City of a Thousand Welcomes in Dublin: Thistles and Coos Review
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
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When was the last time you had the pleasure of a 24 hour layover? As horrible as this may sound, layovers can present unique opportunities for exploration. This is exactly what happened to us in Dublin on our way to Scotland. Want to know how to fight jet lag and see what Dublin has to offer? Let’s go!
I say Dublin, you say: Guinness, Bono and Conor McGregor. Imagine that trio! Despite all the big names, Dublin has plenty more to see. Since Dublin was established as a Viking settlement in the 10th century, there are plenty of old churches, museums and historical sites to visit.
We had 24 hours to figure out a mission then conduct it. Clock’s ticking. What to do in such a short amount of time while sticking to your budget?
As we do before any trip, RESEARCH.
What we found was a free tour of Dublin through The Little Museum of Dublin called The City of a Thousand Welcomes.
City of a Thousand Welcomes tour links tourists up with a local tour guide who takes you out for a cup of tea or a pint and then gives you an informed tour of Dublin.
First, What to KNOW:
Register on their website. The number of visitors using this free service is growing each year, plan accordingly.
Size matters. Each tour consists of two visitors and one local, so you get a personal experience. Larger groups might be accommodated, contact them. Be flexible as your group might be divided up. Trust the process, it will not disappoint.
Plan Your Tour. When registering for a tour through City of a Thousand Welcomes, you must provide 24 hour prior notice. A questionnaire used to personalize your tour is included in the registration process, so plan for a few extra minutes.
Second, why we love City of a Thousand Welcomes tour:
When we signed up for this tour, we thought it would be a quick “hello” and welcome, have a cup of tea and then off on our merry way. #wrong
By the time we arrived in Dublin in the early morning, took the bus to our hostel, checked-in, and unloaded our backpacks, we were already feeling the jet lag. It was only 9 in the morning, not a good sign.
We started our walk to stay awake. Keeping an eye on the time as we made our way to the Little Museum to start our meet and greet.
We arrive at the Little Museum and sign in. We were told our guide would meet us shortly.
We wander around the museum until we are greeted by a friendly man’s voice calling us to begin our tour. His smile and relaxed stature put us at ease; perhaps this won’t seem like we are spending the next hour with a complete stranger.
Our ambassador’s name is Roger King. As he led us out the door, we knew we were going to be fast friends.
He begins by asking about our plans for the day. Walking and staying awake were our goals, so we had planned on visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College.
As a perk of the tour, we were provided with the option of tea or a pint. We had planned on tea.
Roger then claps his hands, chuckles and says, “Let’s go get a pint.”
In the next hour or so, Roger leads us through the streets of Dublin, pointing out relics and hidden gems throughout the city. Had he not been there, we would have not known or seen the smallest (and important) details that make Dublin so great.
After an hour, he takes us to The Cellar Bar. The bar is located in the wine vaults of the Marriott Hotel. It is rumored to have been a residence of the Duke of Wellington.
He gives the bartender a token and the three of us enjoy a pint. Guinness does taste better in Dublin.
As we waited for our drinks, Roger, being a natural storyteller, began telling us about the many benefits of Guinness.
“An unknown fact,” he states, “It [Guinness] is full of iron. When women gave birth, the nurses would give the mother a Guinness to help with recovery.”
Roger told stories about Dublin, the people, Ireland, driving, etc.. we thoroughly enjoyed our time together.
After we finished and thought we were wrapping up things, Roger claps his hands and asks us what’s up next for the day. We told him we wanted to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral and he asks if he could join us.
We spent the next hour walking the streets of Dublin and listening to Roger explain the history behind each building or landmark. He took us to see Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture in Merrion Square.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” ~Oscar Wilde
As we made our way through Trinity College, Roger would randomly try and open doors. Not exactly sure what he was doing, we just followed along.
He chuckled and said “if it is unlocked, it means you can go in.” #lifelesson
He snaked us through Dublin and ended up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Our time together was coming to a close and this is where he left us to return home.
What made this truly a remarkable experience and it exceeded our expectations. In our minds, we thought we would meet the Ambassador, have a cup of tea, exchange “niceties”, and then be on our way.
Little did we know when we met Roger King, he would be a highlight of our trip. Even today, we still talk about and to Roger. We have asked him for advice as we plan other trips to Ireland.
We can’t vouch for other Ambassadors, but ours was excellent.