A LITTLE SUMMER TRIP TO DUBLIN

A LITTLE SUMMER TRIP TO DUBLIN

2017 has officially been my least holidayed year for a long while, what with surrendering TWO whole weeks of precious annual leave to house renovations. Mr L and I have repeatedly discussed how insane this was, and promised never to do this ever, ever again.

I did however make a plan with a very good friend of mine {let's call her Chloe, cos that's her name} waaay back in February to squirrel ourselves off to a new and undiscovered city.

The destination planning started a bit like this, as I recall:

{her} Oh hey bae, we could get cheap-as-chips flights to Edinburgh, do you want to go? 

{me} I would love to, but we went there twice already so maybe somewhere else? {but if you're dying to go I won't refuse}

Great, well actually I haven't been to Dublin either, how about that? 

Well I have, but frankly it was years ago and I was very drunk most of the time/don't remember much.  

OK, cool that's a plan, let's go to Ireland in the summer and book it now...

 The colourful sights of Temple Bar – Dubbers eat your heart out.

The colourful sights of Temple Bar – Dubbers eat your heart out.

Fast-forward to early July and off we trotted with our capsule wardrobes to catch an early morning flight. We flew with Ryanair from East Midlands to Dublin City, it was about £30 return each as we booked so far in advance. The compromise with our cheap flights was a 7am take-off, but on the plus side we were wandering around the city by 9am. I like to think of this as optimising your travel enjoyment rather than some form of modern-day torture...

It should be noted that on this trip I did take about 8000 photos on my phone and a fair few with my DSLR, however about a month after we got back my phone did that thing where it turns itself off and never, ever comes back to life again. Silly me didn't back up any of the pictures and I lost them ALL {apart from the ones I had WhatsApp-bombed to Chloe after we got back}. Slightly heartbroken but big lesson learnt about saving your special pictures...

Anyway.

 Don't get run over by a tram, okayyyy. The view from Heuston Station {right near our Airbnb}

Don't get run over by a tram, okayyyy. The view from Heuston Station {right near our Airbnb}

We chose to stay in an Airbnb cottage near to Heuston Station {which is the main city station} in a little suburb called Stoneybatter, having mainly fallen in love with the interior photos {I'm not ashamed of the person I am} and close proximity to the centre of town. There are about lots of great things to say about our accommodation: a cosy home-from home, walking distance to everything you could possibly want, near a bus route, quiet and peaceful, safe area, lovely for a couple/two couples/two friends. Oh and books. There were about 100 books in my attic room, I struggled to get out of bed every day because all I wanted to do was read everything and nap.

 Our little blue cottage of heaven <3. Credit: CA Elliott

Our little blue cottage of heaven <3. Credit: CA Elliott

So travelling around Dublin is pretty easy, there's lots of public transport and Uber if you're feeling that way inclined. Since we were going to be schlepping around for a few days we decided to buy a Freedom Pass {we bought ours from the information desk at the airport} as this gets you transport on the Airlink bus straight into town, plus 3 days off hop on/hop off bus tours and inclusive transport on the regular Dublin buses.

The pass was around €30 so pretty good value if you like the idea of kicking back on a double-decker and watching the world go by. Neither of us were into the idea of hardcore sightseeing so this was also a really good way to sample some city history here and there, without having to devote precious shopping/eating/drinking hours to trudging around a ruin with hundreds of other tourists. 

We had 3 nights in the city which felt pretty bang on for immersing yourself in the city and enjoying a variety of experiences. We definitely would have been quite happy for another couple of days though – the summer vibe in Dublin is incredible.

Upon check in at the cottage our host gave us a very detailed briefing on where to go {honestly, he was there talking about what to avoid, how to get around etc. for a good 40 minutes, but not in an annoying "please can you go already" way, more like "please tell me more about this lovely city in your beautiful Irish accent"} #hostoftheyear.

Now I'm not sure about anyone else but once I've figured out what's around, I like to write a little wishlist of things I want to do during a holiday and then plot it all across the days ahead. It's not a strict plan but it helps organise the agenda for each day, loosely speaking, so you have things to look forward to and can design your days upon what you fancy. Loads of you probably already do this so yeah whatevs Ceels.

On the first day we were pretty dog tired from the early flight so took a little stroll into the city {about 20 minutes from our cottage} via a local brunch place called A Slice of Cake. We were super excited for this as let's face it, airport food is grim and we'd been thinking about brunch since 6am. I seem to remember inhaling my Irish Sausage Scramble in about six seconds flat. Damn fine and tasty it was too.

