Our Irish road trip ended in Dublin. With less than 48 hours before our flight to Germany, we saw what we could of the city.
By the time the rental car was returned (kudos to Jeff, who navigated himself to the airport while driving stick on the left side of the road!), we went to eat a late lunch at the Brazen Head. It was right around the corner from the Four Courts Hostel where we stayed. The food was affordable and delicious!
With full bellies, we walked to the Chester Beatty library which contains an excellent free exhibition of many ancient books and manuscripts, mostly on religious texts. Did I mention it was free?! If you haven’t picked up on it already, we tend to gravitate toward free activities. We also walked around St. Patrick’s church, Trinity College and Temple Bar.
Since we were both thirsty we decided it was time to find a pub. Ironically, we randomly walked into ‘The Temple Bar’ because we heard good live music. It was probably the most touristy, expensive bar in the whole Temple Bar area. But I don’t care. Because they made me this:
I’d been craving a Bailey’s coffee for days (when in Ireland, right?). It only cost something like $12. Totally worth it! ($12 is more than we normally spend for dinner for the both of us. Needless to say, we ate a pretty light dinner that night.)
The next day we woke up, ate breakfast and headed to the Guinness factory for our second breakfast, in the form of pints. Many of our American friends have recommended touring Guinness. One of our French friends on the farm warned us that it was a complete tourist trap. I have to say (gasp!) the French are right. If you are visiting Dublin, do yourself a favor and order a Guinness in a corner pub. It costs less, you get more atmosphere, and you won’t have to deal with tourists. I guess most brewery tours would be disappointing after Lagunitas (Jeff’s Note: I wouldn’t even call this a brewery tour, it’s a shrine to all things Guinness and is just a way for them to make some cash. Multiple restaurants and bars populate the “tour” and other than pouring yourself a pint, it’s really not that exciting. It would be much better if they would show you around their massive production facility).
At Guinness, it’s a self-guided tour through some modern exhibits, and then you get to pour your own pint. Don’t get me wrong- there are some great selfie opportunities (see below), but we were looking for a little more than that.
Also, this left a bad taste in my mouth:
We spent about 2 hours at Guinness, then walked across the city to the National Museums which are also free. Even if you aren’t extremely interested in natural history or archeology (the ones we went to) for example, these museums are worth a visit just to see the buildings. They had gorgeous architecture!
We picked up burritos for lunch and ate in a park on our way to visit the Kilmainham Gaol. All of the reviews about the jail were great, and advised us to buy our tickets ahead of time. I was so glad we did! Tours of the Gaol sell out before that day, so book in advance. This was my favorite thing that we did in Dublin, it was only 7 euros a piece ($8), and we learned so much about Irish history and their fight for independence.
Ireland didn’t gain independence from Great Britain until 1949. The 1916 Rising (100 years ago!) was the first successful attempt for Ireland to become independent in the fact that, although it was a futile attempt against British troops, the movement for independence gained public support. This was only after the cruel executions of those imprisoned at Kilmainham Gaol for their role in the 1916 Rising. Although Ireland is a young country, you can feel the pride throughout the tour.
Both of us are convinced that 48 hours is plenty to do Dublin justice, but you really need to get out to the country side to experience Ireland.
Slàinte! (Irish ‘cheers’ to your good health)
Modes of transportation used: Plane, bus, taxi, rental car
Total amount spent in Ireland (including flight): $1762.03 USD
Avg.: $65.26 USD per day
*Those numbers include the entirety of our Ireland trip, and the majority of the time we were working for room and board so our daily cost was virtually $0. If you take just the time we were traveling about the rest of Ireland being tourists, we averaged $114.90 a day, and that includes a few nights spent with friends in Cork, so just our roadtrip portion would be a little higher*