WHAT: Traditional Irish Storytelling Tour
WHERE: Outside Extreme Ireland College Green Tourist office opposite Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
RUNTIME: 2 hours
WHO: Hidden Dublin Walks & Tours
OUR RATING: Do It!
Ireland: a land steeped in myth and history. Once you have done Dublin it’s time to get out of the city and experience the wild Irish countryside and the stories that go with it. On the Traditional Irish Storytelling Tour by Hidden Dublin we revelled in mythology, drank up the beautiful countryside and literally imbibed some delicious complimentary beverages from the most stunning tour bus you’ll ever see.
Alicia: Folklore and Fairies. The Traditional Irish Storytelling Tour was the highlight of my trip to Dublin. It all starts out in near Trinity College. One moment you are outside in the noisy hustle and bustle of the urban city, but as soon as the bus doors open you are transported into a traditional Irish pub. This custom-built bus has the exterior of a medieval structure complete with a simulated thatched roof, but the magic is really inside, with wood panelled walls, dim lighting, red curtains, a red brick faux-fireplace, and of course a bar to quench your thirst.
The most magical moment was our stop at St. Anne’s Park in Clontarf, known to be a beloved by the mystical people of the Sidhe. Stepping out of the warm and dimly lit bus we suddenly realised we were no longer in the city center, but now in the beautiful emerald countryside that Ireland is so known and loved for.
On one side were green pastures as far as the eye could see, and on the other was the lovely park, the second largest municipal park in Dublin. As we walked through the park our guide introduced us to the Battle of Clontarf, a massive battle that signalled the end of Viking rule in Ireland. We heard the story of the death of Brian Boru, one of Ireland’s most famous kings, and ran into a mysterious woman during our venture into the beautiful woods, including a massive and bewitching tree.
Adam will tell of our other adventures, but I’ll quickly mention The Church Bar, where our lovely tour ended. Our guide invited the group to share another pint with him at the site where Arthur Guinness was married and where Handel used to practice the Messiah. It was a great way to end the tour and to be able to chat and share a drink with some great new people we met along our journey.
Adam: There is something naturally mythic about Ireland. No trip to the great city of Dublin would be complete without a journey into the heart of Irish myths, legends and history that truly flesh out any first impressions of the country. Our tour took us to fields, woods and beaches, all meticulously accompanied by the talented bards of Hidden Dublin.
What is truly lovely about this tour is the emphasis on believability and magic – because of your total immersion in the world of Irish history one starts to believe in the fairies and leprechauns so eloquently spoken of. Literally watching my step as I walked, it wouldn’t have seem surprising if a sprite had stepped out and confronted me.
At one point, we were taken the the mighty beach at the peninsula of Beann Eadair, where the whitecaps blew towards us, perhaps revealing the Irish mermen that are said to dwell beneath the depths. Unlike their female counterparts, mermen are tricky creatures who you might not want to meet!
Aboard the bus itself, one is treated to delicious Guinness from the on-board bar, as well as communal renditions of such great traditionals as Cockles and Mussels about the famous Molly Malone. Add to this the convivial and friendly guides who are always their to help and you have the best tour in Dublin!
Final Thoughts: Enthralling, friendly and a great way to see the countryside in a new light. Spend an evening with the people and stories that make up Ireland’s beautiful culture, and soak up everything from nature’s emerald green majesty to the smooth richness of a pint of Guinness.
P.S.: If you want to take the glory of Irish mythology home with you Penguin has a great little volume you might enjoy: Early Irish Myths and Sagas.