I didn’t mean to start a mosh pit at a dance club in Dublin. It just kinda happened. I swear. After all, I was in Ireland and there was much alcohol involved. But before I get into that let me fill you in on how I came to be in Ireland’s amazing capital city, and some of the shenanigans that took place.
I had always wanted to visit Ireland. In June 2003, I finally arrived there after taking a train from London to Hollyhead, and then a ferry trip from Hollyhead to Dublin. The ferry pulled in to Dublin at about 5pm, and then I met my friend and travel buddy, Alisa, at the hostel in the middle of the city. So what does any country-respecting, culturally aware and knowledgeable travel wannabe do in Dublin? Listen to great Irish music of course! And Drink. And see the historical and cultural sights and wonders of the Irish capital. And Drink.
That’s right. By the time we were checked into the hostel, it was evening and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, and the St. James Gate Brewery were closed anyway. So Alisa and I hit the Temple Bar district like every other tourist, ready to do battle with our livers, and started knocking back all that great Irish beer. We enjoyed the lively and fun Irish music sessions, where local musicians come to the pubs to play traditional music. It’s fucking amazing.
I must say that Irish people are very friendly. They’ll approach complete strangers to say “Hello, how are you?” and “Where are you from?” and “Care to join me for a pint?” We had great fun meeting local people in Dublin. And even greater fun pub crawling and starting mosh pits with them.
The surprising thing I found about Ireland was that there were people from all over the world there. Irish (der!), French, English, Norwegians, Daleks, fellow Americans, Canadians, Australians, Wookies, Germans, and the occasional Nerd. And we were all drinking in Irish pubs together, having a great time. See! World peace can be achieved with alcohol!
Overall, day one in Dublin was great. Alisa and I had a great time. Now, on to day two!
During the day I toured the St. James Gate Brewery. This is where Guinness is made and all things holy occur. At the end of the brewery tour, one will end up at the top of the facility in a place called the Sky Bar. From here, you get a free pint of Guinness, and can look out over the city of Dublin from several stories up. The Guinness Brewery is a Mecca for beer aficionados, drunks, barley connoisseurs, alcoholics, Irish culture lovers, and those seeking the world record on something like, “most live hamsters fitting into a single human mouth.”
Afterwards, Alisa and I visited Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. For those who don’t know about the Book of Kells it’s actually four books, not one. The Book of Kells are the four gospels of the New Testament which were written and hand drawn over 1,200 years ago by Irish monks. They are an orgy of intricate artwork, color and Celtic knotwork, which show holy scenes from the Bible. There is so much hand-drawn artwork, one sometimes forgets there is the occasional gospel verse. I wish I could include pictures of the stunning artwork, but when I tried to take a shot one of the security staff gave me the stink eye and said, “No photography allowed.”
We dined at one of the many Irish cafes and then bivouacked back at the hostel. The battle plan was to gather more intelligence from our fellow hostel guests about the local pubs for our planned drinking assault. Before we set out, Alisa informed me she would be staying in that night, and wanted to retire early. No worries, so I set out for the Temple Bar and commenced with Operation Guzzle and Flirt.
The evening went well. I was knocking back the pints while socializing with a random group of Irishmen and a couple of American girls. We all ended up pub crawling around the Temple Bar district together. The Quays Bar, Farrington’s, and others were all invaded and conquered by us. One of the friendly Irishmen we crawled with invited us all back to his flat for more drinks.
While at his flat, someone suggested a nightclub. I don’t remember the name, but it was one of those underground clubs (literally). I do remember that our Irish host had to knock on the door, speak to someone through a tiny window in the door like a speakeasy, where we then paid our cover charge before being allowed in. And by in, I mean we descended a flight of stairs to enter the dark and smoky club, thumping with pop music and bass beats. I half expected there to be vampires and mobsters…or both.
By this time I was drunk enough to pay 9 Euro for a Long Island Iced Tea. That’s about 14 bucks in ‘Merican. And half of that drink ended up on the dance floor. I shouldn’t neglect to mention that I was wearing an Indiana Jones-style fedora all night. Because I’m a dork.
Anyway, while I was on the dance floor Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” started playing in the club. The energetic guitar riffs mixed with the blood in my alcohol system made me want to head bang and rock out. So I did just that, and while doing so…may have accidentally bumped into everyone next to me on the dance floor. In good-natured fashion and sportsmanship, several of the other Irish gentlemen on the dance floor took to my drunken nudging by kindly bumping me and their neighbors back. Some people didn’t seem too keen on the idea (I can’t imagine why), but many others loved it and joined in. Next thing I know, there was a full-blown mosh pit going in the middle of the dance floor at this nightclub in Dublin. Good times!
As the end of the evening drew near (more like early morning), I returned to the hostel. You see, in a hostel you purchase a bed in a room full of bunks that are shared with other travelers. That’s what makes them so cheap. As I entered the dorm room I noticed Alisa wasn’t in her bunk. In my inebriation I felt I needed to make sure she was ok. One of the other travelers in the room saw me looking around.
“Are you looking for your friend?” she asked me.
“Yes. I just want to make sure she’s alright?”
“I think I saw her in the next dorm room,” she pointed out the room to me.
I walked to the indicated dorm room and knocked on the door. Not a millisecond later the door flung open. Out poured two buck-naked men who ran down the halls of the hostel. Not only were they clad in their birthday suits, they were giggling as they pranced around this Irish establishment with cries of, “Tee hee hee!”
Then a third man, fully clothed, poked his head out of the room and yelled towards his naked companions, “You couple of sausage jockeys!”
I walked into the room and found my friend there. She was also fully clothed, but suspiciously had her camera around her neck. I looked at her, then back at the two naked gentlemen who were just returning from their late night hostel prancing session, and then back at her. Alisa just looked at me with a complete innocent look on her face, shrugged, and asked, “What?”
The night pretty much ended after that. I nursed a hangover the following day by taking some headache meds and seeing more of the city’s sites. The next night was another dose of pub-crawling with great people, beer, and craic. And then we went to Doolin and Galway for more shenanigans. But that’s another story.