Our Trip Around Dublin


Molly Malone on Suffolk St.

We recently took a trip to Dublin as our last vacation until the arrival of our sweet baby boy. I thought I'd share some insight in where we stayed at, ate at, what we saw...everything.  We had a week long stay there and I can't wait to go back. There's so much history to learn about Dublin and we only scratched the surface.

First: We decided to book a hotel instead of an AirBnB... It was really hard to find a good. cheap, airbnb in the heart of Dublin. By the time we did, it booked FAST and we missed our chance.  So we found a somewhat good deal at The Temple Bar Inn on Expedia. Honestly, we never did our research on Dublin before booking a hotel anywhere. We saw some pictures and thought, "that looks nice!" and we booked it. We had never heard of The Temple Bar District before or it might have changed our minds just a little when booking.  The District is the nightlife scene of Dublin. The touristy of the tourist spots. Bars galore, street music, lights, drunken laughter, everything.  Some of the reviews of the Inn were that it was too loud and too hot. True. Our room was on the third floor, closer to the streets of the city center, right above a casino but for days we didn't know why we kept hearing sounds that mimicked a slot machine outside our window... until we walked past the casino one day and did the math lol. When we first got to Dublin we had two beautiful sunny days in the 60's... this made the hotel room pretty hot as the sun beamed down on the windows and the room had no AC.  The hotel was nice enough to have the windows open for us for some air and they left a fan in the room for us to help cool everything down, but it never quite got cool until the third day when it became rainy and was 40-50 degrees out. Still wasn't a problem for us as we were hardly ever in the room.

The hotel lobby was pretty cool. They had a complimentary coffee machine with complimentary biscuits and scones/croissants during the day. They also had their own orange-flavored hard candies throughout the lobby and entrance of the inn, which makes for nice souvenirs for your family back home. The breakfast was not included and you had the option to pay 10 euros for the basic breakfast (cereal, croissants, drinks, etc.) or 15 euros for the full Irish breakfast. We decided to skip out on their breakfast since we were exploring Dublin anyway and had found some really nice cafes that offered the same for slightly less... more on those in a little bit.





Another plus was that it was right next door to a grocery store (Tesco), so instead of paying 2 euros for a water bottle in the hotel lobby vending machine, you could go next door and pick up bigger bottles for just a euro. Which is something you'll need a lot of if you plan on walking everywhere like we did! If you really wanted to be frugal on your trip, you could even grab muffins and other snacks for your hotel room as well. Everything looked pretty fresh daily at the grocery store!

One setback was that they advertised a pool and gym. Now, I never saw anywhere on their site that it was NOT in their hotel, because it most certainly was NOT IN the hotel. It was down the street, which made for the weirdest experience of our hotel lives and we'll probably never do it again. The pool and gym were actually located in a spa facility down an alley passed the Hard Rock Cafe. Just a minute walk, but a very cold and dreary walk when you're just trying to go soak your poor pregnant  legs and feet in some water. The rules were also a bit strict. They required you to have shower caps on (which you could purchase at the hotel lobby for 2 euros each.). The pool itself was not a relaxing pool, but a lap pool...to exercise in... which made for an awkward experience when you solely went there to relax but you find yourself in the way of people there to exercise... So we stayed by the staircase for a few minutes, awkward and uncomfortable... but also giggling and finding the humor in our humility.

To be honest, the spa/gym place was super nice, pretty, and very clean. I'd definitely get a membership there if I were a Dubliner looking for something like that, but for a hotel to offer that service as a part of their hotel experience? No... with the whole walking around outside in your bathing suit, dodging tourists and taxis, and having to wear shower caps... It was just not an experience we want to relive. The hotel staff also never mentioned shower shoes, but once we got to the spa, there were signs everywhere stating that you MUST wear shower shoes... because the entire pool room was tiled. So... just keep that in mind if you find yourself wanting a swim. A lot of hotels there use this spa as their pool and gym amenity.


The shopping in Dublin was fantastic!! To be honest, I wish I had spent a little more time doing some shopping there.  They had a fun three story Disney store, a jewelry store where you could be really nice Claddagh Rings, chocolate shops, fashion stores like  Penney's (Primark's orignal named fashion retail!) and Topshop!

Since I was about 33 weeks pregnant while there, we decided to JUST stay in Dublin instead of going out and exploring all of Ireland... So we explored as much as we could of this Irish city! From the Whiskey Museum to Stephen's Green. From Donut shops to pubs! We did it all.

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Things to do & see:

The Irish Whiskey Museum


Down an alley and up some stairs, across from Trinity College, you'll find this neat museum. I'll be honest, we never got the chance to do a tasting or tour... We just did a quick visit to their bathroom the first day we got there, but then found their lounge. They had a plethora of whiskeys, cocktails, and a great atmosphere.  We sat by a window that overlooked the city and enjoyed some drinks.  I didn't drink but I made my husband grab a cocktail to taste for me, ;)




We did the 45 minute tour here... We've heard mixed reviews about which tour was better-- The Guinness Tour or the Jameson tours. Most preferred Jameson, but I'll tell you why we preferred the Guinness one more later.  On our Jameson tour, we had a great tour guide who explained to us all about the origin of the company and the difference between American whiskey and Irish, using a physical sensory guide to explain. Later, we went into another room where you could try three different shots of whiskey that showed these differences. At the end of the tour you get a drink voucher for either Jameson on the rocks, A moscow mule type of cocktail using Jameson, or a ginger ale if you weren't drinking. 



