(36 Hours in Dublin)
A few years ago, I spent the better part of a weekend in Dublin en route to the United States. Many of my friends had always raved about Dublin — and they were right — it lived up to my expectations! While I only got a quick flavor of this city, I was able to hit several highlights and I hope to explore more of Ireland in the future.
I stayed at the Trinity City Hotel, which was a stately building with a boldly decorated interior. It had great service, comfortable rooms, and was centrally located, so I recommend it as a great hotel option.
As I arrived in the evening, most tourist sites were closed, so I ran out for a quick bite to eat at a local pub. I opted for Fitzgeralds on the south side of the Liffey River, a narrow pub that had great food (fish and chips), upbeat live music, and a cozy / convivial atmosphere. Even though I was travelling solo, there were plenty of people around ready to strike up a conversation between songs. As a result, I ended up staying much longer than expected — which is always a welcome outcome when you go into a pub and order the dreaded “table for one.”
The next morning, I had breakfast and then headed to the famous Trinity College, with its sprawling campus and impressive architecture. The most famous spot is the ornate Old Library, an impressive, multi-storied building, with its wooden-paneled Long Room. The key sights here (other than the Harry Potteresque room itself) is the Book of Kells, a 9th Century manuscript of the Gospel in Latin (two of the four books are on public display).
Afterwards, I wandered down to Dublin Castle, dating back to around the year 1200, which features museums and majestic interior. I then walked over to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a massive, gothic structure dating to around 1220.
I contemplated going to an art or history museum, but by that point I’d had my fill of history, so I headed to the Guinness Storehouse — which features a fun / interactive tour outlining the history of Guinness and beer brewing.
Once you get through the tour, you get to the good part — the rooftop bar with a 360 view of Dublin, serving up fresh Guinness on tap! I’d always heard that Guinness tastes better as you get closer to Dublin — and while I admit I didn’t notice a difference from the Guinness drafts I’ve had elsewhere, it was still fresh and delightful!
Afterwards, I headed to the Phoenix Park for a bit of fresh air and exercise. The park is massive and has several monuments, gardens, and a zoo. I only went to the Saint James portion, but it was enough to get my fix of greenery!
For dinner, I went to the cobblestone old quarter south of the Liffey River, which is packed with pubs and restaurants. I opted for Temple Bar, which is a truly classic pub with great atmosphere (no wonder Irish bars have become world famous!) Even though the Temple Bar was bustling, I was able to grab a table pretty quickly. I got the Shepard’s pie, which tasted great after a day of walking around– and it seemed like a good choice while in Ireland (I think I had bangers and mash at a pub for lunch). (While in that area, don’t miss the Molly Malone Statue, built in honor of the fictional fish monger).
Afterwards, I headed back to my hotel to get a few hours of sleep before my flight the next morning. All in all, it was a fantastic stopover in Dublin!
Apparently Dublin has a National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland — and while I didn’t go here myself — it sounds like it might be a good family-friendly option! Also, if you’re into Irish whiskey, there’s the Jameson Distillery and the Teeling Distillery in town.