I’ve put off this post because it’s the last of our trip 😦
3-4 days is usually what is recommended to spend in Dublin in order to see most of the highlights. Since we actually spent nearly 2 entire days out of 4 outside of the city, there were lots of things we wanted to see before we left. When I made our Ireland itinerary, I left a lot of it up in the air as to what day it landed on. Ireland is known for it’s rain, obviously, and rain would have killed both trips outside the city. Touring the city, however, could easily be done in the rain if need be.
I stressed about the rain in the weeks prior to the trip. Worried about clothes, shoes, raincoat, etc. By the time we left, the weather forecast was nearly clear in BOTH countries! We had a little rain one morning in London that stopped almost immediately after exiting the bus. And then our last morning in Dublin, we got some rain. Thankfully, it was light rain – not driving rain – and we could easily walk in it. And, it cleared up in a matter of a couple of hours while we did some indoor attractions!
We decided to walk the ~1 mile to Trinity College so we could check out more of the city. Bustling activity, similar to London, and gorgeous architecture!
I was worried about lines at the Book of Kells so we hit that first. My interest was more in visiting the long room at the Old Library but you have to buy a ticket to the Book of Kells in order to gain entrance to the library.
The Book of Kells is part of the permanent display at Trinity College, located in Dublin. Once on the college grounds, you’d never know that you were practically smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s quiet and tranquil. All the buildings face inward and there is lots of green space.
Perhaps it was due to the rain, but we had a less than 5 minute wait to buy tickets and enter the Book of Kells exhibit. There is absolutely no photography allowed inside the exhibit so unfortunately, we have no pictures.
The exhibit takes you through the history of the ancient text – along with information on other ancient texts. For those wondering, the Book of Kells is a illuminated manuscript of the 4 Gospels written in Latin. It is believed to have been created in 800AD and is in fantastic shape.
They only show 2 volumes at a time with 1 page from each shown – one of a typical page of text and one that’s highly illustrated. And while I didn’t think I’d care to see it, I’m glad we did – it really is beautiful.
Once you finish viewing the pages, you wander up a staircase and enter into the long room of the Old Library.
It is SO dark in there, we really struggled to get photos. You’ll have to excuse the lack of clarity! It was one of those moments when I wish they had allowed tripods.
I fully expected Professor Dumbledore to come wandering by.
Photos just can’t begin to capture how gorgeous this space is.
After gawking at the library, we walked across the street to the Irish Whiskey Museum. This was something I knew dad would really enjoy. The tours are guided and begin every 30 minutes. After buying your ticket, you can relax in the coffee shop which overlooks Trinity College and Grafton St.
I opted to stay put in the coffee shop while Jason and Dad did the tour. Since they had free wifi (we had no data available on the trip so wifi was much sought after!), I found a table near the window and relaxed with a latte.
This was the view from my table:
They both said the tour was fantastic. There were only 3 of them on the tour so they got to ask lots of questions. From the tour:
Right around the corner were some good shopping areas. We really hadn’t done much shopping on the trip – minus some gift shops – but I didn’t want to leave without one more chance to pick up some souvenirs.
One of the best stores we stopped into was Kilkenny. The 1st floor features items made in Ireland, many by local artists. The 2nd floor has a Cafe, which is where we stopped for lunch!
Similar to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, you grabbed a tray, what you wanted, and then paid on the way to your table.
They, sadly, did not have smoked salmon so I got a salmon quiche! On the side, I got beet salad (I LOVE beets) & potato and sausage salad. Everything was delicious and the portions were HUGE. It pained me to leave half of it behind!
Jason ordered a stuffed chicken with tomato sauce, potato and sausage salad, and mashed potatoes. He said it was delicious!
I didn’t snap a picture of dad’s so he may have gotten the same as one of us.
This was our view overlooking Trinity College – and 4 bajillion tour buses parked along the road.
After lunch, we wandered in and out of the shops and onto Grafton St, one of the main stretches of shopping. Though once a place where high end shops went, it eventually evolved into a mix of high end and traditional “mall” type stores. Gap, Disney Store, etc.
The road is closed to traffic so it makes for a nice slower paced walkway. When wandering the sidewalks, it’s difficult to meander and window shop due to the crowds.
After lots of walking and wandering, we decided the 1 mile trek back to the hotel was not happening so we grabbed a cab and went back to rest a bit.
Later that night, we went back down to the same area to Temple Bar to have dinner at The Old Storehouse. The restaurant was packed with people on multiple levels, and had live music, but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.
We also realized they had no air conditioning and it was WARM.
The service, music, and food were all excellent!
I ordered the seafood chowder:
Dad and Jason both had one last dinner of fish and chips before we left:
Temple Bar is loaded with live music, bars, and souvenir shops but wasn’t really our scene so after wandering some, we headed back to the hotel in order to pack.
The next morning we made the trek back to the airport. We rushed the rental guy through his walk-through in an attempt to divert his attention from the various scratches and dents, which seemed to work at least for now! Fingers crossed dad doesn’t receive a bill in the mail sometime in the near future 🙂
Dublin airport had us go through US Customs on the Ireland end, not the US end, which was different but definitely saved time when we landed in the US! We didn’t have to go through any kind of custom/immigration once we landed. It also took up almost all the time you’re usually sitting around waiting, which I never mind.
Flight back wasn’t as pleasant as the flight there, mainly due to 10 million screaming children, but we lived 🙂 We stopped in Philly on the way back where we went our separate ways, with dad heading back to DFW.
It was a GREAT trip and I have a hard time naming my favorite thing. I loved it all! I would love to visit both places again, though I’d likely fly into Shannon vs Dublin next time and hit more of the smaller cities and villages. And might even rent a car again!
The travel company we used was AWESOME and so inexpensive (relatively speaking, of course). This trip cost MUCH less than most weeklong Disney vacations. I love Disney, but there ain’t nothing like the real thing 🙂 Sorry World Showcase!
The end *sniff*