Visiting Ireland! Dublin and Galway

Visiting Ireland, Dublin and Galway this past fall for a quick weekend adventure with my friend Candy was a blast! Not only did I have the opportunity to re-visit Dublin but this time, we took a jaunt over to Galway on the west coast. This was a great opportunity to discover more because I will be taking a small group tour to Ireland this spring!

Most Americans who have Irish heritage at some point want to visit Ireland. I absolutely love this country. This was my fourth visit. Not only do I share an Irish background (on my maternal side) but the friendliness, natural beauty and heart of its people is what I identify with the most. Here are a few highlights from our short weekend while visiting Ireland.

JOIN ME THIS SPRING IN IRELAND!
Getting there

Taking hops across the EU continent is quite different than hopping around America, that is for sure. On a whim, Candy gave me a shout out to take a trip to visit Ireland this past September. For a flight to Ireland from Germany on short notice, it was about €200 on Aerlingus that included my luggage.

When I was living in Germany from 2014 to 2019 taking “hopper” flights on smaller airlines was very affordable. Sometimes these flights sang to the tune of €36 round trip but we all knew that wouldn’t last forever.

After the pandemic and a shift in tourism economy prices it has jumped a bit. Thankfully, it wasn’t too awfully bad. AerLingus is an official airline of Ireland and I also enjoy Eurowings (a branch of Lufthansa.) These are both reliable and trustworthy airlines if you need to fly in and out of Ireland from mainland Europe. There are also flights from Ireland to the states as well.

Getting Around

How to get around when you are visiting Ireland can be one of the most stressful elements of your trip. However, I have discovered there are several ways to travel around this country including public transportation that is really quite lovely. Candy and I hopped the bus from the airport to our hotel and then also again from Dublin to Galway.

When you are visiting a European country, public transportation (bus/train) can be a bit nerve wracking too, thankfully we all speak English so we had a slight advantage on this trip.

Here are a few tips to consider when you take public transportation in Ireland.

  1. Plan ahead – prior to your Irish adventure take a look at the different routes you might be interested in.
  2. Book On-line – post COVID travel sometimes requires not only printed tickets but tickets that are scannable or through an app. Check this out before you travel.
  3. Enjoy the Ride – we took advantage of the Eireagle from Dublin to Galway and also the City Link from the Dublin Airport to downtown Dublin. This was an extremely reliable and safe way to see the country.

Traveling in 2023?
NEED HELP WITH TRAVEL PLANNING? SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION TODAY

Highlights in Dublin

This being my third time visiting Ireland, I had a few ideas of where we were going to stay and what we wanted to see in Dublin. Candy is as much of a travel addict as I am. She had done some research too.

Ha’Penny Bridge

The Temple Bar area is one of the most beloved while visiting Ireland so I would be remiss if I left this area out. There are a plethora of YouTube videos, Pinterest posts, etc. touting this “party area” of Dublin. You will have your choice of pubs to choose from.

Dublin Medieval Castle

The forboding Dublin Castle and fortress just a short walk from The Temple Bar area is worth the trip. If you are a castle lover, the history is quite amazing. Only guided tour tickets are available on the day of arrival. If you purchase advance tickets (these will be self-guided only)

Originally built in 1204 for the King of England its imposing stature within this modern city is astonishing. A major fire broke out in 1684 although much of the Viking structure stayed intact. The grand courtyard which anyone can walk through looks almost the same as it did in 1204.

If you are a history buff, you will geek out on this tour. The end of British rule in Ireland began in 1922 when Michael Collins became the new electorate of the independent state.

Ha’Penny Bridge

This iconic pedestrian bridge in Dublin is really beautiful both day and night. You will definitely want to stop and take a few photos. This bridge was built in the 1800s to cross the River Liffey for pedestrians and is made of cast iron. There are lots of seagulls so be mindful. πŸ˜‰

TRAVEL TIP: The best place to take pictures of the Ha’Penny Bridge is along the O’Connell Bridge just one block away.

General Post Office

The General Post Office or (GPO) is FREE to visit in Dublin and has an incredible history. Depending on your level of historical interest, you may decide to spend one or two hours touring the office. It is still a working post office, however, so be sure to sign up for a tour.

O’Connell Monument

As you are walking along the streets of Dublin while visiting Ireland, you will notice monuments and statues of Irish heroes and activists everywhere. David O’Connell was an Irish political activist and co-founder of the IRA (Irish Republican Army.)

Known as the “Liberator” and securing the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, He successfully campaigned for the freedoms of the rights of Irish Catholics. There are many monuments around Dublin in honor of David O’Connell. O’Connell street has been a street of commerce, trade, and community for decades.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is a magnanimous structure that is incredible to visit. It’s awe-inspiring spires and gothic design are breathtaking. Visiting the cathedral is quite easy, however if you would like a formal tour, I would recommend purchasing advance tickets. There is daily entrance into the cathedral however to understand what you are looking at and its history, I would recommend a tour. They run throughout the day and quite often, so be sure to ask if you call ahead.

