by Ashley Casorio
With airfares seemingly dropping nearly everywhere, it’s a shame to not take advantage of it. The only problem? Being able to take the time away. Fortunately for us, we have fantastic and diverse places that make great long weekend getaways that are not a long flight away. If you’ve never considered Europe for a long weekend, it’s time you do.
There are many ways to tackle Europe, but if you’re going for only a few days, take the shortest flight. That flight would take you directly to Ireland. In just over six hours, you could be sitting with a fresh pint of Guinness in your hand. That’s exactly what I did when a friend asked me to join her at the end of a business trip.
I used my miles to upgrade myself to business class and I couldn’t wait to get on the plane and hit recline on the lie flat bed. The moment when I stretch my legs out to reach the foot rest knowing that I will not have to keep my knees at a right angle the entire time makes all the miles spent 100% worth it. I hadn’t done my research, however, to see how long the flight was going to be. When the flight attendant announced that it would be six hours and five minutes, I felt a slight sense of disappointment of not being able to soak up more of the good life.
All that aside, I landed in Dublin and hit the group running as I typically do in a place with a time difference, frequently telling myself to stay awake as long as I can. My friend and I met up at our small boutique hotel in the young hip neighborhood of Temple Bar. We strategically chose it so that we’d be close to the action, not realizing that we might be a little too close to the action. All I will say is that earplugs are not sound proof.
We proceeded to beeline straight to the Guinness Storehouse which is a massive seven story building that offers the rich history of Guinness, the Guinness Academy where you can learn to pour the perfect pint (and even get a certificate afterwards), and a rooftop bar called Gravity Bar that showcases 360-degree views of the city. You would be remiss to not visit this treasured locale on your visit.
The great thing about Dublin (and really all of Europe for that matter) is how easy it is to travel by rail. We hopped on and rode to Dalkey, the town that Bono lives in (which, for the record, is not the only reason we went there). Dalkey is a quaint seaside town with beautiful narrow streets and fun pubs. We didn’t go for anything, mostly to see what lay outside of the city. This may have been my favorite part of the trip.
Someone had alerted us to a hidden speakeasy that is a must, but was hard to find. We decided to make our last night in Dublin the night to get adventurous. We started out by making a reservation, which generated an email to us with a few clues that lead us to a particular street. Afterwards, the directions got a bit vaguer: look for the red door next to the ATM, punch in this code at the door, walk through into the alleyway, if anyone asks you what you are doing you tell them you are “here for the old lady’s funeral”, and proceed to the black door in the alley. Once we settled into the bar in the basement, we skipped the Guinness and went for some champagne to celebrate a great few days. The icing on the cake for this perfect weekend was that you clear US Customs at the airport in Dublin, making your return to the states easy, just like this weekend getaway.
Ashley Casorio is the writer behind The Wandering Ash travel blog: www.thewanderingash.com. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thewanderingash for photos and musings on her travels.