Ireland, usually on the top of everybody’s “must-see” travel list. Last spring we had the privilege of meeting some friends and explored the city of Dublin for the weekend. I am also part Irish, so investigating a little Irish heritage sounded intriguing also. We were so excited to embrace this fun-loving country that produces excellent beer, great architecture and amazing people. With only a weekend to cruise the town, I knew we had to try and see as much as we could.
Flying to Dublin
Flying to Dublin from main land Europe is super easy especially with the smaller airlines hopping over just about every weekend. We flew Aerlingus, on a Friday and flew out on a Monday. RyanAir also flies from Frankfurt Hahn(HHN) for really inexpensive flights, around €60/person round-trip. The further out you plan your trip, the cheaper the flights will be, additionally, try not to travel in peak season, like summer. We went in April and still had great weather. Our direct flight was really quick, just over 2 hours. This may be convenient for you too, other airlines have layovers in France or England before you get to Dublin, cheaper flights as well, however it takes several hours of travel time – some even 11 hours of travel time.
When you fly the smaller airlines BEWARE of the days you request to fly ~ not all airlines fly Friday to Sunday, some only fly Thursdays and Mondays. Sometimes their search will automatically switch it to one of the days they fly on ~ be cautious as you may not notice before you book and they have you returning on a Monday or Tuesday, which sometimes doesn’t work. Also, they sometimes DON’T have great refund policies, I’ve never had to ask for a refund, however because I’ve been able to call and switch my dates.
We took a Hop-off/Hop-on bus around Dublin for the weekend and this was a GREAT opportunity to see the town and have transportation around town as well. The Irish drive on the opposite side of the road from what we are use to in the States using this mode of transportation and education was affordable as well, for both us, for both days it was under €20. I was happy to have someone else drive us around for the weekend on the bus.
As soon as we landed we found a tourism office in the airport who directed us to a local bus to take us to downtown Dublin and our hotel. It was affordable bus ride (under €10) and it was our first time hanging with the locals and hearing the Gaelic dialect I’ve only heard in movies.
Dublin is a PARTY TOWN!
Dublin produces the famous dark ale, Guinness and lots of Irish Whiskey! Here are a few places we absolutely had to include in our tour ~ tastings are not that much money, but you’ll have to check each brewery or distillery as prices vary. I was unable to find a combo pass, although our Hop-on/Hop-off bus stopped at all the major ones!
Excellent FOOD ~ Precious finds!
So there are TONS of places to “Grab a bite” to eat in Dublin, however, if you really want to experience a great culinary delight, check out these two places. Mulligan’s Grocer easily has some of the most authentic decor of a “local pub” in Dublin and is crowded with Dublin residents. The waitstaff and owner were fabulous and they sell all different kinds of handmade crafts, food and specialty items from local artisans that make it truly authentic ~ Dublin.
Brother Hubbard was a quick find on the app, “Four Square.” We needed to grab some breakfast and not to far our hotel digs we found Brother Hubbard. This up and coming little restaurant offers an amazing selection for breakfast and brunch. By the way, the cappuccino is YUMMO!
- DON’T DRIVE – no need to rent a car when you visit Dublin. However, if you are in Ireland longer, you may want to look at the MANY tour companies that schlep you around the countryside. I have recommended this to families a little intrepid of driving in Ireland.
Some car insurance companies might NOT cover your rental car in Ireland, call before you RENT. Too many stories of friends who have gotten dinged, bumped and scraped and found out their stateside “rental car” coverage did not COVER them in Ireland. Driving right side in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road can un-nerve the most steel-hearted individual.
- Like I said, Dublin is a party town, there are a LOT of pubs, people who are loud and happy and quite jolly to share the FUN of this city. Some college students joined us on the Hop-on/Hop-off bus and regaled us with stories of places that were MUST-SEE in Dublin. Through their inebriated state we were able to decipher just a bit, but we have very found memories of being “TOURISTS” in Dublin with this meeting.
- That being said, DO NOT PICK DUBLIN if you are looking for a relaxing spa weekend.
- When to go? So it’s the United Kingdom ~ spring and fall are going to be -iffy, however you might get beautiful weather, take an umbrella or buy one just in case. It was extremely WINDY on one day. Summer is gorgeous but also FILLED with tourists.
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Whether you decide to visit Dublin for the weekend or Ireland for the week ~ this country and its’ people will capture your heart. I can’t wait for my next hop across the small pond to explore again!