How to Make the Most Out of Your Visit to Dublin

There are a few options of day trips from Dublin, but the most popular ones are The Cliffs of Moher and the Game of Thrones shooting locations. The roads in Ireland are narrow, windy, and foggy so renting a car is not advisable unless you are accustomed to driving in these conditions. There are plenty of companies offering bus tours that include a brief visit to small towns along the way.  The prices range from €40-60.  Below is the research I did before going to the Moher Cliffs.

Get Your Guide

Viator

Finn McCool

  • Moher Cliffs
  • Moher Cliffs
  • Kilmacduagh Monastery
  • Doolin Village
  • Wild Atlantic Way
  • The Burren
  • Galway City
  • Galway City
  • Galway City

12 hours, 50 EUR

14 hours, 40 EUR

45 EUR

The differences between tours are minimal. I opted for the Viator tour, which turned out to be the same as Finn McCool since our buses had the Finn McCool logo on them, and the itinerary was the same as their website.

What You Need to Know Before Visiting The Cliffs of Moher

No matter when you go, take a windbreaker or a raincoat. Umbrellas are practically useless against the strong winds nears the cliffs and beaches. If you go in the winter, there are not enough layers to keep you warm. Make sure you carry a beanie, gloves and boots. Your tennis shoes/sneakers/trainers, or whatever you want to call them, will get wet. Your chances of slipping in rocks or along the cliffs are larger with shoes that have no grip on the sole.

Now, onto the fun part… the itinerary.

monastery
Kilmacduagh Monastery

The first stop was a quick one at the Kilmacduagh Monastery. It is an impressive and small cemetery next to the road towards The Burren. I personally enjoy visiting old cemeteries, especially medieval-looking ones. This place is eerie and wonderful at the same time. It has a small stone church made out of stone which is surrounded by medieval crosses. We were here for 15-20 minutes since we had a bit of a storm. You can read about the monastery’s story here: http://monastic.ie/history/kilmacduagh/

 

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Fighting against the strong wind at Cliffs of Moher

About four hours from departure, we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher. The bus was already shaking from the strong December wind. We waited out the rain and wind inside the museum where you can take a green screen picture “in front” of the cliffs. Pretty useful since we didn’t get to spend much time outside admiring the cliffs. When we finally stepped out of the building and head towards the cliffs, I truly feared for my life. At first it seemed like a nice challenge to venture against the wind, but there were times when I thought that I would fly away. The wind pushed back even the strongest person. Imagine a 5 foot (1.5 meters) woman, fighting against mother nature for the sake of an adventure. The rain slapped our faces repeatedly, still, we laughed at this situation and were grateful for a fogless day which allowed for some pics.

I was warned about the biggest risk of visiting the cliffs, the fog. It can impede the visitor from seeing anything at all on certain days. So, I’ll take strong winds over fog since admiring those 300-million-year-old cliffs was more than words can describe.

wind
Three strong Latina warriors against that Irish wind

On our way to Galway City, we stopped by The Burren where the sun graced us with its presence. This beautiful place is a region in the southwest of Ireland known for the view shown in the pic below. The Burren is a beach paved by limestone dating back to the ice age. Mind your step when walking in this bedrock of cracked limestone and when crossing the highway from the bus to the beach. I almost got run over since my hood blocked my peripherals.

burren
The Burren

Not far from The Burren you can visit either Doolin Village or Galway City. I wish I would’ve chosen the tour stopping by Doolin Village since it’s known for its folklore and cute pubs. Galway is also a charming small town but seemed to own more city vibes when its biggest attraction being the mall. We spent most of our time there due to the weather but there was a small Christmas market in December. We explored it within 30 minutes or less. Here, I finally got to taste some authentic Irish coffee!

Galway
The Christmas Market at Galway

 

If you’re spending time in Dublin, check out my post on a quick trip to this amazing city. No matter where you go, no matter the weather I hope you enjoy every sip of that Irish coffee (or Guinness). Take a deep breath of that crisp Irish air and remember to enjoy every moment of your trip. It’s up to you to make the most out of this adventure which you’ve decided to embark on. Always, BE PRESENT and follow me on Instagram @joyzcortez for updates on travel pics & tips.


irish coffee

The Magic of Dublin at Christmas Time

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.

Dublin Castle.jpg

Dublin Castle

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

Temple Bar

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.

Trinity College

Trinity College

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.