So you want to go to Dublin? Why not?! It’s only a short 2-hour flight from here. But then again, so is everything else. One of the best things about living in Prague is that it is in Central Europe and, as such, has quick access to anywhere else you may want to visit.
Dublin, founded in the early 10th century as a Viking settlement, wascaptured several times changing names as well as ruling parties, often. It was finally renamed Dublin and was dubbed thecapital city and heart of the Republic of Ireland as recently as 1922. Rich in history and extremely enthusiastic citizens, Dublin has something for everyone! I just got back from a birthday weekend trip to Dublin myself and thought I might share some tips with you, in case you’re planning on visiting this fair Hamlet for yourself!
- Planning – Booking:
AIR – How are you going to get there? Ireland’s an island, so you need to keep that in mind when you’re booking transportation. As I said before, you can fly! The shortest trip means the maximum exploitation of vacation time! Ryanair offers cheap flights directly out of Prague so you don’t even need to worry about making flight connections. Hand luggage is key!
CAR – I don’t know about you but I live my life on public transportation in Prague because I don’t have a car. However, if you have a car you could actually drive there! Coming from a landlocked state in the US (Colorado), I’ve never had the need to take a Ferry anywhere but if you’re driving to Ireland, you’ll need to! Driving also affords you the opportunity to stop and check out the scenery on your way or stop along other beautiful cities in other gorgeous countries on your way to the Emerald Isle. Trip time? You may as well take a couple weeks off work because you’ll more than likely take several days to get there and several days to get back if you stop to check out every sight, like I do. Remember, Ireland is one of 4 European countries where driving happens on the Left side of the road. Make sure you keep your wits about you while driving through this luscious green landscape so you don’t end up having a ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ moment where someone has to scream out “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!” as you are about to be careening head on with a Semi (tractor-trailer). How do they know where I’m going to know that I’m going the wrong way‽ Hmm.
- Airport and Public Transportation:
You’ve taken my advice and have flown directly from Prague to Dublin, Ireland? Congratulations!And welcome to this beautiful country! Now, how do you get into town? Dublin Airport is situated only a short 9km, as the crow flies, from the famous Ha’penny Bridge spanning the River Liffey which runs through the heart of the city. Unfortunately, in my opinion, public transportation in Dublin is a pale comparison to the amazing setup we have here in Prague, but it will get you where you need to go…and right now, you need to get from the Airport to your accommodation so you can start exploring right away. Your best bet to get into Dublin, if you didn’t drive yourself, would be to take the Dublin Bus Airlink 747 or 757 from outside Terminal 1. These beautiful Double-Decker buses have several different fare prices and stop at many areas of the city that are highly trafficked by tourists and visitors, plus…free Wi-Fi!For a mere €11 roundtrip fare, load up with your luggage and, we’re off!
If buses aren’t your style, you’re always able to call a taxi or Uber into the city. Those prices vary depending on availability, time of day and also on any events that are happening around town. Fares can range from €20-€30 for a MyTaxi or an UberTaxi or can be as high as €40 to €55 if you elect to take UberBlack!
Make sure you do your research so you can get the best value for your money…or splurge if you’re on vacation. I won’t tell.
- Where to Stay:
Alright. We’ve booked our flight, arrived in Dublin, made it to city center, now it’s time to find your temporary home for your visit. Did you remember to book one?!
If not, don’t panic. Dublin has hundreds of hotels available for you to find a place to stay! But if you’re like me, you’ve already had your lodging booked, contacted the host, planned your route there, researched the surrounding area, and maybe even planned your first meal close to your new abode, weeks in advance. I know…I have a problem. 😉
When traveling around Europe, you have loads of options for finding places to stay. Personally, I use Booking.com, AirBnB, misterb&b (used specifically for finding LGBT friendly hosts), as well as other familiar travel sites. I have had many successes finding great places to stay that are convenient, clean and easy on the budget. Remember when using any BnB service, that each company and each individual host has their own rules. Make sure you can abide by those rules before you stay to avoid any trouble with your host that might incur substantial monetary penalties.
Never been to Dublin before and don’t know where to stay for the best access to sights and social hotspots? OK!
One of the most famous areas in Dublin for people of all ages, is definitely the neighborhood known as “Temple Bar”. Originally marshland, this area of town was initially set outside the city walls, allowing the area to be ransacked and destroyed with every invading force. After the Wellington Quay was constructed in 1812, this area stabilized and began to grow into the lively neighborhood we all know today. Temple Bar has anything for anyone. Bars, Restaurants, Shopping, Sight-seeing…you name it, you can probably find it there. Here you will find accommodations to fit most budgets, however, staying in Dublin on the cheap would more or less require you to look just outside this part of town as prices here can sometimes be double those outside this trendy neighborhood.
Trying to save a little money but would still love to stay within walking distance of Temple Bar? Why not try Trinity College, Grand Canal Docks, The Financial District or Ballsbridge?! You can walk everywhere around Dublin in a very short time.
- Sights to See:
Coming to Dublin to see the sights? Make sure you check out Dublin Castle, which is free to walk around. Smaller than Prague Castle, Dublin Castle sits in the center of the city near Temple Bar. Feel free to wander around without a tour-guide, or catch up with someone waving a flag in the air and find out where you can purchase a guided tour for yourself.
As always, I definitely suggest a Hop-On/Hop-Off tour of any city you visit. This gives you a QUICK tour of the city with fantastic background information on all the sights as well as the city itself. You can always jump off to check out something you find interesting and get back on at a later time. Personally, I like to take a complete trip around the city on a Hop-on/Hop-off tour so I can get a larger picture of the city and what it has to offer me. I’ll then ride it back around again and get off wherever I want to. These sort of bus tours give you the ability to get on and off the bus DIRECTLY at most tourist attractions.
- Where to Go Out:
What are you supposed to do when you come visit Dublin? DRINK! Although Ireland fancies themselves drinkers, the Czech Republic actually beats out Ireland in ‘per capita’ beer consumption, consistantly. But, Ireland keeps fighting for that first place. After all, this is the birthplace of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Guinness stout, Bailey’s Irish Cream and St. Patrick’s Day! (One of these things is not like the other). If you like to drink and find the history of alcohol interesting, then the corresponding factories to these beverages would be an awesome choice for you to visit. You can book tours on their website so you have time to plan ahead.
THE FOOD! I’ve had some good meals in Dublin, but nothing beats the traditional “Full Irish Breakfast”. I have been on a mission to find the best place in Dublin to get this delicious meal on each of my visits. Unless I’m mistaken and there is a better place, you MUST eat at Mochaland Cafe! This cute little café sits adjacent to the river that divides Dublin between its old and new sides. I actually ate there every morning on my birthday weekend trip, having found this place the last time I visited! The amazing staff at this eatery recognized me IMMEDIATELY because I had given them an excellent TripAdvisor review the last time I was in. “Hello, my TripAdvisor friend!” Rapport, passion and a smile. Now THAT’S what I call service.
TIP* – Ireland and The United Kingdom have different electrical requirements than most of the rest of mainland Europe, so remember to pack an adapter!