In June 2016, we took a trip to Ireland. Luke is half Irish so we went to visit some of his family in Kerry and Cork. We organised a cheeky trip to Dublin to spend a day there as neither of us had been before! We took a coach from Kerry to Dublin – no need to book in advance, just show up at the bus stop and pay the driver. It took us a good four and half hours but it was the easiest way to get there and I love a good drive.
So we got there in the early evening and were staying at a friends for the night. We left the next day – I’m going to show you how to cram as much as possible into a 24 hour trip, or at least give you some inspiration if you’re planning a visit to Dublin City.
Check out the River Liffy and go for a drink in Temple Bar
When you get off the bus you’re right on O’connell Street, so smack bang in the middle of the city centre. You’ll be right next to the river Liffy, so definitely stop to take a few pictures! And as for the first real stop, it wouldn’t be right to go to Ireland and not have a drink at Temple Bar! Temple Bar isn’t one bar, it’s an area on the south bank of the river and its home to a number of traditional pubs and lots of shops to have a look in. We wanted to drink so we went to one of the bars and had a Guinness (ofc). Although temple bar is pretty pricey – you’re talking nearly 10 Euros for a pint, it’s a must do! The pub was lively and everyone was friendly, exactly what you’d expect from an Irish place. The best bit was the live band who happened to play Galway Girl – and no I don’t mean Ed Shearan I mean the original. It’s sung by Steve Earl if you haven’t heard it (shame on you if that’s the case).
So after drinking most of the night away, we went back to our friends house to order pizza and drink some more. We wanted a calm night in and to catch up with our lovely hosts. BUT if you’re staying in a hotel and want to carry on into the night, go and grab a nice dinner in Temple Bar or one of the MANY restaurants near the river Liffy.
Wake up and order a Dublin pass
We woke up fairly early as we had a lot to get done before catching our coach back that evening. We decided to look online at some of the touristy stuff to do in Dublin. We came across the ‘Dublin Pass’ https://www.dublinpass.com/ which is a pass you can order online (and pick up the same day from O’connell Street). It cost us just under £100 for two day passes. This may sound expensive, but if you pay for all the attraction sites individually I guarantee you’ll be coughing up more. So these passes allow you to jump on the ‘hop on hop off’ bus tours which give an in depth tour of Dublin city letting you get off the bus to see attractions and then get back on the next bus when you’re done there.
The Dublin pass also gives you free entry to LOADS of sites and also gives you a fast track to get past the busy queues. I’d say definitely buy one.
So spend an hour on the bus tour! You get on the bus and a speaker will tell you all about what you pass in Dublin. Along with some great facts about the main attractions. It’s a lot of fun and you pretty much speed through everything you need to know about the city. I thought it was actually really entertaining, not sure Luke enjoyed it as much but hey. The only thing I would say is when you’re sitting at the top of an open bus, it can get a bit nippy – if you’re going in cold whether take layers!
Naturally being animal obsessed (I like them way more than humans), we went to Dublin Zoo! I love zoo’s especially when you can see that the animals are being well looked after! Dublin Zoo was definitely one of those, there’s so much space. Which meant the animals enclosures felt much bigger than lets say London Zoo. It did at times mean that the animals were a bit harder to spot but I quite like that if they wanted some space away from all of us people that they could. The food there was lovely and not too expensive. The walk through the zoo felt organised and it was really nicely laid out. My favourite part was seeing the elephants, if you don’t know already – I am obsessed with elephants.
Just to let you know, Dublin Zoo is located in Phoenix park… which is HUGE. We didn’t get much time ourselves to explore the park but it is one of Europe’s largest parks so honestly if you have some time to kill you should visit. Just make sure you don’t bring a Frisbee, as it’s illegal to play Frisbee in Phoenix Park unless you have permission from the superintendent – and good luck finding them in all those acres.
