7.19.2019 Dublin, Ireland

Okay, Let's Go to Ireland!

Sometimes, having no “itinerary” is the best plan of all.

THE PLAN

Here’s a snapshot of our itinerary:

Day 0.5 - Red-eye flights to Ireland.

Day 1 - Alexa and Macky visited Chapters Bookstore and Tesco’s before eating at The Kingfisher Restaurant. Once we arrived, we had dinner at L. Mulligan Grocer.

Day 2 - Visited The Winding Stair, and ate at Brother Hubbard. Visited Christchurch Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse. Grabbed fish and chips at Leo Burdock, visited Dublin Castle and had ice cream at Murphy’s.

Day 3 - Visited Trinity College, the Book of Kells exhibition and the Long Room in the morning, then drove to the Cliffs of Moher. Stopped for dinner at Melody and to grab drinks at Sean’s Bar.

Day 4 - Grabbed coffee at Vice and an Irish breakfast at Lovinspoon. Attended the Westlife Twenty Tour at Croke Park.

HOW WE GOT THERE



All four of us decided to take red-eye flights to Dublin to, ideally, make the most of the time we had allotted for the trip. Macky and Alexa opted to take a direct flight from New York to Dublin via Aer Lingus (which they highly recommend doing), while Mel and I opted for a layover option that would take us to London before landing in Dublin through British Airways and American Airlines through Chicago coming back.

* A friendly reminder that connecting flights can have its peaks and pitfalls. It may come out cheaper  but we missed our connecting flight the first time and our flight back home was delayed for an hour. You definitely get what you pay for so be sure to be prepared for flight shenanigans like this. We didn't really mind at all.

To get from the airport to the heart of the city is relatively simple, as you can opt for either taking a bus or taking a taxi. We all opted for the taxi, and since our AirBNB was located in a very convenient central location, it was inexpensive to do so.

Seeing the sites within Dublin was easy to do because, again, our AirBNB was so central. We could walk to each place we wanted to visit (our longest walk was probably around half an hour, and that included stopping for photos and to look at different sites). We even walked to the concert venue and back! But if you don’t want to spend too much time walking, you can easily grab a tram or bus to the stop nearest wherever you want to visit or take a taxi (Uber is available, but they also have an app called FreeNow).

One part of our itinerary includes a drive to the opposite end of Ireland, and we chose to rent a car for that adventure as we wanted to be able to experience things in our own time and not feel rushed through things. Depending on how long you’re in Dublin for, or your personal preference, you can also opt to book a day tour to visit other parts of Ireland with a tour group.

WHERE WE STAYED

AirBNB - 4 Rae Cavendish Flat 4, Baile Átha Cliath 1, Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath D01 KD73, Ireland

*About twenty minutes away from the airport and located very centrally, we stayed in an AirBNB that we would definitely book again if we should one day return to Ireland.


Advantages
1. Central location, with plenty of sights, shopping and food options within walking distance
2. Spacious enough for four people, and would even have accommodated at least two more
3. Straightforward and simple self check-in process

Disadvantages
1. Check-in is only available past 4pm
2. Climbing up four flights of stairs on a regular basis
3. Only one bathroom for everyone to share


The flat was self check-in after 4pm with very clear instructions provided regarding access, as well as a house manual that offered information about the flat and its utilities and extra tips and recommendations for things to do and places to visit during our stay. We were charmed by the actual interiors (especially that living room/dining area, which was #goals), pleased that it wasn’t too noisy in spite of being in a very busy area and very comfortable for the four nights we were there.


WHAT WE SAW



Every activity was special in its own way, but we’re leaving a heart on the ones we enjoyed most.

* Chapters Bookstore - Ivy Exchange, Parnell St, Dublin 1, D01 P8C2, Ireland

Alexa and Macky visited this bookstore on the first day while they were waiting for us (surprise, surprise). It’s a bookstore that boasts a combination of new and secondhand books, as well as a variety of paper items, games, movies and CDs.

