Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dublin Favourites; what we enjoyed doing & eating

If you would like to see all my travel posts, including recaps, tips & recommendations and packing guides, please visit my travel page.

Dublin was the last city of our trip, and I know I already 'recapped' but really I just shared photos which is great for me, but not for those who might be looking for info on what to do, see and eat in Dublin. I know when I was planning, I loved reading about what other people recommended. See the recommendations for Paris here and the recommendations for Rome here, if you'd like.


We stayed at the Harding Hotel which is located right in the heart of Dublin. Just like our other hotels, it's a place to sleep, nothing more. Clean, safe, cheap and in a good location. This was by far our biggest room and it was super centrally located. 

The one thing I'll say is that when I booked it, I didn't realise it was pay upon check-in, which I try to avoid at all costs. So I shot them an email and filled in a form to pay for it immediately, which was no problems. Also, we arrived close to midnight and there was someone at the desk and it was no issue at all.

Right next to the hotel is a pub called Darkey Kelleys, and on the other side there is a restaurant. I was worried that it would be too loud but we didn't hear a thing. Actually, scratch that, we did hear the bells from the nearby cathedral. Wasn't the end of the world.

Like our others, I researched a ton on TripAdvisor, and it had great reviews and I am super happy with our choice, we would absolutely stay here again. I left a review on TripAdvisor and they responded with a 5% off code (for everyone, not just me!) which is pretty awesome, right?

Should guests provide the code REG52014 they will receive an automatic 5% discount off their room rates whether it is B&B or Room Only.

Getting Around & Airport Transfers

So, Paris had the great metro and Rome was pretty walkable with the metro coming in handy for the further away places. Dublin is small. So small. I don't mean that in a bad way, just that everything is very, very walkable, especially if you are staying in the heart of it like we did. If you are staying a bit outside of the city, the Luas is great and relatively cheap (Megan and her husband used it a lot when they went).

As for airports, because we arrived so late at night, I didn't want to mess around with anything but a taxi. It was $25. That was cheaper than a shuttle like what we used in Paris, so we were happy to grab a taxi on the way back as well. That one was $27. and by $, I mean euro, but I don't have that on my keyboard so go with it. If you don't want to use a taxi, there are other options.

One thing I will note - if you are flying back to the US from Dublin, get there super early and no I am not exaggerating. We arrived at 6am and our flight was at 9:30am. We were running to meet our flight and were the last on board. This is because they do the whole customs immigration thing in Dublin, which is great because you skip it in the US, but it takes a really long time in Dublin.

Also, FYI, if you are an Australian married to an American and your green card is expired, your Australian passport doesn't match the name on said green card, and you have nothing on your person to prove that you applied for a new green card.. well, it will take even longer, and you get to go through the back of the airport and be terrified that they are going to charge you a huge fine and not let you back in the country. So, like, I hope that doesn't happen to you, because speaking from experience, it wasn't tons of fun.

Things to do

Okay, now that we have that stuff out of the way, lets get to what we did in Dublin. Because we'd been go-go-go in Paris and Rome, Dublin was lot more go with the flow and take 2 naps a day kind of city. Kidding about the naps, but we were definitely more laidback and it was great.

We still did tons of things though:

Trinity College - fun to see, free to walk around.

However, the Book of Kells in my opinion, is overpriced and not worth it... just my opinion. The library was cool but if you're on a budget, skip it.

St Stephen's Green - absolutely beautiful. We grabbed a hot drink and relaxed for an hour or two, people watching.

Kilmainham Gaol - so interesting, highly recommend.

Temple Bar - fun, vibrant area to wander and grab a drink or have a coffee.

Dublin Castle - free to walk around outside and who doesn't love a good castle?

Viking Splash Tour - this was fun, albeit a bit silly. I wouldn't do something like this again, but I thought I would mention it because it would be so great for kids.

St Patrick's Cathedral - beautiful!

Arlington Hotel Celtic Nights dinner & show - I booked this on a whim. It included a 3 course meal. It was a lot of fun, seriously. We were laughing and singing along and seriously, super entertaining - such a good time. Unfortunately, the food was not as good as the show, but I still recommend it. Tip: book and arrive early to get awesome seats. We were right in front of the stage.

and of course the Guinness Storehouse. We just did the regular tour, not the fancy (expensive) one.

