Going to Ireland!

My siblings and I are heading to Ireland in less than a week. We’ll spend most of our time in Dublin with a couple days in Cork and elsewhere.

Anyone have any suggestions of good pubs or other places/things of interest? We’ve been looking all over tourist websites, of course. But would love to hear some advice from dopers!

There’s plenty to see in Dublin (and about a bazillion pubs you can try).

Will you be renting a car? If so, I highly recommend a drive to Newgrange in County Meath (about an hour north of Dublin): Newgrange. The tour was quite good and the views were incredible.

For Dublin itself, I found the National Museum of Ireland to be great. The buildings are located a short walk from Trinity College. Actually, that whole area is worth a day to just stroll around.

Dublin is really a great place to see, and if you enjoy a walk, there are a ton of nice sites.

We are planning to rent a car just for a couple days. Newgrange does look interesting, thanks! And the National Museum is definitely on the list of places to go.

How exciting! Some peeps on here are from the Old Country. Maybe they’ll pop in.

Posting to subscribe as we are also doing a trip to Ireland later this year with my parents. We’re going to fly into Dublin, hire a car and drive to Cork and then back up to Dublin before flying home again. I figure we can take an inland route to Cork on the way down and a more coastal route on the way back.

Moving to IMHO.

I’m not from the auld sod but I lived there for a long time.

I’m not a fan of Cork city. It’s OK for half a day, the English Market’s nice, have a pint of Murphy’s and then… meh.

If you’re renting a car, I strongly recommend driving a few hours further to West Cork - Castletown Bere area - or even driving north and around the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula. Dingle’s my favourite place in Ireland.

Definitely recommend Newgrange. It’s amazing. Make sure you go early in the day so you can do the tour.

Jonny Fox’s in the Dublin Mountains is a huge tourist trap, but it’s in a great setting and does fantastic seafood.

Dublin:

Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street is a historic pub with reputedly the best Guinness in Dublin.

Go and see the Book of Kells in Trinity.

The Literary Pub Crawl is a riot. One of the most fun evenings you can have as a tourist.

The Dawson Lounge on Dawson Street is worth a visit. It’s absolutely tiny.

The Cobblestone in Smithfield has ‘real’ live music. People playing spontaneously because they want to, rather than because they’re being paid to go diddly-idle-dee for the tourists. It’s where Billy Connolly played when he visited.

I’ve been out of the country for so long I’ll leave the rest of the recommendations to actual Paddies, as I’m no doubt out of date.

Notes about driving:

If you’re American you’ll probably want an automatic. Make sure you book this well in advance as they’re quite rare.

Practice driving on the left in the side roads around the car rental place for about ten minutes before driving on the highway. It’s quite easy to adapt, but make sure you have a significant aide-memoir in the car that reminds you to set off on the left. If you’re distracted it’s easy to set off on the wrong side. My dad has totalled a car doing this in the US, I nearly did too when I was living in the states, and friends of mine from Texas lost a week of their vacation in hospital in Galway with broken bones following this error.

Though the distances between towns and cities seem small, the driving conditions are poor. Dublin-Galway and Dublin-Cork now have toll motorways (freeways) between them most of the way, but elsewhere you’re looking at an average speed of about 40mph long distance.

Finally:

Bring an umbrella.

Trinity College- the Book of Kells is a must.

I gather you already have digs in Dublin- if not, we found Brooks Hotel was excellent.

Temple Bar is pretty horrible- noisy and full of tourists- but worth going for a few pints.

If you get to st. Stephens green, try and go to Dawson’s Pub in Dawson Street. It is reputedly the smallest pub in the place and it is a gem.

I would say that the best parts of Ireland are outside Dublin (it is a large city with subsequent problems). However, it is still Ireland and it will be lovely. A bad day in Dublin is still better than a good day in a lot of other places.

Enjoy yourself.

And jjim already made most of the points :frowning:

Well I think you make a good point. If you’ve never been to Ireland you’ll be envisaging the tourist brochures: dry stone walls, donkeys and green meadows. There are bits like that in the West (Kerry, West Cork, Connemara) but the reality is that Dublin is a modern, bustling, cosmopolitan city that is entirely unlike the stereotype. It has its unique charm, the people are friendly and talkative - as long as you keep your eye out for attendant social problems and petty crime - and there’s an amazingly historic centre, but a lot of the 'burbs can be drab and depressing and the infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. Rent The Commitments. While now quite old, it does still give you a taste of the financially depressed estates that make up a lot of modern Dublin.

