Hey CYY freaks, I'm finally back from my big trip to Ireland! It was a blast - I saw a ton of amazing castles, nearly drowned in Guinness, and got shot down by a slew of beautiful red-headed women. Picture perfect, really!

One thing I couldn't help but notice while I was there is that Dublin, where I spent the majority of my vacation, has a number of striking similarities to our humble hometown of Portland. I'll lay them out for you right now, complete with some sweet pictures.

1) We Both Love Our Beer

Sculpture of a Pint of Guinness - Xander Nelson

If there's one thing Ireland is consistently associated with, it's Leprechauns. Well, that and booze. The rumors are true - the Irish do put down a fair amount of alcohol, and take it like champs. King among beers in Dublin, though, is of course Guinness. The brewery is right in the heart of the city, and offers tours and a rooftop bar. We here in Maine also pride ourselves on our slew of amazing craft beers (we even have a segment dedicated to it on the CYY morning show), but imagine having a titan like Guinness be a local brew.

2) Old Port = Temple Bar

Temple Bar - Xander Nelson

As it turns out, Dublin has its own Old Port! It's called Temple Bar, and it bears quite the resemblance to our own downtown. Cobblestone streets, women in heels desperately trying to stay upright walking on said cobblestones, tons of small, packed bars, great street food, and in the summer, tourists!


3) We've Both Got Cool Ruins Nearby

Dublin Hellfire Club - Xander Nelson

If you ask me, Fort Williams and Fort Gorges are two of the coolest things about the Portland area - they're a peek into the past, and explorable to boot. However, I have to hand it to Ireland on this one. The Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, and other historic sites will absolutely blow your mind.


4) Ports are an Important Part of Our Cities

River Liffey - Xander Nelson

Portland has always been, and probably always will be a fishing and shipping town. Now, with the arrival of Eimskip in Portland, our ports have never been busier. We're even sending out beer over to Iceland, for cryin' out loud! As it turns out, Dublin's port is of chief importance, too - located right on the River Liffey that runs through the center of town, it accounts for two-thirds of Ireland's total port traffic. We named our town after our port, though, so a point to Portland.

5) The Live Music Scene is Alive and Well

AC/DC cover band - Xander Nelson

Perhaps the most surprising and awesome thing about my trip was the great variety of live music. Dublin is littered with rock clubs, small bars with stages, and just about every kind of performance venue one could hope to find. I didn't see a bad band the whole time I was there. Pictured above is an AC/DC cover band, complete with an uncanny Malcolm Young lookalike.

Well, there's a brief chronicle of my vacation, and Dublin's similarities to Portland. Have you ever been to Ireland? Share your experiences and photos on the comments!