Saturday, 23 July 2016

36 Hours In Dublin - July 2016.

When it comes to buying birthday presents, me and Ashlea sometimes buy each other a city break trip. We've done Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Edinburgh and most recently, Dublin.
I've been to Dublin once before back in November but Ashlea never has, so decided this would be a great one to do together now that I kind of knew my way around the city. 

I booked us on an early flight on a Monday morning - 06:30 from East Midlands flying with RyanAir. It's amazing how cheap a return ticket costs, for the both of us, this came in at just under £40 which is crazy.
The flight took around 40-45 minutes so literally went so fast and before we knew it, we had arrived!

Once at Dublin Airport, we made our way towards the bus stops. They have a really handy service that runs every 10 minutes, all day every day which is called the Airlink 747. At just 10€ for a return ticket, you can't really go wrong! Unless your destination isn't on route of course.

For our accommodation, I chose to stay at the same hotel as I'd previously stayed in as it simply ticks all of the boxes.



This is Blooms Hotel. You can't really miss it to be honest. I found this hotel on booking.com last year and booked it straight away.
It's located smack bang in Temple Bar so is perfect for anyone wanting to be close by to the pubs and bars. It's also a great base for exploring the city as it's location is very central to all of the main attractions for tourists. 
For room only, this cost me 119  however breakfast is available at an extra charge. Compared to hotel prices within Dublin, this is extremely reasonable. 
The hotel has it's own bar called The Vat House. Guests receive a complimentary drink in here during their stay which is a nice touch. 
Open at weekends is Club M, the hotel's very own nightclub. Entry is included within your room rate too. 

As for the hotel itself, it does its job. It's nothing too special. You get a nice room, a comfortable bed and if you're lucky like we were, you'll get one of the rooms with balconies. For the amount of time we actually spent in the room, it's perfect. 

As we arrived early in the morning, we dropped our bags off at reception and went for a wander around the Temple Bar area. As the room wasn't ready yet.




The cobbled streets and traditional Irish buildings look stunning. It was great to see the area so lively on a Monday afternoon. The weather may have had an impact on that though, it was around 30 degrees.
As you walk past the bars, you just know you're in a happy place. The atmosphere is amazing. Everyone is so friendly and the live music really sets the mood. Even as a person who doesn't drink alcohol, I enjoy it here.

We decided next to head over to the Guinness Storehouse. It is within a walking distance of this area but is quite a trek. We made it half way before getting lost, giving up and getting a cab. Even the taxi drivers are super friendly!







The Guinness Storehouse is a must if you're travelling to Dublin. I mean, it's the home of one of the most recognisable beverages in the world.
The tour costs 20  each (I think it's cheaper if you book in advance online) and takes you on a journey from the very beginning all the way up to the present day. There are 7 floors to make your way around full of fun and facts before finally ending up at the top where you can enjoy the view of the capital from the Gravity Bar. 

My favourite part of the tour has to be the The Guinness Academy where you are taught how to pour the perfect  pint of Guinness. I'll not spoil it for you, but there is a very specific way to correctly pour and serve a pint of Guinness. There's more thought in it than you'd initially think. 
Having worked in a bar before, I have done this several times, so knew the basics already. So when our tutor asked if anyone had poured one before and I raised my hand, I had to go first out of the group!



Following our Guinness Tour, we walked back towards the city centre along the River Liffey which was beautiful in the hot weather. It's along here that you'll find the famous Ha'penny Bridge which has lead pedestrians to the other side of the river since the early 1800's. Now that is old. I didn't get a close up picture of this bridge though.





By this time in the day, we were getting hungry. We decided to have a late lunch at The Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar. There's one of these in New York City too which is very popular. Due to this, they serve an American style menu and are very well known for their Chicken Wings.
Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for a table. There can sometimes be quite a wait if you're risking a walk in at peak time. 



Ashlea couldn't visit without sampling these wings. I would have had them myself, but the sauce is too spicy for me. I know, I'm a wimp!
Instead, I had a simple Caesar Salad and we shared a bowl of Herbed Frites with Sage & Rosemary. I lovely alternative to the usual of fries. These were so light, crispy and covered in flavour. 

As for Ashlea's wings, he loved every bite. Pretty much every table had at least one basket of these wings on the table whilst we were there. Only comment we had was that a finger bowl would have been useful. 
My Caesar Salad was great too. The chicken was lovely and great quality, the dressing very tasty and it was covered in Parmesan cheese which is a bonus! A great light lunch for a humid day.




Our next wander took us to The Rolling Donut. They've been making and selling their delicious sour dough donuts on O'Connell Street for over 40 years and is still going strong. 
Made fresh on a daily basis and a variety of crazy flavours, you're spoilt for choice. 
We shared a Vanilla Glaze and oh my goodness it was amazing. The vanilla pod glazing was so creamy and thick. The donut itself was light and fluffy. With the dough being a sour dough, it added a strange flavour to the donut but it works! 
Now I'm a big fan of The Nottingham Doughnut Co. so nothing will beat theirs, but these from Rolling Donut come in second. 

On our travels, we managed to randomly come across Dublin Castle. It's a lot closer than I thought it would be, around 5 minutes from our hotel.
We didn't pay for entry to the grounds, but we did have a walk up to take a close look.




For the rest of the evening, we spent some time soaking up the atmosphere in the bars. We visited both The Temple Bar & The Auld Dubliner before retiring back to our hotel room for a well deserved rest and prepare ourselves for another long day tomorrow.



The next morning, we took our time to get ready before checking out of the hotel and heading off for more exploring. As I'd paid for the hotel at check in, there was nothing to settle and we were free to go.
One little thing did annoy me here as it's quite petty. We asked to store our bags in the luggage room like we did the previous morning as our flight home wasn't until later that evening. However, as we were no longer classed as guests, they wanted to charge us both to do so. As stubborn as I am, I refused to pay and dragged my suitcase around for the day.

Our second day was mainly spent on the High Street browsing the shops. I have to admit that most of my time was spent in Penneys which is what they call Primark over in Ireland. 
We stumbled across Ann's Bakery where there were cakes and bread galore.
We bought some bread and it was so good. You know when you just get an amazing piece of fresh bread that's crunchy on the outside so so soft inside and still warm. Yum.




After traipsing around the shops for a few hours (mainly to take advantage of the air conditioning) we relaxed by the river for an hour or so before catching the bus back to the Airport. 

So, there you go. That's how I spent my 36 hours in Dublin.
I love to read blog posts like this, so thought I'd share with all of you guys.












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