Five Fantastic Experiences in Dublin

Steve’s business trip took him to Ireland, so I went along.  Dublin is a wonderful city, friendly, easy to navigate on foot, and chock-a-block with pubs. What more could you ask for in a destination?

Here are our top picks for great experiences while in Dublin:

  1. Kilmainham Gaol:  The tour was excellent. The starting point is a museum which describes the history of the facility,  built in 1796, including a fascinating listing of what crimes both men and women had been imprisoned for there. The saddest ones were for thefts of food during the famine–the numbers of people imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread! It was all very reminiscent of Les Miserables.  The tour includes a very good thumbnail history of Irish Independence, explaining the 1916 Easter Rising and the development of the Republic, and discusses some of the prominent figures in the rebellion who were imprisoned and executed there. Well worth a visit.
    The gaol had fallen into disrepair. Volunteers spearheaded a campaign to restore the site. The campaign included renting out the space as a movie set. If this looks familiar, this is the set of stairs Noel Coward descended in the original of The Italian Job.

    2.  Literary Pub Crawl: An absolute must for book-lovers. Two Irish actors, Colm and Frank, will leave you spellbound as they enact scenes from Irish literary works such as Waiting for Godot and Ulysses while you travel to four quintessentially Irish pubs.  These two are masterful. They manage to inject humour into their performance while still maintaining a deep respect for the works and the culture.  Don’t miss this one.

    frank and colm
    Frank and Colm entertain on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

    3. Jameson Distillery This is no longer an actual working distillery. It’s more like a museum tour of the historical site of the factory from the 1800s, with a chance to sample Irish whiskey at the end. The tour is fun and gives a good explanation of the process involved in making whiskey. You get to have a comparative sample of Irish whiskey vs. American vs. Scotch.  (I gave my tasting samples to Steve. I’ve been trying to develop a taste for whiskey, with or without an ‘e’, for twenty-six years now, with absolutely no luck.)However, the Jameson’s with ginger ale and lime that I had at the end of the tour was most enjoyable!

    Sampling Irish, American and Scotch.
    Steve by one of the stills used in the Old Distillery. The Feints Still is used in the second of the three distillations of Irish Whiskey.

    4.  Day trip to Howth: This beautiful seaside village is only a short half hour commuter train ride from Dublin.  The harbour is stunning. You can also do a walk up the coastal path for an incredible panoramic view of the area.

The harbour at Howth
Walking along the coastal path

IMG_2159 IMG_2165

Walking along the coastal path
Obligatory selfie!

5.  Afternoon Tea at the Westbury Hotel: When you’ve had enough of Dublin’s changeable and windy weather, head inside for a cozy afternoon tea.  The Westbury gets bonus points for their matter-of-fact accommodation of my food allergy, and for the serendipitous playing of Irving Berlin’s ‘Always’,  (our wedding song) over the speakers during my tea-time. And the food was fabulous!



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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Callie says:

    I’m going to Ireland this summer and Dublin is one of the places I’m most excited about seeing! This is getting me excited!

    1. It’s a great city–you’ll love it!

  2. Mary-Clare says:

    I’ve been to Dublin but I didn’t see any of the sights that Valerie and Steve saw. I think I’ll have to go again!

  3. After visiting four Irish pubs, did your literary pub crawl turn into a literal pub crawl? The whole trip sounds wonderful – and I’m glad Steve made sure your whiskey didn’t go to waste 🙂

  4. Lois says:

    And did you see any leprechauns after visiting the distillery?

    1. None that I’ll admit to! 🙂

  5. Lois says:

    this is such a great blog. where are you off to next?

    1. Thanks, Lois! We are taking a brief travel break (while I catch up on writing up blog posts), but stay tuned for more details… 🙂

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