Day 1: Explore Dublin, Ireland in 3 Days

Photo by William Murphy/flickr.com

Dublin, located on the east coast of the Republic of Ireland, is the nation’s capital city. It emerged as a booming city when the Vikings from Norway settled here from 10th to 11th century and turned it into a trading place until it was invaded by the Normans in 1172 under the command of King Henry II of England. On January 1, 1801, the Acts of Union 1800 united the Ireland with the Kingdom of Britain to found the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922, Dublin became a capital city when Ireland was divided into two countries. The Southern Ireland separated  from the United Kingdom and became independent as the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin became the centre of economic growth and expansion of Ireland especially during the Celtic Tiger (1995-2000). In 2014, Dublin was rank 34th most livable city out of the 223 cities in the world.

Dublin city

So if Dublin city will be your next itinerary, 3 days would be perfect for you to explore the history, culture, art and even the music of this dynamic city.

Before anything else, I have some few tips to share that I learned during our stay in Dublin.

Tip # 1: If you are coming here with a car, make sure that the hotel ( I’m talking about the much less expensive ones) you are staying in has a parking space since you won’t need it. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying the expensive parking fees all the time. It would be much easier to explore the city using its public transportation.

Tip #2: Stay in a hotel near to a hop-on hop-off bus stop since you’ll be taking the hop-on hop-off bus for 2 days. At least, you really won’t be using any other public transportation getting around the city and it’s much more convenient and accessible. How would you know if the hotel is near a bus stop? You can check the hop-on hop-off bus stops on this website, www.dublinsightseeing.ie , and simply locate where will be your hotel.

Tip #3: Purchase the hop-on hop-off bus ticket because this will bring you to all the historical and famous landmarks in the city.The ticket costs €19 for Adults, € 17 for  Students & Senior Citizens and €8 for children under 14 years old. The good thing about this is it is valid for 2 days. Purchase it online to get a 15% discount. Visit www.dublinsightseeing.ie

Tip #4: Stay in Dublin during the weekdays since you could save a lot of money for the hotel accommodation compared during the weekends. I remember that our hotel cost €120/night for the 4 persons and the breakfast is included during the weekdays but if I booked it on during the weekends, it costs €299. That’s twice the price.

Tip #5: As you check out of the hotel on the last day and there are still some few places nearby that you want to visit, simply ask the receptionist if it is possible to leave the car ( if you have one) in the parking lot for few hours so that you can still use the hop-on hop-off bus if it is still valid. We only stayed in Dublin for 2 days, so right after our check-out of the hotel, the receptionist allowed us to leave our car in the parking lot for €5 and we use the hop-on hop-off bus for the remaining time we had in Dublin.

So, shall we start?

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 Right after we checked-in our hotel, we went straight to the nearest hop-on hop-off bus stop which is just two minute-walk from the hotel just along Pearse Street. From 9 am, a bus arrives at each stop every 15 minutes so it is really a great alternative way to commute around the city. The starting point of the tour is located at O’Connell Street.

O’Connell Street

O’Connell Street is the city’s main avenue with a length of 500 meters and a width up to 49 meters. But before it was widened and named after a nationalist leader, (Daniel O’Connell) in 1924, it used to be a small street known as Drogheda Street during the 17th century. It was only widened during the late 17th century and renamed Sackville Street.

At the centre of the street, you will find the Grand Post Office which is the Irish Post Office Headquarters and one of the famous Georgian building in Ireland.

You will also find here The Spire of Dublin, a stainless steel needle-like monument erected on the former site of the Nelson’s Pillar. It has a height of 121 meters and considered as the world’s tallest sculpture. It was completed on 2003 as part of the redesigning plan of O’Connell Street.

Trinity College

Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. It is the only constituent college of University of Dublin. Some of its former alumni are Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and 2 of the former Presidents of Ireland, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese.

The Library of Trinity College is home to the famous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the 4 Gospels of the New Testament written in Latin.

Bank of Ireland

This building along College Green is currently in use as a commercial bank of Bank of Ireland but during the 18th century, it’s served as The Irish Houses Parliament until the Acts of Union 1800 was abolished.

Grafton Street

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Are you up to an upscale shopping? Grafton Street is one of the places to be. It has some of the famous international shops. Or you can just simply stroll along the street and do window shopping.

Nassau Street

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If you’re looking for some Irish quality design as gifts and souvenirs, stroll along this street and you will find different Irish shops.

Government Buildings

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The Government Buildings located on Merrion Street is a large building compound that houses several offices of the Government of Ireland: Department of Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Department of Finance, Office of the Attorney General and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The building behind me houses the Department of Taoiseach

The building behind me houses the Department of Taoiseach.

These are just some of the beautiful architectural buildings we saw on our way to our next stop.

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Dublin Castle

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Dublin Castle was originally built as a fortress for the defence of the city after the Norman invasion in the 12th century. For centuries, it became the seat of the British Government in Ireland until 1922. It is now an Irish Government complex use for hosting official State visits, State banquets and presidential inauguration ceremonies.

dublin castle The Record tower is the only structure left from the original medieval castle back from the 13th century.

The Chapel Royal was the official Church of Ireland chapel of the Household of the Lord of Lieutenant of Ireland from 1814 until the separation of Southern Ireland in 1922.

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Bedford Tower

The Bedford tower is the centrepiece of the castle’s courtyard. If you want to go and see inside of the castle, you can join the guided tours available from Mondays to Friday between 10:00 and 16:45 and Saturdays and Sundays from 14:00-16:45. The ticket costs €4.50 for adults and €2.00 for kids under 12.

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Dublin City Hall

dublin city hall

Next to the Dublin Castle is Dublin City Hall. Originally built as a  trading place for the city’s merchants to buy and sell goods. It was known as Royal Exchange until it was purchased by the city government and turned it into a civil building in 1850’s.

The pictures on the dome commemorate the story of Brian Boru, the first High King of the Irish and considered as the first nationalist hero.

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Dublin City Hall Dome

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Floor mosaic of the city arms and motto

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View of the Dublin City Hall from Parliament Street

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

 St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland founded in honour of country’s patron saint in 1911. Strangely, Dublin city has two cathedrals, the other one is the Christ Church Cathedral where the Archbishop of Dublin has his seat but St. Patrick’s Cathedral is labelled as the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland.

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It is filled with monuments and memorials.

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st patricks cathedral

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st patricks cathedral 1

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Lady Chapel

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Temple Bar

Spend the rest of the day at Temple Bar, an area in Dublin popular to many tourists as a cultural quarter and for its bustling night-life. You can have your dinner in one of the many restaurants here and enjoy the rest of the night having a pint of beer in a pub.

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The Temple Bar Pub

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The Oliver St John Gogarty Pub

 

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