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Dublin: Enjoying ‘The Craic’ in Ireland’s Capital!

Dublin had been on our wishlist of places we wanted to visit ever since we set sail from the Isle of Wight a few months earlier and finally we were just a short train ride away from Ireland’s capital city.

We had taken a berth in Dun Laoghaire Marina and after exploring Dun Laoghaire it was now time to head into the big city!

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is an electric rail system which runs from Malahide and Howth in north County Dublin down to Greystones, Co Wicklow in the south. The train station is literally a few minutes walk from the marina. As we intended to also visit Malahide and Howth during our stay we opted to purchase a leap card for 5€ per person which you then top up. This enables you to save on single tickets in the short hop zone. As a result a single journey then costs just 2€.

We took the DART to Connolly Street and set about exploring this bustling city. The River Liffey divides the city into the Northside and the Southside. The impressive buildings that line the riverbank really showcase the advancement in design over the years; huge glass fronted office blocks tower over iconic, historical buildings. There are numerous bridges that span the river, including the well known Samuel Beckett Bridge, Ha’penny Bridge, The James Joyce Bridge and O’Connell Bridge.

Grand Canal Dock was once one of the largest docks in the world dating back to 1796. Eventually falling into disrepair in the 1960’s it underwent a huge regeneration in the 2000’s and is now a thriving business area. It got the nickname “Silicon Docks’ due to the high number of tech companies that moved into the new modern office blocks including Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Trinity College Dublin is one of Ireland’s leading university but also a hugely popular tourist attraction. Being Ireland’s oldest university, having been founded in 1592, the university is well worth a visit. It is free to enter though additional charges apply to enter The Book of Kells and the Old Library. Guided tours can also be booked for those interested in learning more about this historical campus.

For those who love a spot of shopping then Grafton Street is where you need to head to! One of Europe’s busiest shopping areas the street is full of well known shops, designer boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Of course, Grafton Street is synonymous with buskers and street entertainers, so expect to witness and hear some incredible talent!

Now we all know that the Irish like a good drink and the Temple Bar area is where you will find a host of friendly pubs including probably the most famous one – The Temple Bar This legendary venue is undoubtably the most photographed pub in Dublin and getting a seat here is hard work! Plus prepare to pay nearly 10€ for a pint 😬 The pub features great live music all day and is also home to Ireland’s largest private whiskey tasting collection.

Of course there’s plenty more pubs and restaurants to enjoy in Dublin, all ready to give you a warm Irish welcome. We enjoyed a spot of lunch at Mulligan & Haines which was very reasonably priced for a city centre, and portion sizes were very generous and delicious – highly recommended!

There is a vast amount of churches and cathedrals in the city. We particularly liked the ‘Holy Water on Tap’ at Saint Teresa’s Church! St Patrick’s Cathedral, which was founded in 1191 is a very impressive structure, as is Christ Church Cathedral, which has stood in the heart of Dublin for almost 1000 years.

Despite it being Ireland’s capital , the main city centre of Dublin is relatively small with most things within walking distance of each other. However we did find it to be very busy. We only touched the surface of things to do and see here. Other hugely popular attractions include the Guinness Factory (we gave this a miss purely because we dont like the stuff – don’t tell the Irish that!), Croke Park which is headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Aviva Stadium which is home to the Irish national soccer and rugby teams, and Kilmainham Gaol, once a notorious prison which is now often used for films, including The Italian Job (1969) and In The Name of the Father (1993).

If you’re after ‘The Craic’ as the Irish say then you’ll surely find it here in Dublin!

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