Dublin Ireland vacation ideas

In a never ending series of requests for Dopers around the world to help me prepare for vacations in far away lands, I have an opportunity to visit Dublin Ireland (not Ohio, for those wondering) this fall. Some friends are getting a temp transfer to work in Dublin from late Sept to late Dec and have invited me to come visit.

I probably can only take about a week, so I figure two or so days in Dublin then some trips to the countryside to hill walk and explore. It’s not clear if I’ll have access to a car, though I could rent one if needed. I’d rather take a train/bus to nearby towns or sites and get outdoors for several of the days. I’d also like to avoid spending all of my free time on a train.

I assume as you get closer to the solstice there’s really not much daylight there, so I’m going to shoot for Oct or early Nov if possible. One last possibility is to go over Thanksgiving.

So, suggestions for hiking, transports, things to see?

It’s been many years since I last visited Ireland. There’s a botanical garden in the Dublin area that might be worth a visit. It was a bit unkempt when I was last there, but I believe it was undergoing a major renovation. The Guiness brewery is a big tourist attraction. St. Stephen’s Green is a good place for people watching. Trinity College is also an intereting place to walk through. Lots of shops and restaurants are in this area. I also seem to remember quite a few book stores. Just across the river is O’Connell street, another shopping district.

The city is busy, roads are crowded and everyone drives on the wrong side of the street, so a car is not really the best way to get around. We found plenty to do within walking distance of the central city. It’s easy to get lost, but people are generally friendly and helpful.

Food can be a bit disappointing unless you like blood pudding and overcooked meat. After about 10 days in Ireland eating mostly traditional Irish food, my wife tried to find a place to get a chef’s salad. Everyone we talked to was incredulous at the notion that someone would make a meal out of salad.

We also got to spend a several nights at the Kildare Country Club. It’s a very expensive golf resort, but I was traveling on business and it’s where the company decided to put me up. They had a very, very nice restaurant.

One of my favorite memories of this trip was going into Maynooth to get some greasy, but tasty fish and chips and bringing it back to the country club to eat.

Another favorite memory is going out for Chinese food, which is always served with chips. When my Irish colleagues came to visit me in the states, one of the things they always missed was french fries with Chinese food.

Have fun.

I didn’t spend much time in Dublin, but one attraction fairly close that I enjoyed was Glendalough (warning-music on page). Beautiful place in a gorgeous setting. You can take a bus from Dublin, it isn’t too far. Another site of interest near Dublin is Newgrange .

Pepper Mill and I went to Ireland a couple of years ago, and I second both Newgrange and Glendalough. In Dublin itself, see Grafton Street and go see the Book of Kells. If you’re a literary fan, go see something associated with your favorite Irish writer. I went to the George Bernard Shaw house (which had just been fixed up). James Joyce is popular with a lot of folks, but we didn’t do anything associated with him.

One thing I would reccomend in Dublin is getting a tour round St. Michin’s Parish Church. Its a little church near the centre of town, but is very old and the crypt there actually mummifies bodies that are placed in it, and you can actually go down into the crypt, and see (and touch) some of the mummies. Its interesting.

Since traffic can be a nightmare, and since your time is limited, you might find the tourist buses worthwhile. For a flat fee, you can get on and off these buses all day, and they’ll take you to almost all the leading tourist attractions in the city.

I think perhaps recommendations from people who visited Dublin as tourists are more helpful than those of someone who lives here but apart from some suggestions already made (particularly Glendalough, Newgrange, Trinity College (my alma mater :slight_smile: )) you could also visit Kilmainham Jail. The tours are interesting though a little sad and will give you some information on Irish history around the time of the fight for Independence.

The Phoenix Park is also lovely (check out the American Ambassador’s pad - nice :cool: ) but you should go there with other people, preferably on a weekend when there are a few people around. If you have a car don’t leave anything in it if you’re going for a walk. It’s a big park so it’s easy for thieves to lurk around and do their business there but it is still a nice place.

The Botanic Gardens are nice for a stroll on a sunny day but in October/ November they might not be that impressive.

The National Museum (very close to Trinity College and the nicest part of the city centre) is worth a look. Loads of intricate gold jewellry and stuff made by the celts. The National Art Gallery is also very close by.

Other than that see what your guidebook recommends and I’m sure other dopers will provide more suggestions. Enjoy your time here.

Don’t Drive In Dublin! Seriously. We went there in April and you are not up to it. The street signs are hidden so that you only see them ex post facto and the activity makes it like travelling in a beehive. Trying to get to our hotel, this event literally happened: We stopped a gentleman and asked for directions, he said to us, “I don’t know how you got here, this isn’t even a road.”

Go drinking with the locals.

I’m going to spell this wrong, so I’ll spell it phonetically: Kilmainem Jail.

Take the bus tour and just get on and off at whatever looks cool. We just did that in the end of April. Make sure you get an early start. You will get to see the city and go to the big visiting spots.

The Book of Kells is over-rated, IMO.

