A long weekend in Dublin

A long weekend in Dublin

by Jackie Pennoyer
Stripes Europe

Thanks to a miraculous aligning of discount RyanAir flights, sunny weather and an approved three-day pass, we booked a spontaneous trip to Dublin, Ireland.

If you’ve never thought about traveling there, I encourage you to reconsider. The food is a contemporary blend of American, Parisian and Irish cuisines, and many restaurants select food from organic farms and local vendors. The city is alive with music, vibrant pubs, friendly city dwellers and a sophisticated young population.

We used Airbnb for our stay, but plenty of hotels and hostels are also available throughout the city. If you fly out of Frankfurt Hahn airport, I recommend driving and parking at a private lot. Doing so saved us more than 100 euros in transportation expenses.

This itinerary is based on our traveling preferences, including great food, drinks, museums, historical landmarks and the suggestions of locals we met during our trip. To follow in our footsteps, you need some comfortable shoes (we walked 10 miles) and 300 euros for food, shopping and worthy tours.

Day 1

3 p.m. — Dublin Airport

Take Dublin Bus, the local commuters’ preferred method of public transportation, to the city center. A one-way ticket is 3.10 euros, as opposed to Aircoach Express buses, which charge 7 euros for the same trip. All buses are just outside the terminal. Board the bus using Route 16 at Stop 7347, and climb the stairs to the upper deck. Dublin Buses leave every half hour, and it takes about 30 minutes to arrive downtown.

Total: 6 euros

3:30 p.m. — Elephant & Castle

Nestled in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar district, this lunch spot has some seriously good food. The beef is of Irish origin, and all burgers are prepared in house. We ordered a burger with buffalo mozzarella, pesto and roasted tomato, and a side of hand-cut fries. The salads and main dishes looked just as thoughtfully crafted and delicious.

Total: 30 euros

4:30 p.m. — Guinness Storehouse

If you do nothing else in Dublin, you must visit the Guinness Storehouse. A few steps off Dublin’s main block, the massive complex has seven interactive floors that break down the iconic beer’s brewing process. At the end of the tour, visitors pour their own pints of Guinness and drift upstairs for 360-degree views of Dublin. Buy tickets online for a 10-percent discount..

Total: 36 euros

7:00 p.m. — The Port House Pintxo

About a 10-minute walk away, Port House Pintxo has a creative tapas menu with Irish flair. Try the Pepito Solomillo, mini grilled sirloin steaks on garlic toast, and the Paella de Verdura, Spain’s traditional rice dish. The company also owns an incredibly cool, multi-level bar just around the corner.

Total: 25 euros

9:30 p.m. — The Brazen Head

Established in 1198, the Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub. It was referenced in James Joyce’s book, "Ulysses," and the small venue offers live music every night with a great beer selection.

Total: 23 euros

Day 2

11 a.m. — Green 19

Green 19 is a hidden gem. It is owned by a young guy with a killer beard and loads of suggestions for tourists. The restaurant has a straightforward concept: a simple menu and affordable food. Order the “Full Irish” and porridge for a traditional Irish breakfast.

Total: 20 euros

12:30 p.m. — St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral & Dublin Castle

Time to walk off breakfast and do some sightseeing. These sites were all founded in the 11th and 12th centuries and are about five minutes apart. Together, they capture Ireland’s rich history and cultural roots. Museums and services are also located in each at a reasonable price.

1:30 p.m. — Trinity College & "The Book of Kells"

Easily the most romantic walk in Dublin, Trinity College is Ireland’s most prestigious university. The architecture and landscaping compete with the world’s oldest academic institutions for beauty and sophistication. Also visit the college’s museum, which houses Ireland’s national treasure, “The Book of Kells.” The self-guided tour walks visitors through the stages of illuminated manuscripts and showcases various pages from the ninth-century book of Christian gospels. Tickets for the museum tour are 10 euros each.

Total: 20 euros

3 p.m. — The Farm

The Farm is the health-conscious and environmental crusader’s dream come true. Focused on local, free-range and organic food sourcing, the restaurant has a seasonal menu with contemporary Irish selections.

Total: 25 euros

4:30 p.m. — St. Stephen’s Green

Weather permitting, walk through Dublin’s famously evergreen park. Ducks and swans bathe in the lakes, young couples dine on picnic blankets and kids splash in the fountains. It’s a great break from Europe’s gray winters.

5 p.m. — Old Jameson Distillery (or Grafton Street)

Since you’re in the area, why not meander down one of Dublin’s main shopping strips and pick up some souvenirs? If you’re not the shopping type, though, Old Jameson Distillery is about 15 minutes away and has some excellent tours and tastings. Buy online and save 10 percent at 14.40 euros per ticket.

Total: 30 euros

7:30 p.m. — The Winding Stair

We saved the best for last. The Winding Stair, which is named after a Yeats poem, is a restaurant stationed above an old restored Irish bookshop. The restaurant is quickly becoming one of Dublin’s favorite food hot spots, so be sure to book a table in advance.

Total: 60 euros

9 p.m. — The Palace Bar

Walk past the Hard Rock Café and into this highly regarded, historic Irish pub. A bartender recommended it, and we’re so glad he did. The pub is known for its beer and whiskey.

Total: 25 euros

One final tip: Use the “Route Planner” on Dublin Bus to identify the nearest bus stop and save euros on your trip back to the airport.

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