48 Hours in Dublin
Dublin! I have had this city on my bucket list for years now!
Jeff and I had the opportunity to go to Croatia for a wedding this past summer and we took advantage of the stop in Dublin to extend our layover and explore the city.
Dublin, I learned, is actually quite small. We found our two day stay to be perfect. Had I done a bit more research, I may have extended our time in Ireland by one or two days just so we could make the trek to the Cliffs of Moher (where Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince and Princess Bride have been filmed) or down south to the very charming and beautiful (so I've heard) city of Cork.
A highlight of the trip for me were the people in Ireland. The Irish have got to be some of the most welcoming and fun folks I've met abroad. Jeff and I absolutely loved getting to hang out and meet the locals.
Because our stay was short, I thought I'd compile a list of the top 5 "must-do" activities I would recommend to anyone going to Dublin for the first time =)!
1. Visit the Dublin Castle
Constructed in the early 13th century on the site of a Viking settlement, The Dublin Castle served as the headquarters of British administration for centuries. In 1922, after Ireland’s independence, The Dublin Castle was handed over to the new Irish government. It is now a major government complex and a popular tourist attraction.
2. Walk around Temple Bar
The Temple Bar area is a square on the south bank of the River Liffey with quaint cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways. Temple Bar is filled with boutiques, cafes, galleries, street art and traditional Irish pubs. It is such a fun area and you're bound to find a lot to do on any given evening.
Watching Irish musicians play traditional folk music at the Stag's Head- a pub in Temple Bar. This is how we spent our first night in Dublin and we loved every minute of it!
3. Walk down the Long Room in the Old Library at Trinity College
A bibliophile's dream! Built between 1712 and 1732, the Long Room at Trinity College’s Old Library holds the collection’s 200,000 oldest books. The Book of Kells, by far the library's most famous book, is a latin manuscript containing the four gospels of the New testament. It is believed to have been created in 800 AD and the book is regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.
A totally dreamy space if you are a book lover =)
4. Take a cocktail making class at the Jameson Distillery
This was suchhh a fun activity! Jeff and I visited the Jameson distillery and decided to sign up for a cocktail making class. Not only are the guys who work at the distillery a lively, engaging and outgoing bunch (our "instructor" really made the class all the more enjoyable), but the cocktails they teach you to make are super delicious. I am by no means a big whisky drinker, but the best cocktail I had on our whole trip to Europe was made here. As stated, the workers here really do a great job in making you feel welcome and (bonus!) in giving great dinner recommendations if you are unfamiliar with the city =) .
5. Take a Day Trip to Howth
Our taxi driver from the airport to our hotel actually recommended this to us! Jeff and I were incredibly lucky with the weather we encountered in Dublin (it normally rains and is pretty cold year round). But we missed the rain and even got some sunshine and heat. Because of that, we thought it would be fun to take the train (known as the Dart) to the nearby fishing village of Howth (about 30 mins away via train, or a 20 min drive). Howth reminded me a lot of Half Moon Bay- more overcast than the city but filled with all kinds of sail/ fishing boats and small sea food restaurants located right on the water .
The village had some of the best food we ate in Ireland! We especially loved the fresh oysters and the Dublin bay prawns (both pictured below).
Dublin bay prawns in a garlic, butter and white wine sauce with parsley- these were my favorite dish in Ireland!
Monk fish and mussels
Ireland was beautiful. Although it wasn't my favorite destination on our European trip, I do hope I'm able to visit the country again in the future to get to explore and see more of its beautiful landscape.