It might have been cold and grey, but at least we managed to stay dry when I took the boys for a weekend in Dublin. We did a bit of shopping and a LOT of walking. And I managed to squeeze a little bit of history into the weekend as well.
We flew over with Ryanair, taking advantage of their Autumn sale and flying hand luggage only to keep costs down. The Clayton Ballsbridge hotel
was our base for the weekend, chosen because the bus into the city centre stops literally right outside the hotel.
I’m from an Irish family, so taking the boys over to see Ireland was always something that I really wanted to do. This was their first trip over, and I was really keen to show them some of the important historical and cultural sights of the city. I knew that I couldn’t overwhelm them though – they are still not too keen on spending hours traipsing around a city looking at buildings!
We arrived at the hotel around 10.30pm on Friday night. After checking into our room we headed to the bar where I had our first pint of Guinness of the weekend. I don’t usually drink pints, but always make an exception for Guinness. And whatever anyone says, it definitely tastes better in Ireland!
Here are some of the highlights of our weekend in Dublin:
On Saturday morning we took the bus right to O’Connell Street in the heart of Dublin city centre. There I showed the boys the statue of Daniel O’Connell, the Post Office and the huge Spire. We also enjoyed a huge Irish breakfast at Eddie Rocket’s
– the Clonakilty black pudding was definitely the best I’ve ever had. I’ve since found that you can buy it from Waitrose
, but I wonder if this is something else that will taste better in Ireland?
Grafton Street Entertainers
After breakfast we started exploring the city, and headed over in the direction of Grafton Street. As well as being a great place to shop, you can also watch various street entertainers. We saw everything from fire jugglers, boy bands, dancers and of course the obligatory ‘statues’.
And talking of statues, of course we had to find Molly Malone. She’s still wheeling her wheelbarrow, I’m sure that she’s moved location since the first time I visited Dublin. She also has to contend with a lot of tourists trying to get a handful of her bosom – it took me quite a while to get a photo of her on her own!
St Stephen’s Green
We nipped into the shopping centre at St Stephen’s Green, and I was amazed by the gorgeous design inside.
In the afternoon we walked over to the Guinness Storehouse museum
, which is a great way to pass a couple of hours. Spread over 7 floors, the museum tells the history of the brewing family, and shows how the black stuff is brewed.
My favourite floor was the one with all of the old Guiness adverts on. It featured everything from the Guinness toucan to the recent advert featuring the Sapeurs.
If you visit the museum, it’s definitely worth booking ahead online. Not only do you get to skip the queue and go straight inside, adults also get a free pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor. It has nearly 360 degree views over the city and out to the Wicklow Mountains.
After we’d bought some souvenirs in the Guinness museum store, we headed back down the road in search of somewhere to eat. We could have eaten at one of the restaurants at the museum, but instead we ended up at Arthur’s
, a pub about 5 minutes walk from the museum.
Ollie and I had huge, steaming bowls of Irish stew, while Lyle had a Beef & Guinness casserole. And I finished off my delicious meal with a glass of Yellow Spot whiskey. With live Irish music playing, and friendly bar staff, it was a great place to eat. I’d really recommend paying a visit to Arthur’s if you visit Dublin.
The next morning we had a relaxing morning in the hotel, followed by a quick lunch at Eddie Rocket’s. Then we did a bit of shopping, Lyle bought a bright green ‘Ireland’ hat to keep his head warm. Combined with his orange jacket, it wasn’t hard to pick him out in a crowd!
We all went for a walk down the Liffey next, calling at the Ha’penny Bridge
which is one of my favourite spots in Dublin.
The final site that I wanted to visit was the Famine Memorial
. It’s about 15 minutes walk from O’Connell Street, and the boys were soon complaining of sore feet again. But it’s well worth the walk.
The statue was given to the city in 2007. That was a year after my last visit to Dublin, so this was my first chance to see it. It commemorates the million people who died in the Great Famine of 1845-49, and the million or so who left the country in search of a new life.
As you approach the group, it takes a while to realise that you’re looking at the memorial. The statues blend into the surroundings so well.
The gaunt figures are quite haunting in appearance. I felt very emotional thinking about what people must have gone through at that time. To be honest, I’m not sure the boys got quite as much out of it as I did. But I felt it was important to go and see the memorial while we were there.
We all had a great weekend, although we were all pretty tired by the time we got back home. There’s still a lot to see in Dublin, but the boys are very keen to see more of Ireland. So I think we’ll head over to the West coast next time.
But I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be another 9 years until my next weekend in Dublin!
18 thoughts on “7 Must-See Places to Visit on your first Weekend in Dublin”
I’d never heard of the famine memorial before but it is so chilling looking at those tall and skinny figures! Going to add that to my bucket list of things to see on my travels. Hope you get to visit Dublin again soon :)
It is very chilling, I felt really quite emotional. Thanks for commenting Laura
What lovely photos you’ve snapped! I’ve never been to Dublin but would love to go one day x
Thanks Sabina, it’s a lovely city and we had a fab time :-)
Dublin is a great city to visit :) The people are friendly and the food delicious :) Love the photos!
I totally agree! Can’t wait to go back again :-) Thanks for commenting Claire
I’ve never been to Dublin, although I have been trying for years to convince my husband it would be a good place to go as a family. Thank you for your post. I’m going to show him why we need to go!
Oh you should definitely go, it’s a fab place to visit! There’s lots more to see than we did in our weekend as well!
this is such a relevant post for me right now as I’m hoping to visit dublin in the next few months xxxx
Ah fantastic!! I hope you get over there, I’m sure you’ll love it :-)
Dublin is somewhere I would love to visit, it looks like such a lovely place and all the history! x
It’s lovely, I love visiting the city and there’s such a lot to see and do. We hardly scratched the surface!
I have never been to Dublin, but it looks great, so many interesting things to see and do! This looks great – great photos!
Thanks Jenni – we had a really lovely time, but we need to go back again to see the rest of it!!
I would love to visit Ireland, but Dublin in particular looks especially nice.
Dublin is fab, but there are a load of gorgeous places to visit in Ireland. I can’t wait to go back again!
It looks like you had a great weekend! I’ve never been to Ireland, it’s definitely on my to do list though!
We had so much fun – very tiring though, there was a lot of walking involved! You should definitely go :-)