I had visited Dublin once before, when I was about 12. Unfortunately the only aspect I could remember was the fact it had a river, the trip this weekend gave me a grown up experience of the city, which included some classic Irish beverages!
After a very short (35mins) flight from Liverpool I met up with my boyfriend Tom (who had flown from the midlands), in the arrivals lounge. Having had some time to wait he had sussed which bus to get into town, €10 got us a return ticket and we were on our way.
I’ve stayed in the Generator Hostel quite recently, however the Generator Dublin was a much classier affair. London’s offering was a little shabby, particularly the decor and there was very limited seating in the breakfast area. In complete contrast, the Dublin hostel was modern, although similar in its decor, it was new and clean, nothing shabby in sight. The room was perfect, not that we could complain after getting a bargain deal of €60 for two nights, a double room with en suite, worked out at about £12 each per night!
Saturday morning we headed south across the river to the Guinness storehouse to learn about the classic Irish stout that has been around since 1759! We learnt about the combination of barley, hops, yeast and water which eventually brews down to the drink we know and love. In the “Guinness Academy” we learnt how to pull the perfect pint and were awarded with a certificate! We drank our pints over looking the city, followed by some Guinness inspired food in the restaurant area. An interesting, yet fun experience that I’d definitely recommend, whether you’re a Guinness lover or not.
Our rambles through the city after this lead us to the lively area of Temple Bar. Just on the outskirts we stumbled upon a gorgeous cake shop, “Queen of Tarts”, we had admired on trip advisor a couple of weeks earlier. Despite a 15 minute wait, the surroundings were lovely and we drank tea and coffee did ate scones to warm up from the teasing snow outside. The cakes looked fabulous, as did the selection of savoury food that was being served around us. Thoroughly enjoyed the scones, and appreciated the flowery tea cup I had.
Venturing further into Temple Bar, the crowds got a little more entertaining and drunk. The pubs and bars looked tempting as we were so chilly, however one in particular, The Oliver St. John Gogarty tempted us right in with the screens showing the England vs. France 6 nations game and some lively live Irish music playing! The atmosphere was great inside, a classic Irish pub, which although wasn’t ideally priced (Guinness was €5.25 and a Jameson and Cranberry set us back €8.95) , it was a really entertaining Irish experience. The punters came and went and we sat at the bar and observed both our surroundings and the rugby. We loved the live music, and chatted to a few Irish and English guys who were also visiting the city!
Our hungry stomachs lead us up O’Connall Street for some dinner at the Parnell Bar and Grill. We devoured a classic Irish meal, bacon, mash, sauce and cabbage. The meat was cooked to perfection and the drinks were much more reasonably priced. Following desert, apple pie and chocolate fudge cake, we merrily headed back to the hostel. Drinking from 5pm Irish style really takes it out of you!
Sunday saw us trekking through the outskirts of the city to Kilmainham Gaol. The grey building loomed above us, as we booked onto a tour an hour later. We were invited to look around the museum as we waited. Here we learnt about some of conditions of the gaol in the 19th Century, as well as why some people were arrested. Examples included, 2 months hard labour for stealing bread, or worse, a longer period for stealing animals. Women were locked for prostitution and even children for stealing. At 1pm the tour guide took us around the prison, showing us cells and the grounds and explaining some of the history of the prison. The Gaol is really important in Irish history as many rebellion leaders were imprisoned and executed here. The tour guide was fascinating and we learnt a lot about Irish history, particularly about the rebellions against the British!
As we didn’t have much time before heading back to the airport we grabbed some food at a cafe across from the hostel, after we had collected our luggage. Third Space was a really friendly and cosy cafe, offering sandwiches, coffee tea and to our delight a full Irish breakfast! There was a large bookshelf for exchanging books and the decor was fun and light hearted. After a thoroughly enjoyable meal we headed to the bus back to the airport.
It was hard to get a rounded view of the whole city in such a short space of time, but I loved learning about the history at the Gaol and experiencing a really great Irish pub and food. Definitely worth a weekend break, if not longer as there is plenty to do!