Some of Our Favorite Memories from Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is definitely one of the friendliest cities that we have visited and there are several things that you should definitely do if you decide to go there. There are certainly more than five things to do in Dublin, but these were some of the ones that we found particularly interesting. As with most places that we visit, one key is not to put yourself on a tight schedule. If you take the time to sit and talk to the locals, you will enjoy the experience even more. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite things to do in Dublin.

Enjoying Dublin

Temple Bar District and the Viking Medieval Area – These two areas sit adjacent to one another in the heart of Dublin along the River Liffy. Our hotel was directly across the river from these areas and we enjoyed spending time walking these narrow historic streets. To be clear, there is a specific bar called Temple Bar, but we are referring to the general area that is considered the Temple Bar District. If you are wanting to do some souvenir shopping or listen to authentic Irish folk music, then this area is the place for you. If you decide to go at night, expect it to be very crowded as the area is quite popular and the bars can get very rowdy.

Temple Bar
Historic Church
Streets of Temple Bar District

Christ Church – This is the oldest medieval cathedral in Dublin and is certainly worth taking the time to visit. The exterior of the church is quite stunning and there are several features such as the statue of the Sleeping Jesus on a bench as well as the Armenian Genocide Memorial. The real highlight of touring the inside of the church is going to the tombs in the basement. Some of them are quite interesting, but the mummified cat and rat that were found together in one of the organ pipes is actually a little creepy.

Christ Church
Inside of the Cathedral
Armenian Genocide Memorial

Trinity College, the Book of Kells, and the Old Library – Although you can schedule your time to see a page turned in the Book of Kells, we just visited during another time of the day as we weren’t that interested in the ceremonial act. The book is fascinating to see, but we enjoyed the library even more. The end of each of the stacks of books has a bust of famous philosophers or other person of historical significance. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a working library for the students of the university. Even if you don’t decide to pay to tour the library and Book of Kells, the campus grounds are well worth taking the time to wander.

On the Campus of Trinity College
Aristotle Bust
The Old Library

Kilmainham Gaol – This prison turned museum is famous for having housed the prisoners of the Irish rebellions. Because of its distinct architecture in the general prison ward, it has also served as the set for several famous movies. It is important to understand that the prison is more of a symbol of national pride than anything else and taking the tour is about learning about the uprisings and the people who led them. The tours sell out well in advance, so be sure to buy tickets ahead of time if you are planning on visiting.

Distinctive Prison
Inside of the Prison Walls
Prison Hallway

Create Your Own Pub Crawl – If you are going to go to Dublin, you are going to have plenty of opportunities to sample alcohol. It isn’t just about the pubs, though. There is also the Guinness Storehouse where you can get a perfectly poured pint, the Irish Whiskey Museum where you can get a delicious Irish Coffee or simply sample some local whiskies, and the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. Any pub crawl has to include The Brazen Head, which is the oldest pub in Ireland and is also a restaurant serving traditional Irish food. We enjoyed sitting by the fireplace, having a couple of beers and talking about the wonderful time that we were having in Dublin. There are also a couple of unique pubs, such as a converted bank and a converted church (Called the Church Bar) that has a self-guided tour of the remaining church features.

Inside of the Brazen Head
Ceiling of the Converted Bank
Converted Church

Like many cities, Dublin also has a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour that is actually quite good and is an excellent way to see the sites around the city. As it can rain quite often in Dublin, it also provides a convenient way to get around while still staying dry. Dublin is such a wonderful city with so much to see, but these were some of the things that we truly enjoyed. Whatever you do, though, don’t just stay in the city. The countryside of Ireland, with its unforgettably green grass and herds of sheep, will let you know why it is called the Emerald Isle.

