to the first level filled with decks and clothes. In the back of the room was a small mini-ramp with a long board in it, maybe for the workers to play around while the store was slow. "Hiya!" a gal about our age called out. We shared a conversation over the glass case, her name being Eva. We told her we were from the US and she said she'd been there once on a road trip - in South Carolina. Austin asked her if she knew of anyone that did walk in tattoos, she replied, "Oh yeah! My friends upstairs can get ye in tonight. They're really good, did mine here not too long ago," and pointed to a compass on her bicep.

"Thanks! We'll head right up!" we said, and she replied, "Slán! That's how Irish people say goodbye, ye might see it around." And we walked up some more rickety stairs.

The tattoo shop was called Connected Ink, a typical tattoo shop. We met her friends who showed us the book of tattoos that we could choose from for a walk in. I knew what I wanted, just a simple little tri-spiral called a triskel, a symbol that can have many different meanings. For me, I choose it because it's connected to something that has impacted me for the last few years, a similar symbol I see all the time and feel as though it has some significant meaning in my life. Also, the triskel has three spirals coming together in the center, which can mean mind, body, and spirit are balanced and moving forward together - all connected as one. Tattoos are awesome that way, they can mean so many different things to different people. The one in particular I got was placed on my left wrist in the color green by the artist Topper. We chatted for a short time about Ireland and about life - how he started out as an electric engineer in his youth and saw how quickly downhill that was taking his soul, so he switched to a more exciting life outside of the 9-5 job and pursued what made him happy. At 40, he was pretty good at tattooing though he started later on in his life, and he spent his free time refinishing old antique furniture.

Austin was in a different room with a man named Patrick who created a traditional style sparrow with a shamrock in his mouth on Austin's forearm. To Austin, this symbolized "a lucky traveler" since sparrows are traveling birds, and well, shamrocks are a symbol of luck to the Irish. Two ho