Wanting to trade in an American or a German meal for Bangers ‘n Mash, we headed to Ireland.
Getting there is easier than you might think, especially with Ryan Air. We booked early to take advantage of cheap fares and ended up paying a little under €300 for two people, round-trip from Frankfurt-Hahn to Dublin. While I don’t always like flying Ryan Air because of luggage restrictions (we have our own contest to see how many clothes we can get into two carry-ons), I do like the convenience and ease of flying out of Hahn.
After arriving in Dublin, we picked up a rental car and headed out to our hotel, Eccles Townhouse, which we booked on Booking.com for an excellent rate. The hotel sits atop a café that serves some of the best seafood chowder we have ever tasted.
Temple Bar Area
It is also within walking distance of the Temple Bar area (10 minute walk), allowing us to enjoy the quiet of being away from the tourist area yet close enough to enjoy the nightlife.
As I always do before we travel, I made a list of the top things I wanted to experience while we were in Dublin. Definitely, we wanted to walk the Temple Bar area. I know, not very original, but it is one of the top tourist attractions so it had to be done. Specifically, we wanted to belly up to a pint and listen to some authentic Irish music. The Temple Bar district is said to be Dublin’s “bohemian quarter”, full of entertainment, art and food. What we found were numerous restaurants, cafés and pubs, hotels and hostels, along with small shops selling a bit of everything from stuffed leprechauns to fishing tackle. Interesting to say the least.
We settled on a restaurant bar actually named “The Temple Bar” because we could hear lively music from the street and it just looked like a cool place. Later I would discover that The Temple Bar was the winner of the Irish Music Pub of the Year from 2002-2012. Impressive, considering how many Irish Music Pubs there are.
Along the river, very near the Temple Bar District, is the infamous Ha’Penny Bridge (officially the Liffey Bridge). This is a pedestrian bridge built in the early 1800’s over the Liffey River. We chose to see this bridge at night because of the lighting on the bridge over the water.
Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)
On our second day in Dublin, we set out with two locations in mind. First on our list was the Kilmainham Gaol – a jail that held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were detained there.
Our visit included a guided tour that provided us with a dramatic and realistic view into what it was like to have been confined during the rebellions.
After spending a couple of hours in jail, we gladly moved on to our next destination. The Guinness Brewery!
We actually went online before we left Germany and purchased our tickets for the brewery tour. This gave us a little bit of a discount and an exact day and time frame.
The Brewery is huge and informative as you move from floor to floor, learning everything from planting and harvesting hops to the final product in the tasting room.
At the end of your self-guided tour, you have the option of enjoying a free pint in the Gravity Bar, giving you a rooftop view of historic Dublin. We timed our tour so that our view would be the magnificent skyline at dusk. Perfect.
Nighttime found us enjoying some traditional Irish food and then turning in early since we planned to set out on a 4-hour drive across the island to Dingle Peninsula.
Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults and 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Preneur and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.
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