One of my favourite pass-times when I’m bored is to jump on to SkyScanner select ‘London’ to ‘Everywhere’, chuck in a few random dates and see what cheap options it brings up. I did this a few weeks before Christmas and saw that it brought up flights for a weekend in Dublin for just £38!! I jumped straight on to WhatsApp and told Sam, my most frequented travel buddy, and ultimate ‘YES’ man and we pretty much booked it there and then. A few days later in the pub (after a couple of bottles of prosecco) we also managed to recruit another 2 travelers on-board to make the ultimate mini girls trip!
We spent around 1.5 days in Dublin, flying in early Saturday morning and late Sunday evening and this felt like the perfect amount of time.
We stayed in the ‘Camden Hotel by Key Collection’ on Camden street (not to be confused with the ‘Camden hotel’, which is also along the same road). Admittedly from the outside this looks like a ‘No Frills’ hotel and we weren’t expecting too much at £30pp for the night, but once we got inside our room we were pleasantly surprised. We had the top floor loft room and considering we had 4 beds in there, we had so much room for activities along with some plush carpets, a really powerful shower, hairdryer, iron, a kettle, and biscuits. What more could us girls want?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a huge fan of Guinness, I can drink it and enjoy it but ½ a pint and I’m done, BUT, it would have been an absolute sin to come to Dublin and not go to the Guinness Storehouse, so that’s exactly what we did. Tickets cost £22.50 (these can be bought on the door or beforehand, whatever your preference) and it was worth every penny. I’ve always said I’m not the biggest fan of museums, and I’m still not but I actually really enjoyed this one, perhaps because it was alcohol related- Who Knows?
You get 7 floors filled with Guinness facts and history along with lots of interactive sections, and also includes a few bars, one of which hosts panoramic views of Dublin. Included in your ticket is also a free Guinness, which you have the opportunity to pour yourself- or if you’ve been a barmaid before you can avoid the queue, head straight to the main bar and have someone else pour it for you. AND it’s true what they say, the Guinness in Ireland does taste better, who’d of thunk it?
Now Originally we wanted to go to Kilmainham Gaol Prison however this was completely booked out, so if prison history is your thannng, I’d recommend that you book this at the same time you book your flights to save the disappointment.
We opted instead, to go on a free Dublin walking tour with Sandemans. Our guide was super knowledgeable, took us to some of the Dublin Hotspots like the Dublin castle and the famous Trinity College, and was throwing out the Ireland facts left, right and centre. However, as informative and interesting as the tour was, there was definitely a lot more standing in one spot, than walking – which doesn’t bode well for the old joints in the 1-degree temperatures. So, I’d either suggest that you maybe do this in the summer months or wear a ski-suit if you do decide to go in the winter. Seriously though, all jokes aside- Wrap up warm kids.
We first arrived at our hotel around 08:30am, so thought we would drop our stuff off and head out for breakfast. I don’t know if Dublin opens up a bit later on a Saturday, as we do on a Sunday back in England, but there were hardly any Cafes open at 9am. After almost 45 minutes of traipsing around, we finally found somewhere that served up a ‘Traditional Irish Breakfast’. This was the ‘Trinity bar’ on Dame Street. The breakfast was OK but with nothing else open we had to settle. Anyway, it filled a hole and on a brighter note, the bar staff were really good fun.
We also came across the ‘Butlers chocolate Café’, and decided to step inside, it looked pretty busy so assumed that it must be a good place to go, and with the freezing cold temperatures what better than a coffee or a hot chocolate? Anywho, I ordered the White Hot Chocolate and was not disappointed (I mean pure melted white chocolate stirred into hot milk!!) and also got to choose a free piece of chocolate to accompany my drink. I definitely gained about 10lbs after drinking it but these things happen and it was worth it.
Our final dinner was in a restaurant named ‘Boxty’. This restaurant was recommended by our walking tour guide. The ‘Boxty’ is supposedly a traditional Irish potato pancake and I had mind served up with chicken and a creamy leek sauce, Bloody Delish m8! I did then go on to tell my Irish friend about it and he said he’d never heard of a Boxty before, so how traditional it really is I’m not too sure, but either way is DAYUMM TASTY.
Bars & Nightlife
If you’re heading to Dublin, there is no doubt that you will hear about the famous ‘Temple Bar´. Most of the advice given was not to go there because its ridiculously expensive and very touristy. Despite the advice we decided to go in there. It was very expensive but the atmosphere, the décor, and the live band were just so nice that it sort of made up for the prices, so my advice would be go down and see it and perhaps just get one or two, unless of course you have bags of money.
Just down the road from Temple bar is ‘The Quays Bar’. Although the décor isn’t as attractive, I definitely think the atmosphere and the live band were a lot better, so if you’re in this area spend more of your time here.
For our Saturday night out we asked some locals where was best to go to mix with the Irish and avoid the tourists. We had heard that the touristy area (a.k.a The Temple Bar area) got even more expensive at night so wanted to avoid it at all costs. We were instructed to head to Camden street to some of the bars there, which turned out to be an absolute treat as all of the bars suggested were right near our hotel:
Anseo– This bar is similar to what you would find in Shoreditch. Quite a relaxed Vibe (God I hate using that word) and a good place to start your night.
Devitts– This was by far my favourite bar. The live band were absolutely amazing, you can’t help but stomp your foot along to the Irish music, but be warned you will have the sound of the fiddle playing in your head for days.
Whelans– We were told that this was another bar that had live music, however, when we got in there it was playing chart music. Perhaps we got there a little too late? This bar is the kind of place that you can leave or take, so maybe pop your head in and see if it’s what you fancy.
The Globe- They were playing Snoop and Nate Dogg tunes in here so it was a yes from me.
House– This was a really lovely bar and great music but it’s the sort of place that you could find anywhere in London. So if it’s the Irish theme you want to stick with I’d say Devitt’s is the place to go.
Also, note that even though this area is a little less expensive than the main area the cheapest bottle of prosecco we got was still €40 (which is basically £40 with the current exchange rate!!)
So Dublin, it’s a must-do! The people are so friendly and happy, the Guinness is Creamy and the Fiddles are fantastic!
P.S If you were wondering… some pubs in Ireland are in fact still called ‘Irish Pubs’
Dates: 6th – 7th January 2018
Spending Money: £200