In mid-March, I had the opportunity to spend 36 hours in beautiful Dublin with a friend. It’s hard to get a lot done in only 36 hours, but we hit a few of the highlights and spent some time wandering the streets before our flight back to the UK.
Our hotel was located about 45 minutes from the city center by tram, but it was located right beside a tram stop. We also had a beautiful view of the hills still covered in ice. The trams were very easy to use. At each stop, there is a ticket machine located on the platform. You simply select your stop or choose a 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day pass. The single day passes cost about €7 and the machines take either card or cash. The trams were mostly based on the honor system because you don’t have to scan your ticket when boarding and we were never asked to present our tickets.
After our ride into the city, we started our Sunday morning off with a tour of Dublin Castle. Despite its name, Dublin Castle isn’t actually a castle. Instead, the site is used to host official State visits, banquets, and presidential inaugurations. We were able to see the dining room; the Apollo room, which has a beautiful carving of Apollo on the ceiling; the throne room, which has a throne built specifically for King George IV’s visit to Ireland in the 1820s; and St. Patrick’s Hall, the current site for presidential inaugurations. We were also able to see parts of one of the original towers, as well as the extravagant chapel.
After our guided tour of Dublin Castle, we hopped on the tram towards the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. Anybody who knows me knows that I love gardens, so this was clearly my favorite stop. We spent a few hours exploring the many glasshouses and admiring the huge range of flowers, shrubs, cacti, and succulents. It was a chilly day, but the largest glasshouse, the Palm House, was warm and humid. Entrance is free, but it is a bit out of the way from most of the other attractions, so plan time to get there and back from the city center.
The next day, we were up bright and early to check out of our hotel and get to our final stop, the Guinness Storehouse tour. I’m not a fan of Guinness, or most beers, to be honest, but I enjoyed going through the storehouse and learning about how Guinness is made. The price of your ticket (€17.50 with student ID) includes a free sample as well as a free pint at the end of the tour. Even if you don’t drink, you should head up to the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor for a breathtaking, 360° view of Dublin.
Overall, Dublin was a wonderful introduction to Ireland, and I hope to visit again in the future. Until next time, cheers!