After a warm and sunny month in Spain we made our way to a much cooler and cloudier Dublin, Ireland. We like warm weather but were getting a little tired of sweating through our shirts everyday so it was a welcome change. Another good thing about Ireland is that it seems like everyone we know has been there, so we didn’t have to do much research on what to do.
I am still a little confused with my terminology as it pertains to towns, communities, villages, etc. but we stayed in what I think was a community called Bayside, which is only two metro stops from Howth that is a popular fishing village.
TIP- If you are going to be taking trams/busses/trains and especially if you are staying outside the city center like us, then we recommend getting the Leap Card which allows you to jump on and off these modes of transportation.
When we arrived on Day 1 we jumped on the train and went to Howth, which like I said above, is a popular village that is notable for their seafood. The purpose of our visit was to hike the Bog of Frogs, which is about a 4 hour loop around the peninsula and offers GREAT views of the ocean and Dublin. We would highly suggest this hike. The only thing to be aware of is that the signage is lacking in a few places so be mindful of what paths you choose. When we got back to the village we had the classic fish and chips meal at Beschoff Bros. It was probably the cheapest fish and chips you are going to find and still tasty. Even though we started the day on an airplane from Spain, we still cranked out over 30,000 steps!
Day 2 was all about Dublin. We made our 20 minute journey into the city center and went to the only place you should start your Dublin experience, The Guinness Pourhouse. The Guiness Pourhouse is very well put together and a must visit in Dublin. Are you going to learn anything revolutionary? Probably not. But the history and the care they put into every batch of beer is pretty incredible.
Following the brewery we walked to Kilmainham Gaol which is a former prison in Dublin. My parents suggested we go to this and they were right. I explained to them afterwards that I enjoyed the jail because it felt like you were in places and walking where others had walked before. That might sound crazy but we’ve been to a lot of places where everything you see is a replica because of some fire hundreds of years ago. It’s still the same site but it just doesn’t have that same feel. In Kilmainham there are still carvings on walls from prisoners, so it feels real. Aside from the structure itself, the tour is worth it to learn more about the history of Ireland and the turmoil they have been through.
We ended the day/night in the Temple Bar district. This was on a Saturday night so it was packed with everyone from drunk Americans to drunk Irish bachelor and bachelorette parties. We went to a bar right across the street from the actual Temple Bar for a pint but it probably doesn’t matter where you go in this area because everywhere is going to be $$. But you are going to this area for the experience and people watching…not for deals.
Before we left on Day 3 we decided we wanted to see a castle and do a hike so we made our way to the Powerscourt Estate. However, we apparently didn’t do enough research because that day an air show was also happening in the town of Bray where the metro drops you off. This resulted in a nightmare on the metros. Powerscourt itself is beautiful, but we would recommend skipping it IF you only have public transport to access it. The metro took us 45-60 minutes and then we had to grab a bus in Bray which is about 25-30 minutes, and then walk 15-20 minutes to get there. In the end, you are going to spend a good portion of the day just traveling to and from. Should you be traveling via rental car, it wouldn’t be a problem.
All in all we enjoyed Dublin for the short amount of time we were there. For the next month we are going to be in places that are more expensive, so our experience is probably going to be a vastly different than if we weren’t on a year long trip with a budget. Keep that in mind while reading.