The Spire and GPO
So because of your Dublin pass you can jump back on the bus towards the city centre again for free. Yay! Our next stop was the spire, which you can’t miss. The spire is a monument in Dublin that pretty much looks like a giant needle. A needle that is 120m tall to be exact. Wouldn’t want to get poke with that eh? Also known as the Statue of Light, the Spire was built on the same spot where Nelson’s Pillar stood before it was bombed in 1966.
We also had a chance to visit the GPO – The General Post Office. You may be thinking ok.. what’s exciting about a post office? Well with this one, quite a bit actually! If you like history and all that Jazz you’d want to see the site of the Easter Rising in 1916. Where Irish Republicans fought to end British rule in Ireland. They felt it would have been a sufficient and powerful nation all on it’s own. For over a week Irish Republicans and the British fought and all in all there were just under 500 as a total number killed. There was also a fire that broke out inside the GPO where a lot of the building was damaged. It was not later recovered and re-opened to the public until 1929. Apologies, history lesson over!
Well you can’t go to Dublin and not visit the world famous Guinness Factory. With a building shaped like a massive glass of Guinness, the attraction takes you through the creation of the Irish Beer dating back to 1758 – Yikes! The Guinness Factory is a very very popular attraction in Dublin and the queue was huge, luckily those Dublin passes we were talking about? Fast track you straight through people! So the tour talks about the creation of Guinness, the ingredients, the pits and falls of the alcoholic drink. There’s ‘smell’ room where you can smell the different components of a Guinness Beer, there’s a tasting section where they have a shot glass sized Guinness glass where they teach you how to appreciate the taste properly. Of course there’s also the bar at the top which has a 360 degrees view of Dublin which is super cool, you can also get a pint of Guinness for free! If you type ‘Guinness Factory’ in on instagram, I guarantee you’ll see hundreds of people with their pint of the G juice in the roof bar! #typicaltouristsnap
Now being the aspiring alcoholic that I am, we decided to go the Jameson’s Distillery straight after the Guinness Factory. Jameson’s is a famous Irish whiskey dating back to the 1780s. You can find it alongside Guinness in EVERY Irish pub. Whiskey isn’t as popular as rum and vodka these days but if you like Jack Daniels etc then you may be a fan, especially over ice with a splash of coke. Yes I’m an old man. Anyway! The tour similarly to the Guinness factory takes you through the journey of it’s founders and the drink itself. Then there’s the tasting! You get three shots of whiskey and they let you guess where in the world the whiskey is from and which brand it is. Luke doesn’t like whiskey so I pretty much had 6 shots at that point. Clearly having my own private party! Then we carried on learning about some of the ingredients and how the drink is made in the factory. It felt a lot more personal than the Guinness tour just because we learned a lot about the family who founded the business. At the end you can have a Jameson’s cocktail or another Jameson’s based drink… As I said, Luke wasn’t a fan so two for me. Woop woop!
Considering by the time we left the Guinness and Jameson’s attractions, I was pretty tipsy due to the extra whiskey and other beverages – we needed to eat something. We looked up a few places to eat that were a little bit different but a place that caught our attention the most was ‘The Church’. The Church is a 17th century building which was historically an actual church. The building still remains as it was, including the organ on display! However, there is a huge 360 degrees bar in the middle of the ground floor and the upstairs balcony area has been converted into seating for guests to dine in. It’s a beautiful restaurant and bar with a yummy menu and even better cocktails. It’s a little expensive if you’re having a few drinks but perfect to end the trip in Dublin. We had steak and Guinness pies –so good! The staff were friendly, helping us to get a table upstairs and suggest what they liked best on the menu (I like a waiter who knows what they’re talking about!). I’d definitely go back here, and bonus – we were actually full! So no pretentious tiny meals!
And that was all she wrote guys! We headed back for the 7:30pm coach and managed to fall asleep for a lot of the way. Dublin is honestly beautiful so if you manage to go there let me know if you did anything different – or if you did some of the stuff we did and enjoyed it! Hope you enjoyed this post!