Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Travel Report: Dublin.

 This is long but I thought it would be helpful to tell you all about our trip. We've been to Dublin before (I posted about it here) and with that trip we stayed in Dublin for a week and did two day tours because driving in Ireland scares the crap out of us. This trip we spent half our time in Dublin and the other half in Cork. Today I'll tell you about what we did in Dublin and I'll post about Cork next week. 

Dublin is divided into the Northside and the Southside by the river Liffey, with the Northside considered more working class and the Southside considered more posh. We stayed on both sides of the river this trip and tried to spend time exploring both parts of the city to get a better feel for it. 

I will say, as a visitor, the Southside offers a lot. Grafton Street is the well-know shopping district and it's really festive and bustling, especially at this time of year with the holiday lights and decorations. The Temple Bar area is also a lot of fun but it is super touristy so prices are higher and there are a lot of idiots. (But, the people watching is GREAT.) Here are some of our favorites from Dublin: 

Food: 

Gallagher's Boxty House - We've eaten here a few times and it's great - very welcoming and the food is great. Traditional boxty (potato pancakes and dumplings) served in a variety of ways. They also have good cocktails. 

McDaid's Pub - This is a small pub off Grafton Street with an interesting history. We really liked it because it's such a traditional pub and the best kind of cozy hole-in-the-wall. 

Stage Door Cafe - We had breakfast here a few times and y'all, this is an experience. It's a tiny place and the heart of it is the owner Alan, who is over-the-top and hilarious. You come for breakfast (he keeps the menu "small but sexy") and stay for the Alan show. Highly recommend. 

Museums and Sites:

14 Henrietta Street - By far my favorite museum experience. It's the history of the once-grand Northside Georgian mansion at 14 Henrietta St, which became horrific tenement housing. The tour guide leads you through 300 years of history and the lives of the families who lived in this one house. This is my #1 recommendation for a museum in Dublin. 

Dublin Castle - Only the state apartments were open for viewing but I liked this so much more than I expected. Definitely worth a visit. (Free)

National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology - We went to this museum on our last trip and loved it. (Free)

The Little Museum of Dublin - This one was kind of a tiny oddball of a museum and because we'd already learned quite a bit of the history of Dublin, most of the info was a repeat. I did, however, love the room dedicated to U2. 

The Long Room Library - Breathtaking. And the old book smell! They should figure out how to bottle it. The price of entry also includes an exhibition and viewing of the Book of Kells. This is one for the book lovers and should not be missed. 

Guinness Storehouse - Even if you aren't a fan of Guinness stout (which, why not?), this tour is so fun and really beautifully done. Every visit ends at the gravity bar with one of the best views of Dublin. We've done it twice because it's such a fun experience. (Though I was a little sad that my favorite part is currently shut down due to Covid.) 

Teeling Distillery - This was another fun drinky tour. A really definitive look at Irish whiskey distilling in Dublin with a tasting at the end. 

Further Afield:

The Cliffs of Moher - We hired a private driver for the day and finally got to see the Cliffs! On our first trip they were shrouded in fog and we couldn't see a thing. Definitely worth a visit - the cliffs are beautiful.

Poulnabrone Dolmen - This is a megalithic tomb in the middle of the Burren and we were the only people there, which made for a surreal experience. 10/10. Just amazing. On our last trip we did a day tour where we saw several other ancient tombs, all incredibly cool, but this one is really special. I can't even explain.

We also visited Darkey Kelly's pub for live music, The Brazen Head pub, Phoenix Park, Jameson Distillery, etc! So much to do and see that I can't even list it all. 

Shopping:

Honestly, I don't think I really cracked the code on this one. I am sure there are some really cool independent boutiques that I totally missed, but I enjoyed Brown Thomas quite a bit and there were some cool little shops along Essex St on the Southside that I liked. I didn't do a ton of shopping in Dublin, other than what I posted about. 

4 comments:

  1. What a great trip - thanks so much for sharing the pics/info! I'm not sure I'm quite ready for big travels yet, but this is making me yearn in that direction for sure :)

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    1. I totally get that. The actual travel part was pretty brutal, especially with the added stress of Covid.

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  2. I drove whilst in Ireland (we rented a car and went from Dublin, down to Cobh, then up to Northern Ireland, and then all the way up to the Giant's Causeway, then back down to Dublin, over the course of nine days). It was terrifying at first, but I only drove down the wrong side of the road once for two seconds which I think is pretty good!

    The scariest bit was on a tiny country road outside of Kinsale, when a huge lorry was headed straight for us on a "two lane" road that was very clearly a one lane path. I was sure we were toast and my passengers and I all screamed. Spoiler, we all survived.

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    1. Nooooooo! You are so much braver than I am.

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