The decision to go to Ireland was a spontaneous one. It wasn’t somewhere that I had been dying to see, but since we were already headed to Europe, we thought, “why not visit somewhere else along the way.” Ireland just made the most sense financially and geographically.
Despite the fact that Ireland wasn’t on my list of top five places I need to see before I die, I was most excited for this leg of the trip. I knew it would be more laid back, and less of an itinerary, which I like. Don’t get me wrong, we were only there for five days, and there was a lot we wanted to do— but there was a lot less to pressure to hit museums and touristy spots than I knew there would be in Paris.
Personally, I think four full days in Dublin is plenty (unless you plan to spend a day or two outside of the city). So, if you ever find yourself in Dublin, Ireland for a long, extended weekend, here’s The Ocean Minded’s travel guide (you’re welcome).
Do the booze tours. You know what they say, Guinness tastes better in Ireland (or so I hear). While Guinness and Jameson aren’t my drinks of choice, you have to pay a visit to the OG brewery and distillery while you’re there. Each tour includes a tasting and a complimentary drink at the end, which makes it worth it in my opinion. If you go, make sure to stop at the Gravity Bar at the tip-top of the Guinness factory— it has a phenomenal 360 view of the city.
Take a stroll by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We didn’t go inside, but we walked around the perimeter and I feel like I saw all I needed to see. It’s worth a stroll, if you’re in the area.
Stop by The Dean Dublin. If you want an Instagram-worthy hotel, meal, or cocktail, you have to go to Sophie’s at The Dean. I was obsessed.
Dress in layers. Dublin is known for the perpetual gloom (very similar to London). If you’re lucky, like we were, you may get a couple days of sunshine. It sprinkled the first day, but we had sunny and 70-degree weather throughout the remainder of the weekend, which was even a shock to locals. Bring a coat anyway!
Visit a local pub. This one seems obvious. If you didn’t get tipsy in a pub, did you even really go to Ireland? No, the answer is no. Everyone will recommend Temple Bar, and while you should definitely go check it out, it’s almost too crowded to enjoy yourself. Some of our other favorites were Stag’s Head or The Dame Tavern, but anywhere with a fully stocked bar and live music does the trick.
Pro Tip: if you end up in Galway, go to O’Connell’s Bar — that’s where the movie P.S. I Love You was filmed. Swoon.
Spend an hour at the Dublin Castle. In my opinion, you don’t need more than an hour to do it all.
Picnic at Saint Stephen’s Green. We didn’t actually do this, but I wish we would have. Since the sunshine is rare, everyone day-drinks and lounges in the public parks when the weather permits.
Bring your walking shoes. Everyone walks in Dublin. At one point, a cab driver actually refused to drive us back to our hotel because he said we were close enough to walk and were just being lazy. In our defense, it was 3am and we were trying to be safe and responsible.
Hike the Cliffs of Moher. Getting from Dublin to the cliffs is quite a trek (about 3 hours each way, which is a miserable bus ride when hungover), but it’s so, so worth it. It’s no secret that I love the ocean, and the views at the Cliffs of Moher were out-of-this-world gorgeous. If you’ve ever been to Davenport, California, imagine that, but better.
If you go, bring a sweater, it’s windy AF.
Pro tip: if the cliffs don’t tickle your fancy, I still highly recommend that you get out of the city for at least one full day to experience the Irish countryside– ya know, the infamous rolling green hills sprinkled with sheep. You won’t see any of that if you limit yourself to Dublin.
Go to church. Nope, not just any church, I’m talkin’ about The Church. The Church is an old church turned into a massive restaurant and bar. The drinks are bomb and the food ain’t bad either. Praise be.