Sleeping Jesus
Tomb in Christ Church
Statue at Trinity College
Mummified Cat and Rat from the 1860’S

Some of Our Favorite Pub Experiences

It is quite common for us to grab a glass of wine or a beer in a casual pub when we are traveling. We often use the time to people watch and relax our legs after spending the day visiting all of the various sites. There have been a few occasions where visiting a pub was more than just a place to grab a quick drink, but was part of the experience of visiting the location. Having a drink with locals is always an interesting experience, but here are some of our favorite memories of going to pubs while traveling.

Eclectic Decorations
Upstairs in Szimpla Kert

Going to a Ruin Pub in Budapest, Hungary – Ruin Pubs are bars that have been opened up in dilapidated buildings that were partially destroyed during WWII. They are usually decorated with random furniture and decorations that have been gathered from anywhere that they can find them. The decorations are colorful, whimsical, and don’t follow any particular themes other than uniqueness. Because of their popularity, they can be quite busy, noisy, and sometimes a little rowdy. We went late afternoon to early evening and stayed away from the late night crowds.

Enjoying a Pint in Brazen Head
Inside of The Brazen Head

Brazen Head Pub in Dublin, Ireland – This is officially Ireland’s oldest pub. The pub itself has the feel that you would expect from the oldest pub in Ireland, stone walls and a dark atmosphere, but over time the pub has grown into a full restaurant and hotel with many floors of rooms to serve eager guests. We preferred the atmosphere of the old pub, but could certainly see the beer garden being a lively spot during a warmer time of year. No visit to Dublin is complete without visiting this famous spot, especially if you are a fan of historic pubs as we are.

View from the Pub
Sitting in the Booth of One of Our Favorite Pubs in Frankfurt

Alten Limpurg in Frankfurt, Germany – Located in the old town area of Frankfurt, this historic pub became our favorite watering hole while we were living in Frankfurt. We became friends with all of the staff and enjoyed talking about the behavior of the “tourists” who would visit the bar and often were rude to the staff. The bar itself has been in operation since 1495 and is small, but very welcoming. There is no doubt that we have very fond memories of this location and if you are in Frankfurt, stop in and say hello to the staff for us.

The Local Pub
Irish Pub

These aren’t the only places where we’ve enjoyed a pint in an interesting location, but these are our favorite memories. Some other locations that we enjoyed finding a local pub were in Reykjavik, Gibraltar, and Lima. There is something very comfortable about going to these casual locations that serve cold drinks and often some of the best local foods as well.

Reginald’s Tower in Waterford, Ireland

When visiting Waterford in Ireland, one of the sites to visit other than the House of Waterford Crystal Factory and shops is Reginald’s Tower. It is a Viking museum as well as providing wonderful views of the port. It was a rainy day during our day trip from Dublin to visit Waterford and touring the tower gave us an opportunity to get out of the damp cold. Reginald’s Tower is Waterford’s landmark monument and has been in continuous use for over 800 years, making it Ireland’s oldest civic building. The tower was built by the Vikings in 914 and was the cornerstone of the triangular shaped settlement. For hundreds of years, the tower served as a fortification to protect the city of Waterford and today it serves as a museum to commemorate the history of the Vikings in ancient Ireland.

Historic Reginald’s Tower and Statue of Thomas Francis Meagher
View of the Harbor from the Tower
Inside of the Tower
Viking Ship Next to the Tower

The historic structure now stands alone, but originally there would have been walls on either side of the tower adding to its fortifications. The full-size replica of a Viking ship outside of the tower is certainly quite striking and definitely lets you know what the museum is all about. The port of Waterford is Ireland’s oldest harbor and an important part of the history of the region. There is also a statue of Thomas Francis Meagher outside of the tower, which is a tribute to one of the founders of the Irish Confederation that adopted what is the national, tricolor flag of Ireland featuring the green, white, and orange stripes. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area featuring wonderful seafood and traditional Irish dishes.

View of the Tower Exterior
Ceiling of the Tower
What the Viking Settlement Would Have Looked Like
Thomas Francis Meagher Statue