Dublin, Ireland

Check out the beginning of my trip in March (2017) in London here and here and Northern Ireland here.

At the end of Day 5, I made my way back through Ireland (from Belfast) to visit Dublin and the surrounding area. I had planned another half day with the rental car and then to spend the rest of the weekend in Dublin enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Here’s what I go up to!

(Rest of ) Day 5: Driving back from Belfast, Jumping Wall of Kildemock, Newgrange, Temple Bar
Day 6: The Wonderful Barn, Conolly’s Folly, Charleville Castle, County Wicklow, Glendalough, Festival Ceili, Temple Bar
Day 7: St Patrick’s Day Parade, Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour, City of a Thousand Welcomes, Temple Bar
Day 8: Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse Tour, Green Door Market, Marsh’s Library, The Little Museum of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green, Phil Lynott Statue, Oscar Wilde Statue, National Gallery of Ireland, Graffton Street, Trinity College, Garden of Remembrance, General Post Office and the Spire, Famine Memorial

Day 5: Driving back from Belfast, Jumping Wall of Kildemock, Newgrange, Temple Bar

On the way back from Belfast to Dublin I made a few stops along the way.

  1. Jumping Wall of Kildemock: A plaque at the site reads: “This wall by its pitch, tilt and position can be seen to have moved three feet from its foundation.” SO COOL. Driving off the main roads was scary for this tourist! The two-lane roads are about as wide as one lane in Canada, very windy roads and don’t forget to drive on the left!

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    Jumping Wall of Kildemock
  2. Newgrange: JUST missed the visitor centre’s opening hours so I couldn’t get in but I wandered around and took a few pictures. DSC_0726
  3. Stopped at the Mound of Hostages but it was too dark! Should’ve spent more time in Belfast, to be honest, because I forgot about not being able to visit outdoor attractions at night. Another noob move!
  4. Drove in to Dublin and trying to find parking near my hostel was a nightmare! I looped around the block twice before driving about 2 km west and parking on a side street. When I got to the hostel to check in, the staff recommended I park in the underground parking lot just behind the hostel rather than parking on the road (they were worried about damage) so another two loops around the area brought me to the parking garage. An hour later I was back to the hostel safe and sound. I took a walk through Temple Bar (is the area of Dublin with pubs and bars and live music) but was a little too intimidated to stop in anywhere so off to bed I went.

Day 6: The Wonderful Barn, Conolly’s Folly, Charleville Castle, County Wicklow, Glendalough, Festival Ceili, Temple Bar

  1. The Wonderful Barn: An Atlas Obscura find and worth the stop! It’s a funny little barn just west of Dublin and very easy to get to.

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    The Wonderful Barn
  2. Conolly’s Folly: Another Atlas Obscura find. The Conolly’s Folly is an obelisk (think: Washington Monument) originally built to provide employment in 1739/40 (Reference) .

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    Conolly’s Folly
  3. Charleville Castle: a gothic style castle approximately an hours drive west of Dublin. Tours are available at request. The laneway was magical and I took a walk just to enjoy nature.
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    Charleville Castle

  4. County Wicklow: on my way to Glenalough I drove through County Wicklow and boy, was the drive amazing! Even though it was rainy and cold that day I still stopped at random places along the side of the road to enjoy the scenery. You have to take it in while you’re there! My pictures are not the greatest but I’ll share them anyways.
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    County Wicklow

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    County Wicklow
  5. Glendalough: My stop was mostly to visit the Glendalough Round Tower but also because I saw some gorgeous pictures on Instagram when looking at hashtags for Ireland.
  6. Festival Ceili: part of the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin, a Ceili is a “social gathering” in Ireland. Various dancers taught a crowd of people how to do traditional irish dances and played some amazing irish music (the kind you can’t help but dance to). It was a ton of fun and a great place to meet other tourists!
  7. Temple Bar: I didn’t realize this but there’s a bar called Temple Bar but it’s also the name of the street which houses a whole bunch of other bars! I stopped at Oliver St. John Gogarty’s for some dinner and my first pint of Guinness. I kid you not, Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland. I could drink it like water!

