Since buying our first house was the #1 priority for the year we got married (2012), we postponed our “European Honeymoon” and went as a two-year anniversary gift to ourselves! We chose three locations for our European Extravaganza: Dublin, Salzburg, and Munich.
Geographically speaking, Salzburg and Munich are only a quick train ride away from one another, so grouping them together made sense, but why Dublin you ask? Well aside from hearing great things about the city, it was WAY cheaper to fly to Dublin than to Germany or Austria. Living in Atlanta flights are usually pretty affordable and convenient due to the large airport, but we always check nearby airports just to see if we can get a better deal. It just so happened that flying out of Chattanooga, Tennessee would save us around $700, so we made the two hour drive to the Chattanooga Airport. For that kind of savings we thought that was a GREAT bargain! (It felt a little silly having a layover in our home city of Atlanta, but more to spend on our trip, right?!)
Because Kevin travels for work, he is used to staying at hotels. I decided to change it up a bit and research some Bed & Breakfasts! He was a little bit nervous about the whole idea at first, but he was a good sport and tried it all the same. We actually had a great experience at the B&B we stayed at. Tinode House on Drumcondra Road was less than 2 miles from city center. We purchased the Leap Card for the bus system which basically stopped right in front of Tinode House. We used the city buses a lot – they were clean and had free WiFi! I would definitely recommend purchasing the Leap Card. Not only did we have great hosts (thanks Maureen and PJ!), but we also had a private bathroom and a full Irish breakfast each morning!
For our first full day on the Emerald Isle, we decided to purchase the Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour. Another fantastic idea! Since we were wanting to see the tourist-y things, it was perfect and stopped everywhere we wanted to go and then some! It costed about 20 Euro for the day. It was different than the Leap Card because it only stopped at about 30 tourist destinations whereas the Leap Card we purchased was for the city buses.
Above: Tinode House (left), Hop On/Hop Off Bus (right)
We arrived in Dublin in the late afternoon, so we decided to venture out for dinner. One of our neighbors in Atlanta has a twin brother, Ryan, who lives in Dublin, and we gave him a call and he took us out! Ryan brought us to a local pub called The Black Sheep with craft brews, whiskey, and board games. Later on, we made a stop at the iconic Temple Bar, but Kevin and I certainly preferred the local experience. If you are ever in Dublin, check out The Black Sheep – what a blast! Looking back, it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
Above: The Black Sheep (left), Temple Bar (right)
Guinness was our first stop on day 2! While they don’t let you inside the REAL brewery, they provide a museum-like experience with interactive activities including learning how to pour a Guinness properly, a tasting room, and some neat displays on the brewing process. We spent about three hours there.
After a nice little buzz, we went on to some other attractions in the city such as Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral. The Trinity Library was hands-down my favorite site in Dublin. The rain was kind of a bummer, but expect that in Ireland and bring an umbrella – we were certainly glad we had ours! Our last stop of the day was an unplanned excursion: Kilmainham Gaol (a former prison). I had never heard about this place until the guide on the bus tour mentioned it, so Kevin and I decided to “hop off” and check it out. We spent about two hours on a guided tour of the jail learning about the history of the 1916 Easter Rising. This attraction was another trip highlight and recommended for those who enjoy history. We went to the Chilli Banana near our B & B for dinner and had a delightful Thai meal. I had already done fish and chips twice, so I needed something different!
For our final day in Ireland, we decided to use our Leap Cards to go outside of the city to the town of Howth. It was a 40 minute bus ride, so technically Howth is considered a suburb of Dublin. Our B&B owner recommended this town to us, so we decided to try it out. What a lovely day by the sea! When I imagined Ireland before our trip, Howth was what I pictured in my head. It was a quaint village with some restaurants and beautiful views! It could be a half day trip, so plan some time in your schedule to visit!
Above: Howth, Ireland
All in all, I think three days was plenty to see Dublin. We did not get the opportunity to see some other cities in Ireland like Cork or Galway, but maybe someday!