The Guinness Storehouse



When in Dublin you can NOT miss out on the Guinness Storehouse! The Guinness family has done so much for the city it's amazing to learn about it all.  We actually preferred the Guinness tour more than the Jameson tour.  We loved how it was a self-guided tour and that they had 10 floors.  One floor had three different restaurants and the food was SUPERB! My husband had gotten a bucket of mussels and I had gotten a hefty foccia with soup. Each of us had also gotten a dessert.  We also paid $6 extra on the tour to get a "stoutie". A pint with your photo lasered onto the foam.
Really spectacular! Each ticket got you a drink voucher as well that you could redeem on 3 floors.  One floor taught you how to pour your own, the other was just a simple bar, and the floor we chose was the Gravity Bar. With a 360 degree view of Dublin's sights, you can plan out your next exploration of the city! For those who weren't drinking, your voucher got you a delicious sparkling lemonade!



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Now that we've got the major drinking tours out of the way, let's talk about the sights!  Dublin has a ton of historical buildings from cathedrals to an actual castle right in the heart of the city! We visited quite a few cathedrals, one of which Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels, is buried at.  We visited the homes of Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker and a beautiful park filled with history

St. Stephen's Green


The largest park in Dublin, this 22 acre beauty is breathtaking. Right outside of Dublin's main shopping streets, we entered through the Fusiliers' Arch, a monument dedicated to those who fought and lost their lives during the Second Boer War.  This park is full of history and as you walk down their flowery greenery, you'll be able to read all about it yourself. The tulips were in full bloom when we were there and I was just in complete awe.  We had to cut our visit short once the rain hit but this is a park you do not want to miss when you're visiting Dublin!





St. Patrick's Cathedral:


The tallest and largest cathedral in Ireland and houses Jonathan Swift's remains, along with about 500 other remains either under their flooring or in their beautiful gothic graveyard. This cathedral was founded in 1191 and has over 800 years of history behind it. St. Patrick's is truly remarkable.  You'll definitely need a wide angle lens to capture all it's beauty.





For Literature Lovers:

Authors' homes:
Oscar Wilde's
American College, 1 Merrion Square W, Dublin, D02 NH98, Ireland


Bram Stoker's
30 Kildare Street, Dublin, 2

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Not my picture*
A must-visit is Marsh's Library. Opened it's doors to the public in the 1700's, it contains over 25,000 books dating back to the 16th century! We were lucky enough to visit on a Bram Stoker event day where they showed off his sign-outs of books from the library along with books and inspirations he had from his college days! They're very strict about no photography, so I have none to display, but seeing the old books was an amazing experience! It's located right by the graveyard of St. Patrick's Cathedral


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Food:

Queen Of Tarts

Our favorite breakfast spot! Right across from the Dublin Castle on Dame St. (just a left turn from the Temple Bar District) is where they have delicious baked goods and the best scones I've ever had! The staff was great and treat you to lemon/mint water. It's a tight but cozy cafe so if you have any little ones, make sure you can easily break down your strollers or just baby wear them around the city! 





-Berry Scone with jam, butter, and cream
-Yogurt and granola with a berry compote
-Oatmeal with a homemade apple sauce, cream, and toasted almonds

This was our meal our last day in Dublin. They serve a traditional Irish breakfast meal and an American one too, I believe, but after my hospital visit, I wanted something lighter and on the healthier side.

KC Peaches:

Baked goods sitting in the window will entice you to walk in to this cafe.  It's a grab-and-go style cafe with the option to sit-in and enjoy their fresh made-to-order food!  We decided to sit upstairs where they had plenty of seating, and even a private room if you had a large get-together planned. We had some difficulties finding a waiter for our check though. We had to go back downstairs and ask for our bill. Still, a very pretty overlook of the city while you ate!

 



-Granola, fruit, and yogurt
-"Traditional" Irish Breakfast


Treats:

Two things Germany does differently that my taste buds miss are donuts and ice cream. In Germany their donuts (Berliner) are jelly filled and their ice cream (Eis) is gelato. You can understand how devastating it is to a pregnant American that her two favorite snacks are very different in the new country she now has to call 'home'.  So when I saw the plethora of donut shops in Dublin, and I MEAN PLETHORA, I couldn't control myself.

crossing the Liffey  (ha'penny bridge) from the temple bar district, near the Rotunda Hospital, Mr Donuts!





Cloud Nine in the Temple Bar District was a treat to go to whenever we were headed back to our hotel room.  They had two separate counters: One for ice cream and another for these cute donuts! 






Laudree:
1-3 William St S, Dublin, D02 K339, Ireland



Another place I was super excited about was macaroon heaven, Laudree! In the U.S. you have to travel to NY or LA, or the train station in D.C. where they had a small kiosk there... Seeing this stand-alone tea shop made my heart jump! I've always wanted to try it out! So we did just that! The first room was so cute! With velvet cushions on the bench by the window, to the china they served our coffee and treats on.


Across from Laudree was Butler's Chocolate Cafe! I made my husband follow me in as I waddled around the truffle display, but sadly I never got a chance to sit down and try everything. We did, however, try a sample in the Dublin airport on our way home. And my parents gifted me an assortment from their visit too, so good, definitely worth visiting!

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There was so much to do and we only just scratched the surface! I didn't even know there was a zoo! We plan on visiting again once our son is a little older. For now our travels will be closer to home. I think Colmar, France is our next out-of-country trip! 

What places are on your bucket list? I'd love to hear about them!

3 comments

  1. wow I am planning to visit Dublin very soon so this ha been saved for later!!(: thank you for this lovely guide!

    Cate ღ 35mm in Style

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  2. I've been to Dublin few years ago and it was lovely, but the rest of the trip we spend in the countryside which is just stunning in Ireland. I regret not doing the Jameson tour, I wasn't very impressed with Guinness tour, mostly because I expected to be able to try more beers there. :)

    Janja | seekingwonderful.wordpress.com

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  3. Wow lovely photos and that looks an amazing place for those who love to travel!

    ReplyDelete