Out of all of these, I really recommend the Guinness Storehouse. I am not a fan of Guinness. KC is, though, but even if he wasn't, we'd still have had fun. It is very interesting, it's a great tour and Dublin loves their Guinness. It's not like Australia where all the outsiders think we like Fosters but in reality no-one drinks it.. Outsiders think that the Irish love Guinness, and in my opinion they really do. It's not just the drink though, it's the history and it's really fascinating.

Shops to shop

Dublin was by far my favourite shopping city! Is it terribly opposite-of-fancy of me to say that? I don't care, there was topshop and Penneys (Penneys!!) and there were so many Australian (English) goodies that I could hardly handle myself. Grafton Street is probably the most well known shopping area and I made quite a large dent in my bank account. No shame. Highly recommend you at least walk down the street, even if you're not a shopper.

I went into every bookstore we passed, and in one I found these two. KC said only one, I bet you can guess which one I bought. Funnily enough, the one on the right was on netgalley when I got home, woo-hoo.

Food to eat

I was excited for the food in Dublin because I thought we'd eat lots of pub food, aka food that reminds me of home. KC was not looking forward to that at all. Paris and Rome were surprisingly cheap, so when we got to Dublin, the prices of the meals gave us a bit of sticker shock. It's not like we couldn't afford it, I just have no desire to pay $30 for one person's meal. We still had some good meals, though.

Our favourite places where we ate:

Every morning we stopped at a little store and KC had this weird sandwhich and I had sausage rolls. If you've never had a sausage roll, I'm sure that sounds a bit weird.. But it was amazing. and chocolates, okay, I ate a lot of chocolates.

Ok, now for some real recommendations:

Bull and Castle - at first glance we thought this place was too expensive, but they do a  2 course lunch for 16 euro, which wasn't bad. It was super close to our hotel.

Brazen Head - this is the oldest pub in Dublin so of course we had to stop by. It's reasonably priced and the food was very good.

Queen of Tarts - um, amazing. Definitely stop by for a bad-for-you-but-so-good cake or tart. Delicious.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen - holy mother of Zeus these burgers were AMAZING. Why didn't I take a photo? I was too busy shoving it in my gob, that's why. There's a review on their website that says 'stunned that something so simple can be so good' to which I wholeheartedly agree. Very well priced, delicious burgers, fries are good and they have all these fancy sauces and I had the most amazing garlic mayo of my life and I would go back to Dublin just for that sauce. Yum. We ate at the Temple Bar location.

Darkey Kelleys - this was right next to our hotel and one night we couldn't be bothered going back out and I am so glad we decided to eat here. We ended up staying for several hours, the live band was great, the drinks were delicious, the staff were so friendly. We would absolutely go here again if we ever return to Dublin. Food & drink were both very reasonably priced.

What I wish we had done:

I didn't have a 'what I wish we had done' section for Paris or Rome because I really felt like we did all that we wanted / could have without going crazy. Though I loved our time in Dublin, I wish we had had just a wee bit more so we could have ventured outside of the city. 

I would have loved to visit the Cliffs of Moher, Giant's Causeway, Blarney Castle.. I mean, honestly, the list is endless. Basically I wish we would have seen more of Ireland.

Oh well - looks like we'll have to go back, right?

Linking up with the girls for Wanderlust Wednesdays.

Wanderlust Wednesdays

I hope this helped if you are planning to go to Dublin. Did I leave anything out that you are curious about?


  1. LOVED this--all the pics, the FOOD, the tips! your trip recaps are the best!

  2. Book of the Kells, agreed! A paid to go in and I chose to save my money for something else, glad I did. I got to say I went but it didn't cost me a cent. Love all of your food recaps. I need to pay more attention when we eat places and keep a detailed log because I love this but I have no idea the names of the places we ate unless I captured it right there! Love that the hotel had three beds. We'll be needing those for when I Europe trip with my parents, lol!

  3. Gorgeous pics! I did a summer abroad in Ireland during college and wish I had spent more time in Dublin (though I somehow managed to make it to the Guinness factory and Temple Bar, haha!).

