Hello and Happy 2018! Is everyone having a good start to the new year? We returned home from our Europe trip a couple of days ago, so we are finally getting back into the swing of things at home. I think we had about 10 loads of laundry to do yesterday, but it feels so good to have it done!
Today I wanted to share a post about our experience in Dublin. We were able to spend about 3 days in the city, and I would say that it was the right amount of time for us.
We flew to Dublin from London on Ryanair early on a Saturday (December 30). It was tough getting up before 5 AM, but on the flip side, it was nice to get to Dublin before 10 AM. We wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to explore.
We took a taxi to the hotel (about 34 Euros), which was super easy. I am not sure if there was another transportation option.
We chose to stay at The Shelbourne, which is a Marriott branded hotel. I have always been a big fan of Marriott properties, so I am usually loyal to that brand. I was honestly blown away by this hotel. It was absolutely beautiful inside and the service was incredible. I would definitely put this hotel in the “fancy” category. If you are more of a luxurious traveler, this would be a good option for you. I think my favorite part about this hotel was the turndown service – they would drop off chocolate mints and lay our slippers out next to the bed on a towel. I felt like we were royalty! I might start doing this at home because it was such a nice treat before bed.
After checking into the hotel, we started to walk around the city. I think one of the best ways to see a city is to walk it. First, we headed over to Trinity College, which is one of the oldest universities in Europe. It is a beautiful campus with lots of green space and tons of historical buildings. There is also a really neat library on campus that houses ‘The Book of Kells.’ Unfortunately, the library was closed during the time we were in Dublin, but I would have loved to see it. I would highly recommend walking around the campus and taking a few photos.
Next, we walked down Grafton Street, which is where a lot of the shopping is. We didn’t do any shopping, but there were a TON of people cashing in on the sales! After that, we were hungry so we stumbled upon a pub for lunch – The Hairy Lemon. This place was hilarious. There were a lot of locals inside the pub and the owner was making jokes with the customers. It was a fun atmosphere. Alex ordered bangers and mash, while I ordered a Thai curry. And of course, in true Dublin fashion, we both had a pint! Both of our meals were delicious and we were so stuffed.
After lunch, we decided we needed to walk off a few calories, so we went to see Ha’penny Bridge and River Liffey. This is one of the famous bridges in Dublin, and it was built in 1816.
After a bunch of walking, we had our first scheduled tour at The Irish Whiskey Museum. I don’t really like whiskey, but Alex loves it, so I figured we had to do the tour. It was actually a pretty good experience. The first 30-45 minutes included a brief history of whiskey, the origins and how it has developed over the years. The last 30 minutes of the tour was a tasting experience where we sampled 4 different types of whiskey.
Even though I don’t drink whiskey, it was a lot of fun to get to try to smell the different flavor profiles. I actually ended up somewhat liking one of the whiskeys, so maybe I am coming around to it after all. I am really glad we did this because I feel like I now know a thing or two about whiskey! I love learning – especially when it involves cocktails.
At this point, we were pretty tired (we had to get up at 4:30 AM), so we decided to go back to the hotel to rest for a bit. We had a Pub Crawl scheduled for 7:30 PM, so I knew we needed to lay down to gain some energy back!
Before the Pub Crawl, we ventured over to the Temple Bar area. This is where a lot of the pubs are located and it is more of a party scene in this part of Dublin. I really wanted to see Temple Bar lit up at night – it is so beautiful with all of the lights!
After walking to Temple Bar, we headed back to The Duke. This is where the Literary Pub Crawl was kicking off. The pub crawl might have been my favorite thing we did in Dublin. A group of about 3 guys would act out and perform different Irish poems and excerpts from a famous book or play. At first, I was hesitant that Alex and I would enjoy it since we aren’t big theatre people, and we don’t know anything about authors like Oscar Wilde. It was surprisingly a ton of fun!
We went to 4 different pubs that night, and we were able to learn about the history of each pub. It was very interesting. Overall, it was an amazing night and I feel like I have a new appreciation for these Irish writers!
Alex and I went back to The Duke for one final drink after the pub crawl. That place had a great vibe and it was filled with locals. Everyone was having a great time, and it was such a fun first night in Dublin! Before walking home, we stopped at McDonalds to get french fries since we were starving 🙂 #VacationDiet
The next morning, we got up and headed up to Malahide around 10 AM. We were planning to go to Howth, but a few people we spoke to recommended Malahide instead.
In terms of getting to Malahide, you can take the DART or Uber. DART is a train system, so it is similar to the BART in San Francisco. The DART was very easy to use and a lot cheaper than Uber, so that is what I would recommend.
When we got to Malahide, we first went to see the Castle and Gardens. It was beautiful! I really wanted to see a castle while in Ireland, so I am so happy we made this happen.
After wandering around the castle, we walked into the town of Malahide. There were tons of cute little shops and restaurants. It was a very nice town, and it was very clean.
Malahide is right on the water, so there are tons of boats at the dock. I love any city by the water, so I just wanted to walk around and take pictures of the sights. Everything was just so cute.
