48 hours in Dublin in November.
With my dear friend Hannah currently, in Dublin filming a Netflix series (low-key proud), I found some ridiculously cheap flights with Ryanair and booked our trip over to see her. I have been to Dublin on several occasions, mainly with work so my expectations were not terribly high.
How wrong I was, this weekend in Dublin turned out to be one of the best city breaks we’d ever taken! Here’s why–
Once landing at Dublin Airport I had researched a Dublin “Leap” Card for tourists, which is similar to an Oyster. There are no Ubers in Dublin apart from UberBlack, and the TAXI’s are more on the expensive side. I figured as the bus trip from Hannah’s apartment to the airport was €7 each way that the €17 Tourist Leap card for 72 hours would almost break even in the case we did not use it otherwise. We ended up using it EVERYWHERE! It was excellent and I recommend for anyone visiting Dublin for the weekend to purchase one in the airport once you come out of arrivals at the tourism stand.
Day 1 Kilmainham Gaol
Ticket price: €8 Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour Tip: Book your tickets online prior to your trip to avoid disappointment.
Waking up early, we had booked the Kilmainham Gaol for 9:30 am, this was the only time slot available as the weekend was completely booked therefore I had high expectations for our visit and with little prior knowledge I was excited to see what the fuss was all about. Using our LEAP card we hopped on the bus and made our way towards the jail.
Many Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned and executed by the British in the prison and even without having prior knowledge as to the history of the prison our guide was extremely informative. You are guided through the cells and grounds of the jail, which are incredibly interesting even before you put the events and stories told by the guide to your imagination.
Personally, I am avid history buff, although regardless if you are interested in history or not I believe this a must see for anyone visiting Dublin.
A breakfast stop at Groundstate Coffee near the Guinness Storehouse.
Price: €18 to €24 depending on which day and what time you choose
Duration: 1.5 hours or as long as you like!
Not much of a beer or Guinness drinker myself but Didzis enjoys an occasional pint of the black stuff, I booked a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. Again, foolishly, I did not have such high expectations for the place as I did not have the shared enthusiasm for Guinness, for €20 per person it was such a fun 2 hours! We walked through the many floors of history and Guinness museums and there were several areas to validate your ticket for a pint of Guinness.
The whole experience felt like an adult’s playground, everyone was good in spirits, whether or not it was due to the consumed Guinness or not I don’t know. Initially, I thought this would be an overly touristy thing to do, but I would certainly recommend it and would definitely do it again!
Oh, I couldn't help myself… You can get a “Stoutie” for €6.50 which isn’t bad for a pint with your face on it the pint itself .
Trinity College Old Library – Book of Kells
Duration: 15 minutes – as long as you like
Tip: Purchase your ticket prior to avoid waiting in a long queue
When looking at things to do whilst in Dublin, I kept being drawn to pictures of the most magnificent library. The library is the Old Library at Trinity College. It dates back to the early 1700’ and is the largest library in Ireland. The exhibition that is held within the Library is the Book of Kells exhibition, which is the world’s most famous and oldest manuscript dating back to 800 AD. During our visit the Book of Kells was removed from the display for conservation reasons so there was a % 15 discount to tickets.
The Old Library really has the wow factor but don’t expect to be able to get a good picture in there. The lighting is very low and flash photography is prohibited. The library is also very busy even towards closing time, so if you want fewer crowds, I would suggest purchasing a ticket for the first-morning slot.
Day 2 – Howth Bay
Duration: 3 hours - all day
On our second day in Dublin, I had planned for us to go to the seaside. Howth Bay is a village and outer suburb of Dublin which I had heard was well worth a visit. At first I had hoped for sunny skies but as the day continued I realised it did not matter.
We used our LEAP card and set off in the direction of Howth. It is about a 30-minute bus ride from Dublin Centre. Once there we proceeded up the Howth Cliff Walk. This was an enjoyable walk, although muddy due to the rain. There are some beautiful picturesque views from here. Don’t forget to stop and grab a coffee by the small shack on the side of the road. It’s modest, however the gentleman who runs it was friendly and gave us some history about his hometown.
After the cliff walk my craving for oysters was in full force so we followed the path that led to the marina. Once walking up and down I opted for Kish Fish. They had no oysters left but told me to come back in 30 minutes once more had arrived. Talk about fresh!
There is a boat that operates from the end of marina for €15 each. Despite the heavy clouds and cold winds I was eager to get out on to the ocean, so I bought our tickets and we went around the harbour for 45 minutes. I am sure on a warmer and clearer day this would be a must do.
Dinner was at the Abbey Tavern, and it was the cosiest pub after a long day in the cold. The food was regular pub food and Irish dishes but it was a divine meal and off the main tourist front which meant it had more of a local feel to it.
Back in Dublin it was time for our final evening. We found ourselves in Temple Bar. A must for anyone visiting Dublin. Even though the prices are higher in this area, it has live music in a lot of the pubs so we perched ourselves in the Bad Ass Café and enjoyed our Irish coffee and a few Guinness whilst chanting along to Irish music and some old school tunes until it was time for bed before our early flight the next morning.
That was our itinerary in Dublin, and we feel like we did a lot in a short amount of time! One thing I did notice was that prices were higher than I expected for meals. Next time I will certainly be checking the menus as we were spending around €80 for a casual restaurant.