Last month, my friend Rachel and I took to the streets of Dublin for a three-day break. Here’s what we got up to on our mini adventure.
Rachel and I live in different places in the UK so we flew from separate airports, Rachel from Manchester and myself from Edinburgh. The flights were really cheap – mine only cost about £85 return – so we thought it would be a nice, inexpensive break.
We flew late on Thursday night and early on Monday morning to make the most of our three days in Dublin. When we got to the airport we got the Airlink Express to the city centre. It’s €7 for a single fare or €12 for a return, if you buy it online you’ll save yourself a euro.
As it turns out, Dublin is incredibly expensive and finding accommodation for four nights at a reasonable price was almost impossible. The hotels were mostly over €1,000, Airbnb wasn’t much cheaper, and even a bed in a shared hostel room came to about €250 each.
Tip: We were looking about three weeks in advance and places were very booked up, so book early as you’ll find cheaper deals.
About a week before we went I checked Airbnb again, and to my surprise the most amazing apartment had come up at a great price in a really central location. We stayed in this apartment and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It cost £575.72 for four nights, so between two of us it worked out very reasonable.
What we did
On our first day we got up early and decided to explore the city by foot. It was a Friday, so we thought the city would be a little quieter before the weekend kicked in.
Dublin has one of the most eclectic mixes of architecture I have ever seen, and I loved it. It’s also a very low-lying city, there aren’t many tall buildings apart from in the areas around the harbour which is where all of the tech companies HQs are, like Facebook.
Our route took us around the Old Town, and while we were visiting specific places, it was also really lovely to see the pretty streets and wander around.
We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral first, the ticket price was €7 which felt a bit steep, so we wondered around outside to enjoy the architecture and gardens.
Next up was Dublin Castle just a few minutes around the corner. Again, we decided not to go in – ticket prices are €7 for self-guided tours and €10 for guided tours – but the outside was spectacular to see. It’s certainly the most colourful castle I’ve ever seen, but we were into it. It also has a lovely little garden you can wander around for free at the back.
After the Castle we headed to Dublinia, a historical recreation museum about the history of the Republic of Ireland. Dublinia is connected to Christ Church Cathedral, and a combined ticket for the two was €15 and included entry up tower with good views over the city, so we decided to head on in. The museum was really interesting and interactive, even as two adults we had a great time. There was dress up, so obviously that happened too.
The rest of the day we wandered around taking in some of Dublin’s famous landmarks and sites including the Ha’penny bridge, Temple Bar, Trinity College and Grand Canal Square before heading into the National Gallery of Ireland (which is free, hurrah!). We also saw a lot of other bridges during the day. As it transpires, Dublin bloody loves a good bridge, so if that’s your bag then Dublin is the place for you.
After the art gallery we collapsed in St Stephen’s Green, a lovely park with a little lake and bandstand, and soaked up the summer sun.
Eating out in Dublin is majorly expensive, but we managed to find a really great pizza restaurant called Honest To Goodness right the middle of Town with super affordable prices and delicious food.
Afterwards we headed to find a good bar for a drink. Dublin is famous for its evening entertainment and live music, and it did not disappoint. We found a bar called Mulligan & Haines which was playing live music from two guys and a guitar, and it was beautiful. The bar only opened last year, and the interior is magical – stained glass windows, black walls, bookshelves packed with leather bound novels. I would recommend checking it out.
We didn’t get up quite so early on the Saturday, we were tired and needed some sleep, don’t judge us. The weather was looking nice and sunny though, so once we were up we decided to walk to Phoenix Park and check out Dublin Zoo.
I won’t bore you with what we saw at the zoo, but I will say it’s probably the best and most beautiful zoo I’ve ever been to. Well worth the €18 entry price. Honestly, if it hadn’t of had animals in I would have still loved it, it was like a stunning botanical garden centred around two lakes. Worth checking out!
We spent a lot of hours at the zoo and had planned to explore Phoenix Park fully afterwards. The weather had taken a turn though and we were still pretty tired, so we bought ice-creams and lay on the grass for a while being whipped around by the wind.
When we plucked up the energy to get up again, we walked back home via the Wellington Monument and stopped off at a trendy bar called Hogans (mainly so we could drink alcohol and watch a World Cup game). The walk was about an hour and we got to see more of the city and a bunch more bridges.
To avoid spending a small fortune we decided to cook dinner in our apartment and have some wine before heading out to some more bars.
We had walked past a pub just a minute away from our accommodation a few times called The Hairy Lemon. We loved the name so much we decided to go for a drink there first, and it was great with a really nice and warm atmosphere.
After this we went in search of some more live music and found our way to O’Donoghue’s. This bar was much smaller than Mulligan & Haines and was very cosy and casual. It was pretty busy, but we managed to score some seats at the bar and sat for hours listening to a man and his guitar play ever genre of music you can imagine. It was superb and from that moment I completely and utterly fell in love with Dublin.
For our last day we decided to head off of the beaten track and jumped in a taxi to the Irishtown Nature Park. The park is a beautiful paved walk along the coast with lovely views across several beaches and the city. At the end is of the park is a seawall that spans about a mile and leads to Poolbeg Lighthouse, which is where we stopped to have our packed lunch.
Once we walked back through the nature park, we picked up another taxi to take us across town to the Guinness Storehouse. It wouldn’t have been a trip to Dublin without going, so while neither of us are huge fans of Guinness we paid the €18.50 and went along.
The storehouse was a bit surreal. It’s a self-guided tour and it is so millennial I couldn’t stop taking photos of everything. It’s packed full of people which is a bit overwhelming, but it’s worth a visit.
Tip: You get a drinks token for one free drink with your admission ticket. There are a few chances to use it along the tour but save it for the panoramic 360-degree bar at the top. The views are incredible.
On a recommendation from our Airbnb host, we checked out Jo’Burger for dinner, a super laid-back burger restaurant. The food was heavenly and there was so much we couldn’t finish it all, plus it was a great price so I would highly recommend it.
We then headed to bed and set our alarms for 3:30am on Monday, ready to catch a flight and go to work. Which, if you are wondering, is a terrible idea and I would recommend booking the day off.