A Day Out in Dublin – How to spend 8 Hours in Dublin
Recently I decided to take advantage of Ryanair’s cheap flights and hop on a flight to Dublin for the day. I have been to Dublin before when I was much younger but always wanted to go back. We got an 8am Flight from Edinburgh and then 8:30pm flight home again. If you factor in transfers and time in the airport we had about 8 hours in the city. All for the cost of £35 return!
I am all about the planning, especially because we had such a short time in Dublin. I love the DK Top 10 City Guides and so got a mini one for Dublin from Amazon, this alongside Pinterest gave me a rough idea of what I wanted to do when I was in Dublin. I pre-booked the Guinness Storehouse Tour and the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour and my airport bus on Expedia. I went through Top Cashback and got something like 12% back. So I think in total that cost me £40. I figured the more I could buy before I went the fewer Euros I would have to take with me. The only other thing I had to plan was how to get to the airport at 6am! Luckily Lothian Buses is super reliable and has regular services to the airport.
The flight from Edinburgh to Dublin is only about 45 minutes. Which is barely any time at all, the bus to Dublin city centre can be picked up right outside the airport and so I think we were in Dublin city centre by about 10.00am. We pre-booked the City Sightseeing Bus and used that as our transport around the city although there are plenty of buses and trams as well which I’m sure you could take advantage of. We prebooked the bus from the airport but I think it was roughly about €10 return and takes about 30mins. A really great and efficient service.
City Sightseeing Tour
There are 2 open top buses in the city. The green official Dublin one and the City Sightseeing one. We also came across the Duck tour, which looked really fun! I have been on one of these in Seattle before and it was great and a little bit different! We went with the City Sightseeing because we pre-booked it but I am not sure I would recommend it. The green one seemed to be more efficient and the customer service on the City Sightseeing wasn’t great. There are 2 lines the Red which is a pre-recorded audio tour and the Blue which has a Live Guide. I much prefer a live guide as I have found in the past they are more engaging. We took advantage of the hop on, hop off and it was hit or miss with the guides and buses. One live guide we got was really informative, albeit the bus was 20 minutes late! (We would have been quicker walking along the street!) We got the bus out to the Guinness Storehouse and then when we came out we hopped on a Blue route bus. As I stepped on the Bus the driver shut the door on me and then laughed it without many apologies. Which maybe should have been an omen for how the tour would be. His live commentary was totally strange and he told jokes which were unfunny and borderline offensive. The tour took us to the outskirts of the city and then on a loopback in. We kind of regretted this because it was pretty boring and not much to see. In fact, my friend who I was with fell asleep in this section. I can’t help but feel disappointed in the sightseeing tour and I am not sure I would recommend it. The staff just didn’t seem friendly or up for a chat.
This was the one thing we both really wanted to do in Dublin. We prebooked our ticket which saves you money and gives you the opportunity to ‘skip the queue’ – although the irony was that the pre-booked tickets queue was much longer but we were in within a few minutes. The building is so impressive and there are 7 floors of interactive fun! It starts off with the story of Guinness, what goes into making it and a little bit about the Guinness family and a history of the Guinness adverts. Interestingly the harp was the symbol of Guinness before it was adopted by Ireland and so the Irish government had to use a flipped image of a harp! There is not too much reading and you can get the gist without stopping to read every single sign. We had to queue for about 10 minutes for the Tasting Rooms but it is well worth it. You go along a dark corridor into a bright white room that kind of reminded me of something from Willy Wonka. You are encouraged to smell vaporisers with smells and then you are given a cute mini shot glass of Guinness and asked to go next door. This is then a darkened room and the guide explains how to taste Guinness. This was my first ever taste of Guinness and I loved it! With your ticket, you get 1 token for a pint of Guinness. You can choose to redeem this at the Guinness Academy where you get to learn how to pour the perfect pint. I highly recommend this as it was great fun and you get a certificate at the end! You can then take your pint up to the Gravity Bar which is a 360-degree bar at on the 7th floor giving you lots of opportunity for photos. The Guinness Storehouse is well worth it and will take you a few hours to go around. It also has ample Instagramable photo opportunities if you are into that!
Temple Bar is an area of Dublin that is predominantly where the bars are. We went here twice in our 8 hours. Firstly we went to The Joy of Cha, for a pit stop for tea and a scone. We came in at the same time as a tour group which was kind of annoying but was so worth the wait. They had a large selection of teas and freshly baked pastries and cakes! I opted for a mint tea and an Apple and Cinnamon Scone. It was so delicious. Heavenly. If you are in Dublin and in the area I highly recommend a pit stop here!
We returned to the area when we came back for tea. We went to the Merchants Arch for dinner. It was just next to the Ha’Penny Bridge. There was live music and Irish Stew on the menu. Overall the prices weren’t too bad for a city centre. I think it was about €15 for a burger in this place, which is what you would pay in city centre Edinburgh. This place was really nice, food lovely and staff were really friendly.
Other Sights to See
Dublin has a lot to see, depending on what you are into. I think there is enough for all the family to do here. You could easily spend a few days here or if like me you just want to go for the day, Ryanair allows you to dip in and out of the city. I would love to go back and spend more time just soaking up the culture and atmosphere.