The third largest island in Europe is Ireland, the Emerald Isle lives up to its name with unrivaled beauty and various shades of green, castles, sheep, cows, and rainbows. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Ireland with my husband, son, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law recently. My father-in-law, a lucky man who likes entering contests, won a trip for two to Ireland courtesy of Guinness and we tagged along for fun. Seven days in Ireland is just enough to get a taste of the country, but we could have easily stayed much longer.
Our flight to Dublin originated in Boston and it was a smooth six hour flight on Aer Lingus. We upgraded our seats to the small in between section behind first and in front of coach. A mere three rows of seats, it was comfortable and quiet and a departure from the sardine can feel back in coach. If you can upgrade, do it in advance as the price is far less than upgrading to first class.
We arrived in Dublin at around 5 am and arrived at our hotel shortly thereafter, sites like dublinpublictransport.ie make it so easy to navigate the otherwise confusing public transport system. If you are flying in at a similar time, ask your travel agent to contact the hotel and let them know that you will be arriving early. We had two rooms, a double and a triple, and only the double was ready. We were tired and ended up sleeping on the floor for a few hours because we were so tired. Having our room ready upon arrival would have been a benefit, but we survived.
We got up and decided to walk around and ended up eating at O’Neill’s. We grabbed a seat upstairs and then a few in our party headed back downstairs for food. Don’t expect fast service – that’s an American expectation you should leave at home. I’m not saying that the service isn’t fast. Instead, it is leisurely and goes back to enjoying each other’s company instead of gulping food down and running out the door. I quite liked it! A little more walking accompanied by a few pints of Guinness by my husband and a soya latte at Insomnia for me, and we were feeling less jet lagged. Of course, I had left Boston with a cold and felt completely run down by this point. We had reservations at the Brazen Head for an evening of Food, Folklore, and Fairies. Everyone enjoyed themselves as well as the food and the drink and I was told that you are supposed to respect Fairies… or else.
The next morning after a full Irish breakfast, including black and white pudding, which my son oddly loved, we were off to jump on the tour bus and head over to the Guinness Storehouse.
The easily identifiable green Dublin Bus Tour bus was only €16.00 for adults and €14.00 for seniors and students. We rode around the city and for a few of the buses they had a recorded tour, but the last two buses we were on the drivers did live commentary and that was worth the ride itself. The self guided tour at the Guinness Storehouse was interesting, especially with the free samples along the way! After jumping back on the bus, we headed to Foley’s for dinner where a few had Guinness and fish and chips with mushy peas.
Dublin is a busy, yet manageable walking city with lots to do and an abundance of history at every turn. The Book of Kells at Trinity College might be one stop and the college itself occupies 47 acres within Dublin. This literary city was home to William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde (statue in picture), Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker.
Getting around is easy with an easily accessible bus system, the Luas tram network, or Dublin bikes, a public bicycle rental scheme which uses 450 French-made unisex bicycles.
There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin and this is perhaps because it is estimated that 50% of the citizens are younger than 25. There is also many music venues in pubs or the new O2 as well as sports and shopping. Dublin can appeal to all ages and if you get tired, jump in a pedicab for a free ride until you are ready to walk again and explore more of what this great city has to offer.