• Mike Douglas

My Ireland Trip


After my trip to Amsterdam late last year I really wanted to have another short break. Vicky, Sam and Katy were definitely right, with some looking around you can find decent prices and make trips more affordable. I was particularly influenced by Katy and Sam who have posted a few times about short breaks.

So, following the cool 3 days in Amsterdam, I booked my 4 day Ireland trip once I knew about my required gap in employment this February.

Again I used Skyscanner and Southampton Airport (my local airport) websites to look for the best prices and availability, along with Hostel World for my accommodation. Spain (a couple of locations) and Dublin were the best (lowest) prices. I have been to Spain twice before, its lovely. But Dublin was somewhere new and more importantly it was Ireland! I have wanted to visit for a long time so the decision was easy.

I had morning flights both ways, so I arrived a bit tired and in no rush to get to the hostel. Checkin time was 2pm I think.

After accepting some help from a transport information dude I found (he pointed me to) the correct bus to get to the city centre. I got off as soon as I thought we were near the centre. Which turned out to be about 4 stops early but hey. This was the first bit of a crap tone of walking I ended up doing.

I found the city centre and the Spire. But I couldn't find a plaque or sign to tell me what it was or why it was there. So I did what any twitter person does, I didn't google it, I just asked twitter. Big thanks to Abby who found out about the Spire and its history.

I then stopped off at Flanagan's for breakfast because... well, because there was a guy with a sandwich board that said breakfast for 5 euros. It was good, in fact I went back on my last day too.

I walked around for way too long carrying my big ass bag. Before getting to the hostel. Seriously how did people find places before online maps and GPS?

I didn't have a plan but I did have some recommendations from Tracey, those combined with a map of local attractions gave me a few things to consider.

First up, The Dublin Writers Museum. In honestly this was a little dry for me. But(!) some of the artefacts on display are really interesting and the use of an audio guide gives you great insight into the history of each item and the people mentioned. This was a big help for me and helped me to appreciate the history on show.

This gave me motivation to start writing something I've been putting off for ages. I spent a couple of hours on it that day. But haven't gone back to it since. Which I am ok with. I think it'll be something I have to go back to a few times to make the progress I want. Plus Im pretty sure its going to fall into a 2019 thing, but not sure.

I really enjoyed just walking around Dublin and finding different places to take photos of. I think this is why I spent so long walking everywhere, because I didn't want to miss the cool things you kind of stumble upon. Some of the religious and historical building were amazing. I didn't and don't know what they all were, and even not knowing I still felt a lot by looking at them and being in their presence.

My two favourite touristy things though were the trips/guides in the Leprechaun Museum and Kilmainham Gaol. Both were informative and very well delivered. Obviously very different topics, but both important parts of Irish history (in my view).

The Leprechaun Museum was delivered in a funny way, yet provided me with information I didn't know about Irish culture, history and the reasoning behind Leprechauns. Seemingly to provide comic relief for the dark, deadly and often miserable tails told by families and communities. The delivery of humour mixed with old tails and folk law was very enjoyable.

Kilmainham Gaol was quite different. Its seriousness was all too real. I should say there is a museum and a tour. DO THE TOUR! The museum meant little to me until after the tour. In fact, I went back to look at the museum again after the tour.

Our guide was great, he took time to explain things to us and answered the questions some people had. The personal stories about rebels, executions, independence and more was revealing, interesting and emotional. I can't recommend this tour enough if you are visiting Dublin.

The National Gallery of Ireland was another interesting place to visit. I enjoyed being around the culture, but most of the images were not for me. I don't generally like those old style comic like drawings of people, portraits are just blah. That said there were four or five images that were worth going in for. Now this is me personally you may prefer other stuff.

These images I want to share with you, however I'm not sure about which ones I could show you. So I'm going to use images from the website with links.

'The Opening of the Sixth Seal' on the right, 'Natasa' centre and 'My Time' left are all amazing images and well worth looking at. These are paintings, not photos!

I did have some time to chill out and relax, which was needed after all the walking and unfortunately I was carrying a bit of a cough and a cold, so I was done by mid afternoon a couple of days. I tried to take it easy and not rush places, again enjoying just being there and taking time. Along with catching up on Doris' latest travels.

I did go out one evening to a battle of the bands event at Whelan's Bar. I was desperate to hear more Irish accents and to hopefully hear some local music. I guess just having a different experience to the rest of the walking and museums.

I saw there was also a silent disco on after, which I thought maybe cool. I just wasn't sure I'd be up for staying out that late when I was on my own.

There was quite a variety of music, I really enjoyed two performers in particular, one of which was 'One Way'. Who I just found out won the event.

That evening I had my first whole alcoholic drink in over two and a bit years. I was nice to taste an Irish cider, I wanted to try something while I was there and it was nice to have the opportunity at the event. One drink was nice and I didn't have another. Im not sure what I would have been like and being away from home I wasn't about to test myself in that way. I was happy to have one drink and leave it there.

I was kinda ready to leave after the battle of the bands finished, I waited to hear who won for a while and then the silent disco started. So I stayed, which I am glad I did. It was fun and super funny!

Hostel wise, it was good, I stayed at Generator. The dorms were laid out well and the rooms reasonable. There was a poster with evening entertainment, which was cool. However the one evening I thought, Ill sit in the bar watch football. There was an issue with the tv, so no football and a very quiet bar. The food was good, I had the burger and chips on two different days. However, again there was an issue with my order being lost the second time, meaning my order took 50 mins (this is when the bar was quiet again too)!

All in all it was a lovely trip, I enjoyed Dublin, I walked a lot, I saw some cool things, listening to music and had little bit of time to sit and reflect. I would happily recommend Dublin to anyone looking for a city break.

I think I could have done most of the things I wanted in 3 days, though as I wasn't feeling great, I was glad to an extra day.

I would welcome returning to Dublin, but I am also looking forward to continuing to visit new cities. I also feel like I need to make the most out for being in the EU before we leave and theres visas required and extra fees.

Do you have any recommendations for my new trip?

#CityBreak #Dublin #SoloTravel #Ireland

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