Ireland has been on my list from the day I left Newfoundland & Labrador. I learned about the deep-rooted connection between East Coast Canada & Ireland, and while there, I made some lifelong friends.
I was more than excited to get started with this fantastic 2 days in Dublin, itinerary I created, but as I waited around for my suitcase to come off the belt, I realized it wasn’t happening. Gordana had her suitcase, but mine was missing. We were coming from Zagreb, transferring through Paris and landing in Dublin.
Yes, I understand that luggage can get lost when changing flights, but for all the trips I’ve flown, I’ve only ever lost my luggage twice – and both times were at Paris, Charles Airport. WTF!?!?
The good news is it was scheduled to arrive the following day. The bad news is we have to explore Dublin in 2 days and can’t waste a day hanging around the Airbnb. Luckily my fantastic Airbnb Host Siobhan insisted that we go out and explore her great city while she waited for my suitcase to arrive!
One of the top things to see in Dublin, Ireland, is the Temple Bar neighbourhood, and as we strolled through, I saw a person in a penis costume. His friends were parading this penis throughout the city wearing masks with his soon to be wife’s face imprinted on them – I instantly forgot about my suitcase.
I can not explain the pain in my gut from laughing so hard.
Everybody here seems happy. The energy is happy. The vibe is happy. The music is happy. The dancing is happy. Even the way they talk sounds happy, and their homely food makes you feel very happy.
Is it Jameson, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Irish Lamb Stew, Beef Guinness or just Guinness. Who Knows? But it’s the type of place where cute little old granny’s come tumbling out of bars sloshed after 10:30 (True story – although I’m not quite sure if it’s a one-off or a completely regular occurrence). Everything about St. John’s & Fogo Islands vibe, friendliness, language, humour as well as the reason why I love Newfoundland & Labrador all makes absolute sense to me now.
I love this city.
- Back in the days on the south bank of the Liffey river, Vikings founded a new town called Dubh Linn (black pool) in 841
- Dublin was initially fortified with a ditch and earth rampart with wooden stakes that formed a fence (otherwise known as a palisade) on top.
- In the late 11th century, Dublin had stone walls erected around it. The Danes also established an artificial hill where the men would meet to make laws, debate and discuss policy.
- As the Danes converted to Christianity, the first Bishop of Dublin was appointed in 1028.
- Throughout the several wars between Irishmen and Vikings, the town of Dublin was sacked several times. That said, Dublin still grew to be the largest and most important town in Ireland, with a population of 4,000 – which is substantial considering the average size of settlements in the 11the century.
Getting To Dublin & The Emerald Isle
Flights & Getting To & From The Airport
**Just a heads up, Ryanair is Ireland’s discounted airline, which tends to fly in and out of lesser popular airports. It seems to operate on an – everything is and upsell model. Not printing my boarding pass ahead (with the printer I forgot to pack in my suitcase) would have cost me 20 Euro. Luckily they waived it but be aware.**
Speaking of Dublin Airport, there is a full range of car options as well as bus and taxi connections to the city centre.
Taxis depart from just outside the terminal buildings and will run you about €25-€30 to the city centre.
The blue Aircoach offers services between terminals 1 & 2 as well as a series of points within the city and southern suburbs. All coaches stop in the city centre on O’Connell Street and Trinity College. It cost about €7 single/€12 return (€6/€11 if booked online).
Airlink 747 offers a loop service between the airport terminals and a variety of city centre stops. It costs about €6 single/€10 return.
2 Days In Dublin Itinerary
Located on the St Stephen’s green side of Dawson Street, Beanhive is a hidden gem known for its incredible coffee art and serving large portioned Irish and vegan breakfasts. Tons of options (cappuccino, matcha latte, mango chai, and Suki tea) minimal seating.
