We’ve all been inside for days, weeks, MONTHS. Today I did chalkboard art, cleaned my kitchen for the 10th time, crocheted a skullcap, and hand-scrubbed my floors. For the 10th time. Sometimes, the only thing keeping me going is knowing that I will (SOMEDAY) get out and about and see and do again! Until then, I invite you for a little stroll down memory lane to enjoy a taste of Ireland.
The country just enjoyed a prolonged spell of warm sunshine and no rain, so everyone knows what that meant – rain. Every day. Sometimes a brief spell, sometimes a day of steady showers, sometimes occasional downpours. There is a reason Ireland is the Emerald Isle, and it is definitely because of all the rain.. So, tip one: pack a good, wind-proof rain jacket. An umbrella won’t work, they turn inside out in the wind, and no one needs to be injured, so leave the umbrella at home and opt for waterproof and hooded.
Everyone knows Ireland is famous for Guinness and whiskey. The Guinness factory offers a tour, but I will be honest, we didn’t go on it. You can buy tickets at the door or from expedia.com or tripadvisor.com. We enjoyed ours at Temple Bar, a Dublin icon, which serves up the chocolate-y goodness with live traditional Irish music starting at 1:00 pm / 13:00.
Because of its fame, the bar can get more crowded and noisy as the day goes on. For those not into that scene, try mid-afternoon for a more enjoyable experience. We hit there for a late lunch around 2:00/ 14:00, which was perfect after a sleep-in morning following a red-eye flight. Plus the avenue isn’t quite as busy, so you can actually get decent pictures.
The area around Temple Bar has some great shopping, too. Don’t miss their own gift shop, where you can get some reasonably priced souvenirs and small bottles of the bar’s handmade whiskey. Aside from beer, liquor, and liqueurs (hello, Bailey’s) there is one other Dublin staple you should try: coddle. Coddle is kind of a soup, barring a lot of broth. It’s a traditional comfort food, but you won’t find it on every establishment’s menu. Each recipe is slightly different, and everyone’s mom, dad, uncle or grandmother makes the absolute BEST coddle, so a lot of restaurants don’t compete with family history. One place you can enjoy it is The Hairy Lemon – the Irish have the greatest pub names, I am sure — just a short walk from the Temple Bar area. The décor is eclectic, the coddle tasty and served up with homemade brown bread, perfect for warming up from a cool rain.
For getting around, Dublin is simply one of the most walkable cities and public transportation is highly accessible. Busses run regularly, including the AirLink to and from the airport. The DoDublin HOHO (hop on hop off) bus hits the tourist attractions, and a DoDublin card will transport you on that, Airlink, and public busses for a very reasonable fee. Please note that DoDublin HOHO operates in only one direction, so if you want to go somewhere closer to the end of the line, take a higher number stop even if it means crossing the river.
Speaking of the river, Dublin is situated straddling the banks of River Liffey. Part of what makes the city beautiful is the number of bridges that cross and the uniqueness of the bridges. One of the most famous is Ha’Penny, close to Temple Bar area. The bridge is named for the half-penny once charged to cross it, and it is the subject of many a Dublin photo.
One of the stops you can hit on the HOHO is Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells. For those of faith, this is a highly recommended tour, and tickets are easy to find on many websites, including pre-booked times on the link above to avoid waiting in line. It is nearly impossible to get great pictures of the books themselves – they are highly protected from light and temperature changes that could damage them. But the library of Trinity College is highly photogenic, so don’t miss it!
It is even said the locale served as inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s library at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. And the Trinity College campus itself was quite beautiful, a great place for a stroll and lunch on a sunny afternoon.
Dublin is a town of so many things to see and do, I haven’t covered them all here.
Stay tuned …..Part II, coming soon!