“I've been a wild rover for many a year /And I spent all my money on whiskey and beer,/And now I'm returning with gold in great store/ And I never will play the wild rover no more/And it's no, nay, never,/No nay never no more,/Will I play the wild rover/No never no more.”, the Dubliners sing this so well with that typical Irish accent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJwC9jPhuY4 to make one sit for just one more beer and one more gossip with friends in one of those traditional pubs spread all across Dublin.
Temple Bar Pub
Founded as a Viking settlement Dublin is the capital of the Emerald Isle better known as Ireland or the place of the green Shamrock, leprechauns, Irish Gaelic language, Irish music, pubs, Guinness beer, incredible landscapes and for us, Romanians, the home of Bram Stoker that guy that wrote Count Dracula and made us famous without even visiting our country. Ah yes, and the place of redheads…although statistics say only 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads :p.
Arseways, too much talking let’s carry on with the trip.
What we did
Temple Bar and Trinity College
The lively part of Dublin resides in the areas of College Green and Temple Bar. Pubs, restaurants, museums, shops, souvenirs, the Irish House of Parliament, Trinity College, the loved Temple Bar Pub with live music, Auld Dubliner, O’Neill’s with their huge plates of Irish food, Quay Pub and so many more.
The seat of UK’s administration in Ireland until 1922 is considered now a major Irish government complex. Not too many rooms but stylishly decorated and if you add the Christmas trees magic it’s worth a visit. Not to mention that is also a filming venue including for the Tudors (if you guys are fans).
I’m sure you all know Guinness beer with that brown colour and distinct burnt flavour. Well, the father of Guinness beer, Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. Today over 850 million litres of Guinness are sold annually and the beer is brewed in almost 60 countries.
The Storehouse that used to be a fermentation plant for Guinness covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness and takes visitors through the history of Guinness; you even get to pour your own Guinness and have a free glass in the Gravity Bar with view over Dublin. Ah, not to forget, the lease for St. James Gate Brewery (where Guinness Storehouse is also located) was signed by Arthur Guinness himself for a period of 9,000 years for an annual rent of £45. What a visionary right?
Dublinia and Christ Church
Dublinia recreates life in Dublin in the Viking and Medieval period. It takes visitors to a cruise around Viking houses and day-to-day life, medieval fairs, warfare, crime and punishment, disease and primitive cures. It is interactive and educative with all types of games and questions to make the visit more fun.
Christ Church Cathedral built sometime around 1028 well renovated with a welcoming interior and an underground opened for visits. It is also famous for its choir.
Old Jameson Distillery
The Old Jameson Distillery is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled until 1971. John Jameson, a Scottish lawyer, and his son (also John Jameson) started the history of Jameson Whisky in 1810 after taking over ownership of the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin from his wife’s cousins. By 1866 the Jameson Distillery was so spread that it was called a “city within the city”.
Old Jameson Distillery will offer an inside story on how whisky is made and finish with a whisky tasting session.
A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. Leprechauns are one third the size of a usual man, wear a beard, coat and hat, they are solitary creatures spending their time making and mending shoes for fairies and hiding their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Walt Disney seems to be responsible for the green colour of today’s leprechaun’s costume (earlier it was brown) when he dressed their king in green to distinguish him from the rest in “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”. Incidentally the same movie released in 1959 brought Sean Connery the role in James Bond – small world.
Where we ate
We tried to experience a variety of place while in Dublin so we went eating Irish food, Spanish food, Moroccan food. Our favourite places for eating where Boxty House, El Bahia and Auld Dubliner.
(i) Gallagher’s Boxty House (http://boxtyhouse.ie/ )
Right in the heart of Temple Bar area there is this restaurant with ground floor and underground in their own words “the humble spud made beautiful”. We don’t know about beautiful but the food is well worth a visit. Salmon & Mussel Boxty with dumplings, aromatic spices finished with Lemon & Cream is to die for.
(ii) El Bahia (http://www.elbahia.com/home.html )
You will find El Bahia near Grafton Street on the first floor. Look closely not to miss it! The food is traditional Moroccan and is one of the best food tasted. The tanjine meals and the Moroccan coffees are worth the trip. Make sure to check the schedule – lunch is served until 3 pm and dinner after 5:30 pm.
