I traveled to Ireland late March/early April of 2017 with my mother (an experience of it’s own to be sure) and we spent nine days exploring the Emerald Isle!
After looking at a guide to typical Irish weather year-round, we decided to travel to Ireland during this time period because aside from the summer, Spring had the most sunlight and the least amount of rain. Traveling in an “off” season also means better flight deals and we were able to get round-trip tickets for $400USD each from Chicago to Dublin with a short layover in Toronto! Since it’s not during the summer months, there are less tourists around which allowed us to meet and talk with a lot more locals and enjoy less crowds at the popular attractions. The locals mentioned that the crowds really start to grow in Ireland after the Easter holiday. Something to keep in mind when planning your own Irish adventure. It also provided a great time to view all the spring blooms of flowers and trees!
Above is the general route we took while in Ireland. The order we went in was:
Since we flew in and out of Dublin, the last day we had to make sure we got back to Dublin to make our flight out. This meant we ended up spending three nights total in Dublin. Two at the beginning and the other the night before the flight. If I were to do it again, I might consider Shannon or Limerick so there was no worry about getting back to Dublin.
Dublin – Day 1
As mentioned above, when we arrived we spent two nights in Dublin exploring and half a day longer than intended due to a lost checked bag and a flight that only operates every other day! On our first day, we arrived at our Airbnb and did a quick freshen up before heading into downtown. We had a scheduled tour at the Jameson Distillery in the early evening so we intended to spend some time walking around the area of Trinity College, but there was a lot of construction in the area and could not for the life of us figure out how to get onto the campus. We then moved on to Dublin Castle, the Christ Church Cathedral and some general street meandering before arriving at our destination on Bow Street. Now, anyone who knows me well will tell you that I
am was NOT a whiskey fan. After Jameson, I’m a convert! They are so confident in their product, that the tasting tour offers you not only a sample of their triple-distilled delicious-ness, but also samples of the best selling Scotch Whiskey and the best selling American Whiskey (no spoilers here!). After the tour, we enjoyed some whiskey cocktails at their bar.
Dublin – Day 2
The next morning, we decided what better way to start the day that with a visit to St. James’ Gate, home to Guinness since 1759. Something unique about Guinness is that the original lease was signed to Arthur Guinness for 9,000 years! The lease can be seen in the floor of the Storehouse. There are seven floors to the Guinness Storehouse, each detailing a different aspect of the famous stout from the ingredients, the process and the history all topped off with the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor where you can take in the views and a pint of the Black Stuff. (Trivia: Guinness is not actually black. What color is it?)
After a breakfast of Guinness, we did the touristy thing and took a horse drawn carriage (it was also raining!) the the infamous Dublin pub; the Brazen Head. According to records, it was established in 1198 and is one of Ireland’s oldest pubs (there’s a debate on just what bar is exactly the oldest, but we’ll talk more about that later). The main bar is cozy and the perfect spot to grab a pub food lunch before taking to the streets after the rain had passed.