For those that know me you will be aware that I am on the committee for Leeds RAG (raising and giving) society. And if not, you’ve just learned something new!
This weekend (17th-19th February) was our Dublin Raid which involved sending participants to Dublin to bucket shake for Amnesty International – a charity supporting human rights. 10 of us went in total.
After getting the train to Manchester airport and dealing with stressful security checks, we boarded the Aer Linger plane and set off at 5:45pm.
It was an incredibly short flight, lasting only 40 minutes!
Following an incident involving a lost passport, we eventually left Dublin Airport around 8pm and headed to our hostel via taxi.
We arrived at The Generator Hostel, located on Smithfield Square. According to the taxi driver, it is one of Dublin’s more expensive hostels and it certainly impressed at first, with its clean modern layout of rooms and access to free wifi.
After a quick refresh and a bite to eat, we decided to explore the city’s nightlife.
Our first stop was Dice Bar, on the corner of Benburb and Queen Street. A busy local with great music and selection of beverages, it was definitely my favourite bar of the night!
After spending a while here, we moved on to another local Irish pub.
Unfortunately I did not get its name, but we stayed here for a while and then decided to return to the hostel to get a good nights sleep for a busy day of charity work tomorrow.
After getting ready and trying out the surprisingly good communal showers, we all headed down for our free continental breakfast in the basement.
Filled up slightly on bread, Darcy from Amnesty International arrived at our hostel around 10am to guide us to their city office. She was incredibly helpful, pointing out good places to go in Dublin and informing us about the city itself.
Upon arriving at the office, the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. We entered a meeting room and were provided with information about the charity, for instance, what it is currently working on and its aims.
We were also given bibs, wristbands and buttons to be worn when promoting the charity.
We also received relevant paperworks such as permits proving that we were lawfully collecting money for the charity incase anyone asked for official documents.
Arranged into pairs, we were allocated different locations within Temple Bar and Grafton Street and arrived at our stations around 12pm.
Initially it was a slow process despite our best efforts to get donations. Yet we kept our spirits high, smiling at passing glances and glares of the public.
Towards mid afternoon it picked up with people being incredibly generous, donating coins and notes as well as giving encouraging words, making standing outside in the cold Irish wind worth it.
Unfortunately we did encounter a few negative responses such as being called murders for Amnesty’s stance on Womens rights to have an abortion. We avoided further conflict through our positivity and remained smiling even when a bird pooed on my head!
A personal highlight was a donation from a young man who had collected €25 of loose change from pubs and the ground for over two years. Deciding that it was a worthwhile cause, he gave us the entire lot which was incredibly heartwarming and restored our enthusiasm following the negative encounters of the previous hour.
We finished bucket shaking around 5pm and returned to Amnesty International where we dropped off our buckets and were thanked for our help.
Following this, we headed back to the hostel for some food and a rest.
Unfortunately, the hostel were not very accommodating for people with dietary requirements. Despite promising us all free pizza that suited everyones needs (1 x Vegan, 2 x Lactose Intolerant, 1x Gluten Free, 1 x Gluten Free and Vegetarian), they failed to deliver.
This is what was served.
This was incredibly frustrating and we gave up trying to communicate with them as they clearly did not understand or care. They served the same food to everyone with an allergy, offending those who were lactose intolerant and vegan by putting yoghurt on their plate and did not know what the green sauce was – claiming it was originally pesto then herb based.
I was so hungry that I decided to order in Gluten Free pizzas (for me and another girl) from a local branch of Pizza Express so at least we had a decent meal before heading out.
My favourite pub of the night in Temple Bar was the Porterhouse. Opened in 1996 as Dublin’s first pub brewery, it is an fantastic place to go for a pint, with its vibrant scene, exciting layout, live band and varied selection of draft beers and cider.
I definitely will be going back again!
With our flight home being at 7:20pm, we had a free day to explore the city.
We decided to split into two groups – those who wanted to go on a coastal walk and those who wanted to wander around and see the sights of Dublin.
I went for the latter option.
The first sight we set off to find was the House of Parliament.
Along the way we stumbled across Dublin Castle and stopped for a quick photograph before carrying on.
We then walked to St Stephens Green, Irelands best known Victorian Park which was incredibly pretty!
Finally we reached Parliament but it was an anticlimax to say the least! Fenced off from the public, there was no photo opportunity and not much to see.
Hopping into an Irish Uber, we set off to the Guinness Storehouse, the most popular public attraction in Dublin.
Along the way, we passed St. Patrick’s Cathedral and were given an informative talk about the history of Guinness in the city from the taxi driver.
The Guinness storehouse did not disappoint!
It was amazing.
Filled with tons of factual information about brewing, advertising, heritage and tasting, it took us a good 2 hours to go around!
After exploring each of the 5 levels, we went to Gravity Bar to collect our free pint of Guinness.
After the storehouse, we headed for Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison for the County of Dublin.
Upon arrival we were told that all the tours for the day were sold out, but we were given free access to the museum. After looking around, we headed back to the hostel for a rest before the journey home.
Eventually we arrived in England around 8:20pm following a 15 minute flight delay. We got into Leeds for around 10:30pm and headed separate ways home.
Overall, Dublin has been a blast despite the lack of sleep! If you have not been, I would recommend a visit – it certainly does not disappoint.