Posted by: vlibrizzi | July 29, 2009

Summer Road Trip Final Stop: U2 in Dublin

DSC_1266A few months ago when we were thinking about buying our tickets to return to the US for a few weeks this summer, C. came up with a great idea to make a quick pit stop along the way — in Dublin for a U2 concert.

The whole idea started when C. heard from an Irish friend at INSEAD who said, and I quote, “Seeing a U2 concert in Dublin is a life changing experience.”

So, always up for life-changing experiences, C. and I bought tickets for July 27th (the last concert of the 360 tour in Dublin), bought tickets from Marseilles to Dublin, and headed to the Emerald Isle.

We landed in Ireland on Saturday night to a chilly, wet climate. Luckily, we brought a few pairs of jeans with us, and they definitely came in use this past weekend when it didn’t get above the 60s the whole time. But, apparently, that’s normal for July in Dublin, from what we’ve heard.

DSC_1277When we arrived on Sunday we took a Wild Wicklow tour of the Wicklow Mountains right outside of Dublin which came highly recommended. The tour bus picked us up near our hotel, and we were greeted by a 27-year old Irish guide with a great sense of humor and an amazing reperitoire of Irish folk songs that he led us in singing on the bus.

The only part of the tour that we did not expect (or appreciate) was the other people on our tour….namely, a group of 35 hungover, puking German teenagers of a school trip. Yuck!

Nevertheless, C. and I tried to make the most of the situation….we decided to try to forget the barfing on the bus, and instead prefer to remember the hiking in the mountains. We loved seeing the Guiness pint glass-shaped lake (yes, the owner of the land imported sand to make the “head” of the pint seem realistic). We also really liked seeing the wild purple heather growing on the mountains (which you can see in the distance in the photo below).

DSC_1289And, let’s be clear…we loved the free shot of Jameson on the top of the mountain.

The German teenagers….they didn’t appreciate the shot too much. Trust me.

 

 

 

 

DSC_1309On our tour of Wicklow, we also visited an old monastery (St. Kevin’s monastery) with this great tower surrounded by a cemetary.

Apparently, it is Irish custom to run around the tower three times clockwise if you want to get married. We didn’t see anyone running around the tower during our trip, but our tourguide says it’s pretty common.

 

 

 

DSC_1314

Near the monastery, there were two lakes. We hiked to the top one and took this photo to the left. The area was filled with Irish people hiking and enjoying some time with their families…on one of the less than 100 days a year that it doesn’t rain! Could you believe that? More than 275 days of rain a year?

 

 

 

 

DSC_1327And in this photo, you can see the moss and the ferns in the woods. It was so wet, chilly, and humid there…the perfect temperature for moss and ferns….but, terrible temperature for two Americans who have spent the last few weks in desert-like Spain.

That was a bit of an adjustment.

 

 

 

DSC_1333After our tour, we met up with four friends from INSEAD that joined us in Dublin for the concert. We visited a few pubs in Temple Bar and had our fair share of Guinness pints.

The one thing that struck us most about the pubs…and Dublin in general, was that the whole town was U2 obsessed. Everywhere we went, people asked us if we were going to the concert. Every pub was playing U2 music. And, most people walking around town were dressed in U2 concert t-shirts. It was a pretty cool place to be this weekend.

So, then on Monday, to pump us up for the concert, we went to the Guinness storehouse to learn how Guiness is made and to indulge in our free pint, of course. You can see me with two of our friends in front of the Guinness storehouse in the photo to the left.

We were shocked by the sheer size of the storehouse. They had seven floors of tourist sites….from old Guiness advertisements, to teaching tourists how the famous Irish beer is made.

After the tour, we grabbed a quick Irish dinner at a pub called Cassidy’s in city center. I had Irish beef stew with soda bread and great, saldy Irish butter. C. had fish and chips, of course. The food was wonderful!

And, then, to the main event.

The concert. Which was amazing!

The only bummer was that our camera battery ran out so we have no photos of the concert. Hopefully, some of our friends will email the photos they took to us. And if they do, I’ll post them on the blog.

But, for a brief synopsis…U2 played for about 2 hours. They had to finish playing by 11 because the residents who live near Croke Park will not allow concerts to go on after that. They played all the best songs. And, everyone was singing along.

We stood on the “pitch” (on the field) and loved being right in the middle of the action. It really was a once in a lifetime experience. I don’t know about “life changing,” but it definitely was pretty cool. And standing outside, singing along to the music, with a bunch of surprisingly not rowdy Irishmen…was a great way to end our summer road trip in Europe.

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Responses

  1. Wow, Dublin looks beautiful! and i sense a little bit of Chris seeping in to your writing…”let’s be clear” sounds eerily like something he would say 🙂 This entry definitely had me laughing out loud–I am sorry about the vomiting German teens!

  2. Nice photos! Ireland looks beautiful.
    275 days of rain a year? Wow, I think I’ve just found my dream place…quite different from Phoenix’s “more than 300 days of sun a year!”


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