It took me a year and a half, but I finally visited Dublin.
I’ve been meaning to go for ages. Ryan Air do a return flight for £19.98 so I don’t know what happened over the past year and a half that kept me postponing the trip. But one evening, I decided to stop planning and start doing – and so I booked the flight. It was an amazing decision that I wish I’d taken sooner.
I flew out on the 24th just before 9am and back again on the 25th at just before 9pm, so calling it a Turbo Trip seems fair. I’d recommend staying longer – in general, not just in Dublin – but travelling alone and being a student with a limited budget, I honestly don’t think I could’ve planned a better trip.
Exploring (Day 1)
The first thing I did once I got into the city centre was head to St Michan’s. I would be lying if I called the church impressive. It was one of those underwhelming churches. Nothing was wrong with it, there was just nothing extraordinary about it. But I didn’t go to St Michan’s to see the church – I went to see the crypts.
I paid for a guided tour and loved it. The usual guide was on holiday and temporarily replaced with the church’s conservation officer, which, in his words, meant that although I wasn’t getting the theatrical tour, I was getting the truth. That seemed like a good deal to me. It didn’t bother that I got facts over theatrics.
If you like the idea of seeing some accidental mummies (in the sense that the conditions in Dublin shouldn’t lend themselves well to mummification), you should consider putting St Michan’s on your Dublin travel itinerary.
Cost: €4 for students.
National Leprechaun Museum
Once the tour of the crypts was over, I walked towards the National Leprechaun Museum. I’m an absolute sucker for mythology of any kind and loved every single second spent at the museum. The ticket was worth every cent (and wasn’t even that expensive in the first place). I wish I could remember the tour guide’s name, but it’s escaped me. She was entertaining and made an already amazing museum even better.
I’d definitely recommend this museum to anyone who loves mythology and generally being entertained. If anyone reading this is planning a trip to Dublin with children, this should definitely be on your travel itinerary.
Cost: €12 for students.
Hugh Lane Art Gallery
I decided to wander aimlessly for a bit after the museum and bumped into an Amnesty International guy on one of the streets adjacent to O’Connell Street. I’m bad at ignoring people like that, because I want them to have someone to talk to, but then I feel bad because I know I’m not going to sign up for anything.
Anyways, I stopped and talked to this Stephen guy for ten minutes or so. Some good did come out of it – he sent me in the direction of the Hugh Lane Gallery. I wasn’t planning to visit it because I have a love/hate relationship with modern art, mainly because I get a little angry with myself when I don’t understand it.
But if you’re a fan of modern art, I’d recommend dropping by here. There were some cool exhibitions on when I was there, so even if you don’t understand modern art, you might at least be lucky enough to find something aesthetically pleasing.
The last stop of the day was the Trinity College campus. It’s gorgeous and made me wish that my university had more of a campus feel to it. Everything just felt like it belonged together, whereas my university looks a little mix-and-matched. It’s free to just wander around, but there’s an option to go for a student-led tour. I was too cheap to do that though because I wasn’t convinced it would be worth it.
It might be worth it, so if anyone gives it a shot (or has in the past), do let me know so I can fork out the money next time I’m in the city. I didn’t go see the Book of Kells, even though I really wanted to. The queue was too long – I blame the fact that it was an amazing, sunny day – and by this point, I just wanted a pint.
Food and Drink
The Auld Dubliner
I headed straight to Temple Bar after that. I found my way to the Auld Dubliner and was drawn in by their promise of free live music every day till late. The pints were expensive, but the live music was really pleasant. I had two drinks and then headed out to find a restaurant. If you like live music and feel alright forking out €6 for a pint of Guinness or Smithwick’s, this is the place for you. You’ll love it.
I had dinner at this place that I just kind of found by accident. I wasn’t blown away. The food wasn’t terrible, but I’ve had better pizza.
Last, but not least, I checked into my hostel: Abbey Court. I’ve never stayed in a hostel before, so this was actually really exciting to me. I loved the look of the building and all the facilities available. We’re talking board game rooms, hammock rooms, and computer rooms in case you need that. I was staying in a dorm with eight beds and talked to my roommates for a while. Four of them were American, so we had a nice chat about what I should see when I (hopefully) go on exchange next semester.
I think I paid €18 or something like that for a night. I could’ve gotten a cheaper deal if I had opted for a mixed room with more beds, but I forgot to book the hostel until the day before, so they were all out. So if you want to stay at this clean hostel with good facilities and included breakfast, book in good time if you want the cheapest possible deal. They do a pub crawl every night starting at 8pm and a walking tour at 10.30am, which might be of interest to some people. I partook in neither.
Exploring (Day 2)
Christ Church Cathedral
After falling asleep at 10pm and waking up at 7am, I was ready for the second (and last) day of my trip. Kicked it off with free breakfast and off I went to Christ Church Cathedral. That wasn’t where I was meaning to go, but it happened to be on the way to my next stop and I figured I might as well visit it. I’m so glad I made that decision, because it was such a beautiful cathedral. Crypts included, woohoo! A guided tour was an option, but I like exploring cathedrals on my own.
I walked around the crypts, interpreting the statues as inappropriately as possible. That’s arguably when I missed having a travel companion the most. Jokes just aren’t the same when you’re the only person hearing them.
Cost: €4.50 for students.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
The second stop of the day was St Patrick’s Cathedral. I love cathedrals. I could spend an entire day visiting one after the other. Once again, a guided tour was an option and there seemed to be quite a few on, in different languages as well. There was a free tour while I was there, but as I said, I like to explore cathedrals on my own. The information leaflet was enough for me.
Cost: €5 for students.
Aside from parks and a coffee shop, the last stop was Dublin Castle. I shouldn’t have let myself be cheap here – I bought a self-guided tour ticket and I honestly feel like I would have enjoyed the experience a great deal more if I’d just forked out the extra €1 for a guided tour. The place looks nice, but walking around it alone, armed with nothing but a leaflet, was kind of boring and uninformative.
The self-guided ticket cost me €5.50. If you want to visit Dublin Castle, do yourself a favour and pay the damn €6.50 to get a guide. It costs €8.50 for a guided adult ticket. Luckily, I’m a student, so there were discounts all over the place.
I headed back to the Auld Dubliner on the second day and became friends with my pal Robbie. I meant to go have dinner before catching the bus back to the airport, but I kept convincing myself to have another drink, so before I knew it, it was time to haul ass to O’Connell Street. Once I got to the airport, I honestly just sat at the gate shovelling M&Ms into my mouth. Totally worth it.
It was an amazing trip. Solo adventures are fantastic. I loved being able to do exactly what I wanted to do, although it would’ve been nice to have a travel companion. Next time.