Last week I was tasked by Tourism Ireland to spend 48 hours in Dublin and see as much of it as possible. Along with my Auntie, I hoped on a (very early) plane from Birmingham for the short flight (45 minutes) to Dublin. We landed at Dublin Airport around 9am and the adventure began…
P.s This is quite a picture heavy post as there were so many beautiful places to see so keep scrolling if you want to see more of Ireland’s capital city.
Things To Do and See
Dublin Castle – Our first stop was Dublin Castle as it was located a stones throw away from our hotel. If you love history, Dublin is full of it and you’ll certainly want to check out Dublin Castle. If you take one of the guided tours around the old ruins and the apartments you’ll find yourself immersed in Dublin’s rich history and how it came to be in its present day. We also enjoyed tea and cake in their cafe which overlooks the spectacular grounds.
Dublin Bus Tour – Hands down the best way to see the city is by jumping on the bus tours. Most big cities have hop on-hop off tours and Dublin is no exception. The route covers some of Dublin’s best landmarks and it makes it really easy to get around to all the tourist destinations that you might want to see. My favourite stops were Phoenix Park which include Dublin Zoo, Temple Bar – the cultural district filled with interesting shops, bars and restaurants and the Cathedral District which boasts a fair few churches! There’s also a Docklands tour which is included within the two day ticket and a Ghost Bus tour (paid for separately) if you’re feeling up for being frightened by night.
O’Connell Street – As we were drove from the airport, our taxi driver pointed out that if we were looking to do any shopping during our visit we had to check out all the little streets that all lead to O’Connell Street. Named after James O’Connell, it encompasses the main shopping district on the North side of the river. There’s also the ‘Spire of Dublin’ monument which is a pretty impressive sight that stands in the middle of the street.
Boat Tour – With the River Liffey being such an integral part of the city – it’s the main divide for the north/south – we really wanted to take the boat tour so we could see the city from a different angle. You’ll see sites ranging from U2’s Clarence Hotel all the way down to the Dublin Docks. It’s also the perfect place to check out all the beautiful bridges that Dubliners use to cross the river. Make sure you look out for my favourite, the ha’penny bridge.
Guinness Factory – When I think of Ireland and I think of alcohol – of course the first thing I think of is Guinness (closely followed by Jamerson’s Whisky who also have a tour that you can do). It’s hard to ignore the Guinness Factory as it takes up so much space… and then some! The Guinness Storehouse is a fantastic learning experience even if you’re like me and don’t like Guinness. You’ll learn about guinness through the ages and what it takes to pour the perfect pint. And yes the rumours are true, included in with your ticket is a free pint of Guinness which you can enjoy in their ‘Gravity bar’ which boasts the most spectacular views of Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral – Based in Dublin’s Viking/Medieval Area, Christ Church Cathedral with it’s famous bells, brings old time Dublin straight into the heart of the city centre. It was pretty incredible to admire the beautiful building that has stood in Dublin since the year 1030. Providing there isn’t a service taking place, you can go in and tour the cathedral and check out it’s beautiful architecture. Don’t forget there’s also the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral a stones throw away.
National Leprechaun Museum – One of my favourite tourism spots during our brief visit was to the National Leprechaun Museum. It’s something a bit different and not quite the norm. If you love stories and old folk tales then this will be the place for you… and if that’s not your thing the ‘Giant’s Playground’ is definitely worth a go!
James Joyce Centre – The first thing I’m going to say is that my Year 12 English teacher would have been PROUD of me for visiting the James Joyce Centre (no he actually is, I facebooked him specifically to tell him!) After reading ‘Dubliners’ for my IB English text way back in the day, I was very excited to go and check out the James Joyce Museum. If you’ve read any of his work you won’t be sorry.
Before we knew it, it was time to board the Airbus back to Dublin airport for the short flight home. All in all, I really enjoyed exploring Dublin – it was such a friendly, fascinating city. Like other capitals I’ve visited before (namingly Paris) I’m certainly going to schedule another visit to catch all the things I missed this time. I’m actually thinking of heading out there with some friends for New Year’s Eve because nobody knows how to throw a party like the Irish! A huge thank you to Tourism Ireland for setting me the challenge. If you’re planning a trip to Dublin, make sure you check out their website for all the latest news and events.