This week’s Travel Tuesday had me thinking back on one of my all-time favorite trips – Ireland. I went in the fall of 2016 with my cousin and absolutely adored everything about it. To break it down the way it deserves and to really give it justice, I’ve decided to do a three part series for my Ireland trip. So welcome to the first part!
As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was filled with an odd feeling of being home. Which is strange, considering that when you travel to a foreign country, usually the last thing you feel is “at home.” Yet Ireland is such a warm and welcoming country that I couldn’t help it.
So with my massive suitcase in tow (it was a nine day trip after all), I hailed a cab and headed straight to the hotel to drop off my things. I stayed at the North Star Hotel, which is just a quick 5-minute walk from Lower O’Connell Street, making it a hop and a skip away from central Dublin.
I had quite a few places on my “must-see” list, and unfortunately was not able to make it to all of them. But I’ve listed my top 10 below, in case you ever find yourself in Dublin with a little free time.
- Guinness Storehouse: This was SUCH a fun experience. You get to tour the brewery, learn the history of the Guinness company and family, and you get certified in pouring the perfect pint of Guinness – what could top that?!
- Kilmainham Gaol: A famous Irish jail, you can tour Kilmainham to learn about its historic prisoners and terrifying stories. Since it’s closure in 1924, Kilmainham has been seen as a symbol of constitutional nationalism and is definitely worth a visit.
- Jameson Distillery: Though closed for renovations when I was there, the Jameson Distillery is a stop you can’t miss if you’re headed to Dublin. You can tour the distillery and sign up for a whiskey tasting. (I’m still mad I missed this, so make sure you do it for me!)
- Temple Bar: At this point you may be beginning to see a drinking trend here, but I promise that Temple Bar is an absolute must as a tourist. Grab a pint, listen to some traditional Irish music, and enjoy the general splendor of what is quite possibly Dublin’s biggest nightlife tourist trap.
- St. Stephen’s Green: Get away from the busy streets and enjoy a little down time in St. Stephen’s Green with a stroll. When I went in October, the green of the summer leaves was barely hanging on and fall had begun to make an entrance, creating a gorgeous combination. A great place to spend time the morning of your flight home!
- Trinity College: The first stop of my time in Dublin, Trinity College was the perfect setting for a post-flight, leisurely walk with some coffee. The grounds are beautiful and being able to visit the library here was this book lover’s dream. And while you’re here, don’t forget to take a peek at the Book of Kells.
- Grafton Street: Did someone say shopping? Known as Dublin’s most popular spot for the shops, a walk down Grafton Street is worth it, even if your wallet does end up taking a hit.
- Dublin Castle: I honestly did not know that Dublin Castle existed until I arrived in Dublin, but it was an amazing stop to see the old seat of power for the UK government. It’s mostly used for traditional state purposes now, and is worth a visit.
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Catholic or not, you should definitely make time for a stop at St. Patrick’s. The architecture alone is absolutely gorgeous, but as a Catholic myself, it was a humbling experience. Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s is the National Church of Ireland as well as the tallest and the largest. Light a candle for those you want to pray for and if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to listen to the choir while you do.
- General Post Office: For those of you who don’t know, the General Post Office is actually a LOT more important to Irish history than just general mail handling. The GPO is where the Easter Rising of 1916 took place, making it a great historic stop while you’re in Dublin!
Depending on how much time you may have in Ireland’s capital, you can pick and choose which of these (if any) have sparked your attention. I can only hope that if you’re headed there, you leave Dublin half as enchanted as I did.