 Brunch heaven // Credit: CA Elliott

Brunch heaven // Credit: CA Elliott

In the evening we didn't fancy venturing too far, so wandered around the corner into Stoneybatter itself to dine at Mulligans bar – a traditional Irish pub recommended to us by our host. The menu was lovely – I had the seafood chowder {must-eat Irish dish} and amazing buttered chicken, Chloe had some lovely-looking seabass. The drinks were lush. The service was warm and attentive. We were happy campers.

Also, just quickly – what is it about Irish bars? They just do the whole cosy eating and drinking thing SO well. I have really fond memories of visiting lots of them on a driving holiday around Co. Mayo in my youff and they are just magical. I can't put my finger on why, I think it's just the earthy warmth and charm of the Irish that does it. Probably helped by the film PS. I Love You also.

On our second day {Friday} we had a big walk around the city and shops, took lots of photos and generally chilled. We were planning a cheeky night out, so thought we better preserve our reserves for the evening. I mustered up the energy to buy a new dress from & Other Stories {yes, it was black and yes, I've got too many of those already}.

A couple of friends had recommended The Winding Stair so we booked in for dinner that night. The restaurant is a lovely quirky place next to The Liffey, about a five minute walk from Temple Bar and sits above a book shop. It was packed out but the service was fast, efficient and attentive without making you feel rushed. TBH I think a lot of places get this horribly wrong, but these guys were pros and turning over covers in a kind of chaotic relaxed way {probably another amazing trick of the Irish}.

The menu features lots of bistro-style dishes, including a few Irish specialities. We ate steak {me} and hake {Chloe}, washed down with a whole bottle of Chenin Blanc {oops}. Everything was tasty and comforting. We loved the buzzy atmosphere here, and despite being fairly casual it was also a little cosmopolitan and special too. Highly recommended.

After our lovely dinner we floated/swayed our way over to find somewhere for 'a couple of drinks' – naturally gravitating towards Temple Bar.

SO. On that subject – {slight deviation alert}

Lots of people are super snobby about this area – it's super touristy, it's full of hens and stags, the drinks are extortionate, it's too busy blah blah. I totally agree. It is all of those things. But it is also really good FUN. There is a warm, jolly atmosphere everywhere you go and unless you're a total misery guts, it instantly puts a smile on your face. 

So don't worry about avoiding Temple Bar. Just go and throw yourself into it.

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Now, what could you possibly want to do the morning after the {big} night before in Dublin? How about take a 9.30am tour around Guinness that you'd booked 36 hours before unknowing of your pounding head and weary feet?

Needless to say Saturday-morning-me was less than impressed with Thursday-me.

Alas, Chloe and I heaved ourselves up {having been to bed for about ooo, about 3 hours of kip} and headed off in the early morning sunshine to learn about beer-making.

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Having climbed your way up each of the floors of the factory – learning all about how the famous brew is made along the way – the best part is reaching the top: a 360˚ viewing deck upon high. If you're lucky with the weather, it's one of the best places to see the city and beyond.

It's also at this point that you get to claim your inclusive pint – of which I had about 3 sips before thinking about melting into the floor again.

 No...no I really can't drink any more of this. Soz bae.

No...no I really can't drink any more of this. Soz bae.

If you're in Dublin this place is a real must-have – again, it's a bit touristy, but a really fun and interesting way to spend an hour or two. Granted, it's not the cheapest thing to do {€20 each}, but we humoured the experience despite our epic fatigue and thick heads from one too many bevvs.

Having gladly left the tour, clutching on to the dregs of our energy and regretting the black liquid sloshing about in my stomach, we shuffled zombie-like down the road to Wuff for food and rest.

Never before have I been so elated to see a smiling waitress brandishing a slice of toast and a cup of tea. 

If you love a brunch experience, do try this place. It has a cosy New York neighbourhood vibe that's inviting and makes you want to buy a flat opposite so you can pop in there every morning for coffee and buns.

I ordered the Full Irish Breakfast, which featured the most delicious white pudding I've ever had {come to think of it, this was the only white pudding I'd ever had}. The tea came in a cast iron pot and was hot, strong and the perfect pick-me-up. I'm fairly sure my raging hangover had something to do with the fact that I enjoyed this meal more than any other across the whole weekend.

The remainder of our last day was unsurprisingly a combination of recovery and an attempt to 'do' something with our final hours in the city. Cue our big green bus tickets – and a couple of seats at the back of the open-top tour. We did the whole loop {about 1.5 hours in total} before having a final walk back along The Liffey to our cottage. 

Heading to the airport in a cab early the next morning, we were super sad to be leaving all the fun, food and merriment behind – but excited to see the boys again and tell them about our little adventure.

Thanks lovely Dubbers. What a place.

~ ceels

HOUSE PROJECT: THE STORY SO FAR

HOUSE PROJECT: THE STORY SO FAR

IN THE BEGINNING.

IN THE BEGINNING.