I really struggled with posting this last part of my Ireland Travel Guide Series due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel industry being pretty much shut down. Things have been tough here in New Jersey, but are getting better. I finally decided it was the right time to post this final piece and hope people are planning their travels for the future! Enjoy!
As excited as we were to get to Dublin, we were also a little bit sad knowing it was the last destination of our trip. Heading directly from Galway city center to Dublin city center is approximately a 2 and half hour drive. We decided to split this up by stopping in Athlone, County Westmeath, it is pretty much exactly in the middle of the two cities.
Athlone sits on the River Shannon and is the home to the oldest pub in Ireland, Sean’s Bar. And if you have learned anything about us at all it is we don’t miss a place with our name in it, so Sean was very excited to go to Sean’s Bar.
After Sean’s Bar we headed over to the Athlone Castle and did a self guided tour. This tour was interactive and really interesting. We only stayed in Athlone for a few hours so we did not get to explore it as much as we would like, but think its a great location to stop between Galway and Dublin.
The first thing we did when getting to Dublin was check into our final hotel for our last two nights. We stayed at the Trinity City Hotel which is very centrally located in the area of Trinity College and right near the River Liffey.
Dublin is separated into a North and South by the River Liffey. It is then further broken down into postal sections such as D2 where our hotel was located. Knowing the “D#” of a location will help you to understand where the place is essentially located. For example, the popular area of Temple Bar and Grafton Street are in the D1 area.
After checking in and dropping our luggage we returned our rental car to the city center location and it was only a few blocks walk to get back to our hotel. We decided since we had two day tickets for the hop on and hop off bus to get on and just ride around the city and start to get use to the area.
Pro Tip: You do not need a rental car in Dublin, return your car when you get to the city to save on rental price for those days; if you are doing Dublin as a first stop grab the car when leaving and heading to your next destination.
Our third day in Dublin was our departure day and we had a 9am flight, so we really only had one full day, Saturday and the second half of Friday after arriving. We did and saw so much in this short time. I can’t wait to get back and experience more of the city, there is just so much to do here.
Here are a few images from our first ride around the city on the hop on hop off bus. I was really trying to remember to take pictures to share, but was also trying to enjoy the views.
Our first night in Dublin we ate at Fire Steakhouse. There are multiple different seating areas, we ate upstairs. Fire is located in D2 of Dublin and really beautiful.
Sorry for the glare of us, but this is the only picture in the restaurant I took. We were upstairs inside, but there is an outside which overlooks beautiful gardens and a fountain.
Our first evening in Dublin after dinner was spent walking around the Temple Bar and Trinity College areas and popping in and out of pubs. We then headed to our hotel because we had a packed day coming up.
I honestly have no idea how we managed to fit in as much as we did the following day, but we saw so much and it was great.
After Trinity College and The Book of Kells exhibit we headed to St. Stephens Green and walked around looking a the local art that was set up in the park and for sale.
We were doing this while waiting for our next adventure, the Viking Splash Tour.
The Viking Splash Tour was an amphibious car tour around the city, half on the street half in the water. Complete with Viking helmets and “roaring” at people in the streets.
This is where we launched for the water portion of the tour
The Viking Splash Tour was one of my favorite ways to see the city and learn some history as well. Our tour guide was so funny she had us all laughing the entire time.
After we were back on land it was off to visit a few museums.
We first went to the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, located in D2.
Next Stop: Dublinia Viking Museum, one of Sean’s favorites and Saint Michael’s Tower.
I wanted to go up to St. Michaels Tower so bad, but my fear of heights got the best of me, Sean went up and said the view of the city was great!
After Dublinia, it was time to head to the Guinness Brewery and Storehouse!
Pro Tip: Pre-Purchase your tickets. We went on a Saturday and the line was so long, but had pre-purchased tickets through the tour company we used to book our accommodations. This was the best thing, we got to walk right in past the entire line!
The Brewery and Storefront located at the famous St. James Gate is a really fun experience. It’s interactive and as you walk through there is so much to see and do. There is a restaurant, places to learn how to pull your own pint and a variety of different bars including the Gravity Bar that offers a skycap view of the city of Dublin.
Here are some pictures from our experience:
After the Guinness Storehouse our last stop of the day was Dublin Castle. I honestly can’t believe looking back how we filled this all into one day. I think we just knew it was our only full day in Dublin and needed to do and see as much as we could.
Pro Tip: Guided tours are always during specific times and if you miss one you will need to wait for the next. They also tend the take longer, if you are trying to make up time a self guided tour is a great way to make your way through a castle or museum. We did a mix of both guided and self guided tours and enjoyed both. It really depended on our schedule and our interest in where we were going.
Dublin Castle has guided tours available, we did a self guided tour for time.
There are so many more pictures I would love to share with everyone, but this post is already so long!
After an entire day of running around Dublin and seeing absolutely everything we could, we headed out for our last meal and it did not disappoint.
Dinner was at Cafe Ein Seine which is a great tapas restaurant that has multiple different bars that are themed so well. I really wish our flight wasn’t so early the next morning because I did not want to leave! it was hard to get pictures inside since it was dark, and also since it was packed.
These are from a bar above the main floor looking down into a bar that was meant to look like it was outside
There were so many different floors and rooms in this place and each was better than the last. We loved it here and would highly recommend it even just for a drink and to look around!
After Cafe Ein Seine and a few pubs we headed back to our hotel for our final sleep. The next morning we were up early for our flight back to New Jersey.
This entire trip was absolutely amazing, an experience we still think and talk about daily. I hope you enjoyed following along with our Ireland trip and found some useful pieces in these travel guides.
If you every have any questions regarding Ireland and travel plans there don’t hesitate to reach out to me, I could talk about Ireland forever!
If you missed any of my previous parts to my Ireland Travel Guide, you can find them all here:
Ireland Travel Guide Series – Part 1 Overview, Counties Kilkenny & Waterford
Ireland Travel Guide Series – Part 2 County Cork
Ireland Travel Guide Series – Part 3 County Kerry
Ireland Travel Guide Series – Part 4 County Clare
Ireland Travel Guide Series – Part 5 County Galway
Ireland Travel Essentials