The Little Museum Of Dublin ☘️
The Little Museum of Dublin tells the extraordinary history of the city of Dublin. It started in 2011 with a public appeal for historical objects, which resulted in the remarkable generosity of the Irish people. Today there are over 5,000 artifacts in the collection and recently voted as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by the Irish Times.
Dublin Visitor Centre ☘️
The Dublin Visitor Centre, 118 Grafton St, Dublin 2.
Across the street from the entrance to Trinity College is the Dublin Visitor Centre. With only 2 days in Dublin, a lot of sites scattered throughout the city and with a couple of them like the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery involving set times for tours – I opted for the 48 Hour Dublin Pass.
The Dublin Pass includes free entry to over 30 of Dublin’s top attractions, monuments and museums plus free rides on the 24 Hour Hop-On-Hop-Off with Big Bus Tours Dublin and much needed guaranteed fast-track at the Guinness Storehouse.
**I indicated all of the places listed in this itinerary that is included on the Dublin Pass with a ☘️ – I thought that was fitting**.
While here we also secured our bus tickets for our Day Trip to The Cliffs Of Moher.
Founded in 1592 by the first Queen Elizabeth, Trinity College is the only college of the University of Dublin. It is considered to be the best University in Ireland has with its rich history and beautiful buildings.
Sphere Within Sphere
“Sphere Within Sphere,” otherwise known as “Sfera con Sfera” in Italian, is a bronze Globe located outside the Main Library, beside the Museum Building of 1857, here in Trinity College. It was created in 1982 as a gift by sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro and is one in a series of sculptures in a few cities around Europe.
The Book of Kells & The Long Room Of The Old Library
The Book Of Kells was completed way back in the 800 AD, which makes it not just the world’s oldest book but the world’s most famous book. Containing the first four gospels of the bible – in Latin, it is the most elaborate manuscript of its kind that in existence from the early Middle Ages in excellent condition.
Made of cast iron from England, is a single elliptical iron arch bridge that was built in May of 1816 over the River Liffey here in Dublin. The name Ha’penny was a British pre-decimal halfpenny coin, known as a ha’penny, which was the toll collected from anyone crossing it. At the time of operation, there were turnstiles at both ends of the bridge.
Temple Bar is a busy riverside neighbourhood, spread over cobbled pedestrian lanes with crowded pubs that play live folk music or DJs spinning the latest tunes. There are tons of restaurants that serve Asian, American and Irish cuisine as well as clothing and craft boutiques with products by local designers. It’s the perfect place to bar hopping between, The Temple Bar, The Porterhouse, The Foggy Dew and Czech Inn to name a few. If whiskey is your thing The Temple Bar owns one of Ireland’s largest whiskey collections with over 450 bottles of Irish, Scotch and Bourbons.
Also located in the Temple Bar neighbourhood is The National Photographic Archive which looks at Ireland’s past while the Project Arts Centre and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios show contemporary art.
The Brazen Head
Legend has it that this site has housed a tavern or alehouse since 1198. It was built as a coaching inn – a modern-day Airbnb for both people and horses, in 1754. During an excavation of the land immediately adjacent to The Brazen Head, there was evidence that the area had been in use as early as the 13th century.
Christ Church Cathedral ☘️
Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin’s oldest medieval cathedral. The Gothic / Romanesque construction was founded in 1030 and is the seat of the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic church in Dublin. You might recognize it from the hit Showtime TV series The Tudors as many scenes from the show were filmed on-site.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral ☘️
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the tallest and the largest church in Ireland thanks to its 43-meter spire. It houses the remains of author Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver’s Travels – Gulliver, also the name of a street I grew up on as a kid back in Toronto. It is the only cathedral in Ireland that offers daily sung services.
Dublin Castle ☘️
There has been a castle on this site since 1166 but the funny thing is, the only part of Dublin Castle that looks like a castle is the Record Tower, which dates back to 1228. The rest of the Dublin Castle complex is home to a number of government buildings like the Irish government state apartments, used for official state engagements, the Garda (Irish police) Museum and the Chester Beatty Library museum.
