I somehow convinced my friends to join me on a trip to Ireland in December. I had a long weekend and the flight from Madrid was short and affordable. I’m not sure if my Mexican/Californian blood is getting used to real winters or I overly prepared with a coat that barely allows for movement, but the cold Irish winter seemed bearable. Going to the Cliffs of Moher, of course, was a different story which I shared in a separated post. Here, I share with you my notes on this weekend getaway so you can take advantage of your time in Ireland.
Transportation in Dublin
The airport is not too far from the city. The Airlink express (747) bus leaves every 15 minutes from the airport and will take you 30 minutes to arrive at the Gardiner Street stop, where most hostels and B&B’s are. This bus costs €7 for a single trip or €12 for a roundtrip. The last bus departing from the airport leaves at 12:30am (00:
Bus number 41 and 16 lead to O’Connell Street, which is near Dublin One Mall, a good centric point of reference. These buses cost €3.30 for a single journey and the driver accepts exact change only. Another option is the Aircoach, which runs 24 hours a day. It costs €8 for a single journey.
As of December 2018, a taxi roughly cost €25 to the city center. Lynk is a popular company and their phone number is 00 353 14600000. Uber is not commonly used, therefore, there aren’t many drivers out there. All information and timetables can be found on each company’s website.
The Best Landmarks in Dublin
As always, I recommend a walking tour. This time I chose the popular SANDEMANs. They have free tours departing at 10am, 11am or 2pm (14:00) from Barnardo Square which is right in front of City Hall. Check their website for updated times and departing locations.
Dublin is very walkable but be prepared for rain and wind, especially during the winter.
Dating from 1204 it has two small museums and gardens. One of the gardens is a small, cute and patio-like located on the rooftop. It’s a perfect place to chill over the summer. Inside the castle, you can also find the Chester Beatty Library with cushions where you can seat and relax. I went here to warm up and rest after the walking tour.
Temple Bar, is not only a famous bar among tourists, it is also a popular neighborhood along the river. Its cobble stone streets give Dublin such an old timey and distinctive vibe along with the crowded pubs hosting live music almost every night.
This beautiful college is located in the center of Dublin and it’s surrounded by many shops and restaurants. Trinity College is a notorious tourist destination because of its library holding the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin dating back to the 9th century. I personally opted for not visiting the library despite hearing good things since I only had one day to explore the city. Another reason being that I’m on a budget and the €14 (€11 for students) entrance fee was not feasible. You can still appreciate the beauty of the campus for free.
Best Places to Eat and Drink in Dublin
You’ll find delicious food in any pub. An important thing to remember though is that kitchens close at 9pm (21:00). Pints range from €5-7 depending on the beer and most pubs have a good selection of draught beers.
Cornucopia is famous amongst locals for its big portions of delicious and healthy food. You can choose from several mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan dishes. The restaurant is large and homey. It has several dining areas and is decorated as if you’re having lunch or dinner at a relative’s home. Definitely my favorite place for lunch in Dublin.
Another popular place isBunsen, which has a simple menu and delicious burgers. There are alsomany kebab places in Dublin, but Zaytoon is the most popular one. It’s not the cheapest option, but it has the freshest ingredients. They even have a salmon kebab! There’s a branch in Temple Bar.
For dessert, Murphy’s is a must try while in Dublin. This ice cream parlor is known for its extravagant flavors, such as salt, gin, brown bread, etc.
The Reason for Visting Ireland… Irish Pubs
Porterhouse ended up being my go-to pub. It’s a three story pub with a good selection of home-brewed craft beers, good service, decent prices and great live music. It’s right around the corner of City Hall, which is also near Temple Bar.
The Brazen Head claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland, dating back 1198. I only drank a pint of Guinness but the food looked amazing. A reservation is recommended for dinner time. Although it was not my favorite pub, I did enjoy relaxing by the fireplace. There’s live music every night at 9:30pm (21:30).
The Wild Duck an expensive but gorgeous pub in Temple Bar. It’s quite big so you have a bigger chance of finding a seat. As in any pub, the decorations are plenty and random, but, in my opinion, Wild Duck had the best decor out of all the pubs I visited. I was especially attracted to the entrance which was covered with lights during Christmas. It made it hard to miss the pub despite it being located in a small alley.
Mulligan’s is an 18th century riverside pub frequented by an older crowd of locals, hence making it a chiller vibe. The decorations are simple, unlike the bars on Temple Bar but without lacking a good selection of draught beers.
McNeill’s is also frequented by locals since it has the cheapest pints at €4, but keep in mind they only accept cash. There’s live music on Thursdays at 9:30pm (21:30).
Copper Face Jacks was recommended by a local as THE club to dance in Dublin. Also serving lunch.
Museums are free in Dublin!
All of the national museums are free! These are the National Gallery (next to Trinity College), the Irish Whiskey Museum, the Archeological Museum, which is next to the National Library, and the Collin Barracks Museum, exhibiting military uniforms and replicas of weapons.
In general, Dublin is an expensive city, but it has so much to offer in return. In other countries, you normally pay a cover at a bar if there’s a local band playing while running the risk of them not being any good. In Dublin, there’s no such risk. Not only are the shows free, but the musicians are also talented, at least, in my experience. I really loved the random decor in most pubs, the beer variety, the amazing food and portions, as well as the friendliness of the local islanders. Remeber to dress for the occasion since Dublin will most likely be rainy and chilly at any season. Despite the weather, remember to always BE PRESENT during your trip and follow me on Instagram @joyzcortez for updated travel pics & tips.