Sunday, 28 May 2017

Four Days in Dublin - What to Do in the Capital of Ireland

The Liffey in the sun.

I have a confession - Ireland is one of my all-time favourite destinations. I've been a huge fan of The Corrs since 1998, I've read almost everything Roddy Doyle ever wrote, and I've even been lucky enough to attend a U2 concert off a VIP guest list. I love jigs and reels, potato farls, Magners, and the Irish craic. And the 17th of March. Oh, St. Patrick's Day, how I love you! Once a year, a chance to be a wee bit Irish, no matter where in the world you actually are. And the accent...aaaah, take me to Ireland now, please!

In October 2015, we spent a week in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and I'm dividing that week equally between three blog posts: one on Dublin, one on Belfast, and one on various stops along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route. Enjoy!

Day 1
It's very easy to get to Dublin from Helsinki these days as Finnair opened a direct route between the two cities a couple of years ago. We even managed to find irresistibly cheap flights, so off we went...As for accommodation, we'd booked to stay at The Dublin Central Hostel, which turned out to be a fine choice. We had our own double room with a bathroom, and breakfast was included as well. And by the way, getting downtown from the airport in Dublin is easy as long as you first find the buses. You'll need to come out through the main doors of the airport and then walk straight on through a car park. The cheapest way to get downtown is to catch a city bus (Dublin Bus) - you need to have the exact fare. Here's some more info about the bus lines as well as some timetables, too.



Our first day was busy, busy, busy! We first set off to wander through the city to Temple Bar for the Irish Rock N Roll Museum Experience, a relatively new museum dedicated to the past and present of Irish music. A truly fabulous experience for someone who loves music as much as I do!






The Ha'penny Bridge.
If you buy your tickets to the Rock N Roll Museum Experience in advance, it's a little bit cheaper. You will be taken on a guided tour around Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios and Temple Lane Recording Studios, you will watch a mini documentary on the history of Irish music, and you will experience what it feels like to be backstage, waiting for your turn to perform, and then climb the steps up to the stage and be embraced by screaming fans. Seriously good stuff, I'm telling you!

Our guide had had a long night as he was late by so much that we were sent away for coffee to wait for someone to arrive, so here's what we saw in Temple Bar while waiting...








Finally, an hour later, we got in! I don't even know which pictures to choose for this post as everything was just so cool...














Couldn't recommend this place more! Go there, you won't be disappointed!

Our next stop was the Trinity College area as our next destination was the Book of Kells, which is probably the most well-known medieval manuscript and which is stored in the amazing Old Library of Trinity College.









The Long Room of the Old Library.
This library is among the best things that could happen to anyone who loves books! It is perfection in every sense of the word! One day I'll have my own Long Room, I can guarantee as much...

Unfortunately, no pictures of the Book of Kells - go there and see it for yourselves if you're interested!

Next up was pub lunch! Another one of the good things to happen to a person in Ireland and the UK...



In case you're wondering if we were completely exhausted by this point - yes we were! But, onto our next destination! We wanted to cross the Liffey on the Ha'penny Bridge and then go to the National Leprechaun Museum, which is a nice experience for children and adults alike. The entrance fee, however, is a bit much (14€)  for something that doesn't actually have that much going on inside. It's a storytelling experience more than anything. Still, I fully support leprechauns having their own museum :)!

A selfie on the Ha'penny Bridge...

...and a picture taken by a lovely passer-by on the same bridge.
Street art.
 Aaand on to the museum itself...

Did you know that leprechauns are shoemakers?
Life through the eyes of a leprechaun.








It was a very, very successful day, and we were completely ready for bed by the time we got back to our hostel!

Day 2
Our second day was pretty much dedicated to Irish alcohol as we visited both the Old Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse. Both tours were quite expensive, and the Guinness one especially and probably unreasonably so, but the Jameson experience was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to find out more about how whiskey (yes, it's spelled with an 'e' when it's Irish) is made.

We had breakfast at our hostel and then were off out again...

Hostel breakfast.

The Spire of Dublin on O'Connell Street.




A whiskey tasting is included in the price.

Also, one drink is included in the price.