Christ’s Church Cathedral

Is the United Church of the Dioceses of Dublin and is quite a unique structure, you can’t help but notice in Dublin. The building connects to St. Michael’s Tower, however, it is temporarily closed.

LIVE MUSIC in DUBLIN

Absolutely one of the MUST-Do’s while visiting Ireland is to experience the LIVE MUSIC scene. Candy and I found a few places. Our first experience was at The Old Stovehouse (see below) where we also grabbed a bite to eat as well. More info will be in the vlog on my YouTube Channel.

Pints of Cider and Music

Darkey Kelly’s

One of the best-known pubs in Dublin for traditional Irish music and is located in one of the oldest parts of Dublin we well. Darkey Kelly was a woman believed to be involved in witchcraft but recent information proves her innocence. This was a very cool bar and its history is really morbid and quite shocking. Murder, serial killings, and more. Candy and I really enjoyed the live Irish music here and a few pints of cider.

Here’s a map for two days of discovery below to help you plan your itinerary! Be sure to follow me on Wanderlog

Map created with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android
Highlights in Galway

Galway has had a lot of press lately thanks to Ed Sheeran and his “Galway girl.” However, in the travel and tourism world, Galway has been well-known for quite some time.

Quay Street & Buttermilk Lane – The Latin Quarter

Strolling up and down bustling Quay Street is so much fun. Filled with shops, restaurants, museums, and churches, Quay Street seems to always be busy. Definitely carve out enough time to visit, shop, and grab a bite to eat. I would definitely say this is an huge attraction to Galway.

Saint Nicholas Collegiate Church

Medieval Church is located in the heart of Galway. Founded in 1320 this Anglican Church with humility in design and structure had a few famous visitors like Oliver Cromwell and Christopher Columbus. St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church was a fun visit for Candy and me, there is a very old walled-in area of the church where you can totally feel the medieval vibes. We even enjoyed a private tour as well. (see more in the vlog)

We had the most amazing tour of the Church. Check out the vlog coming out soon.

Spanish Arch & South Park

As you explore Galway make your way to the Spanish Arch and South Park. Maybe you’ll want to grab some fish and chips and pop a squat at the park. From this park, you will be able to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor. Maybe you’ll want to sing a version of “Brandy, You’re a fine girl.” For some reason, when I am in a European harbor town like this one, I start humming that tune.

Trip map created using Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android
Surprises in Galway & Dublin

While we were in Galway, it was fun getting a glimpse at one of the CIE Coaches that was on tour. I am proud to be partnering with CIE for my upcoming 2023 Irish Adventure tour around the country. CIE has been in business for over 90 years! Hard to believe.

Fish and Chips

One of our favorite specialties in Ireland is Fish and Chips. Candy now lives in Italy and had been craving this classic dish so we became inspired to try as many as we could, from east to west. From Dublin to Galway, visiting Ireland requires at least one sampling of fish and chips(fries.) Here are a few we sampled…

Dublin

The Old Stovehouse in Dublin – our first stop in Dublin was in the Temple Bar district. We were looking for excellent fish and chips and live music. We found both of them.

Another visit was to the famous Leo Burdock Traditional Fish & Chips. Thankfully, we arrived right at opening so our fish and chips were not only hot and fresh, delicious too. The first in line we grabbed our hot meal in a bag and found a nice park bench nearby. If you are looking for a traditional Irish experience find a location in Dublin and enjoy.

Galway

Our day trip to Galway would not have been complete had we not found a great Fish and Chips restaurant here as well. Along the famous Quay Street is the Quay Street Kitchen. Maybe it was because we were a stone’s throw from the sea or maybe it was because this nautical town embodies Irish sailor life, but this was my favorite fish and chips this trip to Ireland. Fresh herbs and spices, tartar sauce that was more a remoulade sauce and excellent chips (fries.) We enjoyed with a great cider because Candy and I aren’t Guinness drinkers but love a good cider.

So come to Ireland!

Hopefully this blog has wetted your appetite to take a hop across the pond. Now is a great time to visit! If I can help you plan an adventure or you would like to join my group this spring, either way, Ireland is calling. Erin go bragh or Ireland Forever! Come learn more, see more, have fun and enjoy the adventure!

It’s always an adventure when you Β©Travel with Wendy!
pinterest logo

Pin me for LATER!

2 thoughts on “Visiting Ireland! Dublin and Galway

  1. This is such a great post, Wendy. I am glad to see you had a great time in Dublin and Galway! When I lived in Dublin, I would very often go to Temple Bar – I just loved and still do its buzzing atmosphere!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: