At the end of Febuary this year, Scott and I decided to take a long-weekend trip away to Dublin. We'd been talking about it for a while, then just decided to book and go. We have friends in Dublin, so we wanted to go and see them, but it was Scott's first time to Ireland so we wanted to do some sight-seeing too.
Flight and Hotel
We flew with Ryanair. It was my first time using them, and I'd heard a lot of negative stories about the company, so I was a little apprehensive, but everything went perfectly smoothly and the staff were all lovely, so I can't really complain. The only problem we had was with the flight times. Scott had to be back early enough on the Monday that he could get back up north for work the next day, but the cheapest flights were first thing in the morning (waaay to early for us) or last thing at night (meaning he wouldn't be able to get a train back home until the next day). So we ended up having to pay an extra £80 per person to get an afternoon flight. It's not the end of the world, but it's something to bear in mind if you have time restrictions.
We stayed at The Gibson, an amazing four star hotel in the north east of the city. We managed to get a great price, and were not expecting the level of quality we received, it was fantastic. The decor of the hotel is very modern and minimalist, and the room was stylish, functional, and really comfortable. There was a rain shower, in a lovely, spacious bathroom, lights under the bed, and full access to the gym and spa. The first night, we ate at the hotel restaurant and it was delicious, specializing in Asian cuisine. It was a quick and easy tram ride into the city center, and the first top off the bus from the airport, so the location couldn't have been better for us. I'd highly recommend it. (We booked the flight and hotel as a package through Expedia.)
Now, I don't drink, so the whole pub culture of Dublin didn't really appeal to me, but we still wanted to go and hang out at the Temple Bar region, to see what all the fuss is about (plus, it gave Scott and his friend an excuse to drink Guinness). It was actually a really cool place, lots of interesting shops, cafes and bars, as well as awesome graffiti, which I love. It was busy though. Every street was heaving with people, and one of the nights was a big football match (which we went to watch in a cute folksy pub) so there were lots of drunk football fans roaming around. It's pretty touristy, but it's still worth checking out if you're looking for somewhere to eat or drink, because there's plenty of places to choose from.
I love animals, but I'm not a huge zoo person, it makes me sad to see animals in cages, but we were spending the day with our friend and his girlfriend (who is under 18) so we needed somewhere fun we could all go for the afternoon. We walked there, through the huge, beautiful, Pheonix Park. The zoo itself was fine, pretty much like any other zoo. It was nice to look at all the cute animals, but I just wanted to set them free. Oh well, like I said, I'm not a zoo person. But I guess it'd be a good place to bring kids.
Tour of the Guinness factory
Again, I'm not a drinker, but Scott loved Guinness, and we'd heard that the factory was really cool so we decided to spend the Sunday there. It totally lived up to the hype! The tour is so interesting and interactive, even someone with no interest in alcohol, like myself, can have a good time. The displays are so beautiful and detailed, and there a huge waterfall you can stand under (image below), as well as a tasting deck right at the top of the building that gives a panoramic view of the city (image at the top of the page.) The place was really busy, but we were able to make our way through at our own pace and we really enjoyed ourselves (despite the terrified look on Scott's face.)
If I were to go back, I'd probably like to go to some other historic places, rather than the zoo, but it was still a good time. I'd definitely stay at The Gibson again, it was incredible. If you have any more questions, leave a comment.
Have an awesome day.