We’ve FINALLY visited Ireland! The only country that rivals Scotland in terms of folk music, spectacular landscapes and drinking culture.
With the parents coming to visit we decided to do as much as possible – start with 3 days in Dublin and then head South. Rent a car and drive the coast finishing at the Cliffs of Moher.
For my and your sake, I’ve broken the trip up into a few sections.
Starting with DUBLIN!
We attempted to see everything that Dublin has to offer and feel like we made a pretty good dent in it all. From the indulgent tours of Guinness & Jameson Distillery to an eye-opening look into the history of Ireland at Kilmainham Gaol. Delicious Indian food at Pickle Restaurant and the classic GUINNESS STEW at Quay’s Restaurant. Plus the best scenic way to see the city – via Dublin Bikes!
We had a fabulous time in the city, however to be totally honest with you, Dublin is not my favorite city in the world. Some cities have their own distinct charm, which I had definitely expected from Dublin. To me, Dublin felt like a lot of other cities out there – essentially unlike other places like Amsterdam, Edinburgh or Glasgow, I’m not super concerned about making a return trip to Dublin. However I am so grateful to have gotten to spend a weekend exploring Dublin’s nooks and crannies.
There is the chance though, that maybe we TOTALLY missed the essence of what Dublin is?
Check out the video & let me know if we missed your fav spot in the city.
Links + Addresses + Commentary on each of the places shown below!
Also – Let me clarify something I didn’t really understand prior to this trip – the Republic of Ireland is NOT part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland (Belfast) is part of the U.K., but the Republic of Ireland is a totally separate country where you pay with Euros (not pounds) and you will get some incredibly (rightly so) offended looks if you mistake the Republic of Ireland for being part of Scotland or England. (Imagine going to Canada and assuming they were just part of the United States – however WAY more intense as a not-so-distant civil war in the 1920’s ripped this country apart from the U.K. and Northern Ireland.) The history here is absolutely fascinating and recent – a visit to Kilmainham Gaol is a perfect introduction!
A bit more detail on each spot we visited in Dublin!
1:12 – PHOENIX PARK TEAROOMS // Chesterfield Ave, Phoenix Park
I LOVED these tearooms. Super cute spot in the middle of the massive Phoenix Park. You would kind of expect the food to be not-so-good based on the location (right outside the zoo) but it’s all organic, made fresh and TOTALLY DELICIOUS!
1:25 – PHOENIX PARK WELLINGTON MONUMENT
Really crazy, massive obelisk in the park. We got super lucky with the weather and definitely enjoyed kicking off our shoes and soaking up some much missed sunshine.
1:31 – KILMAINHAM GAOL // Inchicore Rd, D08 RK28
DO THIS! Such a great tour and fascinating look into the history of Ireland. You really get a taste of what this small, yet mighty country has been through. They take you all over the prison and you leave with your fair share of goosebumps. Buy your ticket in advance. The Scottish Version of this is Culloden Battlefield.
2:01 – DUBLIN BIKES // Around the City
The shared rent-a-bike system becoming popular in many cities around the world. We really enjoyed this and thought it was an excellent way to see the city while avoiding buses! Be aware though that it wasn’t uncommon for a station to be ‘offline’ meaning it was impossible to rent/return a bike, as well as the bikes moved in coordination with rush hour meaning at times there were none available. But would do it again!
2:22 – AGAINST THE GRAIN CRAFT BEER BAR // 11 Wexford St, Dublin 2
This is not where you go if you’re wanting a traditional Irish pint. This is where you go if you’re wanting some quality Irish craft beer, tasty foods and a great atmosphere. The outdoor seating was highly sought after but looked fab. Ran in collaboration with Galway Brewery. Would definitely return here next time in Dublin – we even made some friends!
2:35 – WHELANS PUB // 25 Wexford St, Dublin 2
Just down the street from Against the Grain – this is your traditional Irish pub with live music on all the time! If you didn’t get the not-so-subtle clip in the video, this is where Ed Sheeran was discovered. We returned another day and they had an Irish band playing which were great. Definitely worth a stop on Wexford Street.
2:52 – JAMESON DISTILLERY TOUR // Bow St, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7
We thought this tour was better than the Guinness Tour. We almost didn’t go as two alcohol related tours in a day sounded like it would be a bit much, but all of us agreed that this tour was amazing! Really cool technological involvement with tour and an excellent guide. The comparative tasting at the end was excellent and don’t miss out on your glass of Daily Grog!
3:18 – JO’BURGER // Duck Lane, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7
Literally right outside of the Jameson Distillery. Excellent burgers and fabulous salads. This was a perfect lunch.
3:19 – GUINNESS STOREHOUSE TOUR // St. James’s Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8
When we walked up there were about 10 massive tour buses parked at the entrance. This has to be the number one tourist attraction in Dublin. It’s a self-guided tour, which was really well-done. Don’t miss out on the tasting rooms and of course the Gravity Bar upstairs.
4:04 – GRAVITY BAR // Guinness Storehouse, St. James’s Gate, Dublin 8
The finale of the Guinness tour – really worth doing the tour just to get up to the Gravity Bar. Amazing 360º views over the city. If you are patient and willing to wait a little, you can eventually get a seat. It’s really as cool as everyone says.
4:17 – ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL // St. Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
The infamous St. Patrick’s Cathedral.. We didn’t go inside, but the outside was beautiful especially when observed while lounging the park. Would love to go back and see the inside.
4:29 – PICKLE RESTAURANT // 43 Camden St Lower, Saint Kevin’s, Dublin 2
I think this is the BEST Indian food I’ve ever had… All four of us were super impressed by the meal, the decor and the staff. We honestly debated eating here every night in Dublin.
4:46 – THE TEMPLE BAR // 47-48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2
We came here twice and the first time we thought it was a pretty small bar with great live music. The second time we stopped in and realized that the place is MASSIVE! So many rooms, with my personal favorite being one that was half-outside with beautiful flowers lining the top of it. Great live music was on every time we walked by – you can understand why this place is on every person’s Dublin bucket list.
5:07 – TRINITY COLLEGE // College Green, Dublin 2
Places like this are always better if you do a tour. Get some context behind all the beautiful buildings. We did a tour led by Trinity College students – which was great! Definitely recommend. Plus your ticket includes entrance to the Book of Kells & Long Room.
5:25 – BOOK OF KELLS + LONG ROOM // Trinity College Library, College Green
I’m ashamed to admit that I had never heard of the Book of Kells before researching what we wanted to do while in Dublin…. But now having seen it, I can say it’s an impressive, very, very old book. It’s really cool – but to be honest, not quite my jam. However the Long Room – totally my jam! This room is AMAZING.
5:46 – GRAFTON STREET // Shopping District, Dublin
I really don’t understand why this is such a highly rated thing to visit in Dublin. It’s essentially a long pedestrian street filled with chain stores. We were on it for a grand total of about 5 minutes before moving on – did we miss something?
5:52 – O’NEILL PUB // 2 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
Another traditional (massive) Irish pub. Their cheese board was super good & Guinness was great. You could get lost wandering through all the rooms there.
6:06 – QUAY’S BAR + RESTAURANT // 10-12 Temple Bar, Dublin
Our goofy goal while visiting Ireland was to not leave without eating some Guinness Stew. The Quay’s Bar was able to fulfill this request for us! The Guinness Stew was excellent & would recommend anyone here to have some. The lamb shank was also quite a crazy dish. Downstairs they had on great live folk music.
And that’s a wrap…
Have you visited Dublin? What did you think? Any amazing spots we missed?
Let me know in the comments below! And thanks, as always, for reading.
xx Siempre, Sydney