For the first day of the year, we decided to go spend a few days in Ireland. There are so many beautiful places to visit that we recommend (if you do not have much time) to visit just an area, or to spend several weeks if you want to see everything. For our first visit to the Celtic country, we started by visiting the east. We had heard so much about Dublin we had high hopes and we were not disappointed! It is a charming town, and the locals are part of the warm and welcoming atmosphere that we love! Maybe because 48% of the population of Dublin is under 35?
Where to stay in Dublin?
We chose the Best Western Academy Plaza for its location. We found a good deal on Booking.com, plus the location was perfect for us, in the city center, close to restaurants and bus stops to get around easily. The hotel was clean and service was perfect so we highly recommend it.
How to get around Dublin?
To move inside Dublin we did everything walking or by bus. It is easy to get around and most tourist attractions are pretty close to each other, so if you are in good shape , get walking! Arriving at the airport there is a bus that takes you into the center.
Remember that there is a time difference of one hour in Ireland versus France. When it is 1 pm in Paris, it’s 12 am in Dublin.
The places we visited in Dublin:
This pretty compound is the oldest university in Ireland (founded in 1592), and was built on the model of Oxford and Cambridge. Lots of great writers studied there, such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker or Jonathan Swift! It is located in the city center and we spent several hours there, first to go around, as there are different institutions over the facilities. We wanted to visit the Old Library, which preserves two floors of rare and valuable books, but know that we found it a bit disappointing that visitors are only allowed to visit a small area of the library! The entrance fee is about 10 euros per person. The place is just beautiful, old but very well preserved. You will also see the famous Brian Boru harp, national symbol on the flag and coins of Ireland. This library is famous for keeping The Book of Kells, a very special medieval manuscript, beautifully decorated and considered the finest Irish treasure! We enjoyed Trinity College and we recommend it!
Guiness Storehouse Museum
Did you know that 10 million glasses of Guinness are produced daily in the world? The Guinness Storehouse Museum is the museum par excellence of this famous beer. It is accessible by bus (line 123) from the center of Dublin, it is open every day and the entry price is 20 €, which includes a beer tasting. The museum is very beautiful, it is over 7 floors and each floor has a theme; the first includes the four ingredients of beer, another is about the founder of the brewery, on the evolution of the advertising around beer etc … The last is the one what everyone expects, a beer bar with the highest terrace of the city that offers a 360 degree view of Dublin. We enjoyed this museum because it is quite interactive, very modern and everything is prepared for you to learn more about beer without having time to get bored. You should know that this is one of the main attractions of Dublin so you’d better not arrive too late to avoid the queues.
The commercial center of Dublin is really nice and there are a lot of fun places to visit. You will find O’Connell Street and Grafton Street, the most famous avenues where there are many shops and the famous Spire, which is a needle-shaped monument 120 meters high. Right next to the Spire you will find the statue of James Joyce, one of the most important writers of the early twentieth century.
In the center you’ll find a place to relax and go for a walk in a in Stephen’s Green Park. We walked around the center for two or three hours, with its doors in vivid colors that we loved.
KILMAINHAM prison is accessible by bus from O’Connell Street. We arrived in the morning to do the tour, which lasts about 1:30. We strongly advise you to book a ticket to avoid queues, because often it is really crowded (and increasingly on the Internet you’ll pay € 7 instead of 8 €)! The place is large and in good condition. We first visited the museum and a guide took us to the prison. We enjoyed the tour even if we had a crush for Alcatraz in San Francisco. Then, even though the prison is a bit far from the city center, you will enjoy being there to visit the Irish National War Memorial or the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
This is a trendy neighborhood in the historic center of the city. It is of course known for its nightlife, but there are also small shops and artists. With its colourful old houses, we recommend you to walk in small cobblestone streets, it’s nice!
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
The Liffey River divides Dublin, and walking on the quays is a good way to rediscover the city differently! With fifteen bridges just in the city center, it is interesting to see the evolution of architecture. Among the most famous bridges, we advise you not to miss the O’Connell Bridge, which is famous for being the only bridge in Europe (almost) the same width and length, and the beautiful bridge Samuel Beckett, with a modern shape representing the lyre symbol of Ireland. If you have the chance to spend St. Patrick’s day (March 17) in Dublin, you will probably see the river turn green!
Parties we visit are:
Bermingham Tower: neo-Gothic tower with dining
Octagonal Tower Romanesque tower dating from the nineteenth
Record Tower: the oldest towers of the castle: this date in 1258
Church of the Most Holy Trinity: Neo-Gothic church
Belford Tower: Neo-Gothic tower built in the eighteenth to protect the entrance to Cork Hill
Throne Room: room where the viceroys received their guests.
The castle tour is very interesting and we found it dynamic, even if history is not necessarily our strength. The place is well kept, both outside and inside.
Charming Noodles small restaurant, we took away, very responsive staff, the noodles were very good for fast food. We went twice in this restaurant. I recommend because it’ cheap and food is good.
Mexico to Rome : Nice restaurant in Temple Bar. Service is ok , good food for reasonable prices.
For breakfast we wanted to try a typical Irish meal, so we were at Kylemore we ate toast with scrambled eggs and white beans in sauce. Small – lunch are really affordable. We only had breakfast in the cafe , so we can not compare with others, but it satisfied us.
We wanted to try a real Irish pub so we chose Madigan’s to taste a beer in a festive atmosphere. It was really nice and really typical setting.
Shops and tourist attractions close earlier than in France or Europe, at around 5:30pm or 6pm, so plan a maximum of visits in the morning and early afternoon.
Take rain stuff because it does rain in Ireland!
The city center is not very big, you can walk everywhere except the visit to Kilmainham Gaol (by bus). After visiting the city, we recommend renting a car to visit the villages of the region, including Wiclow and Glendalough.
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