What is your first association when you hear the words green, beer, whiskey and happy rhythm? It must be Ireland! It is very easy to find cheap flights to Dublin from lot of cities around Europe so next time when you will be thinking where to go next, think about this great country. The best time to go there is during the spring and summer but it doesn’t mean that you will have a chance to walk around without umbrella but it definitely won’t ruin your trip because rain gives Dublin and its surrounding a special touch. Here is a plan what to do if you decide to go to Ireland!
Things to know before travelling in Dublin, Ireland:
Language – The two official languages of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are Irish Gaelic and English. Generally, you do not need to learn Irish language words or phrases. However, consider learning some useful words when travelling around the countryside where Irish is the everyday spoken language.
Currency exchange – The official currency of the Republic of Ireland is Euro. Exchanging money in Dublin is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Europe. Currency can be exchanged at the Bank of Ireland, as well as Bureau de Change around the city and airports. Most major establishments like hotels and restaurants in major tourist and business destinations accept credit cards. The best way to get local currency is to use the ATMs, which are widely available in Dublin and other major cities.
Getting there – Dublin Airport is well connected with numerous international and domestic flights. Cheapest flights from New York are operated by Delta, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Air France, and if you book in advance, a round-trip ticket costs under 600 USD. At this moment there are no direct flights from Hong Kong but this is not a bad thing since you can explore another vibrant city on your way to Dublin. Prices for Hong Kong – Dublin – Hong Kong start at about 900 USD (consider flying with KLM and explore Amsterdam for a day or two).
Transportation – Renting a car and driving on your own in Dublin is not recommended because of heavy traffic, a complex one way traffic system and expensive parking. For first time visitors, Dublin Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is highly recommended as the buses link main attractions in the city. Dublin also has free bikes scheme which you can be availed for a minimal fee.
Accommodation – Dublin has a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. Staying in Dublin 1 or 2 is recommended as this area is the city center which contains most of the historical attractions, cultural sights, restaurants, nightlife and shops.
Where to stay in Dublin:
The Merrion Hotel (Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Westbury Hotel (Grafton St | Dublin 2, Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Croke Park Hotel (Jones’s Road, Dublin D3, Ireland)
The Marker Hotel (Grand Canal Square | Docklands, Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Morrison, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland – formerly Morrison Hotel)
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin (Golden Lane, Dublin 8, Ireland – formerly Radisson SAS)
Start your Dublin walk on the O’Connell Street but watch out on the traffic because they are driving on the opposite side. The good thing is that it is written on the road from which side you can expect the cars. O’Connell Street is the main street in town and you will probably walk through it for several times. On this street you will see the tallest sculpture in the world, so-called “Dublin needle” 121 meter (almost 400 feet) high installation. This is good place to decide which way you want to go. Probably the first thing you would like to do is to taste real Irish Guinness. The best place to that may be in the factory where it is produced. If you buy the tickets for the tour online the price is 16.20 euros (18 USD). On the entrance it is 18 euros and the ticket includes a pint of the beer. To get there take the number 123 bus from the O’Connell Street.
If this is too expensive for you, you can always by a can in the supermarket and go to the Phoenix Park where people from Dublin love to enjoy in sunny days. It is perfect place to relax and it is very easy to get there so don’t miss this perfect green space.
Cultural and fun route
One of the extraordinary architecture pieces in Dublin is Dublin castle. Today it is a Government building but for the price of 8.50 euros (10 USD) you can enjoy in guided tour and walk around the halls of this beautiful castle. Of course don’t forget to make few photos from the outside, it can be great postcard.
If you want to learn more about Ireland and it heritage you should go to National Museum. Natural history, country art and archaeology are just a small part of the things that this museum offer. It has three locations in Dublin and admission is free.
You are probably not used to visiting colleges around the world but historic campus of Trinity College (Grafton St. | College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland; tel: +353 1 896 1000) in Dublin is a place that you should consider. It was built in 16th century and today it is a place where students from all over the world come to study. Go to the Library of Trinity College, it is the biggest research library in Ireland and its interior is magnificent.
Everybody knows something about Saint Patrick. At least everybody heard about the day when people from Ireland celebrating him, the patron saint of Ireland. If you can get in Dublin on 17th of March it would be great because then this town is the liveliest town in the world. In the meantime visit Saint Patrick Cathedral. For the entrance you will have to pay 6 euros (7 USD).
One of the places that is also often recommended is Kilmainham jail which is located about 10 kilometers from the city. You can walk around the jail only with guide who will tell you all about the history of punishment in this, one of the largest, European empty prisons. Admission for students is 2 euros, and for other adults 6 euros. During the visit you will have the chance to see short film about the love story of Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Easter Uprising, who were married in the prison chapel shortly before his assassination. Definitely good place to go to!
What you should eat while you are in Ireland? Put Irish stew on the menu. It is traditional dish made of lamb meet and root vegetables. There are lot of places around town that are serving this specialty so get hungry and spoil yourself with this great meal!
Ireland is also known as country where you can drink very good whiskey. The place that you should visit and try one of the best is Old Jameson Distillery. It is open every day from 9 am till 6 pm and the admission fee is 14 euros (16 USD). Tour take one hour and at the end you will get a glass of Jameson. It can be fantastic way to finish your trip to Dublin!
Day trips from Dublin
Howth is a suburb of Dublin, located on the peninsula 15 kilometers (less than 10 miles) from the city center which can be reached most easily by train for around 5 euros (6 USD). This peninsula is awesome place to walk around and you can choose the trail so choose the longest one and don’t miss anything. You will know that you are on the right track when you get to the lighthouse Bailey. Just continue to walk along the cliffs and you will end up back in the port.
Cliffs of Moher
This is Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. You have probably seen the photos from there for thousand times but now it is time to see it on your own. You can get there by train from Dublin. It takes around 5 hours to get there so if you don’t want to spend ten hours in train think about staying overnight in the local town and villages. Admission for Cliffs of Moher is 6 euros (7 USD).
Have you been to Dublin or anywhere else in Ireland? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.