Last week, I went on a city-trip to Dublin. I had loads of fun and tried my best to explore Dublin (and surroundings) a bit. This blogpost will be all about Dublin and the things you could do while visiting.
I went from Wednesday until Saturday morning, so three nights. I left Saturday before noon, making Friday my last day to fully explore the city. I didn’t really have any set plans before I went, so I made most of it up as I went. I had looked up a few things I wanted to visit beforehand, but mostly I just went to Dublin blindly. I walked around the city on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday I went on a day trip to the cliffs of Moher, on which a separate blogpost will be written.
As for Dublin itself, here are some things that I enjoyed!
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology and National Museum of Ireland – Natural History I have always been interested in history and archaeology. For a short while in my youth, I wanted to become an archaeologist. I am also interested in the Viking past of Ireland, since it has had such an influence on the land. The Archaeology Museum talks a fair bit about the Viking past, but also about the Medieval times in Ireland, which is another interesting area. The main things I loved about this museum, is that it holds four bodies that once belonged to men living BC. This is so freaking cool to me, because these people literally lived thousands of years ago and yet here I am, looking at the remains of their bodies. I would definitely recommend you visit this museum, and even if you only want to take a look at the bodies and aren’t interested in the rest the museum has to offer, you could. Museums in Ireland are admissions free, so you could just hop in and out if you’d want to. When you’re visiting the Archaeology museum, it’s no bother to also step inside the Natural History museum, since it’s quite literally around the corner. This museum holds a lot of mounted animals and it was very impressive to see. I didn’t wander around for a long time, but as I said, museums are free, so it’s no ‘waste’ of money to hop in and out. Kilmainham Gaol Kilmainham Jail is worth a visit, even though it’s under construction right now and you can’t visit everything. The jail has been around for 300+ years and has seen some interesting times. The tour you take through the jail is guided and my guide was an absolute brilliant man. He was very funny and pleasant to listen to and had some extra stories to tell after someone asked a question. The jail was built after a (for that time) new concept and has a rich history. The leaders of the Eastern Rising were also held there before they were liquidated.
Guinness Storehouse I couldn’t justify visiting Dublin and not visiting the Guinness Storehouse. I really like Guinness and visiting the Storehouse was fun. It is quite a bit more touristy than other attractions in Dublin are, though. Still, it was fun. There’s two ‘extra’ experiences you can take part in, namely the Tasting Experience and the ‘Academy’, where you learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. I decided to do the Tasting Experience, which was fun. The queue for the ‘Academy’ to learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness was over half an hour and I didn’t fancy waiting for that. After you’ve arrived to the top of the Storehouse, you get an exemplary pint of Guinness (if you’re 18 or older) and are free to look around the 360° view of Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral The story of St. Patrick is a story I’d already heard multiple times before I even got to visiting the Cathedral. We were also told that one of the stained glass windows holds the story of the beloved saint. It starts in the lower left corner and the highest scene in the middle row displays his death. The Cathedral itself is very pretty inside and out, and is located next to a beautiful park. Inside, free guided tours start every thirty minutes. I took one of those tours and would recommend you to do the same. The guide told a lot about statues and flags that didn’t have any information next to them. The flags I found particularly interesting. They belonged to parts of the Irish Army (which used to belong to the British Army for a long time) and when a certain formation was dissolved, their flag would be hung in the church. Over time, some of these flags have withered down to almost nothing. They weren’t burned or anything, but time simply ate away at them. Inside the Cathedral is also the burial place of Jonathan Swift, the writer of Gulliver’s Travels (among other books).
Howth – Rhymes with both – Howth is a small village located across the bay from Dublin. To get there, you have to take the Dart Rail and ride it for about twenty minutes. Once you’re in Howth, you can explore the harbour a bit or take bus 31a up to the Summit. When you get off, it’s a small walk up to the actual Summit itself, but the view is so absolutely worth the struggle. You get this amazing view over the bay and over Dublin and other parts of Ireland. After I’d taken my pictures, I just sat there for a while, admiring the view. During that time, I also decided I absolutely want to come back and visit Ireland again.
St. Stephen’s Green and the Irish National War Memorial Garden I’ve put these two parks together because they’re both worth a visit. Parks in Dublin are, from what I’ve experienced, very quiet and friendly places. Lots of elderly people and parents with small children. St. Stephen’s Green is closer to the city centre than the Irish National War Memorial Garden is, but the War Memorial Garden is very close to Kilmainham Gaol. St. Stephen’s Green is lovely to visit after you’ve strolled around the busy centre for a bit and want to take a quiet stroll through the beautiful park. If there’s a waiting time for the jail, you could easily spend some time in the garden, as I did. You can enter through a side entry and leave by walking past the monuments. It’ll take you right back to the same street Kilmainham Gaol is in.
Temple Bar District and a pub crawl
One last thing on this list that you absolutely have to do, is a pub crawl. Preferably through the Temple Bar District. I did this on my first night there and I am so glad I did. I made two friends with whom I went on the day tour the next day. The pub crawl I went on, I signed up for in my hostel. The crawl was with people from more than only our hostel, though, so you should be able to also find a way to do an organised pub crawl. I would recommend doing the pub crawl with some kind of guide, since I wouldn’t have known where to start. Also, we got a free Guinness at the start and free shots with every next pub, so there’s that.
Temple Bar is not only a great place for a pub crawl, but is also brilliant to visit during the day. Live music can be heard all over and the pubs offer great food and drinks. Just stroll around the street or take a seat outside, eating your fish and chips.
This has brought us to the end of this blogpost! I hope you enjoyed reading it and might consider bringing Dublin a visit. I loved my time there, even though it was my first time travelling on my own. I know now that I will definitely do this again, rather sooner than later. I also know that I will be coming to Ireland again. The people are so kind and friendly, I love the accent (seriously. I love it.) and the country is fucking beautiful.