Europe 2019 - Part 3 - Ireland
Six Countries in 21 Days Including a Croatian Island Yacht Cruise
Continued from Part 2 of our 21 day Europe trip post that covered our Croatia yacht cruise, next up is Ireland, more specifically the Dublin and a few outlying areas.
Make sure to click on the < or > arrows in the photos to view all in each group
IRELAND - Dublin
We arrived after a short flight in Dublin in the late afternoon and proceeded to our home base The Davenport Hotel just outside of the main center of the city. We liked the location since we were away from the crowds and noise of Temple Bar but close enough to it’s and other sites to walk. It was drizzling off and on throughout our stay which is expected when you are in Ireland. The rain and cooler weather was a nice change from the hot climates experienced earlier in our travels. We did have long periods of beautiful sunshine which was perfect when out exploring. After settling into our rooms we walked the city past College Park, Trinity College, The Molly Malone Statue, and into the cultural center of Temple Bar area. The cobble streets were packed with tourists and filled with traditional Irish architecture and Pubs all around. Walking toward the river we ran across the famous Ha Penny bridge. After a little exploring, we stopped for dinner at Quays a down to earth Irish pub restaurant on the second floor. A great stop for your first pint and some traditional Irish fare. We had the famous Dublin Coddle of Bangers and Mash and traditional Irish Stew, Braised Wicklow Lamb Shank and Fish and Chips that were all very well done.
Day 2 we decided to take the Hop on Hop Off bus around the area today and we're glad we did. The driver sang traditional songs to us and provided some great history of the sights and story of Dublin. We caught the bus just near the Hotel at Merrion Square. After a short ride we hopped off for our first few sights walking to the National Library, National Museum of Ireland Archaeology then into Trinity College, (founded in 1592) to view the library and Book of Kells, a 9th-century manuscript that documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The Book of Kells is housed on the first floor of the 18th century Long Room, one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, that houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books. We ducked out of a quick rain shower into a Pub and had a pint of Porterhouse and an Irish coffee while waiting for the rain to subside, then continued walking through the shops on Wicklow, Williams, Drury, and Clarendon streets. Stopped into Gallagher’s Boxty House for lunch for the famous Boxty (potato pancakes), Irish Lamb Stew and Fish & Chips.
We hopped back on the bus on the way to Guinness Storehouse and took the self-guided tour. A bit like Disneyland both in the displays and crowds, not one that we would do again. We were looking forward to having a pint of the black stuff than sitting high above Dublin's historic rooftops in the glass-enclosed Gravity room but by the time we got there, it was shoulder to shoulder crowded. We managed to get to the bar for our complimentary pint then moved downstairs for a quieter spot to enjoy it. I would suggest skipping Guinness on your trip as it’s not worth the time. Go to a local pub to experience real Irish life and grab a pint there, it will be much more rewarding. Back on the bus, we continued the guided tour around Dublin passing St Peters, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Massive Phoenix Park before ending back near the river and Temple Bar area. After a long day of sightseeing, we walked back to the hotel and had a late dinner of Fish & Chips and Curry next door at the Ginger Man Pub.
For our last full day, we arranged a private driver and guide for a day trip over to the Cliffs of Moher based on several recommendations. Our driver and guide Brian O’Riley of Tours with Locals was fantastic! He drove us in his nice Taxi van which he uses as a tour vehicle in summer and taxi for the rest of the year. Very comfortable for this long day driving across the island. Brian customized the tour based on our wishes and started us off with some brief history about himself and his country. Driving through the beautiful countryside dotted with rock walls, Sheep, cows and as Brian says 40 shades of green due to the usual wet weather here. We were fortunate to experience a mostly sunny day with bright blue skies through the afternoon portions of the trip. Our first rest stop was at Barack Obama Plaza (yes that’s right) a fuel station with a large food court named after our president because he has a family connection in the area and has visited the local pub. Complete with cardboard cutouts and statues of the first couple for your selfies and photo ops, Kind of strange to see here but I guess whatever works! Next stop was the Bunratty Castle a 15th-century castle and living 19th-century village. Following a tour of the Castle and Village we continued toward the coast through the spectacular countryside we finally landed at the sight. A windy walk along the cliffs provided amazing views of the cliffs and Aran islands beyond. Back in the car, we continued along the Wild Atlantic Way, a narrow stretch along the coast featuring rock formations, small towns, and ruins dotting the countryside. We stopped at McDermott’s Pub in Doolin for lunch, stopped at a few other sights along the way and for the last pub stop at Monk’s in Ballyvaughan then the long trek inland back to the hotel. A great day of exploring the island and to see some of the amazing countrysides.
The next day, Dan and Lynn left the Hotel early for their flight but we had some time to spend in the city before ours later in the afternoon. We walked to Christchurch and through some of the city streets and sights. Stopped into the Royal Bank which is now an amazing bar and restaurant in a beautiful old Bank space.
An end to our 21 day, six-country trip, we headed to the airport for our long flight back to the states. See you soon Europe!
What we liked about Dublin
Cool and intermittent rain – a nice relief from the summer heat of our previous locations.
Sincerely friendly and helpful people of Dublin
The history and sites in and around Dublin
Not just Guinness but some great craft beer too
Lamb shanks, fish and chips, Guinness beef and lamb stew
Cliffs of Moher, great driver/tour guide, Brian O’Riley (firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 605-6119)
The Wild Atlantic Way - scenic roadway along the Atlantic coast
Hop-on Hop-Off Bus in Dublin, an inexpensive way to get an overview of the city
Skip the Guinness Storehouse tour. It's far too commercial and crowded. Save the entry fee to buy drinks at a few local pubs for a much better experience
Aer Lingus was our airline of choice for this trip, our first experience with the airline, quickly learning that as with other low cost airlines you get what you pay for. Basic service especially the in-country flights.
Volotea Air was our airline from Italy to Split in Croatia. What was booked as a $19 flight quickly became around $90 when you added in seat selection, baggage fees, etc...$90 is still a cheap less than 2 hour flight so understand what you are getting and plan appropriately. It's a commuter airline that survives on volume where you are the volume!