A recent encounter reminded me of my time in Ireland and motivated me to finally put my Ireland trip in writing. If you plan to travel to Ireland I might have some interesting tipps for you for Dublin area and its surroundings. Especially if you don’t have much time and want to make the most of a long weekend. Those are actually my favorites.
Travel to Ireland cheap
Of course, Ryanair is always the obvious choice. It’s got this little twist since you’re always being placed in the exactly opposite parts of the plane with your travel partner. You can get a seat reservation which you of course don’t get in order to save money. We took a connection with a layover in Manchester which was a surprisingly cool city to explore for 10 hrs. When we finally arrived in Dublin we gloriously walked past our hotel. We should have just followed the smell of malt and freshly brewed beer. Our accommodation was located right next to the Guinness Brewery, that sweet smell. During semester break the student accommodations are rented out for extremely cheap prices. So go check them out, the walls were thin, the rooms were tiny, but it was clean and modern. If you feel like catching an even more local vibe check out Alltherooms.com for some cool local accommodation tipps.
Dublin in a Day
When you travel to Ireland a day in Dublin should always be on your agenda. Our ‘hotel’ was within walking distance to the city center. After a quick snack (biscuits yum!) in bed we stumbled right into a cute market around the Dublinia Church. I don’t know if they have it every Sunday but it was such a cute place. We got our breakfast from a coffee bike (one day I am going to buy one for myself and cruise around with it) and sat in the sun with a perfect view. What a start to the day!
You can easily follow the streets through the famous Temple Bar District to get to some of the infamous Dublin sights. Just for the sake of it, the Trinity College is worth a quick visit. And a little trick, if you want to save some money but still want to get some historical background. Just stand within hearing distance of one of the many student groups. The public park is just around the corner and makes up for a perfect lunch spot afterwards. Also within walking distance is the Molly Malone Statue. Go there, touch the breast for good luck and continue your tour down the shopping street with cute book stores etc.
I liked the concept of ‘Sale AND further reductions’ which they had on everywhere. Germany, we should start doing that here as well. ‘Sale’ only is not enough! Speaking of shopping a pretty unique address is the greenhouse-shaped complex across from St. Stephan’s Green. We chose a bit of a touristy finish off and went to the ‘Brazen Head Pub’ for an all Irish dinner. It had this old castle style and was definitely worth the visit, it wasn’t even that crowded. We had traditional Stew and Guiness. Actually, I always have to think of Irish Stew now when hearing the name Stew (short for Stewart) haha.
Cliffs of Moher & extremely skilled bus drivers
Sometimes I like being the earliest bird in town. Today was no different and over the top worth it since it was only us and a handful of craftsmen on their way to work. I love waking up with a city. Although I really try not to take organized tourist tours, exploring the west with one seemed the best option at this point. We booked the ‘McFinn Tour’ through Getyourguide.com and were really happy with it, it was way cheaper compared to if we had rented a car.
When you travel to Ireland you have to explore the Irish ‘Wilderness’. Off to the most narrow streets I’ve ever seen. With glowing excitement we arrived in Galway…oh yeah, you’re my pretty little Galway Girl. What a cute little town to explore. Make sure to not only stroll through the smaller streets but also head to the water. Looking for the Spanish Arch we didn’t quite find it at that point but realized afterwards we did indeed see it as we had captured it in the background of one of our pictures we took of us. Our mood instantly shifted from diasppointment to pure joy.
Off to the wild wild west – off to the Wild Atlantic Way. The ‘Mini Cliffs’ are definitely worth a visit and are a nice little appetizer on your way to THE Cliffs of Moher. Now, when you travel to Ireland it can either leave you standing in pouring rain or if you’re really lucky you might catch some sunshine. I couldn’t believe it was the latter for us. We had the perfect summer day and were running around in summer outfits. I cannot believe it. Each time I go on a trip with that old friend of mine we end up having the perfect summer weather at the most random destinations.
On our way back we kept admiring that bus driver of ours who was working each millimeter to let other buses pass. Listening to some typical Irish stories (no happy end, goblins can actually kill you) we passed weird sounding little towns (‘Kinvara’ & ‘Ennistymon’) that rather sounded like Pokémon. Gotta catch ’em all! One last stop at a famous cemetery where we finally got to take a picture with a ‘typical’ stone wall. Don’t ask, we thought they looked very Irish.
Interesting side fact as you are passing a lot of cows on your way through the Irish ‘Highlands’: the black and white cows are the ‘milk cows’ and the brownish cows are the ‘Patty Cows’ (our guide’s choice of words, not mine!). Enough information for one day and back to Dooooblin (cause no Irish word is ever pronounced the way it’s written). At the end of the day we almost died trying to finish our Fish & Chips portion we picked up from the infamous ‘Leo Burdock’ that our guide recommended to us.
Fishing Villages & Boat Trips
We grabbed some scones on the go. Now, a bench would have been nice to sit on and actually eat them but Dublin shopping streets tend to not have benches. Well, the window of Forever21 made up for a good alternative. Walking down O’Connel Street you will get to a number of bus stops that will take you out of the city. That was our plan for the day. We took one of the typical double decker buses to Howth, a little fishing village. The ride itself was an experienced already the view is simply stunning and takes you away from that city feeling the instant you board the bus.
2-3 hrs. in Howth will be enough for walking around, <5 hrs. would be better if you’re planning on doing some hikes. We simply explored the village and suddenly even hat to pull a super sprint to not miss our boat we booked from Howth to Dun Laoghaire. Best decision ever. Just get a cheap day train ticket and book the boat ride as a single ride through Dublin Bay Cruises. Being out on the water will always be my favorite. Being surrounded by water and feeling the wind in my hair always gives me such a peaceful feeling.
Back in Dublin we finished off the active day with a stroll through the city and a whiskey in one of the pubs. Of course, Jameson Whiskey, one of the local brands! It was a bit (a lot!) touristy but nevertheless heaps of fun.
Thunderstorms, Lightning and unexpected Events
We wer so blessed with good weather, we should have known it would pour down at some point. Perfect time to leave I guess. But not without checking out ‘Queen of Tarts’ first which made up for the cutest farewell café we could have wished for. No words needed. Just GO!!! Well fed we tried to make the best of the bad weather walking around in our yellow fishermen rain capes. But as we didn’t want to spend any more money and no cathedral or church was gonna give us shelter without an excessive entrance fee we took off to the airport a bit earlier.
We should have known this was only the beginning. Dublin airport is not the prettiest and we seriously considered covering up that fact with booze. We took off before even making a decision…and with a pretty late delay. ‘Luckily’ we had another stop over and not the same ticket booked all the way through. Bye Dublin. Hey London…Stansted. Hey 1 hr. security line. SHIT! Kindly asking every single person in line if we could skip, and after the fastest sprint we could have pulled we made it…no one was at the gate though…ehm yes because we were the first in line and had just pushed everyone to the side who would now be in line behind us. Whoops!
But well, finally time to take a deep breath. If only we had known this wasn’t quite the end of the story. Close to Hamburg I could feel the plane going down, too bad though we didn’t end up touching ground. A sudden roller coaster moment catapulted us back in flying mode. Lightning and thunderbolts surrounding us. And suddenly it wasn’t ‘Welcome to Hamburg Airport’ but ‘We’re off to Berlin now’. I could write a whole other story about this but in short: we ended up spending half the night at Berlin airport and the other half catching one of the 6 last seats on the night bus to Hamburg to then go straight to work. What a day, what a night, and what an adventure…that actually led to very precious moments in my life! But that’s another story!