Wednesday, 6 May 2020 / Dublin, Ireland

Dublin travel guide

A shot of Guinness storehouse in sepia tone
I have a list of places that I want to visit over my lifetime for specific reasons e.g. Croatia to do a game of thrones tour, Finland to see the northern lights, Rio de Janeiro to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, you get the gist. Ireland was one of the places on my list that I wanted to visit so I could experience St Patrick's weekend and see Giant's Causeway in the flesh.  

Last March, Sian and I hopped on a plane to Dublin for St Patrick's weekend. We were there for a total of 3 days, 2 nights and managed to see most of the tourist sites and do a day tour to Northern Ireland. 

Where to stay
We book our trip in October and a lot of city centre hostels, Airbnb's and hotels had already been taken for St Patrick's weekend so our options were very limited. We managed to find a good deal on Premier Inn for €171.50 roughly £151.81 (£75 each). The hotel is a 5-minute drive from the airport and there's a shuttle for €2 roughly £1.73, that takes you directly from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. 

Things to do
A collage of two photos. Photo 1 is a shot of me infront of the Guinness storehouse gates and photo 2 is a shot of me under a statue of a man holding two beers
We discovered that there was a lot more to do in Dublin than we expected. Here's a list of a few of our discoveries: 
Guinness storehouse
River Liffey
St Stephen's shopping centre
National botanical gardens
Dublin castle 
Oscar Wilde's house (Merrion square)
National Gallery
Temple bar
Henrietta street
Fitzwilliam square
Abandoned prison of Kilmainham Gaol
Paddywagon Tours (specifically to Giant's Causeway & Belfast)

After checking into our hotel and freshen up, we hopped on a bus to the city centre and took the Laus from Abbey Street to the Guinness Storehouse for €4.80. A piece of advice to anyone planning a trip to Dublin, make sure to get lots of change if you're planning on using public transport as drivers only accept exact change. Tickets are roughly €2.15-3.30 each way. 

We booked our tickets for the storehouse online for roughly €50, a drink voucher is included with your ticket. I was expecting the storehouse to be floor upon floors of Guinness but it was so much more than that. There was music, interactive stations, video explanations of the history behind the beer, artwork and so much more to see and get involved with. At the top floor, there was a rooftop bar overlooking the city and this is where you can claim your drink voucher. This was my first time trying Guinness and I can confirm, it was disgusting.

Our next stop, Temple Bar. Again, I wasn't sure what to expect but I wasn't expecting for Temple Bar to be more than just one bar. It's actually an area bursting with pubs, restaurants and galleries. If you're looking for somewhere with a proper Irish feel, this is the place to go. Please note, it can get very crowded so if you want to get good photos, I'd suggest going earlier in the day. 

A collage of two photos. Photo one of the interlocking basalt columns and photo two is of sea next to carrick-a-rede rope bridge

For our penultimate day in Ireland, we booked a Paddywagon coach tour (roughly £55 each) from Dublin city centre to Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

First stop, the Dark Hedges. If you're a huge game of thrones fan like myself then you may recognise this road, its the King's Road in Season 2. The hedges are two centuries old and were planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century to impress visitors approaching the entrance of their home. I was certainly impressed, that's for sure! 

Next stop, Carrick-a-rede. A famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. The was a long walk from the car park to the actual bridge and due to bad weather conditions, we weren't actually able to go across the bridge but we stood by the edge, close enough. 

Giant's Causeway, possibly my favourite stop of the whole tour. I have a list of natural landforms that I want to see and Giant's Causeway was one of them. Giant's Causeway is an area 40,000 interlocking basalt columns as a result of a volcanic fissure eruption. The views here are amazing and if you're like me, you love physical geography then you'll love this landform. 

Last but certainly not least, Belfast. Our stop in Belfast was very brief and there wasn't enough time to properly wander around the city. Across the road from where we were parked, there was a Greggs so I took the opportunity to lose my Vegan sausage roll virginity and I was not disappointed.

Our last day in Dublin was St Patrick's day. There was a huge parade in the city centre, public transport is limited or usual routes are diverted as you'd expect but we hadn't planned properly so nearly missed our flight as we were cutting it close to get through security. 

Places to eat
A shot of a raspberry hot donut
Anyone who knows me in real life will tell you that I love food and going out to eat. So, naturally finding good eateries was my top priority. 

If you've got a sweet tooth, The Rolling Donut and Hot Donut have got you covered. I had the Kinder Bueno rolling donut and a classic raspberry doughnut from the latter, solid 10/10 and would highly recommend. 

A few other places that we were recommended and tried were:
Takara
Gelato d natura
Laudree
Yamanori Tengu
Banyi
Cookes restaurant 
Saba 
Eat Yard
Fire restaurant and lounge 
Clever East
Vintage cocktail club
Elephant and castle
House Dublin
NoLlta
Blushing healthy food coffee
Esquires Coffee
The Hungry Mexican
Bakehouse 
Thunderroad Cafe
Pitt Bros
The Merchants Arch 
POQ Cafe
Umi Falafel 
Kimchi Hophouse
Eat Okyo
Yamamori noodles
Brother Hubbard 
The Happy Pear

We had the best time in Dublin and it is definitely on my list of places to revisit. There is so much to see and do, you can easily find something for everyone to enjoy.

Francisca 
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