The capital of Ireland, Dublin, is home to approximately half a million people. There's SO much to do in the Irish capital - from amazing restaurants, museums, tours and shopping, you could probably spend your whole Irish adventure here (but you shouldn't, cause there's just sooo much more to see!)
This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions and images are the property of This is me, Merisa Lee! unless otherwise cited.
THINGS TO DO
As Ireland was a part of my first solo trip, I made it a priority to book a walking tour around Dublin so that I could let a local to guide me around the city. I chose the Dublin Free Walking Tour (link below), which offers a tour at 11am - that covers the Southside of the city - and 3pm - that covers the Northside of the city.
Here are some of the stunning spots we covered in the tour:
The Temple Bar district
St. Patrick's Cathedral
I strongly recommend a walking tour as there are many to choose from and you can choose one that is customized to your interests. The Dublin Walking Tour was such a great way for me to get to know the city, and the guides are local Dubliners that hold a library of knowledge and information. Check out the Dublin Walking Tour for yourself and be sure to reserve your spot before your visit!
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
If you're an art & history junkie, Dublin's museums and art galleries are the places to be. Not to mention, most (if not all) of them are completely FREE!
Here's a list of some of the galleries and museums you can visit during your stay:
The National Gallery (Admission is free to the permanent collection)
Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (Admission free)
National Museum of Ireland (Admission free)
The Irish Emigration Museum (Admission €15.00 for adults aged between 18-64)
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) (Admission free)
PUBLIC GARDENS & PARKS
The saying "green thumb" must have originated in Ireland, because these people know how to make plants look daaang good. I'm talkin Chris Pratt meets Liam Hemsworth meets Johnny Depp twenty years ago kinda good.
Many times during my escapades throughout the city, I would make it a priority to take the "long route" if it meant walking through one of Dublin's public parks or gardens.
JOURNEY PLAN APP
This was definitely something I spent a while researching before I departed on my trip. Getting around a new city - not to mention a new country - should be a priority to figure out before you go (especially if traveling solo like I did!)
Ireland, much like the rest of Europe, has a great train and tram system that allows you to travel seamlessly from point A to point B. My greatest transportation tool that I used in Dublin? The Journey Plan app.
The Journey Plan app (available at the App Store for iPhone or the Google Play store for Android) was my go to app for all things Ireland transportation. It gave me information about trains (called DART), trams (called LUAS), buses, ferry and taxi schedules & departure information.
It also gave me a summary of the fare - so I knew exactly how much I'd be paying cash (or by Leap card, which I'll explain below) for my ride.
A great and easy way to save money on transportation costs while in Dublin is to purchase a Leap visitor card. This card will give you unlimited amounts of travel during your selected time period.
Currently the costs of a Leap visitor card is: 1 day = €10.00 , 3 days = €19.50, and 7 days = €40.00. You can buy them at any of the agents in the city, or you can even purchase your card and receive it before you visit (talk about easy breezy!)
Learn more about the Leap visitor card here.
At the time of my trip, I was TOTALLY gluten free. As some may feel like ditching their diets on vacation (which I desperately wanted to do), I stuck to my gluten free diet for the entire length of my trip. I promise, I didn’t cheat.
As some may find it difficult to find GF restaurants abroad, I made sure to do my research before-hand to ensure I would have some yummy GF spots to try.
As an east coast gal living in the Canadian prairies at the time, I knew that fish and chips was a MUST to have while I was visiting Ireland. But to find gluten free fish and chips? Impossible! ... or was it?
Luckily I found Beshoff’s! When I stumbled upon this gem during my Dublin GF restaurant hunt, I knew I had to try it. The batter is gluten free and they also cook the fish & chips in a separate fryer - so you can ensure that your meal is separate from the other non-GF items (although, cross contamination may occur in some instances).
I mean, just look at how delish this looked!
Move over Taco Bell, because Saburritos has got ya beat.
After my Dublin walking tour, I was on the hunt for somewhere good to eat; when I saw a taco sign in the distance. And at that moment, I knew I needed tacos. Little did I know I'd soon be eating the best tacos I'd ever tasted (and probably will ever taste again!) They were made with corn tortillas, which are GF.
I wanted to try a vegetarian restaurant while in Dublin, and luckily enough I found Cornucopia. With 90% of their menu being plant based and absolutely nothing genetically modified, you can be sure you're getting the most wholesome meal in the city.
I went for their delicious breakfast which included their frittata of the day with a side of homemade baked beans and vegan sausage.
DAY TRIPS FROM DUBLIN
As I stayed in Dublin for 10 days, I was able to make some small day trips to nearby cities/towns. Ireland has a great train transportation system, so it was very easy for me to hop on the train and spend a day exploring.
An awesome day trip I took was to Howth - a cute seaside village east of Dublin. It's about a half hour ride on the train, so it's a perfect place to go when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle. You can learn more about this amazing fishing village here.
If you don't take at least one lengthy train ride in Ireland, were you even there? One morning, I decided to hop on the train and visit Kilkenny. It's only about 2 hours (one way) from Dublin on the train, so it makes for an enjoyable train ride overlooking the Irish landscape.
IS IT SAFE?
I get it - traveling to a new country (especially alone) can be a scary thought. So, is Dublin (and Ireland in general) a safe place to travel? Absolutely!
The best advice I can give so someone traveling to Dublin, like any other city, make sure to be aware of your surroundings and try to stay in public places. Exercise your common sense and if your spidey senses are tingling, get out of there! As I was alone for the majority of the time, I made it a rule to always return to my Airbnb by at least 7-8pm (or before it got really dark).
In no way, shape, or form did I ever feel unsafe in Dublin as I stuck to my rules and was always conscientious of where I was and who was around me.
I can only account for Ireland's weather during the second week of May, as that's when I spent my time there. But let me tell ya - I don't think it matters when you visit, you will get rain one way or another!
When planning a trip to Ireland, be sure to bring a raincoat and some waterproof hiking boots if you're out exploring/hiking. Try to invest in a decent umbrella especially if you'll be outdoors most of the day, and check the weather before you go out!
If you've been on the fence about visiting Ireland as your next trip-of-a-lifetime, DO IT. Dublin - and Ireland in general - is home to some of the nicest people I've ever met, and the Irish culture is something I could soak in for years. 10 days in Ireland's capital was simply not enough time (I still dream about those amazing tacos I had at Saburritos).
Tell me, Ireland travel veterans, what was your best-loved moment in Dublin? Or, if you haven't been to Dublin, what's something else I haven't covered that you're dying to know? Ask me girl!
Until next time,