I may have taken a bit of a "blog hiatus" but I know many of you have been following along with me on instagram! It is hard to describe how much has happened in the last 6 months. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster to say the least...
*inserts photo of drink and book on Resilience*
I might have failed to blog during this crazy time, but I didn't fail to take copious amounts of photographs! My little ---not so little--- 27,000 photo collection of moments has only been growing bigger. I attribute this to my new friend, my Sony A6000. I decided to invest in a camera for my summer travels and boy did it pay off!
This brings us to today's post! I wanted to share with you all how I spent and planned my 3 days in Dublin, Ireland. Because I knew this first of leg of the trip would be solo travel, I did my research on travel itineraries. I found a number of helpful ones on TripAdvisor. Will link them here. I tried to see as much as I could and I think I did well for a first time solo traveller!
Hope you guys enjoy and find this travel guide useful!
Meant to be,
I had one day full day to explore Dublin so I decided to try the Hop On Hop Off Dublin bus tour. I got the day pass directly from my hotel, which was under $20 and used this bus as my primary mode of transport for the day! They did have a guide on some of the buses and audio guides on others, but the bus was really clutch in terms of transport. I didn't have any issues with the bus schedule and found it quick and easy to use. I started my tour at around 11AM and got back to my hotel at 730PM
FIRST STOP: ST. STEPHEN'S GREEN
This is a beautiful park in the heart of Dublin. It is quite large but was nice to leisurely stroll through. I didn't walk the entire park but spent a good 30 minutes strolling around and enjoying the scenery.
SECOND STOP: TRINITY COLLEGE + BOOK OF KELLS
The iconic Trinity College campus was a must see. It is huge and very impressive. I got to experiment with the pano feature on my camera. How'd I do?
After snapping some photos of the campus, I walked over to the Sphere Within Sphere sculpture. This is a piece of contemporary art by Arnaldo Pomodoro is great for some pretty dope 'gram photos. Lots of reflections and edgy modern vibes.
I then got in line to see the Book of Kells exhibit and the Long Room Library. I did not buy tickets in advance but I didn't find this to be an issue. The line moved pretty quick so I didn't get too uncomfortable in the heat (this summer was apparently Ireland's hottest in over 40 years!). I didn't purchase the audio guide for the Book of Kells but I found that the signage was engaging and informative enough. As I walked through the museum portion, I learned about all the old techniques used to create the ancient Gospel manuscripts.
After gazing at the Book of Kells (not pictured-there were no photos allowed in the exhibit that housed the actual ancient gospel) I made my way to the incredible Long Room of the Old Trinity Library. This was probably my favorite. It was so stunning.
Walking through this massive room was beyond captivating. Surrounded by decades of literature, history, and science, you feel so small. I just walked up and down the hall, starring at the old bindings.
THIRD STOP: GEORGE'S STREET ARCADE + EXPLORATION OF THE CREATIVE QUARTER OF DUBLIN
My next stop was the George's Street Arcade and the area around it. The "arcade" itself is a cool flea market. Lots of random sellers with cool vintage finds. I read that the area around the arcade was very artsy and known as the creative quarter, so I was excited to check it out. I was in the hopes of finding some unique little shops, cafes, and mostly street art to shoot.
Inside the arcade: Antique pins
Jewelry vendor within St. George's Arcade
Right outside and around the shopping area, I found some incredible street art. I will have to do a separate post highlighting these because there were so many great ones. Here was one of my favorites:
I also found a cute contemporary cafe, Kaph. I will be doing a separate post about all the coffee shops I stopped at during this trip! (yes, the coffee warrants its own blog post!!)
Fourth Stop: DUBLIN CASTLE
At this point in the day (~3PM) I was starting to get a little tired so my stop at the castle was short, just took a quick look around, walked through the center garden and hopped back onto the bus to make sure I had enough time to see the Guinness Storehouse. My determination to see everything, combined with excessive amounts of coffee (I may have stopped at another random coffee shop on my way to the castle...), led me to skip lunch. It wasn't intentional but my excitement curbed my appetite.
FIFTH STOP: GUINNESS STOREHOUSE
My last stop for the day was the coveted Guinness Storehouse. I am not a big fan of beer but this was really interesting. There are 7 floors that walk you through the history of Guinness and beer brewing. My favorite floor was the one that focused on the history of Guinness advertising (must be the marketer in me?!)
The tour culminated at the top floor Gravity Bar. I enjoyed a complimentary Guinness with my entry ticket. I took in the amazing view of the city and snagged the obligatory Guinness-beer-gravity-bar selfie. To be honest, it was very hot and crowded, which made the bar less enjoyable. I was there towards the end of the day (~530-6pm) so perhaps that was why? Regardless, I enjoyed experiencing the storehouse. Even if you are not a beer fan, it is an impressive, iconic, and memorable Dublin must see attraction.
.....and that concluded my first day in Dublin! Again this day was packed with activities because it was my only full day to explore the city. There were of course things I wished I had gotten to see---Dublin Zoo and Pheonix Park among those. Overall, I think I did well for a first time solo-city-exploration. I highly recommend getting the day pass for the Hop On Hop Off Bus if you are traveling alone and are looking for a quick and inexpensive way to get around the city. They have a two day pass which is a better deal money-wise. I definitely could see myself using another day to explore the other stops on the route. My day was PACKED to the max. If I had had that additional day, it would have been a much more leisurely exploration! I had a total of 3 days to work with and I knew I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher in that short time. I had to pick and choose but I don't regret my day 1!
I hope you guys find this Dublin day guide useful for your upcoming travels. I will be doing twomore blog posts in this series---one on the Cliffs of Moher and Galway day tour and another on how I spent my last 3 hours exploring Dublin.