Something Alana did not know about Ireland before traveling there: the country has a love affair with gelato and ice cream. Every town she stopped in had at least one gelato shop, maybe two.
Dublin turns out to be more big-city than she thought it would be. The crush of people is almost overwhelming after two weeks in the rest of Ireland, where there was virtually no one. Towns in Ireland are fairly tiny, and the spaces between them are mostly sheep, because the country still hasn't returned to pre-famine populations. Alana notices a marked effort to use Gaelic on signs in addition to English; in parts of Southern Ireland, there's only Gaelic, which she thought was lovely. She contrasts that to Northern Ireland, where there's only English, and the England-Ireland tensions were readily apparent.
Dublin, however, is far enough south that the signs are written in both languages. The city boasts Edwardian architecture at the center, and garden squares every few blocks, and a river running down the middle. Alana sketches Dublin Castle, which has three major themes to it because it's older than dirt and kept being rebuilt in bits. She wanders down winding streets--with cobblestones and brick peeking randomly through the asphalt--near the castle, full of deeply touristy pubs. She stops by one of them for lunch, eating colcannon, an amazing Irish potato and kale dish.
Alana then spends an hour drawing St. Patrick's Cathedral, named for the patron saint of Ireland. The architecture is gorgeous, and Alana wishes she could capture it better on the page. She learns that the present buildings date from 1191, and the famous Marsh’s Library is the oldest in Ireland.
Next, Alana tours the Guinness Storehouse, to learn all about the history of her favorite beer. She discovers that the factory was bought in 1759 and has a 9,000 year lease, and produces three million pints per day. After the tour, she heads up to the Gravity Bar for a free pint, and sketches the view of the city.
Her next destination is the library at Trinity College to see the ninth-century Book of Kells, an embroidered Latin version of the Bible. The illustrations are so beautiful, she almost cries; she doesn't bother sketching any of them, because she couldn't do them justice.
She has dinner at the Porterhouse, a brewery less touristy than most, which provides a delicious stout and crubeens, an Irish food made of boiled pigs' feet.
As Alana's day--and trip--come to a close, she reflects on what backpacking through Europe has given her. A whirlwind romance, and a new hobby of sketching, which she adores. A time to relax and unwind after being stressed for so long. And a way to reacquaint herself with the world after being trapped in Milliways for a year and a half.
She's ready to take back her life, to move on from Baltimore and start a new chapter. She's ready to make a new home for herself.