My trip to Ireland happened pretty spontaneously when my American friend Tania decided on doing a Eurotrip for a month, and we were deciding on where we’d like to meet up. A Ryanair flight to Dublin at an irresistible price came under my radar and that settled that. My Canadian friend Miriam who’s currently living in Zurich decided to join as well last minute, and before you know it, a girls getaway to Ireland was planned!
While I’m still in the midst of working to finish all my papers for uni, a mini break was definitely much needed.
Ireland has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit, although I’ve never felt that particular pull towards it as I had with other places like London or Barcelona. Yann always raves about how much he loves it there, and after my trip there, I can definitely see why! During our four days in Ireland, we stayed in Dublin for 3 of them, and spent a day at the Cliffs of Moher and its surrounding towns in County Clare (more about that in the next post).
Lots of people have also commented that Dublin especially can be quite expensive, but when we were there, we found tons of things to do that were either free or extremely affordable. Take a look at some of my highlights from Dublin!
Free Walking tour
I’ve done quite a few free walking tours around Europe, but this one was particularly fun. The Irish have always been stereotyped as being fun and talkative, and our tour guide was no exception. The tour was pretty long (3 hours of walking!) but somehow it seemed to go by super fast. Walking tours in general are a great way of checking out all the main sights of a city. The history lessons are also really interesting although somehow I always forget it all too quickly (I blame my vacation mode brain!).
I really liked the one we did in Dublin because of all the interesting facts we learned about Irish history, the Irish language, and that Molly Malone song, which by the end of our trip, I couldn’t get out of my head! Since the tour guides tend to be locals, they usually give out some really good recommendations on restaurants, bars, cafes etc to check out. It’s also a great way to meet some new people!
One thing to note about free walking tours is that while they are “free,” it’s a good gesture to always tip the tour guide since their wages usually comes entirely from these tips. I’ve seen some people sneak off at the end of a tour which I find so rude!
The National Gallery of Ireland
Similar to London, many museums in Dublin are free. Since the weather is also pretty unpredictable in Dublin, the museums are fun to do when the weather outside is looking a bit dreary. My favourite is the National Gallery of Ireland, which has a small but nice collection of Impressionist paintings (my favourite!). Amongst them, there’s some Monets, Yeats, and my favourite Irish painter – William Leech.
A visit to Trinity College
The campus is so gorgeous it’s definitely worth checking out. They have one of the most impressive alumni lists I’ve ever seen ranging from Oscar Wilde, to Samuel Beckett to Jonathan Swift. If you’re into literature, Dublin is one of the best cities in the world. For an English lit grad like me, Dublin was like paradise! 😛 Also, If you’re into Star Wars, the library at Trinity College is a must-see although the admissions price is a bit hefty. Since none of us are into Star Wars, we passed on it.
Trying the fish and chips
I love fish and chips, and Dublin definitely has its share of them. One of the best fish and chips I’ve had was at a place called Super Miss Sue, which is a super popular amongst students and locals. If you have a student card (even an international one like me) remember to bring it with you, since you can get a heaping portion of fish and chips for 6,50 euros!
The food was so good I’m craving it as I’m writing this!
Live music in the Irish pubs
I’m sure everyone has been to an Irish pub at some point in their lives since they can be found around the world. The pubs in Dublin are great. The ones we went to had such good live acts and the fun atmosphere is pretty contagious! I know Dublin is the place for Guinness but I’m not a fan of it at all since I find it way too bitter. If you like your drinks on the sweet side, Bulmers cider is amazing!
In Dublin, the Temple Bar area is full of bars with live music, although the drinks at many of them can be quite expensive (especially when you’re so used to German beer prices). In the more touristy ones, they can range from 7-9 euros a pint versus the more local prices of 5-6 euros. Quays Bar was a fun one with pretty decent drink prices. When you’re in the Temple Bar area though, the infamous Temple Bar is not to be missed!
One other thing I found cute were all the pigs they had scattered around the city when we were there. There’s 100 of them and you could win prizes for finding them. So cute!Here’s a couple I found…
And of course I had to get some souvenirs for the boyfriend…
Have you guys been to Dublin? What are some of your favourite things there?