15. Dublin

Published on 9 May 2023 at 11:34

Guiness Storehouse Gravity Bar - Not quite splitting the G

If you are planning on spending time in Dublin, and don't want the hassle and expense of dealing with a car in the city, I recommend ending your adventure in Ireland here. After dropping our car back off at the airport, we caught a taxi to Dublin Citi Hotel in the Temple Bar area. We chose this option for convenience sake as we had all of our luggage with us (the bus costs about $8 per person, so for two people the $30 cab fair is well worth the little bit of extra money).

It was too early to check in, so after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we set off to explore. Our first stop was at the Chester Beatty Library where they had a special exhibit of ancient Biblical texts. It was amazing to see copies of the Epistles and excerpts from the Torah from the 3rd century (for obvious reasons, I especially loved the note below about women in ministry!). The museum also has exhibits of other gorgeous illustrated manuscripts and books. The most incredible were the ones from Japan from the time of the Samurai. If you are a bibliophile this museum should be a must see on your Dublin itinerary.

From the Library we headed along the River Liffey to the Guinness Storehouse (about a 20 minute walk). I had pre-purchased tickets online so we were able to walk right in for our self-guided tour. The storehouse is 5 stories of exhibits devoted to the making of Guinness (which isn't as boring as you might imagine). The whole thing is really well done and includes a "free" tasting and a drink in the gravity bar on the 5th floor - I say "free" because the tour does cost $30 per person. It was really busy, even though we are in the shoulder season, so we weren't able to sit and enjoy our drinks, but the bar does offer a pretty spectacular view of the city. Rach and I attempted to "split the G" (downing your pint to the middle of the G on the Guinness glass). We both fell short, but the funniest part was seeing Rachael's face after her first taste of Guinness - I think I can safely say that she is definitely not a fan!

Dublin is a bit pricier than the rest of Ireland so we had already decided to save money by eating our main meals earlier in the day (you'll find the lunch menu much cheaper than the dinner menu). Since we had skipped lunch we were more than ready for an early dinner, so we headed back up the river to The Church Restaurant and Bar. The food wasn't memorable, but I loved the restaurant for its unique atmosphere. It is literally housed inside an old church - in fact, the same church where Arthur Guinness got married - and the organ, stained glass windows, and engraved stone memorial markers in alcoves on the walls all remain intact. 

After dinner we checked in to our hotel and had a short rest before heading out again to follow our chatty taxi drivers recommendation for a good (and cheap), local approved pub - The Long Haul. After enjoying a pint there, we asked the bar tender to recommend a good place for cocktails and he directed us to The Little Pig. This is a speakeasy that is hidden under Pacino's Restaurant (insider clue - you have to turn the pigs head to open the secret door) - I would recommend making a reservation here ahead of time, we were just lucky that they had a spot for us.

Temple Bar District, Chester Beatty Library (Proof for all those nay sayers), Ha Penny Bridge across the River Liffey, Guinness Storehouse, The Church Restaurant

After a good nights rest we were ready for day 2 of our Dublin adventure. We started the morning off with coffee and croissants from a local patisserie before heading to Trinity College and our 9am tour of The Book of Kells. The college has a beautiful campus with a fascinating history and Rach in particular enjoyed seeing the Book of Kells as she studied it this past semester.

From there it was a 5 minute walk to the National Gallery of Ireland where we saw Rembrandt's, Monet's, Picasso's, Van Gogh's, and many other famous artist's works on display. My favorite were the incredible stained glass windows by Harry Clarke. And the most amazing thing about the museums in Dublin is that they are all free!

We then strolled through Marion Park and St Stephens Green - both of which are lovely, and provide a peaceful, emerald respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. We also walked past the very swanky Shelbourne Hotel were they serve a traditional High Tea in the afternoons. Having seen it, I wish I had planned for this (we had just eaten lunch). It is quite pricey at $60 a person, but definitely worth it if you have never experienced anything like this before and are Jane Austen fans like we are.

After our stroll through the park it was on to the National Museum of Archaeology were we saw a lot of archaeological finds related to places we had visited all over Ireland. The things I was most excited to see were the famous gold Tara broach (gorgeous) and the bog people (kind of creepy).

Our walk back to the hotel took us along Grafton Street which is a great place to buy souvenirs and gifts for family and friends back home. Shopping completed, there was just enough time for a little rest before stepping out again for our last evening in Ireland.

We started with "An Evening with the Fairies," a traditional storytelling evening at The Stags Head Pub. It was so much fun to hear the Irish myths and legends told in the traditional way. Then it was on to dinner across the way at Mulligan's Pub (cheapest cocktails in Dublin at 2 for $14) and a final goodbye to Ireland with my last plate of delicious Guinness Stew.

I cannot begin to say how grateful we are to have experienced this amazing country with its warm friendly people. It should be a must do on everyone's bucket list!

Trinity College, Trinity Library, National Museum of Art, St Stephen's Green, National Museum of Archeology, Mulligan's Pub

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