I have just realised that exactly a year ago today the boyfriend and I celebrated three years together by nipping over to Dublin for a quick city break, and somehow I forgot to mention it on my blog! So here’s my low-down on what we got up to and why I wouldn’t say no to another visit!
We flew with Ryanair from Manchester airport which was hassle free, convenient as the train station is inside the airport and cheap too (about £28 each I think). Although a bit cramped on the plane in terms of leg room, the flight was only an hour so wasn’t too bad.
We stayed at Leeson Bridge Guest house for 3 nights (around £40-£45 a night if I remember rightly) which was a little bit out of town but easy enough to get to on the bus from the airport, and you could walk into the city centre if you wanted. Leeson Bridge was fabulous- the staff were lovely, the breakfasts huge and filling and meaning we didn’t need to buy lunch if we smuggled out some fruit! The main selling point for me though was the sauna in the bathroom which was so perfect as an anniversary treat and needed after a long day’s sightseeing!
Our first day sightseeing we headed to Dublin Zoo- if you’re a regular readers you know how much we love animals and can never resist an good zoo! Since we had no car we decided to buy a 3 day city tour bus pass that drops off near the zoo at its furthest point which took a while but at least was easy and has a stop right outside the guest house. Despite it being freezing we had a great day walking around and getting over excited like little kids (even buying tiny cuddly toy souvenirs!). With a long bus journey and several hours at the zoo we decided to head back to the guest house to have and go in the sauna before heading out to an early dinner at a small restaurant called Cafe Java down the road which served a really good mezze platter.
Our second day was chosen by the boyfriend and so we again boarded our bright yellow bus and headed into the city centre to the Guinness Storehouse. A little on the pricy side buy a must see while in Dublin, you get a self guided audio tour about how they make Guinness and then other small exhibits and tasting areas as you work your way up the building, which is shaped like a Guinness glass. I’m not a huge fan of Guinness but quite enjoyed my time looking around, and could exchange my pint token for another drink in the sky bar. Unfortunately it did feel like mostly a marketing hall as it’s not got much of a working brewery left on site, but it was still an interesting way to spend the morning.
We then headed into the city centre attend visited Dublin Castle. You have to book onto attend tour to actually go in, but if you just turn up and they’re all full like we did, you can still buy attended limited access tour which we did. It was decidedly average unfortunately and we probably could’ve just done with admiring the castle from the outside. Our next stop was the Dublin writers museum for the boyfriend who was finishing a Masters in English Literature at the time. While not really my cup of tea and swarming with bored school children on a trip, he seemed to enjoy it so was worth the detour. Absolutely exhausted by this point we headed back to the guest house to get changed and go out for dinner, again in one of the local pubs called O’Brien’s near Leeson Bridge for our anniversary meal. Although the food was really good and they did damn good cocktails, the whole of Dublin seemed very expensive for food and drink. I know it’s a capital, tourist city but we did end up spending more than we planned on this trip, so just be aware.
On our final day we were flying out just after lunch so we got up early and hopped on the first bus to Kilmainham Goal, where the Easter Rising rebels were held and executed. You can’t book the tour, it’s purely a first come first served basis and despite and arriving around 9am, the queue was already huge and we were told it’d be over an hour and a half wait, and with the hour tour and having to collect our bags before going to the airport, we just didn’t have time.
Disappointed, we got back on the next bus and headed into the city centre. The bus driver recommended the Jameson Whiskey tour but again, bad luck struck and we had just missed the tour, the next one not being for another hour! In desperation, we followed a sign for a museum called ‘The history of the Irish’ and after paying something like €17 we had found something to do for the morning. It was so, so bad… a guy dressed up like Gandalf clearly thought he was the next big acting breakthrough dramatically took us through a series of rooms (through magic portals!) to tell the history of Dublin, and helped by videos of Irish goddesses…. there was only us two and one other woman looking very awkward and trying not to laugh. Honestly, it was such a rip off and I’m sure even kids wouldn’t be impressed by the takky costumes! He didn’t even go into anything about the Troubles as “it was too divisive” despite being the most important part of their history. Feeling pretty miffed off yet very confused/amused we headed to the airport.
Despite the failure of the last morning, I did really enjoy this trip and certainly have fond memories of Dublin. However, there’s still plenty left to see, especially the old fashioned pubs with the folk music that I was totally gutted we didn’t do, as we were just too tired after a long term at school to drink until the small hours. My dad did promise to take me to Dublin specifically for this purpose on my 18th birthday, and I’m still waiting six years later so here’s hoping I can persuade him to take me this year!