Dublin has to be in my top three favourite city breaks.
This city has everything I look for when booking a weekend getaway: enough history, culture and points of interest to fill up the daytime whilst there is a varied and lively nightlife to experience the city after dark. It certainly didn’t disappoint!
Firstly, let’s talk about the daytime activities. My friends and I were incredibly lucky to have great weather for the entire weekend in late February so this made casual mooching around the city really enjoyable. Just walking around the city, taking in the sights and soaking up the atmosphere can often be entertainment enough however if you’re in need of something extra, I would recommend the classic tourist destination, the Guinness Storehouse. For me, although the tour was interesting, the building itself was stunning inside and I could have happily spent the entire time in the Gravity Bar enjoying the views and black stuff. In fact, there was rarely a moment captured where one of us weren’t supping on a pint of Guinness – we simply call it ‘getting involved with local culture’!
We also stumbled upon the Spire of Dublin whilst walking around which was a great sight to behold and it became a handy reference point if we ever lost our bearings!
Now onto the evenings in Dublin… This is where the city really comes alive in my opinion. The atmosphere becomes electric and everybody is in a great mood and just up for a good time – I believe the locals refer to it as the ‘craic’!! As with all cities, you have to keep your wits about you however Dublin felt very safe in comparison to other European cities I’ve visited before. When planning our trip, we wanted to experience evenings of nightlife away from the tourist trap of Temple Bar however after spending our first night there, we had such a fun time we returned again and again. We did attempt to venture out to another area on our second night which was recommended by a taxi driver but it just didn’t have the same energy and vibrancy of Temple Bar so we, of course, ended back in our usual spot in the Temple Bar pub. I’ve rarely experienced it elsewhere but it just had a magical ambience and I feel like I could visit it every night for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. (This may have been a side effect of the Guinness though..!)
Having scoured just about every travel blog, review and website about weekends in Dublin, I was expecting drinks to be far more expensive than they were. Sure, a pint of Guinness was 5/6€ in most places but this is equivalent if not more affordable than London prices, and as you can probably tell, we tended to stick to places which would be priced highly for tourists so I’m sure that cheaper deals could be found by exploring outside of the main bar areas.
But as an offset for spending all our hard-earned cash in Temple Bar, we did scrimp with the accommodation. Again, having read all possible reviews of the Dublin International Hostel I was dreading it – we did only pay around £50 each for a Thursday-Sunday stay which even included a free breakfast after all so it’s safe to say that my expectations weren’t too high. Admittedly it isn’t located in the best area and it is a good 15/20 minute walk to get to the main areas of interest and I know I didn’t feel safe walking around that part of Dublin (particularly at night) so I would recommend getting taxis back after nights out. The hostel was a pleasant surprise though, it was basic but clean which is absolutely fine by me for a long weekend away where little time is actually spent in the room anyway.
So, although the Guinness Storehouse and Temple Bar aren’t the most original suggestions for places to go to whilst in Dublin, I can now see why they have the reputation that they do and why tourists continue to flock there – they are simply just the best places to go for a truly great time in Dublin and I would go back in a heartbeat!
Dublin is one of the few cities so far which I would revisit as I feel there is so much more to be seen and experienced and the surface can only be scratched during a long weekend.
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