I would also highly recommend watching Once, which is not only a lovely movie, but is more contemporary and gives a relatively realistic view of the city.

I would also recommend St Patricks Cathedral (easy walking from central Dublin) and a pub called Peters Pub. It is small but very friendly and not far from st Stephens green.

One thing I would say of Dublin (and others may disagree)- you are not going to get the knock out cultural icons of London or Paris. Or even Edinburgh. It does have the history, and the beautiful places to see but you need to dig a little to find them- and they aren’t on such a giant scale.

Now I’ve just had to view our pictures of our last trip to Dublin and I wnat to go back! Curses!

I hear Irish coffee is great! When you tour the coffee plantations, bring me back a pound.

I’d recommend galway city over cork city. Also consider Belfast and environs. Giant’s causeway, glens of antrim, ulster museum, mural tours, are all great. Northern Ireland is also cheaper. In dubli, st michan’s, Collins barracks museum, grogans pub are pretty good. Posting on phone so haven’t included links.

Thanks for the advice, everyone!

I’ve heard the pubs close early during the week. Is that universal? And what time is early?

11.30pm they stop serving (‘last orders’) and by 12.00am you’re meant to be out. Last orders is at 12.30 on the weekends. However Ireland is often deliciously flexible with its enforcement of various rules, and many pubs that are away from the city centre are quite lenient in their application of the law - and out in the countryside it’s often down to the preference of the landlord*, no matter what the law says.

There are nightclubs and late bar/restaurants too which stay open until 2/3 (not sure of the rules there myself), but they’re not the default. And in most hotels with a bar, the bar will stay open for residents all night long.

IIRC they’ve just introduced a ridiculous rule that ‘off licenses’ (liquor stores), supermarkets, and convenience stores, can’t sell any alcohol after 10pm.

Anecdote: at 3am, January 1st 1990, in a pub on a wild windy hillside in Co. Wicklow, the place is heaving to the rafters with drunk happy people, the musicians are playing like mad in the corner, my fellow English friend is shouting “now I understand what the craic is! Quick, take a picture of it!” when suddenly the door bursts open with a bang and standing lit up by the cheery interior of the pub, drenched in the horizontal rain, are two gardai* in sodden greatcoats. The pub falls instantly silent.

“Come on now lads,” one of them says. “Let’s not be ridiculous.”

“Have yez no homes to go to?” says the other one.

Slowly the patrons get their coats on and file out into the howling night. We, however, are waiting for a minibus to pick us up. My then-girlfriend explains this and the cop says “well don’t be going outside until it arrives, you’ll catch your death.” So we waited at the bar with the cops, having another round and chatting with them as they dried their coats by the fire and drank their complimentary whiskeys.

**Cops.

Jjim has probably more knowledge than I have, but the pubs can be a little odd on weekends- especially Sunday. In 1999 they were only open for sessions on the Sunday. However, between sessions, they just closed the doors and everyone got pissed anyway.

More recently (November 2010) you could buy booze from the supermarkets. However, on Sunday the grog section was cordoned off until after lunch.

And one thing apart from booze- make sure your mobile phone (cell phone) has coverage in Ireland. Ours did in the UK, but not in the Republic of Ireland.

Or better still - something I always do - get each member of your party to buy a junk phone for a few bucks (make sure it’s unlocked and a GSM phone that takes a SIM card) and get a pay-as-you-go SIM when you get to Ireland. They sell the SIMs in the airport I think. That way you can make local calls or texts to each other cheap while there, and you can give your Irish number to important people overseas for emergency calls. It will probably work out cheaper for you all round, because you don’t pay to receive calls or texts in Europe.

Good advice from Jjim. I was with Vodafone and although I could make calls in the UK they bounced them through Australia- one call cost me around $150 and it was an internal call in the UK. When I got to Dublin nothing would work. The Vodafone staff were very good but I had to buy a specific SIM card and get the phone unlocked. it was a nightmare.

True

Also true!

Yuuuup

I think most rental cars have a sticker on the dashboard telling you to drive on the left etc.

But I would advise caution when driving, the Irish don’t follow any rules when driving and it can get quite gladiatorial and scary - they have absolutely no patience whatsoever and will swerve around something in front of them without signalling… In fact I’d be tempted to suggest not driving at all!!

Once upon a time it took 5 hours to drive Cork - Dublin, I don’t think it’s much less than that nowadays - a fact which has been known to shock Americans, who think everything in Ireland is within walking distance of everything else

LOL

Indeed
Oh and bear in mind that [compared to America] Ireland is rotten expensive!