The Chapel Royal, which contains one of the most elegant Gothic revival interiors in Ireland was the official Church of Ireland chapel of the Household of the Lord Lieutenant from 1814 until the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922
Chester Beatty ☘️
Another one of Dublin’s famous cultural attractions happens to be home to ancient manuscripts, artworks and rare books that were collected by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty throughout his life. It was established in 1950 and given to the state upon his death. In the collection, you’ll find some of the earliest known copies of the four gospels, 200 early examples of the Qur’an and the Gospel of Mani, which is thought to be the last remaining artifact of the religion of Manichaeism.
Molly Malone Statue
Molly Malone is a fictional fishmonger who was featured in a well-known Irish song called In Dublin’s Fair City. The song is acknowledged as Dublin’s unofficial anthem was immortalized in bronze during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations. While the location of her statue is regularly used for meetups, some believe that touching her breasts will bring you good luck. It’s one of the fun things to do in Dubin.
Grafton Street is one of two shopping streets here in Dublin. It runs from St. Stephen’s Green to College Green. It 2008, it was voted the fifth most expensive street in the world, but that I aside it the perfect place to grab dinner then head back to The Temple Bar neighbourhood for drinks.
Dakota Bar opened in June 2000 and has grown to be one of Dublin’s most popular late-night party bars. By night it’s top DJ’s every Friday, Saturday and Bank Holiday Sundays and by day it serves fine freshly made food. They offer the public the best in quality food, drinks and service. The manager recognized my Toronto accent and told us she is Canadian living in Ireland on a work visa. We Canadians always tend to find each other.
Things To See In Dublin
We did all the heavy lifting yesterday, so today we drink and tour and drink some more! The 48 Hour Dublin Pass and the 24 Hour Hop-On-Hop-Off with Big Bus Tours Dublin will assist us heavily on this mission.
**I’ve also indicated the bus stop or the nearest bus stop with this symbol: 🚍 **
Hey, it’s a tough gig, but somebody has to do it!
Our Airbnb was located in a South Dublin suburb, which, lucky for us, was pretty close to Drimnagh Castle. Drimnagh Castle is Ireland’s only moated and an authentically medieval castle with over 700 years of history. In the beautiful garden and courtyard, there’s a portrait of Lady Eleanora de Barnewall, who is rumoured to of been a maid, a bride and a widow all in one day. And she haunts the castle.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery ☘️🚍
The Teeling Whiskey Distillery happens to be the first new distillery here in Dublin for over 125 years, but technically it’s just up the road from where Walter Teeling first set up a small craft distillery back in 1782.
St. James’s Gate | Guinness Storehouse ☘️🚍
Guinness has always been, if not my favourite beer, definitely one of my favourite beers.
The black stuff has had a hold on me for quite some time now. In fact, I’m enjoying one right now as I write this.
S its no surprise that one of the best things to do in Dublin Ireland is visiting the Guinness Storehouse. Right here, one the site of St Jame’s Gate Brewery is where the legendary drink has been brewed since 1759. Get this, over 50 million barrels of Guinness are produced every year from this location. If that wasn’t enough, they have a seven-storey visitor attraction shaped like a traditional Guinness glass. The tour takes you through all seven floors and covers everything from how The Black Stuff is made to some of its iconic advertising.
The 48 Hour Dublin Pass will get you in fast and pass the line, but be prepared to be here for a few hours. Plan accordingly.
Kilmainham Gaol 🚍
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison that opened in 1796 as the new County Gaol for Dublin and closed in 1924. Today the building offers guided tours that a managed by timed tickets. The tour tells the stories of militant and constitutional nationalism like the rebellion of 1798 and the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Leaders of these uprisings were often detained here and, in some cases, executed.
Also, members of the Irish Republican movement from the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also held here and guarded by British troops.
