Visiting Ireland: Dublin, Howth, Cliffs of Moher & Galway

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, accessing Europe from the U.S. by way of Dublin is a simple way to reduce the cost of airfare… and taking a couple of days to tour Dublin and its surroundings can be a great way to start or end any Eurotrip. If you have more than a day or two, you should consider heading out west or up north to explore more of the lusciously green country!

In this post, I discuss transportation options to and from the airport, my favorite restaurants and to dos, and I provide a sample three-day itinerary.

If you have been to Ireland and have more suggestions please provide them in the comment section below.


Transportation between DUB Airport <–> Dublin City Center

I love public transportation, and try to take it whenever possible.

  • Public Transport: In the airport, look for green signs for the Airlink Express bus. You can purchase tickets ahead of time to save a few euros, or right in front of the bus there will be a stand where you can purchase tickets for €7 one way or €12 euro round-trip. The 747 and the 757 buses stop at many places throughout the city. You can also purchase tickets on the bus at any stop.
  • Taxi: If you prefer taxi it will run around €30.
  • Rideshare App: As of summer 2018, myTaxi seemed to be the most popular ride-sharing app.

 


Favorite Restaurants & Bars in Dublin

  • The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Dublin, and offers traditional cuisine.
  • Porterhouse Temple Bar Pub is a multi-story pub in the heart of Temple Bar that offers traditional Irish cuisine and an extensive beer list. In the evenings there is often live music to enjoy!
  • Vintage Cocktail Club is a speakeasy located behind a blackdoor with the letters VCC, and nothing else. Knock on the door to enter! The atmosphere is quiet compared to most watering holes in Dublin, and the interior is plushly decorated. If you’re lucky, and can visit VCC on a sunny day, I recommend going to the top floor which can be open air! To enter you must be >23 years old.
  • Bank at College Green is a lovely lunch spot with an elegant enterior
  • Woolen Mills is a nice restaurant along the River Lifey
  • The Winding Stair another amazing Irish restaurant overlooking the River Lifey

Below is a map marked with suggested restaurants, bars and to dos!

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Favorite “To Dos” in Dublin

In addition to walking around the city, and spending time in the local pubs my favorite things to do in Dublin are listed below:

  • Kilmainham Gaol is my favorite museum in Dublin. The tours through this  iconic, twentieth-century prison are lead by enthusiastic guides that share history of Dublin, the Irish Republic, and the lives the prisoners including those involved in the 1916 Easter Rising. Multiple films have been recorded on the grounds, and the band U2 filmed a music video here!
    • Adult tickets are €8 (as of August 2018), and are available for advanced purchase on the website, on which I recommend purchasing as tickets often sell out.

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  • Guinness Storehouse is a must for any beer lover. The museum takes you through the history of the factory, the process of making and pouring Guinness, and even cooking with Guinness! The experience culminates with a moment to relax on the top floor of the storehouse with a pint of Guinness and a 360-degree view of the city.
    • Adult tickets are €18.50 (as of August 2018), and I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time on the website, which often offers discounted prices.
  • Take a day trip to Howth, a local fishing village that offers delicious seafood and picturesque hiking.
    • You can reach Howth using the DART, a fast train service, from Dublin’s city center (specifically Connolly, Tara, or Pearse Stations). Return (aka round-trip) tickets cost ~€5 and can be purchased at the train station.
    • Important to Note: If you plan to hike, wear close-toed shoes, bring water and wear clothes you don’t mind getting dusty / dirty.  The hike will be intense for beginners, and isn’t ideal if you suffer from knee pain, as there are large boulders you will need to mount at the beginning.

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Sample Three Day Itinerary

Below is a sample three day itinerary, but the three days don’t have to flow in this particular order. Be sure to look at the weather, and travel to Howth on the nicest day!

Day 1: Kilmainham Gaol and Guinness Storehouse

  • Start your day with a hearty Irish breakfast, and then set off on your tour of Kilmainham Gaol. The prison can be accessed from the city center by bus or taxi. I have walked to Kilmainham Gaol before, and it takes ~45 minutes e from the Temple Bar Area.
    • There’s a simple cafe in the prison if you need a snack.
  • After your tour of Kilmainham Gaol, head to the Guinness Storehouse. The self-guided tour will take a couple of hours to complete. There is a cafe inside that serves items like Guinness Stew, and Guinness bread!
  • Head back to the Temple Bar area for a refreshing cocktail the Vintage Cocktail Club (VCC), a quiet speakeasy in the heart of bustling Temple Bar!
  • Enjoy dinner at Porterhouse Temple Bar Pub

Day 2: City Center

  • Start your morning with a walk through Trinity College, and if you’re interested buy a ticket to see the Book of Kells and Old Library. I personally find the Book of Kells exhibit to be a bit disappointing, and have heard tour guides agree. It is often overly crowded, and only a page or two of the book is on display, but the Old Library, which you see after you walk through the Book of Kells exhibit, is spectacular! If you’re interested I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time, as the line can wrap around the building!
  • Walk up Graffton Street to St. Stephen’s Green and enjoy the beautiful park.
  • Walk 10 minutes from St. Stephen’s Green to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, from there walk to Christ Church Cathedral, which is attached to Dublinia (a museum on Dublin’s Viking and Medieval history). A single ticket can be purchased to see both sites.
  • Dinner at The Brazen Head, Dublin’s oldest pub, which dates back to the 1600s!

Day 3: Howth

  • Head over to either Connolly, Tara, or Pearse Stations, and purchase a round trip ticket to Howth. This picturesque fishing village will be the last stop on the train, and the journey will take between 20-30 minutes.
  • Spend your day at Howth venturing through the tiny village. In the summers, there is an open air market by the station!
  • Follow the main street with shops (past the Starbucks at the end) and continue walking up the street, which becomes residential. This will lead you to the cliff walk.
  • When you’re finished with your hike head back towards the train station and enjoy Fish & Chips or other seafood at one of the numerous seafood restaurants!

Optional Day 4: Cliffs of Moher and Galway! 

Depending on how much time you have you should consider a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Galway. We used Wild Rover Tours and thoroughly enjoyed our day.

  • In Galway, stay away from the touristy fish & chips spots, and head over to Ard Bia at Nimmos. I stumbled upon this cafe/restaurant more than 5 years ago and fell in love with its quirky interior and creative Irish dishes!

Here’s an image from the beautiful Cliffs of Moher!

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3 thoughts on “Visiting Ireland: Dublin, Howth, Cliffs of Moher & Galway

  1. The hike along the Cliffs of Howth offers a beautiful view and a great way to enjoy Mother Nature! As a person with sensitive knees it is well worth the walk! Just take some Advil! You do not want to miss this!

    Liked by 1 person

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