During our recent trip to Ireland we spent two days in Dublin. The first day was touring the city on our own before the official group Celtic Tour started. On the final day of our tour we had additional time to explore the city before one last castle stay and packing for home. Dublin is a fairly easy city to navigate if you have the right information.
Dublin is divided into zones (postal codes). Knowing the zone of the specific place you wish to visit can assist in planning your day and itinerary. This is similar to any other vacation where you may want to stay closer to a certain area. It is recommended to stay in or around the City Center. Staying in the City Center will put you closer to some of the most popular sites with many transportation options.
Bus: One of the most recommended options if you have a full day to tour is to purchase tickets for a Hop On Hop Off bus. Hop On Hop Off bus passes cost about 30 Euros. You would have the freedom to hop off at the sites you may wish to visit or stay on for a guided tour of the city. Buses do travel on a set route with scheduled times at each stop. Downloading the app helps you know estimated times for pick ups. It is best to pre-purchase your tickets and remember which company you used as there are several bus companies in the area.
City Tram: The city Luas tram is a cost effective way to get around the city. An all day pass for one adult is just over 7 Euros. There are two trams, one runs north/south (green line) the other runs east/west (red line). The downside of the tram is there are no guides and it is a very busy mode of transportation. Locals are using it to get to and from places as well. You also need to know in advance which stop you need. Thank goodness for the locals on our tram for letting us know which stop we needed to visit O’Connell Street! (It was Abby Street)
Taxi: Taxis are readily available all over the city. Costs are reasonable, but always ask the driver BEFORE entering the vehicle if it is cash only. Some drivers do not accept credit cards.
Bicycle: Bicycle rentals are available all around the city center.
There are so many places to see in Dublin. What did we do? The first day we hopped on the tram to O’Connell Street for some food and shopping. Fish and Chips at Bishoff’s was our welcome to Ireland meal. During our walk we saw protests at the GPO (General Post Office) which is a historical building. Mental Note here to definitely see the exhibits inside on my next visit.
After our meandering we hopped in a taxi and headed to Guinness, hoping to get in for a tour. Unfortunately we were unable to get a time even close to what we needed, so onward we went. This time by horse-drawn carriage to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Interesting Tidbits about St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- The Cathedral building is over 800 years old! Originally built in the 1200’s.
- The Guinness family paid to help restore the church in the 1860s.
- Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels was Dean of the Cathedral from 1713 to 1745 and is buried here.
- It is estimated that between 600 and 700 people are buried in the building and on the grounds.
After our Cathedral tour we made our way back to the Ashling hotel. Dinner was a quick two minute walk down the street at the pub Nancy Hands where we had some of the best Baileys Cheesecake ever! Along with some ale and Irish Coffee.
Dublin Day 2
Our second day in Dublin was at the end of our journey. We had the choice of visiting the Guinness Storehouse or the Epic Irish Emigration Museum. It must not have been in the cards for us to visit Guinness as yet again we could not get our tours purchased online. No worries though, because Epic was truly Epic!!! We had a guided tour of the museum and discovered the rich heritage of Irish culture. Self-Guided tours are available. If you have Irish ancestry, this is a do not miss attraction. Make sure to schedule a 30-minute discovery session with an ancestry specialist.
When our tour of Epic was complete, we went to Grafton Street for more discovery and shopping. Grafton Street has more higher end stores, however there were a few souvenir shops. You will also find a lot of pubs and a pedestrian street. Grafton Street is near Trinity College which is another top tourist site and houses the Book of Kells.
Tip: O’Connell Street is better for souvenir and gift shopping. Grafton Street is best for higher end or department store type shopping.
Our final night in Ireland was spent in Fitzpatrick Castle just on the outskirts of Dublin. It was amazing seeing the city lights from the balcony of the castle. More about castles in the next Ireland blog!
Is Dublin on your travel bucket list? Contact your journey planner for more information.
Thank you to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner, Mary K Allen, for writing this blog post for us. You can learn more about Mary K here.