From cobble stoned streets rich with history and grass that is the greenest I’ve ever seen to beautiful waterside towns, today I’m sharing 2 days in Dublin: a guide to Dublin and the Dublin Bay Area.
If you follow me over on Instagram, you may have noticed that a few weeks ago I was in Europe. I had been wanting to go for years, but the timing never worked out. Over the holidays I was browsing the web and came across this amazing flight sale flying in and out of Dublin, Ireland. After checking with my husband and our respective work schedules we booked our tickets.
Unlike most trips where there’s tons of planning and itinerary making on my part, this trip seriously snuck up on me, and before I knew it, it was time to leave. Good thing for the Visit Dublin site, because I would have seriously been lost without it. Within minutes of browsing the site, I had a list of things I wanted us to do and see in Dublin. We landed in the early morning and knew we had to stay up all day so that we wouldn’t have jet lag. From the airport we took a taxi (our taxi driver gave use some great tips of things to do and pointed out the DART – Dublin Area Rapid Transit station) to our hotel which was so perfectly located (more on that in a second) and left our bags until check in time, we got a map of Dublin and then headed out to explore the city.
We walked along Grafton street which is a street adorned with cobble stones and little shops, and found ourselves hungry for breakfast, so we stopped at a place called Taste cafe, which is where I had my first ‘proper’ Irish breakfast, black pudding and all:
Then we walked walked and walked some more (over 10 miles walking the first day alone)! Day 1 highlights were:
- Trinity College & The Book of Kells & The Long Room Library – If you’re ever in any kind of proximity to Dublin, I would suggest making a stop at Trinity College to not only look at the Book of Kells, but to take a peak into the long room library – it’s truly breathtaking. The Book of Kells was written around the year 800 AD and contains decorated pages of the four gospels. After you pass through the exhibit of the Book of Kells you can take this set of stairs up to the long room library and marvel at the rows of old books and author statutes.
- Merrion Square – you know all those colorful doors that Dublin is supposedly ‘known’ for? The ones you see in calendars with names like ‘Dublin Doors’? Well, apparently it’s not a ‘thing’ among locals. When we were getting our check at breakfast I was talking to the server who was a very chatty tourism major student and when I asked her about the doors (which are around Merrion Square) she started laughing and had no idea what I talking about – she even asked her colleague who also had never heard of anyone looking at the ‘doors’ hahaha. Anyway, we walked to Merrion Square and I found my doors, so at least they do exist!
- National Gallery of Ireland – also around the Merrion Square area is the National Gallery of Ireland – an absolutely gorgeous museum that is free to the public! After walking around the museum we had a little latte break at a cafe across the street.
- Hop On – Hop Off Sightseeing Bus – at this point in the day we had walked a lot. We wanted to see more but really couldn’t imagine walking anymore. It was raining a little we had were still struggling through being awake from the evening/flight before, so when I asked my husband how I was looking imagine my delight when he told me “maybe you should fix your hair – it looks like one of those city pigeons has set up shop” – haha, so clearly I was ready to sit (with my hood up) for a while. The bus tour was fantastic, and just what we needed. The 90 minute tour visits Dublin’s most popular attractions and has 24 great stops located throughout the city We could have hopped off, but we just didn’t have it in us lol (the cool thing about the green bus tour is that you can use the pass for a whole 24 hours.) Among the stops were: Trinity College, National Gallery, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Old Jameson Distillery, and the Wellington Monument.
- After the tour, we went to our hotel, the Trinity City Hotel. The hotel is centrally located to everything and is the absolute perfect lodging option when visiting Dublin. Welcoming and beautifully decorated with plenty of plush chair seating areas – and walls adorned with these huge beautiful mirrors I kept ogling at), and cozy rooms, it is no wonder we wanted to spend all day lounging and not leaving the premises. Our room overlooked a courtyard (with more seating that would be great to enjoy during the summer).In the mornings the hotel served breakfast. Not just any ‘ole breakfast, but a full warm breakfast with everything one could have possibly imagined – it was soooo good!
- Malahide – our first stop of the day was a little town called Malahide. Funnily enough, my husband had been to Dublin years prior and had stayed in this little town. He hadn’t done any sightseeing or exploring, but had told me the little suburb of Dublin was super cute and that I’d really like it, but said that he didn’t remember the name of it. So when I came across Visit Dublin’s list of Dublin Bay Day Trips and showed it to him, he immediate remembered it. The town is perfect for a stroll, it has many little shops and things to explore. We made a stop at Starbucks where we got a kick out of how they spelled my name (guess my name fails continue internationally – scroll down on this post to see some other funny name fails I’ve had in the past – haha). After our coffee break we walked through the village and to the pristine grounds of the Malahide Castle and Gardens. The castle is just a marvel to look at:
- Then we got back on the train and took it to the town of Howth. We couldn’t have planned it better – it was a Saturday and on Saturday’s there is a market where different vendors sell food (we got these little cupcakes that were incredible – banana toffee and nutella crunch flavors). We walked along the bay and then had lunch (fisherman’s shepherd pie).
- After Howth we got back on the DART and took it to the southern bay area and stopped off at Bray. By this time it was getting late and dusky out, so we walked along the coastal path and then headed back into Dublin for the night.
There are countless things to do and see in the Dublin and Dublin Bay Area, and it was honestly the most walkable city I have ever encountered (we walked 10+ miles the first day, and 12+ miles the second day!). Don’t feel like walking everywhere? You could also rent a bike at one of the many street side public bike rentals areas.After spending 2 days in Dublin, I can tell you that it is definitely worth a trip!
Thank you to Failte Ireland for hosting us during our Dublin stay. There was no obligation to write this post, I am doing so because we had such a good time, so I wanted to share a guide on 2 days in Dublin and the Dublin Bay Area. As always all thoughts and opinions are mine alone. Thank you for reading and supporting the brands I partner with, which make the SweetPhi blog possible.