Over 50% of the population is under 25-years-old.
I finally arrived in Dublin. The flight, although being my first flight in quite some time, went very well. I beat jetlag and got some sleep.
A little more about Dublin. . .
With a population of 2 million in the greater Dublin area, it is not only the capital but also the most populated.
The city is divided into several districts. The most popular for tourists being the Medieval district. It includes hot spots like the Dublin Castle, Christ Church, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You should also visit the Georgian district (renowned for its architecture). As well as the Cultural district which includes Temple Bar and the surrounding area. It is popular among party-goers.
Dublin has more green space per square kilometer than any other European capital. Today, 97% of its city residents live within 1,000 feet of a park area.
Dublin is ranked as the 13th most expensive city to live in the European Union. And 58th most expensive in the world. It’s also one of Europe’s most youthful cities with over 50% of its population being under 25 years of age.
It sits at the mouth of the River Liffey which divides the city in half and has become a sort of cultural divide, too.
After taking a while to find my hostel, I finally found My Place Dublin Hostel. One can find a bed at My Place Dublin for as little as $12 per night. It was my first taste of hostel living, but it was not the greatest atmosphere I’ve ever experienced in a hostel.
It wasn’t very inviting. I would recommend finding another place to stay in Dublin.
You can use the DART, which is Dublin’s rail system. But, it is quite pricey and I much preferred to use their public biking system.
There are over 40 bike terminals stationed throughout Dublin. You can use your debit or credit card to rent it from the nearby machine.
You pay $3 for a short-term access pass (usually around 3 days long). During which, you are able to use any bikes at the terminals citywide. And you can return the bike to any terminal, it doesn’t have to be the same one.
Pro Tip: You can ride any bike for the first 30 minutes for free.
After the first thirty minutes, you are charged based on the distance you take your bike. I was never on a bike for more than thirty minutes.
You have to ride it on the street with the rest of the traffic. Don’t forget, the Irish drive on the left side of the road. Don’t worry, though, Dublin is pedestrian-friendly if the bikes make you feel uncomfortable.
Trinity College & Book of Kells
On my first day, I walked around the center to get a feel for Dublin. I found myself at the historic Trinity College. Wow, what a campus. And the Book of Kells is phenomenal. It seemed like the only place in the center of Dublin that people weren’t fast on the move.
If shopping is what you came for, Grafton Street is your place. With a variety of large department stores, traditional markets, and a vast trading market nearby (Moore Street), you are sure to find some goodies.
Hop-on/hop-off bus tour
I did a hop-on/hop-off bus tour of the whole city of Dublin. If there is one thing I recommend in Dublin, it is the hop-on/hop-off bus tour. It will make your sightseeing far less stressful for an affordable price. And take you to all the major sites.
Pro Tip: Opt for the one-day pass. You can see almost every attraction in Dublin within a day.
There’s a lot to see and even more to be learned from the excellent tour guides. Among all other points of interest, make sure you don’t miss:
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Georgian neighborhood
- Jameson Whiskey Distillery
- Book of Kells
- Temple Bar
Many attractions in Dublin are at a reduced price for students or those holding ISIC cards. Get one before you go to Europe!
Cliffs of Moher
I spent the second day in Ireland making it out to the Cliffs of Moher.
Pro Tip: Leave a whole day open in your itinerary to do this trip. I left at 6 o’clock in the morning and our tour bus didn’t return until 8 that evening.
It was beautiful. Easily my favorite tourist attraction of Ireland. I got to see the green, rolling hills and countryside you see in photos and movies.
There are a few day trip options. All tour companies charge around $50 ($40 for students) and it includes a return trip. The cliffs are about three hours away, so it makes for a long day.
Moher is magnificent. If I could have spent more time there, I would have.
Be alert: The soil starts to give around the cliff’s edges. And it can get a little spooky looking down steep cliff edges. If you get vertigo, I would stay back.
When I went, it was a muggy day, but I’m sure you will get a great sunset on clear days. Bring a camera!
Guinness Storehouse & Brewery
On my third day in Dublin, I toured the world-famous (and Dublin’s most famous tourist attraction) Guinness Storehouse.
On the tour, I learned how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness. As well as every detail about the brewing process.
At the end of the tour, you get a complimentary pint atop the tallest building in Dublin. It offers a beautiful view of the historic city.
The tour of the brewery costs around $20 with the free pint and several tastings included. I was not entirely impressed with the tour, but it seems to be one of those “must do’s” of Ireland.
I got the unique opportunity to take part in Dublin’s once-a-year Culture Night. Around the city center, every heritage of Dublin showcased a part of their culture in some way or another. It was loads of fun.
I played a 30-person drum with dozens of locals. In front of another 50 bystanders. We beat the drum until I had blisters on my hand. Everybody was smiling as we experimented with sound and rhythm.
It’s one of those memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. If there is one thing I learned about the city: Always keep your eyes open and ears perked up in Dublin.
There were several occasions I ended up running into something cool unintentionally. There is always something happening in the city center.
For example, to my surprise, there were hundreds of people participating in a marathon swim in the River Liffey. No idea if this is a common thing, but it sure was cool to see!
Free national museums
On my last day, I toured several of Dublin’s free National Museums.
All museums in Dublin are free. But, like most free attractions, they run on donations. So, if you spend time in any of the museums, make sure you give back.
Museums are not my thing. But, in Dublin, there are so many, I was bound to find one that piqued my interest.
Other attractions, bars, and restaurants. . .
- Phoenix Park — enormous green space in the heart of the city
- Christ Church Cathedral — one of the most mesmerizing medieval churches
- Belfast — day trip to the beautiful neighboring city up north
- St. Stephen’s Green — park with an original Victorian layout
- Doors of Dublin — my own made-up attraction in the Georgian neighborhood. Take photos of all the unique and colorful residential doors.
- The Pavillion — cheapest place to drink in Dublin — sit on the grass with a few friends and beers
- The Bernard Shaw — “cheap” drinks in Dublin, good live music, and good pizza
Overall, I loved Dublin. Although it is one of the most expensive places in Europe, I would definitely go back sometime.
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