  4. Dublin is definitely on my list of my visit places! My college football team played there two years ago and I really wanted to go then but I decided not to but now I'm kicking myself for it. I definitely want to get out to the Cliffs of Moher if I go though!
    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  5. i love this! dublin is one of my places to visit in the near future and that whole airport/expired card fiasco - scary!!!

  6. Gary has been on me to go to Dublin and Ireland in general - you may have just convinced me!!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  7. Ireland is on my bucket list! I think I would like staying in the countryside a bit more, but will definitely have to stop in the city as well (got to see the Guinness factory)!

  8. I love this! I went to Dublin about 9 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!), but I would love to go back. I was studying abroad in Spain so it was a nice break to speak English and eat fish and chips for every meal. Clearly, I missed french fries. ;)

    xo, Carly | carly blogs

  9. I like Dublin, but to me it's a city and the heart of Ireland is outside of cities! I'm looking forward to getting to a few parts I haven't been to next year, like the Cliffs and Galloway!

  10. This is such a great post. I so want to go to Ireland one day!! Great pictures.

  11. I've been reading your blog for a while. I think I found you because of our common love of Pride and Prejudice and books in general. My husband and I have gone to London for the last few years and we always eat at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Now I want an avocado burger and it is only 10:00 in the morning!

  12. It looks like you guys had so much fun! The Queen of Tarts place looks so tasty, I'd be tearing it up that's for sure. Shopping sounds really good too, topshop is such a good store. They opened one in Toronto and I wanted to get everything there lol. I like your style when it comes to hotels, when we went to Paris we also stayed in a tiny hotel on a quiet street and it was such a good experience. There's no point to splurge on an expensive hotel if you spend your days exploring the city.

  13. I didn't know Dublin was so small and walkable! That makes me want to go there that much more. And that airport taxi is cheaper than every major US city, even with the exchange rate! Definitely sounds like the way to go. I try to avoid shopping in any shop I have access to either in the US or online because the exchange rate is not in our favor and it just costs WAY more, especially given their tax rates... But little cutsey unique shops are game on!

  14. The burger place sounds soo yummy! I bet their chocolate is fantastic. I swear the U.S. has the worst chocolate. My grandmother is from England and she always brought us tons of chocolate home when she would visit her family. lol Love the pics! xo

  15. I love you went into all the bookstores - & found fun new covers :) What a souvenir to have!

    I'd be afraid sitting that close to those dancers - shoes flying at my face is all I see :) haha

  16. Um amazing. I think we decided over the weekend that we are narrowing our Europe trip to the British Isles... and possibly JUST Ireland. Soooo this is a big pinnable one for me. Thanks for the detailed info!! XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  17. I'm glad they weren't too loud because it sounds really fun to be in Dublin and staying next to a pub called Darkey Kelley's! And a sausage roll does not sound weird, it sounds incredible, lol. Wow, so fun. this entire post just made me want to travel immediately. Great little outline.

  18. I love walking cities, and it's so nice that your hotel was located right in the middle of everything! The Celtic Nights dinner and show looks like so much fun, and when in Ireland you have to drink a Guinness and go on a tour! I'm still just so envious of your trip to Europe!

  19. Love that you had chocolates for breakfast! Crunchies were seriously my favorite growing up. You can buy them here in the "Ethnic" section of the grocery store. Anyways sounds like you guys did a lot on your trip although we always tend to feel you didn't get to see it all.

  20. You guys went on such an incredible trip, and I'm still drooling over all the amazing looking food! Traveling is my favorite hobby, and I love now super detailed your posts are for when I plan on visiting these European cities <3

  21. Dublin is on my must see list. Looks like a great time and I am surprised it is not as pub like for the food.

  22. All of the food sounds so amazing, because duh....that is my favorite thing to do on vacation. Ok. ok everyday. You have me so excited about every city you visited, Dublin included. Saying Dublin reminds me of that weird, creepy pick up line they used in the movie Hall Pass. Anyways, my dad's family is from Ireland and clearly I need to visit some time and get a feel for my heritage!

  23. Bahahahahaha @ your airport recap! (It's okay to laugh at it NOW, right???) Lololol
    All the food!!!!!!!! I think that's my favorite thing about vacation in general... even if I'm just going up north. lol

  24. LOL on the amazing burger you shoved in your gob! I love simple things that are done right and taste amazing. My coworker went to Dublin, said it was awesome as well. Love your travel page as well. Very well organized!