* The Winding Stair - 40 Lower Ormond Quay, North City, Dublin 1, D01 R9Y5, Ireland

We popped into the downstairs bookshop (alas, no visit to the restaurant, I’m afraid) one morning. Smaller than expected, this store still had a variety of titles (including plenty about Ireland, Irish history and Irish folklore), as well as some cute merchandise available for purchase.

* Christchurch Cathedral - Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland

We’re always interested in visiting churches whenever we travel, so seeing this cathedral was definitely on our list. We didn’t end up going in, but it was pretty impressive to see this formidable structure from the outside — especially knowing it was founded in the 1030s and reconstructed in the 1870s.

* Guinness Storehouse - St James's Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland ♥️

We couldn’t come to Ireland and not visit this brewery while we were there. While Alexa and Mel are the beer drinkers in the group, all of us really enjoyed learning more about the history of Guinness, how it’s produced, the right way to taste it and downing a pint at the very end while standing in the confines of their rooftop bar. It was definitely educational and entertaining, and we all would definitely recommend this experience to others!

* Dublin Castle - Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland

How could we pass up a visit to a castle? The answer is that we couldn’t… though we didn’t end up going into the actual castle and instead just viewed it from afar. The castle has a very traditional appearance, and it was an interesting contrast with the more modern structures all around it.

* Trinity College (including the Book of Kells exhibition and Long Room) - College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland ♥️

It’s always interesting to see what different universities look like, and Trinity College was no different. We did get to see a bit of the actual grounds, but what we really came to see was a specific request from Alexa — the Long Room of the Old Library. We wandered through the exhibition about the Book of Kells (an illuminated manuscript Gospel book) first, and then got to ascend the staircase to see this room in person. Filled from floor to ceiling with many rare and old published works, it really was incredible to see this place in real life.


* Cliffs of Moher (Visitor Center is located at Lislorkan North, Liscannor, Co. Clare, Ireland ♥️

One of the things we were all looking forward to seeing was the Cliffs of Moher in person - and it was a truly fun experience. We were blessed with both overcast skies and sunshine for the hours we spent wandering down one of the cliff paths, and it made the landscapes look different to us at every turn. While the most famous view of the cliffs is easily seen from the visitor center area (and still left us pretty awestruck in the moment we caught our first glimpse), it was worth it to take our time to wander down a path and see all these different sides of the cliffs. Honestly, if we’d allotted more time, we probably would have walked even further and in the other direction. Guess that just means we have to visit again!


WHERE WE ATE

* The Kingfisher Restaurant - 166 Parnell St, Rotunda, Dublin 1, D01 XE43, Ireland ♥️

Alexa and Macky popped into this restaurant for an early dinner before our arrival. Located walking distance from the flat, they enjoyed their first taste of fish and chips (with an excellent tartar sauce) in Ireland, the unexpected delicious seafood chowder and the not-too-sweet-but-just-right bread pudding to top it all off.

* L. Mulligan Grocer - 18 Stoneybatter, Arran Quay, Dublin 7, D07 KN77, Ireland ♥️

Our first meal together in Ireland was dinner at this pub restaurant (a recommendation from the owners of our AirBNB), and it was definitely worth the around 20 minute walk from the flat. We sampled a variety of alcoholic beverages (Alexa had a White Hag, Macky had a Godfather, Mel had a Trouble Brewing and Rachel had a Rascal Strawberry Milkshake) while waiting for our meal. And the food - Scotch eggs, chicken kiev and corn - was delicious.


* Brother Hubbard - 153 Capel St, North City, Dublin, D01 V9V0, Ireland ♥️

We visited this spot on a whim for brunch on our day of city sightseeing - and we’re so happy we did. The interiors are delightfully designed to blend color and nature, and the food was definitely worth the visit. We tried out the Brother Hubbard’s Lamb Mezze Tray, the Brother Hubbard French toast and their weekly special (which was a sriracha fried chicken burger), and had some iced coffee to go with it all.

