January may have only 31 days, but boy does it feel about three months long. The days are short, the nights are long. It’s cold, it’s dark, and for me the only glimmer of hope is that my birthday arrives at the end of it. And what better way to break up the January blues, than to book a little getaway to celebrate turning another year older?
This year’s destination of choice was Dublin in Ireland, a place that appears on my travel bucket list and in all honesty was chosen because of how easy it was to get there. Cheap flights from Cardiff early on a Friday morning, and we’d be back early Sunday evening which provided plenty of time to rest up before the crazy working week starts again. What’s more, whilst doing some research on where to go for a few days we came across a gorgeous hotel, The Hyatt Centric in The Liberties, on booking.com. We booked the hotel, booked the flights and within 3 days we were off on our jollies. It’s safe to say we loved our stay in this quirky, eccentric and a little-rough-around-the-edges city.
The Irish capital is small but with a huge reputation and a fantastic friendliness. We found people in the city to be so helpful, so chatty and just downright lovely. It was so easy to get around, everything was within walking distance of our hotel, and we found ourselves wandering the city and taking in the cobbled streets, brightly painted buildings and pretty sights along the way. Once the second city of the British empire, it is steeped in history and there are some fantastic sights and museums to explore, as well as a gorgeous Georgian quarter, lots of shops and delicious eateries, and the pubs, of course. Here are the six places you must visit when in Dublin.
Temple Bar is a pub itself, but it’s so popular and historic in the city that its name has spread and now describes a small district alongside the Liffey River that is filled with quirky pubs, cobbled streets and lots of live music. It is exactly how I expected Dublin to be, with friendly people and so much fun to be had. Day or night there is so much going on in this vibrant and lively part of the capital. Definitely grab yourself a bubble waffle from the many dessert eateries and check out Elephant and Castle for a delicious evening meal. But be warned, Temple Bar is expensive and drinks are costly.
The Guinness Storehouse
An absolute must-do and probably one of our favourite parts of the trip, a visit to The Guinness Storehouse does not disappoint. You can book in advance online and it’s definitely worth doing. You can spend several wandering through the museum, which tells the story of “The Black Stuff” and how it shaped Dublin and indeed Ireland too. See everything from how it gets made, to how it was advertised in these quirky and interactive exhibitions. You even get a masterclass on taste and can pour your own pint, before ending your visit at the museum’s rooftop bar, which gives panoramic views of the city as it sprawls out across the land. It’s really awesome and well worth the money. But * spoiler alert *, Guinness tastes gross.
Trinity College Library
This place is seriously magical. Situated in the heart of Trinity College grounds, it’s such a beautiful building and we were really enchanted by the place and its history. The library is the permanent home to the Brian Boru harp, which is a national symbol of Ireland, and also houses a copy of 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and the Book of Kells, which is said to be the world’s most famous and oldest book. We loved staring at the amazing collection of books, as people walked around in hushed tones. It has a really Harry Potter-esque vibe and is a must-visit for bookworms. And I think one of the things we both really liked about Dublin was that it was a city break without a huge influx of tourists, like on our trip to Rome, for instance. It’s 12 euros each to go in to the library and it also comes with a mini museum and a gift shop.
The Little Museum of Dublin
This quirky little museum gave us a really great insight into the history of the city and more generally of Ireland too. We paid about 10 euros and were given a tour of the house, with each room covered in amazing memorabilia that covered Irish history from the early 1900s to now. Our tour guide was great – he was really interactive and fun – and all of the people we met there were so happy to help. It’s small, eccentric and generally really interesting.
The River Liffey works its way through Dublin and we really enjoyed taking time out from the hustle and bustle of the crowds to stroll along the river and to take in the sights of the brightly painted buildings that stood along it. A little stroll across Ha’penny Bridge also has to be done. The bridge was built in 1816 and in the days before that there were ferries that would take people across. The bridge’s name isn’t “Ha’penny Bridge”, but that is what it’s known as and it comes from the price of the original toll to cross, designed to match the levies of the ferries it had replaced.
If you’re looking for a low-key, chilled city break I cannot recommend Dublin enough. It’s a beautiful place with wonderful people and it’s definitely made me want to explore more of the whole of Ireland. It is expensive, especially for food and drink, but everything is within walking distance and if you head over for longer than a weekend, there are lots of fun road trips you can take into the Irish countryside.
Have you visited Dublin?
Lots of love. xoxo