This year was the first time I’ve ever really cared about Valentine’s Day. The reason for this – spending it in my favourite place in the world Dublin. I visited there once before on a lads weekend away, about three or four years ago. I always knew I wanted to return. I’ve been to a few pretty cool places now (Venice, Budapest, New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona) – which is why people are always shocked to hear that the Irish capital is my true home away from home. It holds a special place in my heart. The first time I ever went on a trip without my family, it was to Dublin. The only interesting thing I know about my family is the Irish blood I’ve inherited from my mother’s side. It may be a couple of generations back, but it still makes me feel a little less boring. While in Dublin, I bought a badge with the crest of my family name: Hanson. I almost felt like I had a little bit of an identity.
Going back to the home of the shamrock was another brilliant experience. This time it wasn’t with the lads, it was with my girl. This was pretty different, but equally amazing. Everything was just as beautiful as I remembered, and it was awesome spending it with someone who was there for the first time. I discovered a lot of new stuff I didn’t encounter last time. We crossed the Ha’penny Bridge. One thing set this apart from every other bridge along the river. We saw that the bridge was covered with padlocks…
On closer inspection, they all had names and dates on them. I kind of figured what the message behind it was, so we went along and got ourselves a padlock, a permanent marker and decided to leave a little piece of ourselves behind in my favourite city. We kept a key each, and unless we or the Dublin City Council go and remove the padlock, the spirit of our trip will always remain there. Having since done some research on my return, I now know that we are fully fledged members of the Love Padlocks community. That’s pretty cool.
We also met some great people. Most notably Nadine and Lara. Having dinner at Nando’s on Valentine’s Day, we made friends with a four year old girl and her friend Piggy. Her mum was kind enough to take a photo for us on my Polaroid camera, which I haven’t used since I was about ten. The little girl had become a part of our trip by now. We let her in one of the shots, and left the picture with them to develop and keep. She crawled under the table and cried when she thought she couldn’t be in the photo, so we gave her one of our precious eight takes, which cost my girlfriend around fifteen pounds. We just couldn’t say no to her after all the fun we’d had for the previous few hours. That was a great memory.
Countless interesting bars, awesome sights and the brightest, most welcoming people I’ve encountered so far in the world. Dublin still is my favourite place, and it’s impression on me has grown even more. My latest trip had everything I could have wanted. We met some cool people, we had a great time and shared some pretty amazing memories which hopefully brought us even closer together. I expected to come home wanting to go back as soon as I had the chance, and that’s exactly what has happened. I’m counting the days to go back, make some more memories and make sure that our padlock is still there.
If you love Dublin as much as I do, give me a shout and leave a comment!