We arrived in Dublin at 5:30am on a rainy Monday. We did not have exact plans of what we were going to do but I had previously done some research on the best ways to get around Dublin so we were ahead of the game.
We purchased a “Visitor’s Leap Card” from a shop inside the airport. It was 10 euro per person. The Visitor Leap Card allows for unlimited use on all Dublin Bus services, including Airlink, Nitelink, Xpresso DART and Commuter Rail and Luas services for 24 hrs. (You can buy 72 hours for 20 euro if you’re staying longer).
** Helpful tip. There are printers inside the airport in case you need to print off tickets or itineraries. Keep in mind people had some serious trouble with figuring them out though and it was quite costly.
We walked outside and tapped our card on the Airlink bus to O’ Connell Street (this is the street where all of the tours begin for Hop on Hop off buses) and it was as easy as that.
Now if you know your way around Dublin or have an unlimited data plan you could use your Leap Card to get around the city. However, the city buses driving by were so packed with people it would not be the most comfortable way around the city.
We got off the bus and went into a little cafe called Cafe Kylemore on O’Connell street for breakfast. It was roughly 6 euro for each meal which included 4 different types of breakfast food and a tea or coffee. It was good value and a tasty breakfast.
We did some research about what Hop on Hop off bus tour we wanted to do and decided on Dublin Sightseeing. We purchased the tickets from a cafe down the road called Blu Apple. It came to 34 euro for two student passes that gave us unlimited travel on all Dublin Sightseeing buses for the day. (The day meaning the time the buses run, 9-5) ** Keep this in mind if you have to be at the airport at a certain time and need to get back to a specific spot. Arrange it so you’re headed to your final destination around 430pm.
Make sure you take a walk down Upper and Lower O’Connell street before getting on your tour bus.
Our first stop off the bus was the Trinity College stop. There was a lot of construction in this area this day so we opted to skip Trinity College and head right to Grafton Street. Trinity is the stop to get off on this bus tour that is the closest to Grafton and Temple Bar. Grafton is the higher end shopping area of Dublin, something you should see while visiting.
We got a little bit lost walking around trying to find Temple Bar afterwards. We ended up on the other side of the river and decided to keep walking until we found a Dublin Sightseeing bus stop. You are provided with a map when you get on the bus. This map locates all the spots where there is a pickup/drop off. It was a little hard to navigate without gps but we managed. At every drop off destination there is a little sign that says Dublin Sightseeing Bus, so you’ll know if you’re at the right spot.
At this point my feet were so sore that we hopped on the bus and stayed on it for a good while. That’s the good thing about these tours. You have a place to rest your feet and even nap if you need to (I did).
This Hop on Hop off tour includes two separate bus routes. One of which drives through the docklands and one that drives through the city.
Your tour includes free access to many museum’s that, guess what? Are NOT open on Monday’s… joy. ** If you want to visit museum’s in Dublin, don’t go to Dublin on a Monday.
Fun Fact. The tour guides are hilarious, seriously. I’d pay the ticket cost again just to listen to some of their jokes.
After resting our feet a bit we got off at Trinity again (because all the shops were closed the first time around) and after walking a bit we stumbled on a cobblestone road that was Temple Bar. Finally!
We went in to grab a beer at the Temple Bar Pub… because it’s Dublin and that’s what you do. I enjoyed a pint of Kilkenny over some live music. It was really cool to be in a place that I had imagined myself in many times. And the beer was incredible.
After this we went to find somewhere to eat. My boyfriend was after some meat pies which are quite hard to find in the Grafton area.* We decided on a restaurant called Alfies on South William Street. They had a lunch deal that was 3 choices for 10 euro. The staff were friendly and the service was fast. I think my food came out in 5-8 minutes. They did make a mistake on one of my plates but were quick to fix it for me.
We mapped out getting back to the airport on time. We had to catch an Airlink bus with our Leap Card back to the airport.
Of all the airports we went through during this trip, Dublin was the strictest. They made us take out all liquid products (including foundation) and check that it was under 100mL. They threw away anything that was over or did not have a measurement on it. My boyfriend’s cologne had maybe 20mL left and he had to throw it away simply because it did not say 100mL on it. They gave us a plastic bag each that all of our liquids had to fit in and if they didn’t fit they went in the bin. Just something to keep in mind if you’re flying out of Dublin, something we wish we knew ahead of time! Of course this is standard for all airplane travel, but Dublin has been the only airport that I’ve been to that actually makes sure passengers are abiding.
My conclusion on Dublin is that it would be a great place to have a night out and drink with the locals and enjoy Temple Bar, but I feel as though the 15 hours we had in Dublin was more than enough to get a feel for the city. The streets were extremely busy and most people walking around looked quite miserable (perhaps because it was Monday). I think we would’ve liked Dublin more if it had been a nicer day and if the airport security didn’t throw away our things ha ha. 🙂
Note: There are a lot of really cool spots to Hop off the bus and visit that were not mentioned in this article. I was being a baby because I had swollen feet from the plane and could barely walk, so we opted to ride the bus most of the day and learn about the city. There are tons more spots to visit along this tour.
Here’s the link to the tour we did: