Arriving in Dublin, our first stop on a six week tour of Europe, there was no time for jet lag, we hit the ground running! With only three days in which to see the Republic of Ireland’s biggest city, we had our work cut out for us… armed with a list of sights and fortified with Murphy’s Ice Cream we set off to discover Dublin!
The first stop on my list was Trinity College and the Book of Kells. Upon arriving on campus we discovered that the university students run a tour company called Trinity Tours which offer guided tours of campus ending at the Old Library where the Book of Kells exhibit is located. The tour takes about 30 minutes and if you enjoy college campuses it is definitely worthwhile. Simon, the older of my two sons, really enjoyed hearing about campus history and life from the perspective of a student, while Elliot enjoyed that the tour wasn’t too long!
The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript, which was created around the year 800 and tells the story of the Four Gospels is kept in the Trinity College Old Library which was my favorite part of the entire visit. If you’re a book lover you’ll not want to miss this amazing library filled floor to ceiling with books, books and more books, some of which are quite ancient! Of course you can’t actually touch any of them, but just being surrounded by all those old beautiful books and the smell of them is something pretty special! I can’t help it I love the smell of old books!
Not only will you find thousands of books in the Old Library, but it’s also home to the Brian Boru harp a national symbol of the Republic of Ireland.
After we’d had our fill of old books, we set out for a walk around Dublin and found ourselves in Merrion Square. Conveniently, there were food stalls set up in the park and we enjoyed a quick lunch on the grass followed by a visit to the park’s playground and the Oscar Wilde statue. Both the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Ireland, an archeology museum, are located on the edge of Merrion Square and while the Museum of Ireland, was definitely the more current of the two, both were fun and quirky and neither required a ton of time.
After a quick nap and refresh in the hotel we set off for an evening of traditional Irish food and music in the Temple Bar neighborhood! We had the best Irish Stew at Quays Bar and Restaurant, and I had my first Guinness! I definitely recommend eating here. Both the food and the service were excellent!
The boys were more interested in a visit to the sweet shop than cramming into a crowded pub, but with plenty of great live music on the street there was something for everyone. We capped off the evening with a walk along the River Liffey and across the Ha’Penny Bridge. Not a bad first day!
Jet lag working in our favor, the boys and I were able to get out and about on the earlier side and we set about checking a few more things off of our list! Lucky for us I have a friend living in Dublin and though I hadn’t seen him in 23 years, he was more than happy to meet us for a little tour around town! Dublin is a very walkable city, and in fact we only used a taxi once the entire time we were in town choosing instead to walk everwhere.
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church is Dublin’s oldest building and dates back to around 1030! Though not over the top ornate, the cathedral is quite lovely and definitely worth a look around. There are many interesting things on display in the crypt and I think that may have been the boys favorite part! I was surprised and pleased to learn that Christ Church was a main filming location for one my favorite television shows, The Tudors! They had costumes on display in the crypt which was pretty neat to see!
St. Patricks Cathedral
Next up was St. Patricks Cathedral which is the largest cathedral in Ireland and an important place of worship for over 800 years! You know how I love old places!! Not only is it beautiful inside, which always appeals to me, but it was fun for the boys as well. They really enjoyed exploring the many interactive and educational displays throughout the cathedral. I loved the many flags and other decorative items throughout. After we’d finishing exploring the inside of St. Patrick’s we spent some time playing in St. Patrick’s Park with our friends, before it was time to say goodbye.
The Guinness Storehouse
A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle, good things come to those who wait, and not everything in black and white makes sense, these are just a few of the things we learned during our visit to The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. Though I’m not usually a beer drinker, okay, I never drink it. Ever. I absolutely loved our visit to the Guinness Storehouse as did my kids, and if you should find yourself in Dublin I highly recommend a visit.
Day Three – Daytrippers!
On our last day we decided to venture outside Dublin and took an easy 30 minute train ride to Malahide Village where we met Shane and his children for a tour of Malahide Castle. The Castle has been in the same family for over 800 years and has a long and fascinating history! The gardens are really beautiful and we spent a long time exploring and playing before and after the tour. I took a ton of photographs and as you can see I had a tough time choosing…
The Westbury Hotel
We stayed in The Westbury Hotel on Grafton Street which is a great location in the main shopping/eating area of Dublin. I would definitely stay here again.
Breakfast in the hotel was located in the Wilde Room overlooking Grafton Street. Of course I had to have the Full Irish Breakfast on day one because… When in Ireland! Simon and I enjoyed the Afternoon Tea service in the hotel lobby, especially the cakes!
Beyond traditional Irish fare we also discovered these fun places during our visit:
Bunsen Burger – We LOVED the burgers and the pun! The service was friendly and prompt and it was walking distance to our hotel! Super casual!
Murphy’s Ice Cream – So GOOD! We discovered this on our first evening in town! We tried Blissful Butterscotch with Salted Vanilla, honeycomb caramel with extra cream vanilla and raspberry sorbet. Lucky us there are other locations throughout Ireland.
Kokoro Ramen Bar – Another great find just around the corner from our hotel was this amazing ramen bar!
Catch 22 – Another restaurant with a fun pun in its name! Can you guess what we ate there?! Not only did I enjoy the food at Catch 22, but I loved the signage!
Although we weren’t able to cross everything off our Dublin wish list we covered quite a bit of ground and had a great time doing so! A wonderful start to our whirlwind tour of Ireland…