  25. Ooh this post has me so excited! Ireland is the next place I really want to visit!

  26. One of these days I'm going to be using all of these posts for my own trip! I love that you're sharing all the details. It will make my future trip planning that much easier. :)

  27. Sign me up - can you be my travel agent??!

  28. ah this post is perfection yet again! i swear it puts mine to shame but i lost all that research over the years hehe. dublin looks amazing! one to add to my list for sure :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

  29. You had so much fun in Dublin! I hope to visit this city very soon.

  30. They just opened super cheap flights between Iceland and Dublin so I am hoping to make a trip soon. Saving this for when that trip happens!

  31. So so great! I love your photos! And your style when you travel. We are always doing big trips in the summer when it's hot so my hair is nearly always pulled up in a ponytail and not super cute. I mean, #firstworldproblem, haha! I just noticed how cute you look in your photos! :)

    I am going to make it to Ireland one of these days! Some friends of ours are there right now! :)

  32. Definitely saving this! Ireland is #1 on my travel list and I really hope to get there soon!

  33. I honestly never thought I would have any real desire to see Ireland (I didn't really even have France high on my bucket list either) until your posts about these places. My brother is actually going to Ireland in a few months though and I told him I could proooobably give him some insight on good places to go and things to do while he's there, and will definitely share your tips with him :)

  34. You made me remember the years spent in IReland! I love that country! It's so beautiful and people are so open and helpful. You should definitely visit the cliffs of Moher - it's a breathtaking place!!

    I invite you to read my latest posts :)

  35. I loved Dublin, and I left feeling the way you did...that I wanted to see a little more. We did venture out to Malahide Castle one day, and it was lovely, but I wish I'd seen more of Ireland. Should we meet there sometime soon? ;)

  36. I still have to make it to Ireland even though I'm basically 45 mins away! It looks amazing and definitely worth the time to go across the country to the other gorgeous sights. Very surprised to hear how expensive the food was! And funny I attended a similar celtic night in Edinburgh with some bloggers earlier this year - seems very popular with tourists as its a taste of the culture :)

  37. Dublin looks amazing!! My parents are heading to Ireland next month so I'll send this post their way! Thanks for sharing your adventure :) - Svetlana @Life with a Side of Wine

  38. I'm with Alyssa-- Ireland isn't somewhere that has ever been high on my places to visit list, but after this post I think I would really enjoy it! Plus it looks soooo gorgeous!

  39. I am so jealous of your trip! Your reviews are so good! I've been saving them for our next trip to Europe!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  40. I think I've said this before, but I feel like these posts are really useful. Although Ireland isn't as high on my travel wish list as several other places, I'd like to eventually visit (and I know my husband definitely wants to as well!).

    Your airport story is insane. I always worry that something weird will happen. I was especially worried for some reason after I got my new passport with my married name. I don't know why, but I don't always have the best luck while traveling, so I kept wondering if something awful would happen. Nothing did (thankfully!), and I'm glad to see you managed to figure out a way to deal with your issues!

    We actually have an Irish Pub in Omaha called Brazen Head, and it's one of my favorite places to eat!

  41. Your travel posts are the best. I love reading about your adventures, and especially because this place is on our "to travel to" places, this one is super helpful!

  42. this looks amazing!! I want to travel with you! I love your travel posts!

  43. This looks like such a great time!! I definitely hear you about wanting to go back and explore other areas. There's so much to see/do in Europe! I haven't traveled to Ireland, but like everywhere else, it's on my list :)

  44. I haven't been to Dublin yet, but I've been to one of the GBK restaurants here and Holy Eff, it's the best thing I never knew I needed. Those burgers rank high on my list.

  45. Great pics and awesome recommendations! It looks like you had a fabulous adventure!!

  46. Hi! My husband and I are traveling to the UK and Ireland next month and I came upon your blog from pinterest. Thank you so much for the super comprehensive packing and travel guides! Your blog is an amazing resource! Also, it needs to be said - your outfits and hair look so adorable in all your photos :) Adding your blog to my Bloglovin' feed!


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