As Ed Sheeran was performing in Cork, we decided that we might as well spend 2 days to enjoy Dublin on the way.
Dublin is the capital of the independent « Southern » Ireland. This section of Ireland is part of the European Union, and has the Euro as its currency. Not to confuse with Northern Ireland, which has Belfast as its capital and which is part of the United Kingdom.
It’s an hour early there compared to France (UTC+1), which is not annoying at all.
You might need an adapter because power sockets are the same as in the UK. If you have only one adapter, a multi-socket would be useful… But don’t do like us : don’t forget to check if the multi-socket is compatible with the actual adapter !
As for the weather, we got what we expected ! The sky is indeed often grey with fine rain ; a raincoat is therefore E-SSEN-TIAL !
Day 0 :
We landed in Dublin airport after a stop in London. Arriving late in the evening, we went straight to the Airbnb. We struggled a bit to find an affordable place to stay. We thus had to extend our perimeter as to how close to be from the city center. On Airbnb, we chose a room in a flat next to Phoenix Park. If you really want to stay in the heart of the capital for cheap, you’ll have to go for a bed in a dormitory in a youth hostel (but again, the better ones are, according to us, still quite expensive for what it is…)
We can go from the airport to the city center by many ways. The cheappest one was to take the bus of the city of Dublin company with the line 41 or 16A : for 2.20€, it takes you there in an hour. However, we were already late on our arrival time at the Airbnb, so we had to go for plan B and take the Airlink for 7€ per person (line 747 or 748) for 25 minutes (the terminus is after the city center). If you anticipate, you can even buy your tickets online and have a discount of 1€ (yeay!)
Day 1 :
First day, and raining already ! After eating breakfast which we took from France, we decide to go for a walk in Phoenix Park, located only 2 minutes away from the flat… Walk ‘around’ : indeed, it’s the second biggest urban park in Europe !
It’s also known for housing Dublin zoo, but you can see wild deers in the free section of the park too. We read that it was easy to get close to them, but we apparently did it the wrong way, as they ran away as soon as we got a bit too close !
If you take a little something to eat, maybe you’ll be more lucky than us. Still, we had a good time.
If you want to, you can rent bikes at the entrance to discover this huge park.
Now, let’s go for a new destination !
We were quite curious to discover Ireland coast and countryside. We decided to go to Howth by train, and… it’s not as easy as it sounds ! Indeed, we went to the closest train station, Heuston, only to learn we actually had to go to Connolly train station to take the DART. It was the opportunity for us to take the tram : there are only 2 lines (less chances to get lost!) and the ticket costs 1.50€.
Here we are, arriving at the right train station and once again, we’re impressed by all the different options foreign countries have to offer, compared to France !
First of all, you can get a return ticket working the whole day towards a village of Dublin suburb, for 6.25€ only. Second of all, you can go to every village nearby during the day for 12€ per person… If you’re well organised, it can be more than great !
We’re now sat for a 25 minutes journey. When we arrive, we see a really small and beautiful train station, very typical !
We’re walking on the side of the road to discover typical houses on the Ireland coast and its harbour, with a few boats at the dock.
In Howth, village in Dublin suburb, you’ll find 4 hiking routes to discover the surroundings, departing from the train station. You’ll quickly find the small hut where all the routes are displayed, and there’s even a person to help you : take a pic of the sign or ask for a map… Because although the routes are are well indicated, it can help in a few moments of hesitation :
– The yellow route, the «Cliff Path», 6 km long : doable in 1h30-2h, and considered as an easy trail. It leads to the coast for a while, and then comes back through the village.
– The blue route, the «Tramline», which is practically identical as the previous one, except it’s 7 km long et that the way back is slightly different once you get in the village.
– The red route, the «Black Linn», of a moderate difficulty : 8 km long in 2h-2h30. Again, it changes on the way back. Indeed, you’ll walk back on the village periphery which will allow you to see more greenery.
– The purple route, «Bog of the Frogs», which is the hardest, taking you on a 10 km trail for a roughly 2h30-3h hike.
We chose the last one, but it’s not as hard as it seems : it’s like walking on a peaceful Sunday morning in your local park ! Seriously though, it is quite easy.
