Pack Your Bags: Dublin, Ireland

I'll be honest,
I might have Irish heritage
but Dublin is one place
I really don't connect with.

You know how some places just speak to you
and you feel, somewhere in your soul, a prickly feeling 
that can quickly escalate the enjoyment you feel over a lunch
into the hopes & dreams of someday relocating to that city
in order to recreate that experience every day?

Dublin isn't one of those places for me.

While it may not be my favorite city on the planet,
I can tell you that it's a place that you should visit once in your life...
just to experience real Irish culture up close & personal.

Because Irish culture really is charming...
but, dare I say it, better experienced out of this landmark city?

Since part of my job is to facilitate that once-in-a-lifetime experience for others,
I do know a few things that can help make sure that your trip to Dublin a bit luckier.


What to Do:

Visit Trinity College and see the famous Book of Kells-
gorgeous hand-written copies of the first Celtic Bible.

After you've worked through the exhibit, 
you'll be routed through the famous library
that you've probably pinned on your Pinterest travel board.


Take a tour with Lorcan Collins.
This guide is always one of my students favorite guides of the semester- hands down.

His tours aren't just walking tours of the city,
but are tours that explain the Easter Uprising of 1916.

{Think Tom Branson from Downton Abbey.}

He's completely Irish, incredibly smart, alarmingly sarcastic... but really a sweet guy.

The tours run every day from 11:30 (1pm on Sundays)
from March 1 - October 31 for €12 per person.


Visit Temple Bar.

Not an actual bar, per say,
but an area of town that is pretty touristy
but full of endless pubs that will make your visit
seem all the more authentic.


Tour the Guinness Factory...
Okay, so I'll be honest:
 I've never done this myself
but I've heard it's amazing and a must.

So therefore, you must do it and tell me all about it.

Where to Eat:

Ok, this is kinda cheesy to recommend
but you're in Ireland and it's actually kind of fun...

Go to the Arlington Hotel for their Irish dinner show.
It's €30 per person but you get dinner
(a really decent 3-course meal)
and you can watch some fun Irish music & dancing.

I've been twice. 

It's totally touristy, 
but hey, you are a tourist, aren't you?

{Editor's Note: If you're just up for the music & dancing,
 you can go in after the show starts after 8:30pm and sit at the bar instead. 
Shh... I didn't tell you that.}


Go to the Queen of Tarts for lunch or tea...
or both, if you're a fat kid like me.

This place is so cute! 

Eat a savoury tart
and then relax with a sweet homemade treat
and a fresh pot of hot tea.

Where to Stay:

If you're on the cheap... You can book a room at Trinity College. Like, an actual dorm room.
The rooms are affordable, centrally located, right near the airport shuttle-
but only available when students aren't living in them.


This is a historic hotel that often offer some affordable rates.
The breakfast is entirely Irish- complete with Irish oats & soda bread,
but the rooms, while slightly basic, are comfortable and have everything you'll need.

Plus, the front desk staff is so nice-
I swear you'll want to hug them before your stay is over.

Located right off O'Connell Street- right off the River Liffey.


This is one of the "nicest" hotels in Dublin...
but I have to say, if you find yourself in a standard room-
you'll know that the hotel reviewers had an upgraded room.

The rooms, while really large, lack any feeling of luxury...
and are very hard to keep warm in colder months.

The downstairs is nice for teas and drinks,
but unless you are willing to splurge on a nicer room
or find an amazingly cheap rate (like I did),
you can take or leave staying at this famous hotel.


So there you have it...
all my thoughts and ideas
to help give you a good starting point 
for planning your trip to Dublin.

Have you been?
Weigh in with your favorite places/meals/sites below
and help other people plan a great stay in Ireland!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 30, 2012 and filed under "dublin", "europe", "ireland", "tea time", "travel".