(iii) O’Neill’s (http://www.oneillsbar.com/food/daily-menu )
O’Neill’s is a nice traditional pub serving both tons of beer and food. With choices for all tastes be advised that they serve Irish food which means the plate is big enough to serve 2 so come hungry. We did love our pork ribs with a combination of vegetables including mashed carrots and potatoes all flavoured differently to add up to the joy of eating.
(iv) Salamanca (http://www.salamanca.ie/tablet/index.html )
Right on Saint Andrew’s Street and across from the O’Neill’s Pub you will find Salamanca. Spanish restaurant that serves tapas, Spanish food but also Irish food. We did love the goat cheese starter.
(v) Stage Door Café (https://www.facebook.com/Stage-Door-Café-148389536216/ )
You will find this place on Essex Street right in the Temple Bar area. The breakfast is very good with great prices and the décor of the place will surprise you.
(vi) Keoghs Café (http://www.dublintown.ie/business/keoghs )
Located on Trinity street it offers great cappuccino and wide variety of muffins for muffin addicts.
(vii) Murphy’s (http://www.murphysicecream.ie/tablet/our-shops.html ) – for best ice cream. We tried
Where we stayed
We stayed in two places in Dublin since we split our trip with a 2 days trip to Belfast. First hotel was Arlington O’Connell Bridge (www.arlington.ie/ ) – well located right across Temple Bar and near the Connelly Train Station, spacious room, clean. The second hotel was Maldron Hotel on Pearse Street (www.maldronhotels.com )– although is more near the Docklands and is a 15 minutes walk to Trinity Street there are busses to take you straight to Trinity College, the rooms are very spacious and recently renovated and there’s a supermarket 1 minute away opened until late.
What we think about the Irish
We felt the Irish as being nice people thanking the bus driver, handsome, most of them young (maybe this is why statistics say 50% of the Dubliners are under 30), most of the time surrounded by friends or family, proud of their roots, beer funs enjoying a good time in their traditional pubs singing out loud to Irish traditional folk, rather smiley shinny people despite or the rainy all year long weather.
Our top 10
1. Temple Bar Pub in Temple Bar area with live music and Guinness beer;
2. Getting lost on the South Circular Road amongst houses with colourful doors;
3. The view from the Gravity Bar of Guinness Storehouse;
4. Wandering the world of the Vikings and the Medieval era inhabitants of Dublin in Dublinia;
5. Leprechauns and fairies stories in Leprechauns Museum;
6. Whisky tasting in Jameson Distillery;
7. The Emerald green you find all around Dublin and especially the Aran wool knitted clothing;
8. The Double Decker buses;
9. O’Neill’s Pub and their big plates of Irish food;
10. El Bahia restaurant near Grafton Street.
Tips & Tricks Copenhagen
– we visited Dublin for New Year celebration; the hotels seemed kind of expensive this time otherwise the weather was rainless save for one day in the entire week when it poured the whole day; make sure you’ve got raincoats and umbrellas;
– if you get a hotel near the Temple Bar or the Docklands you can easily walk around the city; and if it’s too hard to walk at some point or you just feel like being lazy just hop in one of the Double Decker buses there are plenty of them all around a trip costs somewhere better 1,50 to 2 euro and you can pay directly in the bus;
– Temple Bar and Trinity College area have plenty of restaurants and pubs; for shopaholics there’s Grafton street and some streets near the Leprechauns museum;
– Guinness Storehouse has 7 floors so it will take you some time to run through all of them; maybe save 2 -3 hours for this experience; there are places for eating also;
– Jameson Distillery is a cool trip through the world of whisky with tasting at the end; make sure to book online before going;
– Dublinia is a fun experiences for all ages but especially for kids as they have plenty of games and experiences to test out;
– Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells is something we did not got to visit as it was closed for winter holidays; but from the reviews it seems worth visiting; do give it a try;
– Entrances to main attractions are rather expensive (somewhere between 10 and 20 euro) so expect to take some money out of your pocket if you want to try the Guinness Storehouse experience (20 euro), Dublinia (13.5 euro combined ticket with Christchurch) or Jameson Distillery (17 euro).