A Whiskey Ginger - very delicious!
Then we crossed the bridge to the other side to go to Guinness Storehouse. Dublin is a completely walkable city so you don't really need to spend money on public transport. We walked everywhere and the distances are not that bad.



Like I already said, I think Guinness Storehouse was ridiculously expensive. Also, since it's Ireland's most popular tourist attraction, it's packed with people, and it's really noisy everywhere - not only because of the people but also because the exhibitions have sound effects, making the whole experience quite cacophonous. The way the experience works is that you start from the bottom and slowly (VERY slowly!) make your way up to Gravity Bar on the 7th floor with amazing views over Dublin. Once you get there, you'll get a free Guinness. All the different floors have exhibitions on various things related to the making and advertising of Guinness, and you can do extra activities along the way if you're willing to queue up some more - for example, you can pour your own pint and choose to use your drink voucher that way instead of waiting to get to Gravity Bar. There are also tastings on the way up.



The Yeast.



I have to say that I was beginning to really lose it from the constant banging and swishing around us, and it was very lucky that just then we arrived in the advertisement section. I loved it! This was by far the best part of the experience!







"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."




Finally made it to Gravity Bar!
Once we finally made it all the way up to the bar, it wasn't a pleasant experience as it was fully packed with people, there was no place to sit whatsoever, you couldn't see the view from the windows because people were blocking them...aaargh! It was quite impossible to even get a spot to stand next to a table so you could put your drink down every once in a while. We eventually ended up sharing a table with a lovely Asian family, who even offered us some crackers...:) But seriously, if you're planning to visit Guinness Storehouse, make sure you're prepared for a very stressful environment. We couldn't wait to get out of that bar and into the streets with fresh air and no loud noises!



We went to a nearby pub for a soup dinner before heading back to the hostel for the night.



Day 3
We started our third day by visiting Dublin Castle. We went on a guided tour, which was quite good as you got to visit places you otherwise wouldn't. The castle is definitely worth a visit, and the state apartments are pretty gorgeous.







The chapel.




A short walk from the castle you can find a couple of sights that at least we wanted to see, namely Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin City Hall.

Christ Church Cathedral.


A random street view on our way to Dublin City Hall. 

City Hall.
We were told that the best place to get fish and chips in Dublin is Leo Burdock, the oldest chipper in town, so that's where we headed next. What a lovely place! We headed to another church, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, to consume our lunch in the sun.



After our lunch break, we walked through Grafton Street to see the statue of Molly Malone, as well as Oscar Wilde's statue just outside St. Stephen's Green. Grafton Street is lovely because there's music everywhere! There are so many different types of buskers, which for a music lover is pure bliss.





Molly Malone! 

Julcsi and Molly :).

Julcsi and Oscar.

Oscar Wilde.
And that's about it for the day. On the following day, we were off to Belfast for some time - there will be a separate post about our Belfast days. However, since we flew to and from Dublin, we had one more day left there at the end of our week, which I will count as day 4...

Day 4
On our last day in Dublin, we mainly did shopping, but we also had time for a couple of other things. We'd spotted something called The Icon Walk in Temple Bar, which is an outdoors public exhibition to showcase the many iconic Irish people. A really cool idea! The pictures are located on the walls of narrow and maybe otherwise forgotten alleyways, and you can expect to see pictures of writers, musicians, athletes and actors, among others.













We were truly sad to leave Ireland behind...and finally decided to make ourselves a bit more Irish by turning ourselves into leprechauns :D! But seriously, I will definitely want to explore Ireland more, it's such a gorgeous country with so much to see and do.




Stay tuned for the Belfast and Causeway Coastal Route updates - coming right up :)!

5 comments:

  1. Wow Dublin is such a photogenic city! Thanks for sharing your detailed visit. It's as if we were there with you ;)

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  2. Wow, there is so much to do in Dublin. Great post and I can see you had a whale of a time. The Irish rock n roll music experience must have been amazing !

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  3. Nice post. Got a feel that i am visiting Dublin.
    A big post. But worth to read.

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  4. Great post! I'm also hoping to visit Ireland later this year as it's one of the six countries I have left in Europe! :D

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  5. I've always wanted to go to Dublin, you just made that desire even stronger. Seems like you had a great itinerary and I love the graff and music photos.

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