The Kilmainham Gaol is a top-rated site and at this time it is not covered with the Dublin Pass; thus, fast-tracking is not available. This venue books fast so secure your ticket well in advance before your visit.
Phoenix Park 🚍
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in Europe. It was initially formed as a royal hunting Park in 1660 and then opened to the public in 1747. Inside the park, you’ll find Zoological Gardens, Áras an Uachtaráin, Victorian flower gardens and Ashtown Castle. Ashtown Castle is a tower house that was built in the 14th century.
The Bus will take you through a part of the park, so feel free the hop off, explore and hop on again, but I opted to stay on the bus as we have a packed schedule.
Jameson Distillery ☘️ (Nearest Stop is Arran Quay 🚍)
St. Jameson Distillery has been producing a blended Irish whiskey for over two centuries. To put it in perspective, they’ve been producing whiskey through two world wars, an Irish civil war and even American prohibition – hence the family motto “Sine Metu” Latin for “Without Fear” located in their logo.
Since 1780 John Jameson has perfected the triple distilled process for its smooth tasting Irish whiskey, and The Bow St. Experience will teach you – through tasting, all about whiskey and what makes Jameson unique. You can opt to try Whiskey Cocktail Making or the Whiskey Blending Class while you’re there.
The Church Cafe | Bar | Restaurant
The Church is located in the former St. Mary’s Church, which was built at the beginning of the 18th century. When St. Mary’s closed in 1964 and lay abandoned for several years until John Keating purchased it in 1997. Over seven years, it went through an extensive restoration eventually re-opening its doors in December 2005 as John M. Keating’s Bar. In September 2007, the building was acquired by new owners and renamed “The Church Bar & Restaurant.”
Arthur Guinness – Founder of Guinness Brewery, was married here in 1761.
Take the self-guided tour: HERE
EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum & CHQ Dublin (Lunch) ☘️
Located in CHQ Dublin shopping plaza is EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum, which tells the story of Irish heritage. The museum delves into what drove them to emigrate, the process, and what they for themselves in their final destination. You are issued a passport, and throughout the interactive experience, collect stamps as you move through the story.
Jeanie Johnston Tallship & Famine Experience ☘️
Across the street, the Irish Emigration Museum is the Jeanie Johnston tall ship, a replica of the original Jeanie Johnston. The Jeanie Johnston was a three-masted ship that was initially built to carry cargo between Ireland and North America but during Irish Famine. However, during the Irish Famine, Jeanie Johnston was used to transporting emigrants from Ireland to the USA in which over a million people left the country, with an equal amount dying at home.
Arlington Hotel & Celtic Nights
The last stop is at The Arlington Hotel O’Connell Bridge for Celtic Nights, which is a lively mix of traditional Irish dance rhythms, with ridiculously impressive footwork to legendary Irish songs. The choreographed show includes the very best in Irish dance like the famous brush dance, “sean nos” (Old Style) and audience participation in a three-course meal.
This evening was like the perfect cumulation of everything I’ve learnt and love about Dublin and Ireland. From the happy people, music and dancing to the humour food and Guinness.
From the menu, Gordana and I started with Clonakilty Black Pudding en Croute and the freshly prepared soup of the evening. For the main course, Gordana went for the classic Irish Lamb Stew (Served with a puff pastry lid), and I went for the Beef & Guinness (Roasted Garlic Mash, Vegetable & Guinness Broth, Horseradish Cream and Parsnips Crisps). For Dessert, we both went with the Arlington Assiette of desserts (Lemon Curd Tartlet, Chocolate Of Guinness Mousse & Strawberry Fool)
National Museum Of Ireland ☘️ (Nearest Stop is Merrion Square 🚍)
The museum was founded on August 14, 1877. Some of the exhibitions include the most beautiful collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in Western Europe, excellent examples of metalwork from the Celtic Iron Age, and a world-renowned collection of medieval religious objects and jewellery.
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