Intro to Dublin
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Originally founded as a Viking trading settlement in the ninth century Dublin eventually grew to be the English empire’s second city, behind only London. For over 700 years Dublin and Ireland were ruled by the monarchy in London until the early 20th century when the country gained independence in a bloody guerrilla war.
Dublin is an easy five hour flight from NYC and other international airports in the North East. It makes for a perfect 2 or 3 day European weekend. MLK and Presidents Day weekends are great because the crowds are low and the weather isn’t as bad as you would think.
From Dublin’s International airport, it’s just about 30 minutes into the city. There is a taxi and a bus. Taxis are pretty cheap and a bit quicker. Dublin is compact and mostly everything you’ll be interested in is a short walk or tram ride away.
Suggested Itinerary: fly out late Friday night, arrive early Saturday morning, chug coffee, and enjoy the rest of the weekend in Dublin. Coming back you can leave after breakfast on Monday and arrive home before dinner. However, if you’re Irish, you might even want to stay a little longer to explore the Emerald Island.
When we went
What we did
I must admit I was never a fan of Guinness. I thought it was too heavy and too dark. But when in Ireland one must do as the Irish and you must have a pint, almost immediately, upon arrival. The Mr. and I did, and we have been hooked ever since.
A tour of the Guinness Brewery is just as much about the cultural and history as it is about the beer.
The food scene in Dublin is long removed from potatoes and soda bread. For a unique experience check out: Bear – a steakhouse that serves cuts of meats generally not seen on menus, Matt the Thresher – for great north sea oysters, and Slattery’s Bar – one of the few places you can get a pint of the black stuff with your blood pudding at breakfast. HIGHLY recommended!
While not eating or drinking, a tour of the world famous Trinity College, and its sacred Book of Kells, is a must do activity. [Note: the Mr. and I recently went to the island of Mull in Scotland where the Book of Kells was written.] We took an afternoon tour of Dublin which was given by a history graduate from Trinity College.
Guinness Brewery – The best brewery tour we’ve ever taken. The stately building looks like it’s straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. Inside is an interesting look at the beer making process as well as numerous Guinness related exhibits including a great collection of those clever Guinness posters. The tour ends on the roof with a free pint and great view of the city.
Book of Kells in the Trinity Old Library. A chance to see one of the most important pieces of art that came out of the Dark Ages.
Historical Walking Tour – Conducted by history grads from Trinity College. This tour is a great way to get acquainted with the city and its history.
National Museum – a chance to see well-preserved bog people.
Kilmainham Gaol – historic jail used by the British as a political prison. Note, we tried to go here but were too late.
Bear; dinner, steakhouse with a modern hip vibe. Famous for serving seldom used cuts of beef.
Slattery’s Pub; any time, opens early, full Irish breakfast and Guinness available.
Matt the Thresher; lunch or dinner, oysters and a classy bar
The Chophouse; dinner, gastro-pub and steakhouse (take the DART train to get there)
O’Neills; breakfast, pub and restaurant. Popular among the Trinity crowd.
The Temple Bar area is known for pubs and live music (Irish trad music). Our suggestion is to take a stroll down the street if there’s a place that looks inviting, pop in for a pint!
Buswells Hotel; Dublin. A beautiful Georgian building between Trinity College and St. Stephens Green.