Um…did I mention going drinking w/ the locals?

I fourth (or is it fifth now?) Newgrange and Glendalough, and second drinking in the local pubs. (Be aware that they close really early by US standards. 11:00, I believe.)

I’d recommend getting the heck out of Dublin during the week. It’s just like any other big city anywhere around the world. (OK, St. Somebody’s Park - James’, maybe? - was beautiful…the big one in the center of town.) Lots of traffic (don’t forget to look the OTHER way for oncoming traffic!), lots of noise, lots of urchins. So get out and enjoy the countryside.

But on Sunday, Oh! On Sunday: come back, come back, Dublin is such a wonderful place on Sunday! The traffic goes away, and all the gorgeous cobblestone streets are filled with artists and musicians and yummy food carts and at least 4 adorable dogs who look like Wishbone (we had to take photos for the kids back home.)

I literally didn’t believe it was the same city. I thought we got off at the wrong stop! :smiley:

Glendalough is cool. For the OP, don’t say “glen-da-low” but instead we were told that it’s “glen-da-lock.” From Kevin’s Cell, if one looks across the valley and follows a line of rocks up, one will see what I swear is a building that no one knows is there. We asked the info people about it and they said it was just a rock. But this does look an awful lot like a building and not just a rock.

Huh. I have a few pictures of that same thing.
Is it a building? I don’t know, it is building shaped, but it could be a rock.

Here’s just a random picure of the graveyard.

Wow, it must have been a long time since you’ve been here.

Either that or you spent all your time eating in tourist trap restaurants on Temple Bar.

I eighth or ninth Glendalough (30 miles south of Dublin) and Newgrange (30 miles north). Also the Hill of Tara, which is near Newgrange, is an interesting neolithic site.

Dublin city is pretty small, and I reckon it can be ‘done’ in about two or three days. Touristy things include:

The bus tour - this is handy as it’s jump-on jump-off so you can go to some of the highlights along the way. You also get a potted history from the driver, which will give you a background to the things you’ll see.
Kilmainham Jail - well worth a visit for historical interest.
Trinity College and the Book of Kells.
Dublin Castle - a bit dull, IMO, though the Viking castle embedded in the foundations is fascinating.
The Waxwork Museum - totally awful. Avoid like the plague unless you’re into kitsch.
The Botanical Gardens - interesting Victorian glasshouses on display.
Phoenix Park - absolutely huge, with herds of deer and some interesting buildings.
Christchurch Cathedral - I’ve never been so I can’t inform.
Dublinia - Interactive museum about Viking life in Dublin. A bit lame.
Howth - posh fishing village north of Dublin.
Temple Bar - party district, good for hanging out and drinking.
The National Museum.
The Guinness Brewery - rather pretentious and expensive, but you get a free pint in a panoramic bar on top of the building with some absolutely stunning views.
The Jameson Distillery - never been.
The pubs! Aim for the smaller places, not the glossy modern ones. Closing hours have been changed, and they now don’t kick out until about 12.30, though some places have extensions until about 3.

Despite what’s been said, eating out in Dublin is actually really good, and cosmopolitan. The West coast of Ireland has great food too, with traditional seafood dishes of exceptional quality. ‘Blood pudding’ is actually ‘black pudding’ and is only really an optional dish at breakfast. However I do agree that the midlands is a bit of a culinary oasis.

Driving in the city is indeed a nightmare, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left. Bad roads, terrible signage, aggressive drivers with a low skill level, and scant regard for speed limits, red lights, or lanes. However, outside the city it’s much easier.

If you do come, be sure to hook up with us for a pint or five!

I’m from Boston. We put up with all of the above, including people driving on the left side of the road from time to time. :cool:

Well, the main point of the trip is to have a real Guiness. I suspect the trip will involve some research at the local pubs.

Wow, where was that photo taken from? Kevin’s Cell as well? I would like to see some better photos from different angles, e.g. someone climbing down to the thing and photographing it from ten feet away. Telemark, that is your mission, should you choose to accept it. This post will self destruct in ten seconds.

Posted too soon. :o

Definately go drinking w/ the Dopers. You’ll get to see some cool stuff.

I’ve made two trips to Ireland. It’s probably been ten years since I last visited.

My first trip I only stopped for a couple of days on my way back to the States after visiting Holland. I was traveling on business and my company put me up at a small hotel called Leixlip House, which is, approrpriately enough, located west of Dublin in Leixlip. Nice people, but awful food. Later on I heard someone refer to the place as Fawlty Towers.

The second trip I spent part of the time at Kildare Country Club traveling on business. That was quite a luxurious place with excellent food. The rest of the trip was a vacation on the west coast. We stayed at a hotel in Clifden and spent the better part of a week exploring the countryside. Lots of fun, but a bit short of culinary delights. Lots of tourist trap type restaurants.

Actually, my biggest complaint about Irish food may just be the lack of spices, which really isn’t that big a deal. Different strokes for different folks. All in all, I had a very nice time in Ireland and would have no problem going back.