One day while scrolling through my phone, I received my usual “Scott’s Cheap Flights” email rattling off this week’s cheap flight deals. Dublin, Ireland was the deal of the day at roughly $300/400. I immediately decided that I was going to find a way to get there. After a bit of begging, I’d convinced my mother to hop over to the Emerald Isle with me for a few days to celebrate our birthdays. It had been years since I had last been to Ireland and I was so excited to show my mother the country that really sparked my love for travel. Naturally, we set out to do ~all~ of the things. Here’s our recap:
What’s a trip to Dublin without a stop at the Guinness Storehouse? While I had done the tour during my previous Ireland trip, I felt that my mother had to do it in order to say she’s been to Dublin! We booked tickets in advance to save a few euros but ended up going ahead of our scheduled time. First, this place is SO difficult to find when walking by foot. It took us ages and by the time we got there, we needed the pint immediately. The main downside of the excursion was how packed it was. We waited for ages to grab seats at the gravity bar. Try to go during the day or non-peak hours to try to avoid this.
Years ago, when I was last in Dublin, I had not yet discovered my love of whiskey. This time, I was determined to get to Jameson. We opted for the ‘Bow St Experience’ tour which included a 40-minute guided tour, whiskey tasting and free drink at the end. Our tour guide was excellent and went through the entire history of Jameson, the making of whiskey then and now, and the differences between different whiskeys. At 22€, the tour was well worth it!
Kilmainham Gaol was another attraction that I missed on my first trip to Dublin. I was a little skeptical upon reading about it and its popularity. Kilmainham Gaol was a prison that was very prominent in the Easter Rising and Civil War and enprisoned many important Irish leaders. Many movies have actually been filmed in the jail since the restoration. For our tour, we had a vibrant and incredibly knowledgable Irish woman explain the entire history of the prison and tell stories of the famous inmates. If you’re interested in history and love learning about the places you visit, I highly recommend this tour. *Also, slots fill up fast so book early!
We spent hours wandering the shops and side streets of Grafton. There are so many shops, pubs, and restaurants that you could spend days exploring each nook. I found a nice jewelry store to purchase myself a Claddagh ring and there were plenty of places to stop for Bailey’s coffee!
Temple Bar was one of our favorite parts of the trip. Each night we’d visit new pubs in the area, listen to live music and drink a pint or two. The music was great, the atmosphere was even better, and the people were incredible. The entire Temple Bar area is rather pricey and you will spend way too much for a simple pint of Guinness, but its an experience. I recommend hopping into the Temple Bar itself mid-afternoon for a pint when the music is playing, but the crowds and prices haven’t fully taken away the charm. Fun fact, as the night progresses, the prices go up each half an hour. We paid around $9-10 for a pint at around 4 pm, so you can only imagine the cost at night!
Trinity College- home to the book of Kells! I visited Trinity College years back on my first trip to Ireland. During that visit, I had a tour of the grounds, saw the book of Kells, and wandered through that magnificent library. Tickets will set you back roughly 14€, but the library alone is worth every penny. This trip, we decided to just wander the grounds as my mother is less of a bookworm that I am.
My absolute favorite part of the trip was our dinner at Murrays Bar. They have live Irish music every night and Celtic dancing on the weekends. We decided to go a bit early so that we could order our dinner before the show. The food was so phenomenal that we kept ordering more. We made friends with a nice Scottish couple sat next to us as the band started up. The band itself was the best we’d seen in Dublin. The prices were much more reasonable than those of Temple Bar and the there was no “cover” or cost to see the show. They had a wide selection of brews, so I tried as many Dublin beers as I could. 10/10 would recommend.
Murray’s Bar & Grill, 33-34 O’Connell St Upper, Dublin 1
Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher/Galway
Lastly, though it isn’t a tourist attraction IN Dublin, we took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. I wasn’t able to visit these two sites on my last trip and was determined to get there this time around. An air-conditioned coach took us first to the Cliffs of Moher, where we were given more than enough time to wander around, see the inside exhibit and grab something to eat. Next, we headed to Galway for a few hours to see the town. I definitely think that some time could have been taken from Cliffs of Moher in order to allow more time to wander Galway. On our tour, we were not given a tour of Galway and instead wandered ourselves. Most of the day trips are set up the same way, and were a great way to see these places while staying in Dublin. This day trip was quite the long day and involved many hours on the bus. After spending a little time in Galway, I definitely want to go back and explore more of Ireland’s western coast.