* Leo Burdock - 2 Werburgh Street, Christchurch, D8 ♥️

After visiting the Guinness Storehouse (where we had plenty of Guinness, thank you), we decided to grab fish and chips to share as a mid afternoon snack. The fish and chips were pretty tasty, but it was really the sauce that tied it all together.

* Murphy’s - 27 Wicklow St, Dublin 2, D02 WN51, Ireland ♥️

This would not be a family trip if we didn’t find a way to squeeze in some ice cream! We walked over to Murphy’s, which came highly recommended. And the verdict? It definitely lived up to our expectations! Rachel and Alexa both had the brioscai (cookies and cream, basically) flavor on cones, while Macky had the saucy chocolate brownie special… twice.

* My Melody - Main St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

This is one of the two places we visited outside of Dublin, and we picked this spot for dinner on a whim. The place was pretty cozy and seemed to be a popular haunt for the locals, but our experience was pretty so-so. The service was a little slower, though the food was okay, if not that memorable.

* Sean’s Bar - 13 Main St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland

This is the second of the two places we visited outside of Dublin, and we really went out of our way to visit this pub. It’s listed as the oldest pub in the world, and we wanted to at least be able to say we stopped in for a drink since it was pretty much en route on our way back home!

* Vice - 54 Middle Abbey St, North City, Dublin, D01 E2X4, Ireland ♥️

We wanted to visit a coffee spot as well during this trip, so we ended up stopping in at Vice after a bit of shopping. The atmosphere of this place was so charming and relaxed, and the staff were equally welcoming and kind. We all enjoyed our variety of beverages (Mel had their Teeling Irish coffee, Alexa had a Vietnamese iced coffee and I had a latte) as we soaked in the atmosphere.

* Lovinspoon - 13 Frederick St N, Rotunda, Dublin, D01 W9X4, Ireland ♥️

It was such a comfort to duck into this cozy little spot during a rainy morning. Unsurprisingly, the Irish breakfast (which is served in a variety of sizes and included sausages, bacon, baked beans and eggs among other things) was a very much a comfort meal for us all.

#THETWENTYTOUR AT CROKE PARK




The main reason for this trip to Dublin was to see Westlife’s The Twenty Tour at Croke Park. When the band announced that they were reuniting and that they were going on tour, it was a no brainer that we were going to find a way to be at one of their shows… and not just any show, mind you, but the show at Croke Park where the band had their last performance prior to splitting up seven years ago. And honestly, it was one of the best concert experiences ever!

It was so cool to be in their home country to see Westlife perform together on stage again, and we’ll never forget what it felt like to be in the stadium with 80,000 people there singing and dancing along. The lads sang old favorites and exciting covers (Queen, specifically!) and new releases, and it was just an incredible moment to be able to share between the four of us. It’s definitely going to be a night that is on all of our lists when it comes to the best concert experiences we’ve ever had!

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS



* Pack a raincoat and/or an umbrella.

Irish weather is fairly unpredictable, as it can go from sunny to full on rain and back again all in the span of one day. Having an umbrella handy or wearing a raincoat will go a long way towards keeping you dry and warm.

* Wear comfortable shoes.

If you intend to do a lot of walking (whether on the Cliffs of Moher or within the city), you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re wearing shoes that are comfortable and offer proper support. It’ll definitely lessen the ache in your soles at the end of the day!

* Book tickets online for activities with specific timeframes.

We booked our tickets for the Guinness Storehouse and Book of Kells Exhibition online, and this resulted in us being able to skip the regular queues upon our arrival. It definitely saves time!

OUR ADVENTURE


To catch a glimpse of our trip, you can subscribe to my channel or click on the image below.


***
This was our trip to Ireland and it was definitely one for the books! 

--In collaboration with Alexa Yupangco (@alexalovesbooks) --

1 comment

  1. Love it as always, Rach. I love seeing you and your siblings bonding and having fun together. May you get to more places! Continue chasing after your dreams. <3

    ReplyDelete