Ireland is one of those places you have to see in person to admire. The land is so green and rich in color, and the streets have so much history, you’ll be in awe touring.
HOW TO GET AROUND:
We flew Aer Lingus from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the Dublin Airport: Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath. (And by the way, yes, Ireland has their own language.) If you are already in Europe, Aer Lingus and Ryanair are the most efficient and cost effective airlines to reach Dublin. And because our whole trip was within the European Union, we did not have to go through the strict customs checkpoints.
From the airport, we chose to take a taxi to our hotel. Dublin has a decent rail route within the city, but there isn’t a rail which connects to the airport. There are airport bus connections, but we were very happy with the taxi service we received. Our driver was in good spirits and gave us tons of helpful tips for our stay.
Currency in Dublin is the Euro, so at the airport we also exchanged more USD to EUR. It’s usually best to wait until you are in the city to exchange cash, but the Dublin airport rates were some of the best we saw in Europe. We took a couple of uber rides to dinner and to the rail station for a day trip, but otherwise the city is very walkable. Plus the colors are so vivid in person, you will want to be walking:
WHERE WE STAYED:
We stayed at the Maldron Hotel Smithfield across from Jameson Distillery. The location was very convenient for all of the activities we had planned, and the rates were decent. The hotel seemed brand new, and very clean. My only complaint was the lack of a gym.
ACTIVITIES TO DO IN DUBLIN:
Patrick was most excited about Dublin, mostly because we arranged the Guinness Storehouse Tour on his birthday. We booked the Connoisseur Experience which was a special part of the brewery tour that is not overly advertised. The Connoisseur Experience is held in a private bar which only holds about 12 people, so the group gets familiar during the hour and a half interactive tasting. Our group was taught the correct way to drink each Guinness beer, serve each beer, and we even learned to pour from the special Guinness nitrogen tap. As a typical American girl, dark beer is not my thing and I had never even tried Guinness before our Ireland trip. But after this experience, Guinness beers take me back to this secluded bar and how much fun we had on that day.
After the tour was over, we enjoyed lunch at the cafeteria (to sober up a bit). The food was delicious and very creative with the use of Guinness in some recipes. After lunch, we headed up to the Gravity Bar for more Guinness beer and an amazing view of Dublin. We enjoyed our time so much, before we left we stopped by the gift shop to get an engraved Guinness glass to commemorate our experience.
THE OLD JAMESON DISTILLERY
While in Ireland, do as the Irish, right? So we decided to do the Jameson Distillery Tour as well. We were a little spoiled after our amazing time at Guinness, but the Jameson tour was full of history which we both enjoy. And of course, Patrick purchased a personalized bottle from the distillery.
TEMPLE BAR AREA
I think one of my favorite parts of our stay was a pub in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. There was live music, and the whole bar was singing along and dancing. We met several nice locals and even a guy from Germany that we befriended.
Tip: At this bar talking to locals, we learned that tipping your server is almost an insult in Dublin. It is a suggestion that the server does not make enough money, and can be taken the wrong way. Talk to the locals, it’s a great time!
TAKE THE DART SOMEWHERE HISTORIC
As we were arranging our trip to Ireland, I got pretty addicted to ancestry.com, and traced Patrick’s family back to a 12th century castle right outside of Dublin. So of course, we arranged to take a day trip adventure to Bullock Castle in Dalkey.
DUBLIN NATIONAL LIBRARY OF IRELAND
While we were roaming around the city, we saw the Dublin National Library and decided to do a little more research on Patrick’s family name and also found a gate in the middle of the city which may have been connected to his family. We made the day into a scavenger hunt throughout Dublin, only taking breaks for Guinness with fish and chips.