My Irish Spring – Final wandering, the Guinness Brewery, and final goodbyes (Sunday)


Wow… How long has it been since I’ve done an international trip? How much longer since I’ve gone international solo?

Let’s see. The last international trip was to Scotland, right before the Pandemic hit. When I had that really bad flu… right before the Pandemic. With COVID. That presents sort of like a flu. That I’ve somehow avoided getting, as if I’d already gotten it and gained an immunity… Okay we’re not going down that road the last time I went abroad was January 2020. Three years and change.

The last time I went on a solo international trip? Well, that’d be New Zealand, back in 2012. 11 years.

It’s high time I explored.

I got accepted to Trinity College’s MBA program back in November, and accepted the offer that same month… though I delayed admission until 2024, to give me some time to finish up in Oregon and save up a bit more money. While talking to the admissions officer though, I learned about a Business forum put on by Trinity in March – a perfect opportunity for me to stretch my international adventure legs and see if Dublin would make a good home for a year or three!

I planned, I packed, and I set off on my first solo international trip in over 10 years…

(Please note that these are my raw notes from the trip. I’m proofreading them for obvious mistakes… but they’re still short-hand. Because life is busy, and blogs don’t need to be perfectly edited.)

Sunday, 12-Mar-2023

My shin hurts, and my calf hurts, and I’m tired. It feels like all of me is sore, and I’m not convinced that I can spend another entire day wandering around Dublin.

These are all good things, mind you.

They mean I’ve been adventurous, active, and that I’m able to walk and run and lift and do push-ups, and that I’ve been exploring the city like an absolutely madman.

I can still remember my first big trip after breaking my leg, when even being able to walk a few miles on cobblestones was a huge accomplishment… It’s interesting, but all the injuries I’ve been through have just whetted my appetite for movement, and helped me appreciate just how incredible it is to be able to move and walk and even hop across an intersection before a light turns color.

I took a pair of ibuprofin, woke up slowly, and made my way outside to find some breakfast. I hit a new café that I haven’t been to before, got another full Irish breakfast, and then did a bit of wandering after the painkillers fully kicked in. I didn’t go far, and I didn’t go fast, but I did go happily and I did enjoy every minute.

I found a coffee shop, did some writing while sipping a latte, and appreciated my last full day in town.

I kept the day quiet – I definitely wandered a bit, since I was feeling quite a bit better than the previous statement would lead one to believe, but I didn’t push too hard. I’d finished all my main goals, with the exception of the Guinness brewery that I’d see that afternoon, so I relaxed and walked slowly.

I enjoyed the quiet, I relaxed and watched the traffic, and I was thankful for my movement. I stopped back at the apartment for a brief rest, and I walked onward to Guinness.

The Guinness brewery wasn’t super high up on my list, to be frank, since I don’t really drink beer very often. But it is Ireland, and Guinness is one of the biggest international symbols of Dublin, so… how could I fully skip it? I couldn’t, obviously, and so I found myself walking past a huge cathedral to St. James Gate, to the tour of the Brewery.

The neat thing that I learned, as the self-guided tour went on, is that Guinness isn’t just about the beer. It’s equally (or more, in my mind) about their advertising and distribution. Great and cheeky ads were plastered around the building, commemorating Guinness’ willingness to break the mold. Details on their distribution network were constant as well – notes about the ships that they had built to carry the beer across the oceans, and the special rail lines that were built to haul raw ingredients.

It’s neat, and seemed beautifully applicable to my imminent return to the states – You need a good product to be good, to be sure, but you need the background details and surrounding supports to be great. Worth considering.

I enjoyed the tour, then enjoyed one final rainy walk around Dublin as I made my way back to the Temple Bar neighborhood. I found myself a nice pub with music and burgers, and had a taste of home as my final dinner in town, before heading back to pack and take one last look out across the river…

It was excellent.

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