Day 7: St Patrick’s Day Parade, Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour, City of a Thousand Welcomes, Temple Bar

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Parade: It starts from XXX at noon so after chatting with some people at the hostel in the morning I went off in search of a good position around 11 AM. I chose a spot behind some kids (so I could easily see over them) and the first part of the parade I saw around 12:45. I would suggest finding a spot early if you’re interested in seeing the parade up close! I had signed up for a walking tour around 2 pm so I left the parage around 1:45 at which point it started raining! Not great weather for a parade or a walking tour!
  2. Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour: The tour lasts around 2 hours and admission to St. Patrick’s Cathedral is included at the end of the tour. Unfortunately I thought the tour would be a little shorter and bookd my next item for 4 pm so I missed the “free” admission to the Cathedral! But the tour was great and the tour guide was so sweet. I definitely recommend it!

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    Christ Church Cathedral
  3. City of a Thousand Welcomes: through the Little Museum of Dublin, the City of a Thousand Welcomes arranges a meeting with a local Dubliner and 1 or 2 tourists! A drink for each person is included at one of three locations (a bar, restaurant or hotel lobby). You are also entitled to half off the Little Museum of Dublin so I recommend arriving about 1-2 hours before your meeting to participate in the tour and check out the rest of the museum.

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    Dessert at the Merrion Hotel
  4. Temple Bar: back to the bar scene for a few pints of Guinness, enjoy the live music and meet fellow tourists! Overall, a great birthday.

Day 8: Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse Tour, Green Door Market, Marsh’s Library, The Little Museum of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green, Phil Lynott Statue, Oscar Wilde Statue, National Gallery of Ireland, Graffton Street, Trinity College, Garden of Remembrance, General Post Office and the Spire, Famine Memorial

  1. Due to the rain the day before, I didn’t take any pictures on the walking tour. So, I went back to the Christ Church Cathedral. The front courtyard has a stone outline of historical viking establishments that were found when excavating land for the government buildings. I loved it because of the Settlement Museum/Stöng I had been to in Iceland (May 2016) .
  2. St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Paid the fee to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral in person because I missed in the day before. It was a great stop before the next thing on my list!

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    St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  3. Guinness Storehouse Tour: a self-guided tour through the Guinness Storehouse brewery. Included in the ticket is one pint of Guinness and you can choose to “Pour a Perfect Pint” yourself or get a pint in the Gravity bar on the top floor. I chose to Pour a Perfect Pint, and a perfect pint I did indeed pour! There’s a science behind the Perfect Pour and it’s much more stressful than I imagined. I enjoyed my beer with another solo traveller and we exchanged travelling stories. Part of my favourite experiences as a solo traveller is meeting other great people! We visited the Gravity Bar then went our separate ways.
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    Guinness Storehouse

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    Views from Gravity Bar
  4. Green Door Market: a quaint farmer’s market on Saturdays in Dublin.
  5. Marsh’s Library: unfortunately I couldn’t take my own pictures (and there are employees everywhere) but it was an amazing library. It is the first public library in Ireland and the books are from the 12th century. Talking to an employee, she told me that because so many books had been stolen (they estimate about 800) they would lock people in rooms with the books they were reading for research. They know Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) both did research in the library. How cool is that??
  6. The Little Museum of Dublin: A museum about the history of Dublin with a short 40 minute tour. A great way to learn about the city!
  7. St. Stephen’s Green: a small garden in Dublin just across the street from the Little Museum of Dublin. It wasn’t the nicest day for a park but the park is beautiful! I mean, who doesn’t love nature?DSC_0930.JPG
  8. Oscar Wilde Statue

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    Oscar Wilde
  9. National Gallery of Ireland: A great little museum (and free!) IMG_9578
  10. Graffton Street: the shopping street in Dublin filled with all sorts of stores. I bought a Claddagh ring here.
  11. Trinity College: I didn’t go see the Book of Kell’s (the line was massive by the time I got there) but I took a stroll through Trinity College. The campus is stunning!

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    Trinity College, Dublin
  12. Garden of Remembrance: The actual garden was closed by the time I got there. It is “dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom” (Reference)

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    Garden of Remembrance
  13. General Post Office and the Spire: I was about 30 minutes late for the free exhibit at the General Post Office so I just took some pictures and went off to the final stop of the day.
  14. Famine MemorialDSC_1010_01.JPG

And that’s a wrap! It was an unbelievable first time solo travel experience and I can’t wait to do it again! My next few posts will go more into detail about the planning vs. execution of the trip, some budget information and other stuff I think you might be interested in. If you have any thoughts on posts I should do, let me know!

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