I had no intention of going to Ireland, but the flight was just too inexpensive to pass up (60 euros roundtrip). Unfortunately for that price, I had to take a bus to Bratislava to catch my plane. I don't know a whole lot about Bratislava, but I'm a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a city by their airport. For example, San Diego's airport smells like the beach when you get there...on the other hand, Baltimore's airport smells like garbage. At the airport in Bratislava, there's a big sign when you check in at the service desk. It shows pictures of all the items you're not allowed to bring with you when you leave Bratislava. The banned list includes staples like: grenades, gasoline, and poison. I made a quick note to return here for Christmas shopping.
There are some fun things to do in Dublin, but there are also some negatives too. For one thing, Dublin is very expensive. I subsisted on a healthy diet of cookies (35 cents for a box) and apple juice, but expect to pay 4 or 5 euros for a Guinness here...even though they can basically walk the kegs from the brewery to the bars. The nightlife scene is very cosmopolitan, and it didn't feel like true Irish culture. Lots of tourists and expatriates around.
Aside from that, there are still a few places that you have to see. The first one that I visited was the National Museum. This museum had artifacts that were thousands of years old, including swords and other items from the Vikings. It was a massive collection, including a number of items from other countries--Egyptian mummies and Roman artifacts among them. The most impressive item was a 2,500 year-old longboat that was carved out of a single oak tree. As always--no pictures allowed, but I tried to grab one:
I went on a 2-day whirlwind tour of Dublin to see all of the major sites--Temple Bar, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle, O'Connell Street, St. Stephen's Green. It's actually fairly easy to walk around to anything in the center of Dublin in 10-15 minutes.
The first day ended with an eventful night at the hostel. I've stayed in lots of different places over the years--some sketchier than others--but this was the first time that I ever demanded to be moved to a new room at 2AM. That's a story for another time.