Ireland in 2 days? Yes!
Because 2 days in Ireland is better than no days in Ireland (just plan for very little down time). This, of course, is coming from someone who traveled to Italy for 3 days (see previous posts).
Dublin is not a huge city, so spending just a couple days exploring allows you to see quite a bit. Wherever you go, one thing is guaranteed: you’ll be seeing green. I have never seen a landscape so richly pigmented in the color. Even under dark gray skies- the green makes it all just a bit brighter.
Where to go: The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s biggest natural tourist attractions. With that being said, don’t expect to have the place all to yourself. The drive from the Dublin area to Liscannor, Co. Clare should take about 3 hours. Even if it takes longer, that’s okay because it’s such a beautiful trip. Once you get there, get a parking spot across the street from the site (if you’re driving) and walk over. The formations that make up the Cliffs of Moher are incredible. Jagged cuts of rock stretching along the coastline, with turquoise blue waters down below. Along a portion of the cliffs you’ll find a railing or wall to protect you. But there is a stretch that is pretty open as well. Naturally, photo-seekers like myself love to take advantage of that sort of setup but I have to put a warning out that standing along the edge can be extremely dangerous. Especially because the ground can be very wet and give way. Several people have fallen and died- so please be careful!
Trinity College has a beautiful campus that is so rich in history. I am not a history buff by any means, but I wanted to explore the campus and check out the legendary library. It’s a major tourist attraction and just a cool place to find yourself in. It is also home to the famous Book of Kells, which dates back to the 8th century!!
Guinness Storehouse has to be a part of your trip to Dublin- beer drinker or not. I will never drink a Guinness beer the same after visiting this facility! It’s huge and very interactive with a little something for everyone. There are several floors to explore so give yourself enough time to see it all. On the very top is the Gravity Bar which offers great views of Dublin and serves the perfect beverage to accompany the sights 😉
One tip: get your tickets beforehand online here for a discount and to avoid the lines!
Hey while you’re there, don’t forget about the Jameson Distillery. You can walk there from the Guinness Storehouse and keep the theme and good times going.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is another great place to explore, whether you visit for religious reasons or not. It was completed in 1911, and although most of original construction is long gone, it’s still fascinating to visit and see the detail in the architecture both inside and out. Just mesmerizing!
Where to eat: The Green Hen first lured in me from the outside after the door swung open and I caught a glimpse of what was inside. It is so quaint and adorable! Then I scanned the menu and knew I had to stay. It’s right in the heart of the Dublin where you’ll be surrounded by countless food options, so choose wisely! I really enjoyed the meal and the ambiance here. It’s described as French cuisine with an Irish twist. However you interpret it, the food was great and the service was fantastic.
For breakfast or brunch try herbstreet, it’s in the financial district right along the Grand Canal so you get a nice setting with the water nearby and the food was great. The blueberry pancakes with orange honey butter were delicious.
The Quay’s Irish Restaurant is right in the middle of the Temple Bar area in downtown Dublin so if you end up deciding it’s not the spot for you- you’ll have tons of other options all around. One a rainy weekend night in Dublin, this place was awesome. The fish and chips meal I had was wonderful. Quay’s offers classic Irish dishes so it’s a good option if you’re looking to try out the staples.
Where to stay: The Marker Hotel is in the financial district- so it’s cut off from the typical touristy places but nothing is really far in Dublin, so I say go for it! You’ll have the Grand Canal right at your doorstep and the property itself is very modern and beautifully designed. The rooms are spacious, elegant and very trendy. I especially loved the bathroom with a separate shower and tub, dressed head-to-toe in marble. Didn’t get to see the rooftop bar but I know it’s a big draw. Also, you have to take a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub to unwind. Even though it’s pretty much in the basement of the building and the setting is intentionally dim, there is a skylight above the pool that creates an ambient effect.
Getting there: Often times, direct flights to Dublin from the east coast of the U.S. can be snagged at a decent price. There’s even a rumor floating around Connecticut that we may soon get a direct connection from Bradley International Airport (near Hartford) to Dublin via Aer Lingus. I’m crossing my fingers. UPDATE: It’s been confirmed. Bradley will offer direct service to Dublin starting sometime in September of 2017….Oh the possibilities!!!