Once I arrived in Dublin, it was really easy to get transportation at the airport with taxi and Uber options quick to find. There was also a bus service that I found out about much later in my trip that would take you into the heart of the city for €7.
Lodging wise, I wanted to do something a bit out of the ordinary for me, so I splurged a bit and spent a night in an actual renovated castle. The Clontarf Castle Hotel is slightly outside of the city, but beautiful and historic. I would really recommend it if you have a family since there are lots of activities on site and the grounds are spacious. It’s also very close to the fishing town of Holtz which I was told offered beautiful scenery, but I didn’t make it there.
I caught a decent flight deal on low cost carrier Ryan Air, which provides no frills but will get you there quickly and unharmed and I was off. One tip with Ryan was to arrive early, because there is a bit of a cattle call to get to your seat on the plane and it helped to have extra time.
I wanted to take in as many tourist attractions as possible in my short trip, so I headed into the City Centre (very easy to get to and the bus ride was only €2.70; TIP: You must have exact change to ride the bus). It was very small and easy to navigate, even with a map/direction challenged person like myself. I was easily able to walk to most of the big attractions.
I visited Trinity College first since seeing the Book of Kells was a big deal for me. If you’re any type of history buff, this is a must stop. You aren’t able to take pictures of everything, but it’s a very beautiful tour. There is also an audio companion if you would like more information. The library at Trinity College is incredible and if you’re a Harry Potter fan will instantly remind you of the Hogwarts layout. Just being around all of those historical volumes was astounding for a bibliophile like myself.
When my travels took me to Manchester for a week, one of the first things I decided to do was figure out if there were other places close by that I could visit while I was there. I found out that Dublin was only about an hour away by plane and decided what better way to spend a couple of days of that week?
Next, I went down Fleet St. which has most of the popular pubs in Dublin including the world renowned tourist haunt, Temple Bar. I found it to be a bit overrated, but it was fun and had lots of live entertainment. There was a whiskey tasting right now door that offered the opportunity to sample several different types for reasonable prices.
I spent more time walking around, including walking over the Ha’penny Bridget, which is the biggest and squarest bridge in the world (per the locals, I haven’t been able to confirm this), checking out some of the tourist shops and having authentic fish and chips and Irish Coffee at the Quay Restaurant.
While I’m not a huge beer drinker, I felt like I couldn’t be in Dublin without having an authentic Guinness, so I took time to take the tour at the Guinness Brewery. This place is a little hidden, but any cab or Uber driver can tell you how to get there. They have places to store luggage because they’re used to tourists and the tour included an opportunity to learn how to properly drink a Guinness via a sample and a full size offering at the tour’s conclusion. You can spend as much time as you want inside once you get there (or at least they didn’t seem to kick anyone out), but it will take you at least 45 minutes to really get the full tour. I really enjoyed the tour and learning more about how Guinness is made and the legacy behind it. Even after learning the proper technique, I wasn’t a huge fan of the product’s taste, but I found the tour to be a lot of fun. There’s also a huge store onsite where you can buy a ton of Guinness products, many that are exclusive to the area.
I ended the trip with another no frills Ryan Air flight with no issues. I would love to return to be able to visit some of the things outside of the city (like The Cliffs and such), but for a quick trip Dublin was a lot of fun.