Dublin, Ireland – An Experience Beyond St. Patrick’s Day

Pints at the Gravity Bar, Dublin

Pints at the Gravity Bar, Dublin

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I should write a post about sightseeing in Dublin, Ireland.  Now, of course there is so much more to see in Ireland than just Dublin, in fact, some would argue that the true spirit of Ireland lies in the countryside and not in the city.  But there are so many things to do in Dublin, you should definitely spend some time exploring this historic city!

For many of us traveling from the States, Dublin will likely be where you begin your journey.  The city has a large international airport, and you can often find flight deals outside of the peak travel season.  The airport is well outside the city center, but there are plenty of transportation options that will take you into the city, including bus service.

Dublin Pass

One item to look into is getting the Dublin Pass (http://www.dublinpass.ie/).  Depending on the number of days you are visiting, you can purchase a pass to meet your needs.  The pass includes airport transfer into the city (very convenient) as well as entry to many popular sites.  Purchasing the pass provided us with savings on the sights we planned to see anyway, and it came with some useful maps and guidebooks for the city.

Hello Molly

Hello Molly

Typically if you are coming from the States, you will fly overnight and arrive in Dublin first thing in the morning.  I recommend going directly to your hotel to drop off your luggage.  Even if your room isn’t ready, most hotels will hold your luggage in a secure room free of charge.  That way you can go right out and start exploring the city.  As with most cities, I believe that when it comes to accommodations it is all about location.  The last thing you want to do is have an inconvenient hotel that causes you to pay extra for transportation just to get in and out of the city.

Temple Bar - a hopping part of Dublin

Temple Bar – a hopping part of Dublin

In Dublin, there are a wide variety of accommodations right in the city center.  From cozy bed and breakfasts, hostels, small boutique hotels, to large 5 star hotels.  The choice is yours.  Personally, I prefer to stay in smaller family run hotels, B&B’s or even a hostel.  Dublin, as with most European cities, can get quite expensive – especially with an unfavorable exchange rate, so I prefer to save money on the hotel and spend it out enjoying the city!

Eggs Benedict With Irish Bacon

As you begin your Dublin adventure, make a quick stop at the Dublin tourism office, located in the city center.  This is one of the best tourism offices I’ve ever been to – and the most beautiful!  When finished at the tourism office, be sure to stop off for some breakfast so that you can build your energy, and it gives you a chance to sit down and plan out your day while reviewing your maps.  There are a number of options for quick breakfasts in town but we found a gem, Pacinos (http://pacinos.ie/), right around the corner from the tourism office – their eggs benedict tops my list of the best I’ve ever had, particularly because of the Irish bacon!

When exploring any city I think it is best to start off with some history to get your bearings.  In Dublin, the Dublinia (http://www.dublinia.ie/) is a museum that recreates the Viking & Medieval Dublin through life-size reconstructions.  This museum is free with the Dublin Pass, and it is a fantastic way to understand the history of the city and it gives you a new perspective of Dublin and what the people have been through over the ages.  Dublinia is one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin, and it is right in the middle of the action.  It’s a fascinating museum and I highly recommend it!
Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Once you finish with the museum, take some time to explore nearby by cathedrals, such as St. Patrick’s and Christ Church.  With regard to Dublin castle, I recommend you skip that because there really isn’t much to see and it is often closed for events.
Geocahcing, Dublin, Ireland, found, micro cache, micro, adventure, Peanuts or Pretzels, travel, Europe, sightseeing

Liz and I enjoying our day in Dublin sightseeing and geocaching at Trinity College

Trinity Colle & Book of Kells

Another key sight in Dublin is Trinity College and The Book of Kells.  Located in the heart of Dublin, Trinity College is easily accessible by foot or public transportation.  For a small fee you can be taken on a short walking tour of the college and learn about its long history.  If you are lucky you will be guided by a philosophy professor, who has a quintessential personality and accent that makes you feel smarter just by listening to him speak!  At the end of the tour you are taken to the old library, which is beyond amazing!  Words don’t even do this place justice.  This is also where you can see The Book of Kells, regarded as Ireland’s finest treasure.  Created by Monks around 800, it is a stunning illustrative creation; combining Western calligraphy, Celtic knots, and ornate swirling motifs.  It is probably the most beautify book (and library) you will ever see.
Embarking on our Guinness tour

Embarking on our Guinness tour

When in Dublin, it is an absolute must that you visit the Guinness Storehouse (http://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en/Index.aspx).  This is more than a museum or brewery…it is an experience!  Also one of the top of attractions in Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse is quite possibly the best brewery you will ever visit.  With interactive exhibits that take you through the process of making Guinness (although not giving away all the secrets) you are also taken through a journey of industrial Dublin.
Outside the Guinness Storehouse

Gravity Bar – Guinness Store House

The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture; combining history, industry, and modern elements such as glass.  It is really quite an impressive space.  Once you have explored all 7 floors you will make it to the top – which is where the Gravity Bar is located.  This bar is surrounded 360 degrees by glass and provides the best views of Dublin.  Included with your ticket is a free pint (or multiple, depending on the bartender’s mood) of Guinness – so grab a pint, sit back, relax and enjoy the views.  After a pint or two, you will understand why this is the national beverage.

The Temple Bar - Dublin

The Temple Bar – Dublin

One of the best things about Dublin (and Ireland in general) is the pub scene and the music; and the Temple Bar district is a hot spot in the middle of town.  While being somewhat touristy, it is centrally located and you are guaranteed to find a great place to hang out for the evening.

Grab some pub food along the way and bar-hop while listening to traditional Irish music.  In fact, some of the best music we stumbled upon was actually taking place in the middle of the street in Temple Bar.
Great live music on the streets of Dublin

Great live music on the streets of Dublin

Mutefish

Musicians will set themselves up and play as long as they can get a crowd – and we found a few groups who were building quite the rowdy crowd.  With people dancing in the streets, you just can’t help but be overcome with the spirit of Ireland.  We even purchased a CD from one of the street bands, and it has become one of our most treasured souvenirs from the trip.  Popping it into the CD player, we are immediately transported back to those Ireland streets.
Dinner & Drinks at the Brazen Head

Dinner & Drinks at the Brazen Head

Another place to check out is the Brazen Head pub.  Dating back to 1198, the Brazen Head is considered Ireland’s oldest pub http://www.brazenhead.com/index.php), and it’s within walking distance of the Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse in central Dublin.  This pub offers great ambiance, traditional Irish music, drinks; and with an award-winning restaurant, you are sure to be satisfied after an evening here.  However, there are many other amazing pubs to explore in Dublin, so be sure to ask a local for a recommendation.

Irish Countryside

So while the green Irish countryside provides your iconic imagery of the country, Dublin city is a must see.  Come to Dublin to explore the history and understand where the country has come from and what it has been through.  Get to know the culture, the food, the music, and dance in the streets.  Soon you will enjoy having a pint of Guinness, just like the locals, and feel like you are one with the Irish – beyond anything you experience on March 17th.

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3 Responses to Dublin, Ireland – An Experience Beyond St. Patrick’s Day

  1. sigurd siegfried July 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    I Love Your Blog. Basically every post makes me lol, think, and learn something.

    • Liz July 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      That is awesome! Thank you so much for the comment. It makes us feel great to know that we can inform and entertain. We could go for a glass of Guinness now – it seriously tastes amazing I over there. No wonder they all drink it.

      Happy travels!
      Liz & Josh

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