We even walked inside this little grocery store, and it was SO NICE. Like it puts Whole Foods or any American grocery store to shame. Alex and I were so impressed with this little store, and we were wondering if there was a way to franchise it back home. I also found ‘Mullins‘ ice cream – I had to take a picture since my mom’s maiden name is Mullins. We must have a distant relative in the ice cream business!
We grabbed some lunch at a Thai restaurant next to the grocery store and it was so good! We really needed a break from all the pub food, so Thai was the perfect choice for us that day.
When we got back to Dublin, we decided to walk around the city a little bit more. We actually ended up going to The Temple Bar to grab a beer and listen to some live music. We didn’t get to go in the previous day since it was too crowded, so this was the perfect mid-afternoon stop. Honestly, we had a blast!
There were 3 guys playing Irish music, and everyone in the pub was loving it. They started taking requests for music and someone requested ‘Galway Girl.’ I am sure that he wanted to hear the Ed Sheeran song, but instead, we got the old ‘Galway Girl‘ by Sharon Shannon & Mundy. This had to be one of my favorite moments from the trip because everyone was so into this song. People were singing and dancing, and it was just such a happy time! This was one of my favorite moments from 2017.
After we left Temple Bar, we walked back to the hotel. We were going to try to go to The Little Museum of Dublin, but they were full for the rest of the day. Apparently this is a museum where you can learn about Dublin’s history in about 30 minutes. It comes with high recommendations, so I would try to see this if you can.
Before our NYE Dinner, we headed down to the bar in our hotel. There were a ton of people down there, so it was kind of a fun atmosphere with great people watching. Everyone that walked in looked so fancy, so Alex and I started to get worried about our New Year’s Eve attire. The men walking in had on full suits with bow ties and the women were wearing beautiful dresses. I was embarrassed – we looked disgusting compared to everyone else in the room!
We went back upstairs to freshen up before heading to Ely’s Wine Bar and Brasserie for dinner. This is Ireland’s oldest wine venue located in restored wine vaults. Basically, it is a huge wine cave that you sit in while you eat dinner.
We had a really yummy dinner! They had a pre-set menu for NYE, so we each started with a salad and got a steak for our entree . It was the perfect dinner before heading to the pubs later that night!
After dinner, we took an Uber to O’Neills Bar. This was one of the pubs we stopped at during the Literary Pub Crawl, so we thought it might be a good option for NYE. We went upstairs, and to our surprise, they had live music! The live music makes the pubs so much more exciting, so I knew we had to stay at this bar for the rest of the night.
There’s really not much left to say about NYE! We had so much fun at the pub and we stayed at O’Neill’s until they closed at 12:30 AM (we were shocked they didn’t stay open later). It was the perfect way to spend NYE.
After waking up with a slight headache (oops), we walked over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This church was beautiful! It is hard to imagine how they were able to construct a building like this hundreds of years ago. They didn’t have access to all the resources we have now, so it just makes me wonder how they built something so magnificent!
After the cathedral visit, we actually went back to the hotel to grab some breakfast. We knew we needed to eat something before our Guinness Tour at 11 AM.
Guinness wasn’t super close to our hotel, so we took a cab over there. I had pre-booked our tickets, so we didn’t need to wait to get in. We walked right in and started our self-guided tour of the brewery.
Guinness was really impressive. The self-guided tour was really well done and the exhibits were really interesting. I actually learned quite a bit about the history of the brewery and how the beer is made. Even if you aren’t a big fan of Guinness, I would still recommend the tour.
Funny enough, I had never had a Guinness until we went on this tour. Included in the price of the ticket is one free pint of Guinness. We went to the Sky Bar at the very top of the facility to drink our Guinness while soaking in the 360 degree view of Dublin. It was really fun!
After Guinness we decided to do the Hop On Hop Off bus. The weather wasn’t great, so we figured this would be a really easy way to see more of Dublin without getting soaked. I would say it was well worth the money spent – we were able to see a lot more of the city this way. We were also able to learn a few more things about Dublin.
By the time the mid-afternoon rolled around, we decided to grab some lunch at The Old Storehouse Bar and Restaurant. This was a fun pub near Temple Bar and they had live Irish music as well. It was the perfect afternoon treat! We decided to hang out in the Temple Bar area most of the afternoon since we had a good spot to sit and listen to the music.
By the time the evening rolled around, we were so tired. We really hadn’t made time to “relax” on this trip, so we decided to stay at the hotel and order room service. This was a good decision since we had an early flight back to London the next day. It was really nice to just unwind and take a moment to breathe before the final day of the trip. Note to Self: Make time to relax on future vacations like this!
- Transportation: Mostly walking; a few Ubers/Taxis; DART to/from Malahide.
- Lodging: The Shelbourne
- Restaurants: Lots of pub food; Ely’s Wine Bar
- Sights: Trinity College, Guinness Brewery, Literary Pub Crawl, Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, Irish Whiskey Museum, Malahide, Grafton Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Book of Kells
Click here to download a PDF version of this trip itinerary.
I hope y’all enjoyed this overview of our trip to Dublin! We truly had the best time, and I can’t wait to go back someday. Feel free to comment to send me an e-mail if you have any questions about Dublin!