4 Nights in Ireland

 

Just after starting Holiday Runaway it was time for my first trip as a travel blogger. I have been traveling for most of my life, but I had never thought to blog about my travels or share my travel tips and information I’ve gathered. My first destination as a travel blogger? Dublin, Ireland!   I got a great deal through Icelandair and it was set. I would fly to Dublin for a quick trip. I had this grand ambition or run all over Ireland spending a day here, half a day there and so on trying to cram it all in. Ultimately, I decided this wasn’t the best way to visit Ireland if I planned to blog about it.  As a result, I Spent 3 days in Dublin and one day in Belfast and Northern Ireland.  This is how I spent my 4 Nights in Ireland.

4 nights in Ireland

Bridge designed to look like an Irish Harp

Night 1

Flying into Dublin in the evening. I made my way through passport control and exited the airport. I hopped on an express bus to the city center and got dropped off on O’Connell Street. From where I was dropped off I walked a minute to the door of my hotel. I was staying at Hotel St. George by The Key Collection. I got checked in and went up into my room. I unpacked and went down to check out the area. Tired I quickly headed back to my hotel room and crashed out. 

 

Night 2

My first morning in Dublin I woke up way to early to do anything in town. As a result, I broke out my laptop and wrote my first travel blog post on the road! After working on Holiday Runaway for a bit I headed down for a fantastic breakfast. I headed out and bought a daily ticket for the LUAS street car. Riding the street car a few stops I got out and walked over to Trinity College. I explored the campus while I waited for the Book of Kells and the Long Room to open. I had a ticket for the first tour of the day.  After visiting Trinity College, I headed back to O’Connell Street on foot cutting through Temple Bar and Crossing Ha’Penny Bridge.  Back on O’Connell Street I bought a 72-hour pass for the Hop On Hop Off bus tour.

Full Irish Breakfast before heading out to explore Dublin

Grabbing a full breakfast before heading out.

I enjoy taking these Hop On Hop Off busses as they give you a decent tour for a very low cost. But more importantly to me as they run on a consistent schedule and you can hop on and off at will at each stop they give you a cheap way to get around to all the major sights.

 

After seeing much of the city by bus with some great commentary I hopped off at my next stop, the Old Jameson Distillery at Bow St. I made conversation with another traveler as I walked there. She happened to have a 12-hour layover in Dublin on her way to Budapest, Hungary.  I arrived for my tour and met my awesome guide (kills me that I didn’t write down his name, but I was new to the whole blogging thing and not used to writing about my travels in that much detail yet…)  I highly recommend you tour the Jameson Distillery if you’re ever in Dublin. My guide gave us the amazing history of Jameson. After being told, and shown with some amazing graphic aids, the history of Jameson we moved on to the production process.  Next came the taste test between the number one selling whiskey in the world (American made Jack Daniels), the number one selling Scotch Whisky in the world (Johnny Walker) and Jameson Whiskey.

Jameson

After touring Jameson, I hopped back onto the bus and road to Croke Park. Afterwards I switched routes and road the other route that the bus goes on to see more of Dublin.  I grabbed some fish and chips for dinner then headed back to my hotel to get some much-needed sleep. I had an early tour the next morning.

Night 3

The next morning, I awoke early to catch a coach tour up to Northern Ireland to Belfast. I admired the Irish country side as we road up towards Belfast, Northern Ireland. Crossing the boarder was a breeze and you only knew it happened when the speed signs switched to Miles Per Hour instead of Kilometers Per Hour.

 

Giants Causeway

Arriving in Belfast we stopped at a small mall. I ran inside and bought some items from a grocery store to have a picnic for myself later. Leaving the store, I began a local tour to the sights of some major clashes between the Irish Republican Army and the British Forces. This tour was fascinating. I didn’t know that to this day at night some of the neighborhoods still close themselves off from one another with the old gates from the days of fighting. Finishing off the tour we next headed over to Titanic Belfast. This is an impressive museum built where the Titanic was constructed.

 

Meeting back up with the coach I relaxed and snacked on some of the food I had bought earlier as we drove off to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is set on a beautiful Irish cliff side connecting it to a small island. The first bridge here was built over 350 years ago. The bridge spans over 20 meters and is 30 meters high. There have been instances where people were unable to face the heights and couldn’t cross the bridge back from the island. These people had to be taken off the island by boat.

The next stop in Northern Ireland was Giants Causeway! These basalt columns are the result of volcanic activity. Located in County Antrim on the North Coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills. In 1986 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Giants Causeway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. Giants Causeway was formed some 50 to 60 million years ago. Legend has it that an Irish Giant formed the rocks so that he could cross the North Channel to fight a Scottish Giant, this led to the name being The Giants Causeway.  Before heading down to the Giants Causeway I stopped in a bar near the entrance. The name of the bar was “The Nook”, I ate a fantastic helping of Irish Stew. After I headed over and took the bus down to the Causeway. (It was only 2£ and gave me a bit of extra time to explore the sights.)

Check out my post on Giants Causeway 

Now it was time to take the long ride home to Dublin. On the bus ride back, they put on Waking Ned. By the time we rolled back into Dublin everyone was good and tired.  I spent a bit of time walking around and exploring around O’Connell street before heading back to my hotel. I watched some local TV before crashing out.

Night 4

Another Day in Dublin. Today would be a busy day! I woke early and got breakfast. I next headed out for the Hop On Hop Off bus and road it down to the docklands. Once there I made my way over to the EPIC Irish Emigration museum. This is a fascinating museum on the story of Irish emigration. I learned about famous criminals, athletes and more. I didn’t know how many people have Irish roots!  I even got to try to River Dance! As you progress through the museum you stamp your EPIC passport.

 

We all come from somewhere

I hopped back onto the bus and road it through the docklands to the Christ Church Cathedral, there I toured the church and the crypt below. I next headed next door over to Dublinia. Dublinia is a fascinating museum that traces the roots of Dublin from a Viking colony through the middle ages and up to the modern era where we are currently excavating artifacts.

Embracing my Viking Roots wearing a viking helmet and tunic

Embracing my Viking Roots

I left Dublinia and wandered the streets for a bit until I found John’s Lane Church, Thomas street. Next headed over to the Guinness Brewery. On my way I found a wool shop on a back street and bought myself the perfect trinity cap.

Arriving at the Guinness Brewery I began my tour and learned about the production of Guinness. It is one of the most popular tourist stops in Dublin. As a result, it was extremely crowded and very noisy. This made much of the tour hard to enjoy. The exhibits were very cool, but the crowd size and noise made it tiring.  They did teach me how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness however and that was the highlight of the tour! They took me and a small group over to a private bar room where our guide showed us the proper pour in steps and had us all pour one. Afterwards I took my perfect pint up the elevator to the Gravity Bar on the top floor for a 360-degree view of Dublin.

Pouring the perfect Pint

With my evening winding down, I headed back to my hotel and dropped off my stuff. I relaxed for a bit before heading out for an Irish Pub Crawl and music tour. I met the group at the appointed time in a bar in Temple District. We listened to some of music and had a few drinks before we all walked over the next bar. Here we were taught a folk song about beer and hard cider. We continued to another pub and all sang along to the music.

 

My night was ending, I headed back to my Hotel and packed up as it would be my final night. I caught a little bit of sleep before having to wake up to check out and catch my cab. It was time to head to the airport to head off to Iceland.

 

Ireland was good to me for these 4 nights, but I feel like I must come back. There is so much left to see in Dublin, let alone the rest of Ireland!  4 nights in Ireland was a good taste.