Day 1. Dublin

image
Trinity College, Dublin

We took an early morning flight from Edinburgh Airport over to Dublin in the Irish Republic.  This was my third visit to Dublin but my first in mid summer.  Before leaving the airport we bought ourselves 72 hour travel passes for use on the public transport, these being valid on the bus service into the city centre from the airport.

image
Dublin Castle
It was still very early and the city hadn’t yet come fully to life when we left the bus on O’Connell Street but it didn’t take us too long to find an inviting cafe where we ordered ‘Full Irish Breakfasts’ to set us up for a day of sightseeing.

image
Ha’Penny Bridge
Our first stop was to Trinity College, Dublin, an historic seat of learning in the heart of the city centre.  The entrance arch leads through to manicured lawns and cobbled paths.  In one corner stands the Old Library, constructed in the 18th century and where the famous Book of Kells is stored.  This is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure  and tickets to view this medieval manuscript can be bought on the day.
image
Dublin Castle

Our next stop was to Dublin Castle, located on Dame Street,  a five minute walk from Trinity College.  The castle was originally constructed in the 13th century and has functioned as a military fortress, a prison and the seat of English Administration in Ireland for 700 years.  We were only able to view the castle from outside as it was closed to visitors due to Government business, although it’s usually open daily.
image
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin

A few steps away lies Christchurch Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, this is Dublin’s oldest building and after a look inside we walked along the banks of the River Liffey.    Soon, we arrived at Dublin’s oldest pedestrian bridge across the River Liffey, known as the Ha’Penny Bridge, named after its original toll.  It really is a joy to behold with its elliptical arch and the iron work repainted in its original off white colour.

image
Temple Bar, Dublin
Needing a rest,  it was time to check in to our hotel, The Charles Stewart at Parnell Square, a central position at the top of O’Connell Street.  The room was quite good but the WiFi in our room was very weak, probably because we were at the very end of a corridor, still this was a minor matter.
image
Charles Stewart Hotel, Dublin

After dinner we took a walk through the Temple Bar area south of the Liffey.  When dusk falls this area comes to life with its many bars and restaurants teeming with customers listening to live music and having a good time.

 

Day 2. Howth and Kilmainham Gaol

image
West Pier, Howth
After a hearty full Irish breakfast we took a bus out to Howth, a small fishing village on the northern edge of Dublin Bay.  It was a bright, sunny morning as we strolled along the West Harbour pier.  Along the waters edge fishermen were landing their morning catch and brightly coloured fishing boats bobbed about in the sheltered harbour.  Facing the water there are an assortment of fishmongers, cafes and deli’s all serving the freshly caught fish and seafood.   A small crowd had gathered a little further along the pier and we noticed seals jumping in the water and so we paused awhile to watch their antics.  Towards the end of the pier lies the Martello Tower from where we could see the small isle of Ireland’s Eye, a fifteen minute boat ride away.

We retraced our steps and browsed Howth Market, located beside the DART station.  This operates at weekends and sells crafts , organic foods and has a few take away stalls.    We continued along the seafront, heading uphill until we reached Howth Castle and gardens.

image
Howth, Dublin
image
The Bloody Stream Pub, Howth
There were good views looking back down to the village centre from here.    Feeling hungry, we shared some fish and chips from Bishoffs, a Dublin institution, obviously popular as the queue snaked back along the road.  Sitting on a bench overlooking the bay we enjoyed our tasty snack and then feeling thirsty we had beers at the quaintly named village pub ‘The Bloody Stream’ before returning to the city centre.

image
Kilmainham Gaol
Our afternoon excursion was to Kilmainham Gaol located 3.5 km out of the city centre.  This is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe covering some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s history.  We took the one hour guided tour which was extremely interesting and learnt that several major films have been filmed here including Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan.

Continue reading “Day 2. Howth and Kilmainham Gaol”

Day 3. Phoenix Park and Grafton Street, Dublin

image
Phoenix Park
After breakfast in the hotel we took a bus out to Phoenix Park which is located  north of the river, 3 km west of the city centre.  It’s the largest enclosed park in Europe and was 350 years old in 2012.

image
St Stephen’s Green
We enjoyed a walk along the main avenues and left the park by a different exit in order to visit Collins Barracks nearby.

image
Collins Barracks
This building was a former army barracks and since 1977 the building has been home to the National Museum of Ireland, Decorative Arts and History.   The museum was extremely interesting and is definitely worth a visit if time allows.

image
Grafton Street, Dublin
It was now approaching lunchtime so we headed to Grafton Street, the home of Dublin’s upmarket shopping and full of life with shoppers, street entertainers and tourists.

image
Lunch on Grafton Street
We looked around Brown Thomas, the exclusive department store and then enjoyed lunch on the outer terrace of a rooftop restaurant along the street.  The lunch was delicious and we enjoyed the added bonus of seeing some fluffy seagull chicks that were nesting by the balcony.

Contnuing to the end of Grafton Street we came to St Stephen’s Green,  a Victorian city centre park with an ornamental lake and waterfall.   As it was such a warm, sunny day the park was filled with office workers and families enjoying the Irish sunshine so we sat on a park bench and soaked up some sun a little while too.

image
Seagull Chicks
Before returning to the hotel to collect our luggage we took a look in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, a glass roofed emporium containing 94 stores.

It was then back to the airport for our evening flight back to Edinburgh.  To summarise, we had very much enjoyed our three days in Dublin, a city I could happily return to at any time.