For the final leg of our trip to Ireland we took an early train from Waterford to Dublin and checked into The Shelbourne. The train took about two hours and then we had a short cab ride to the hotel.
I am so glad we stayed at the Shelbourne. The location was perfect (granting us easy access to almost everything we wanted to do and in a beautiful part of the city) the rooms were lovely, the bar was fantastic, breakfast was divine, and they even had a pool where we swam some laps in anticipation for a big dinner.
After dropping off our luggage we headed to Trinity College (just a couple blocks from the hotel) where we bought tickets for the student guided tour which includes admission to the Library where you can see the Book of Kells.
The tours leave pretty regularly and are easy to find. There is a stand located just inside the front entrance where you can buy tickets (cash preferred).
From there we walked to lunch at Urbanity. It was a nice walk along the River Liffey, which runs through the center of Dublin, and essentially took as from one end of the city to the other.
Our lunch at Urbanity could not have been better. It had a great selection of fresh food and the staff was beyond kind and accommodating.
After lunch, we walked to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour. Fortunately, we bought tickets online, which I highly recommend as they are discounted and we didn’t have to wait in any lines.
While I’m not a big beer drinker, I actually really enjoyed both the experience and the Guinness. We sped through the first couple floors on the tour to get away from the crowds. Once we moved past the bottleneck, we were impressed how efficiently everything moved.
I learned that there is a specific method to pouring a proper pint of Guinness. You can take a “lesson”, practice for yourself, and then drink the pint your poured.
We also enjoyed the Gravity Bar which gives you a 360 view of Dublin. Fortunately, we were there on a beautiful, sunny day, so the view was at its best.
After the Guinness Storehouse we walked to Grafton Street where I had to pop into The Rolling Donut. It was a tough decision, but we settled on sharing a Chocolate Hazelnut Donut stuffed with Nutella. Yaaaaaasssss!
Then we headed back to our hotel to change for dinner and have a drink at the bar, No 27 Bar and Lounge. It was quite the scene and we loved the people watching.
For dinner we popped over to Ely Wine Bar. We had an early reservation so that we could finish in time for a literary pub crawl I had booked, so it was quiet but the food was delicious and the staff was lovely.
The highlight of our trip to Dublin was this Literary Pub Crawl. The actors/hosts were terrific, so entertaining! We had such a great time learning about Irish literature and history while also popping around to four pubs all of which had an interesting story behind them. I cannot recommend it more!
The next morning we had breakfast at our hotel and then went for a walk in the small park across the street, St. Stephen’s Green. After doing a loop around the park we ended up at The Little Museum of Dublin where I had booked the first tour of the day at 10am. We got there a few minutes early to poke around before the tour started.
The tour was so entertaining and we learned a lot about Irish history. It’s only 35 minutes long and covers quite a bit of ground.
From there we walked to the National Museum of Archaeology. All of the national museums in Ireland are free. We also went to the National Gallery, but the Archaeology Museum was our favorite. While we visited there was an exhibit on the Irish Bog Bodies which was pretty fascinating.
We then popped over to Sweny’s, a pharmacy that is described in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It is known for its lemon soap, which was purchased by Leopold Bloom in the book.
We happened to walk in at the perfect time. One of the volunteers who runs the place, P.J. Murphy, was speaking to a couple from Barcelona. It turns out that 1) Mr. Murphy speaks 11 languages so they were able to converse in Spanish and 2) Both Mr. Murphy and the man from Argentina sing and are accomplished guitar players.
Mr. Murphy got out his guitar and sang a traditional Gaelic song and then passed the guitar to the Argentinian man who performed a beautiful tango.
We were just happy for our timing and to be along for the ride.
Known as Dublin’s most famous literary pub, we headed to Davy Byrnes for lunch. It was actually the last stop on the pub crawl the night before, but we had been too tired to imbibe at the time, so we decided to return for lunch. It is also known for its art collection which adorns the walls.
After grabbing lunch we strolled around the shopping district on Grafton Street. We visited Dubarry, Brown Thomas, The Celtic Whiskey Shop, and finally Avoca. At Avoca we couldn’t resist having tea and scones at their top floor café.
Knowing we had a big dinner planned that evening, we wondered back to the hotel to have a swim in their pool and get changed for our night out on the town.
We started with drinks at Peruke and Periwig where we had a reservation in their upstairs lounge. Their cocktails were incredible. David’s favorite was the Harry Houdini which was a twist on a Sazerac and infused with smoke at our table with a special contraption.
Finally, for our last dinner in Dublin, and to celebrate our anniversary, we had a decadent evening at Forest Avenue.
David and I both loved the energy and people in Dublin. We could not have had a better 48 hours visiting.
Here is a summary of our recommendations:
Where to Stay: Shelbourne Hotel
Where to Eat:
- Bakery: The Rolling Donut, Butlers Chocolate for Hot Chocolate
- Breakfast: The Beanhive, Queen of Tarts
- Lunch: Umi Falafel, Urbanity, Davy Byrnes, Kennedys’s (where Oscar Wilde used to work)
- Dinner: Ely Wine Bar, Forest Avenue
- Cocktails: Peruke and Perwig, No. 27 Bar and Lounge (at the Shelbourne)
What to Do:
- Guiness Storehouse
- Trinity College Tour
- Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
- Walk St. Stephen’s Green
- The Little Museum of Dublin
- National Museum of Ireland Archaeology
- Celtic Whiskey Shop
- Brown Thomas
- Sweny’s Pharmacy (known for lemon soap)