Ireland, Part 1: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

If you missed the into to this blog series, be sure to check it out here!

Day 2

As the first day of our trip consisted of a red eye flight, the exciting portion of our journey did not begin until day two. Although we were jet-lagged, we wasted no time getting into travel mode. When we first arrived, it was too early to check into our Airbnb, so we went to a nearby café called SLICE. Although it was a teeny tiny establishment, they welcomed us and our giant suitcases with open arms. We had a lovely brunch, and before we knew it, it was time to check into our Airbnb.

We stayed in Dublin’s charming Stoneybatter neighborhood. It was a pleasant, 30-minute walk to the city center. I particularly loved it because I felt like I was transported to 4 Privet Drive. That’s a Harry Potter reference for those of you unfortunate enough to not know what I’m talking about. ;)

Anyway, we settled into our Airbnb and slowly made our way to the city center for a tour. Personally, I love doing city tours on the day that I arrive to a new city. They typically hit all of the highlights of a given city, allowing me to form my own opinion about what I feel compelled to revisit within the following days. Further, they allow me to get my bearings from the very start.

We chose to take the Dublin Historical Walking Tour. Our guide, Tim, was fantastic! He had recently received his PhD in history from Trinity College, so his knowledge was unparalleled. Furthermore, his ability to deliver his knowledge in an entertaining, comical way was impressive, to say the least. Highlights of the tour include the following: Trinity College, Old Parliament, Temple Bar, Four Courts, Christ Church Cathedral, City Hall, Dublin Castle, Grafton Street, and Mansion House.

After our tour, we hopped into a taxi and went to the Guinness Storehouse. Although we were concerned that it might be a tourist trap, we felt compelled to go after hearing so many great things about it prior to our trip. Well, we are so happy that we went! The building is exquisite, and Guinness’s unique brewing process is delivered in an unique way. With every ticket comes a free pint of Guinness, and how you choose to enjoy your pint is up to you. We chose to enjoy ours at the Gravity Bar on the top floor of the building. While it was only seven floors up, Dublin is a built-out rather than built-up city, so we were able to take in stunning, 360° views of Dublin while sipping on a fresh pint. Although I am a Guinness fan whether playing tourist or not, I must admit that Guinness straight from the source is significantly more tasty than the imported version.

Before we settled into our Airbnb for the night, we grabbed a bite to eat at L. Mulligan. Grocer, a pub that we stumbled upon on our walk back. I’ll be straight up with you guys from the get-go: Ireland’s food is nothing to write home about. However, one of the better meals of our trip was eaten here. After refueling, we hit the hay as we were in need of a good night’s sleep.

Day 3

Knowing that we’d most likely want to sleep in, we left our morning open. I had the most blissful night’s sleep, so I headed out relatively early for a run and drug Chris along with me. Phoenix Park was only a five-minute run away from where we were staying, so we headed there and got a solid three miles in. I absolutely love running as a means of exploring a new city as I’m able to take in a lot in a short period of time. Phoenix Park is certainly worth checking out as it is absolutely beautiful!

We headed back to our Airbnb, got ready, and then took a leisurely walk toward the city center. Only three days in, I was seriously craving some greens. We actively sought out a grab-and-go establishment that served salads, and KC Peaches ended up being our best bet.

Afterward, we returned to Trinity College. While we were able to explore the grounds on our city tour the day prior, the tour did not include admission to the college’s infamous Long Room in the Trinity College Library. The room is well-preserved and absolutely magnificent to the point that no photo can do it justice. In my opinion, the admission price is well worth it!

After viewing the Long Room, my mom stuck around the campus grounds to take some more photos. Meanwhile, Chris and I headed to the Irish Whiskey Museum for a whiskey tasting. While I’m the exact opposite of a whiskey gal, when in Rome! I’m so happy that I gave this tasting a go because it really and truly provided me with a new appreciation for whiskey. Spoiler alert: not all whiskeys make your throat feel like it’s on fire! In fact, many are silky smooth and easy on the palate. As it turns out, there are countless nuances that can be altered throughout the whiskey distillation process that greatly affects the characteristics of the final product. Again, our guide (whose name I regretfully forget) was incredible! Similar to the guide on our city tour, he was both knowledgable and funny.

After our tasting, we met back up with momma dukes and headed to dinner at The Church. Leave it to the Irish to turn a historic church into a booming restaurant! While there is no denying that the atmosphere and live entertainment were awesome, the food was mediocre at best given the price point. While it is certainly worth checking out, I recommend grabbing a drink or two at the bar and eating dinner elsewhere.

We briefly walked through the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre during our city tour and loved it so much that we decided to return. It is an exquisite, historic, Georgian-style townhouse that has been transformed into a centre full of beautiful shops and eateries. After dinner, we enjoyed incredible craft cocktails at Farrier & Draper, a stunning bar located in the townhouse’s former horse and carriage entrance.

At that point, we agreed that we wanted to hear some live music. Although there is plenty of live music in the Temple Bar neighborhood, it isn’t very traditional. We’re talking Billy Joel covers, people! As The Cobblestone came highly recommend by our Airbnb host and was en route to Stoneybatter anyway, we made it a point to stop there on our walk home. Thank goodness we did! It was full of locals and was a truly authentic experience. We were even lucky enough to snag seats right next to the musicians who were jamming in the front of the pub! We stayed until closing and then headed back to our Airbnb as we had an early train to catch the next morning.

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I think it goes without saying that Dublin is an incredible capital city with so much to offer. Unfortunately, we did not get to squeeze in everything that we wanted to see during our short stay. When I return to Dublin one day, St. Stephen’s Green and boutique shopping in the South Inner City neighborhood will be at the top of the list!

…Next stop, Galway!

2 thoughts on “Ireland, Part 1: Dublin, Republic of Ireland

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