Time to visit the land of the Irish!

Our original plan was to stay in Ireland for about 8 nights, however, we were offered some amazing tickets we couldn’t turn down, so we excitedly booked an early flight back to London to attend the Liverpool vs Aston Villa semi-final football match sitting in the most amazing seats + a delicious 4 course lunch. What a TREAT!

Leaving Ireland early meant we had 4.5 days there, and a lot to cram in!

Our Favorite App: Skyscanner

It’s inevitable that plans change in every day life, let alone on vacation schedule. Events, different expectations and surprises are all bound to happen, so having a flexible schedule is key and generally more economical. We use an app called Sky Scanner to find the cheapest days and times to fly. Using this app we found a cheap way back to London on an Aer Lingus flight for $40.

Irish Adventures

Guinness

With the time we did have in Ireland, this is what we covered and recommend. Favorites in bold.

  • Sandemans free walking tour of Dublin (Same company that we used in Scotland)
  • Guinness Storehouse Explored the area but we skipped the inside tour as we had just been to the Tennents brewery in Scotland.
  • Irish Whiskey Museum + Tasting Tried 4 different Irish whiskeys + taken on an interactive tour of how whiskey is made and where it all began. The Scots seem to disagree with the Irish on this. We opted for this Museum over Jameson as you actually get to taste the whiskey here.
  • Cliffs of Moher (described below in detail)
  • Pub Crawl (described below in detail)
  • Stephen Green Park (great place to exercise and relax)
  • Grafton Street (buskers, shopping, tourists and locals)
  • St. Patricks Cathedral – Where Saint Patrick is buried and for whom we owe St. Paddys Day.
  • Temple Bar – Touristy pub and restaurant area. Have to visit but we preferred drinking with locals in South William Street.
  • South William Street – Our favorite street for pubs and restaurants!

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Our favorite experience in Ireland was the day trip from Dublin to the west coast to see the country side and the giant Cliffs of Moher. What an incredible place this is.

The drive across the country was filled with open green fields, lots of animals grazing about and rock walls (famine walls shown below) that had been formed to divide the paddocks. Each stone wall was constructed by hand, one large stone at a time, and there were thousands of kilometers of them.

Famine Wall

We took this trip with the company Irish Day Tours, although there are a ton of companies to choose from. Our guide was OK but there was room for improvement. The tour was on a large coach, with more people and it seemed more like transport than a tour. We prefer smaller buses with a more personal tour guide like we had in Scotland.

Doing What the Irish do Best (Drinking)

Pub Crawl

With around 800 bars in Ireland, there’s a lot of choice. We decided to go on an organized pub crawl with Sandemans.

On the crawl we visited 4 local pubs around Temple Bar (this is an area not just one bar). Three of the pubs visited were quite average but M.J. O’neills stood out. They offered live Irish music and Guinness on tap, at your own table! Oh and a carved meat buffet and fantastic nachos. Once we finished the nachos, underneath our drink was a perfectly placed Foster’s coaster that read “good call”. Kind of fitting 😉

As we had drunk in the touristy area of Temple Bar on previous nights, on another night we went out in the area known as South William Street. This felt much more local and authentic to us and we enjoyed this a lot more than Temple Bar.

Top 3 Pubs in South William Street

The Snags Head –  Features a cool outside drinking area, plus traditional Fiddle-Dee Irish music downstairs. You may even say we attempted some “Irish dancing”. It was a lot of fun. If you only go to one bar, make it this one.

The Bar with No Name – The bar entrance has a slug out the front so you can see it. Great crowd, many different areas to hang out and a very nice cocktail list.

Grogan’s Castle Lounge – A very local bar, lots of people for after work drinks. Delicious Guinness and toasties here too. Yummo!

Side note: If you’re after a cheap, tasty meal around Dublin go to 1 of the 4 KC peaches stores, they have a huge variety of food to choose from. Highly recommended! You pay by the box/plate size, not by weight so fill them up 🙂

2 Fun Facts about Ireland

  • There are no power outlets in any bathrooms ever. Why? Because too many people have been electrocuted so this is purely preventing any further accidents. Not just at the hostel, at houses also! Also the same in most of the UK.
  • Happy hour is illegal! Although if you know about a special place having “happy hour” drinks then sure have a special drink there but they aren’t visibly allowed to promote happy hour! Wowza.

Hostels we stayed at in Ireland

Both were good but had their quirks. eg. The kitchen of Avalon was tiny & hidden away, but had much bigger rooms in general. Times Hostel had small rooms & had locks inside the room but Avalon did not, which was frustrating as you had to go downstairs to get your valuables each time.

Further Dublin Tips (Provided by a Friend)

This pubs and places were recommended by a local Irish friend of ours and we’ve posted this below for your reference:

Recommended Pubs

  • Grogan’s (for the shockingly bad art on display – 15 South William Street)
  • Mulligan’s (for the best pint of guinness, seriously delicious!! – 8 Poolbeg St)
  • Kehoe’s (A proper Dublin pub – 9 South Anne Street),
  • The Library Bar (in the Central Hotel, Exchequer Street),
  • O’Donoghue’s (for traditional music – Merrion Row, just off Stephen’s Green),
  • The Shelbourne Hotel (for a posh drink/cocktail – St Stephen’s Green),
  • The Stag’s Head (one of my favorite pubs – Dame Court, just off Dame St),
  • The Cobblestone (for traditional fiddley-dee music – King St in Smithfield {Northside}),
  • The Dawson Lounge (smallest pub in Ireland – Dawson Street),
  • Bar with No Name (has a wooden slug above the door – Fade St),
  • Vintage Cocktail Club (hidden cocktail bar, behind a black door – 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar).
  • The Woolshed (Parnell Street) is an Aussie bar on the Northside if you’re in the mood to hear John Farnham and some Aussie accents.

A great way to see a few pubs is to join the Literary Pub Crawl, a tour of Dublin bars that are closely associated with famous Irish writers and their stories.

Recommended Visits

  • The Viking Splash Tour is a silly but fun way of seeing the city. You travel around by land and water in a World War 2 amphibious truck / boat!
  • Trinity College is beautiful and houses the Book of Kells.
  • Be sure to check out either the Guinness Storehouse or the Jameson Distillery or Irish Whiskey Museum.
  • Kilmainham Gaol is a good spot for some Irish history.
  • Also, check out Le Cool entertainment guide – they have great listings for Dublin arts events happening every day. It’s updated every Wed/Thur for the week ahead. LeCool also operates in other European cities.

Photos

Marriage days survived: 26 😉

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