After walking for a few minutes more, we see the nice coast with lots of greenery, many flowers, the Celtic Sea, and a lighthouse further away : This viewpoint has us feeling so fullfilled ! Admittedly, the sky is grey and there’s a lot of wind… But THIS is the real Ireland !
The trail is quite easy so we’re not hurrying ourselves. It therefore took us 3 hours in total. The second part offers less spectacular landscapes, but is still enjoyable : we’re going through a golf field, lost houses in the middle of nowhere, looking for a leprechaun… !
After breathing this pure air, it’s time to come back in town. Hop, same as we came : jumping in the DART and here we are, back in the Dublin city center train station.
As Justine is not a big fan of alcohol, we voluntarily skipped the Guiness Storehouse (but that doesn’t mean we haven’t tried it!)
We saw «The Old Storehouse», a 3 floors high pub-restaurant, with good critics. The Irish decoration is really typical and you can drink and eat there, while listening to local artists daily concerts.
Once the Guiness in hand, Juliette applies the tasting rules : you must not drink it as soon as it got served to you ; you have to wait until you can clearly see the demarcation between the foam and the dark beer, until its colour is uniform. If you skip these steps, the gaz is not yet well spread out, and thus can not go for the tasting… Well, « tasting » : apparently you’d have to drink a quarter each sip ! (we haven’t tried this part)
Quite frankly, it’s a discovery ! When Irish people say that this beer can’t bare to travel, it’s true ! The taste is completely different : refined and even light, we’re rediscovering the dark beer.
Other than that, their menu offers a varied choice of local specialities, like the Irish beef stew cooked in Guiness (recommended by Juliette), all sorts of meat cooked in garlic, pies… Prices are correct (around 15€) for meals this copious. Only downside, the waitresses were really intrusive even though we didn’t need anything… Although this little lack of coordination, it remains a good address.
Now that our tummies are full, we decide to go back to the Airbnb and rest for the big day coming tomorrow !
Day 2 :
Who says capital, says «Free walking tour» !
To go to the meeting point, we decide to take the bus. We read really negative comments concerning their ponctuality, assuidity on stopping when asked to, prices… But in the end, there’s nothing like making your own opinion ! The buses always stopped when we wanted them to. Admittedly, paying 2.70€ the journey can seem a bit excessive for us French people, but there’s a good side to looking younger than what we actually are : pay the -18 yo price (1.50€) without asking for it… !
Once you get on the bus, you have to say to the driver to what stop you wanna get off, as the price of the ticket depends on it. You can only pay by cash : plan to have the exact sum, as the machine has no change available.
The Leap Visitor Card can be an interesting option if you plan to take public transports a lot, or stick around for a bit… As we’re only staying 2 days, this offer wasn’t advantageous for us.
This time, we’re going to go around the capital with «Dublin Free Walking Tours». Our guide is really joyful and has a lot of stories to tell us about Dublin as we walk around… There are a lot of historical facts about this city !
Trinity College, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral you go from one to another, but they don’t look alike. Special mention to the last place, the pic is self-explanatory :
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stay until the end of the visit, as we had to quickly eat and get to the next one we had booked. Yesterday, we spot a place to eat on the go on Merchant’s Arch Street : South American Shop, selling all sorts of pies for only 4.95€.
Now let’s head to the Kilmainham jail, which has of course been converted into a museum. We truly advise you to book your tickets in advance on the internet (the 1 hour guided tour costs 8€), because they sell like (French) pastries !
To sum up the visit, we were a bit disappointed because the guide clearly lacked enthusiasm… Yes it was a prison once, but it’s today a tourist attraction yet with very good critics online ! Besides, we admit it, we didn’t know any of the personalities she was telling the story about and who were imprisoned here… That said, the premises remained unaltered : we felt the cold atmosphere of this prison !
It’s 6pm and our stay in Dublin is over : we’re now heading to Cork, on board of a “Gobus” company bus, offering trips between Dublin, Cork and Galway for competitive prices. We won’t describe in details our stay in Cork, as it’s been devoted to the concert organisation only.
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