This past Spring Break, the dates aligned perfectly for this tourist-y American to finally go to Ireland for St. Patty’s Day! (I say Patty’s and others say Paddy’s, but who knows the right way to spell it…) Because I had never been to Ireland before, my friends and I wanted a few days before and after the trip to see this beautiful country. Even if you can’t make it this semester, any time of year is perfect. I’ve written out my suggestions to have the best holiday in the east coast of Ireland!
There are so many cheap flights going daily from Edinburgh to Dublin, and from my experience, they’re cheaper at night time. So, you have most of your day in St. Andrews – maybe even go to a tutorial, then head to Dublin at night.
Since my friends weren’t arriving until tonight, I decided to make the most of my day and take a full day tour. Taking a 14-hour tour starting at 6am might seem a bit ambitious, but it was so worth it. It went up through Northern Ireland, all the way to Giant’s Causeway. It started off with a 2-hour drive, so plenty of time to catch up on sleep. Giant’s Causeway’s natural essence is breathtaking, and we also got to experience the city center of Belfast. We were back in Dublin by 8pm, and I got to sleep by 10pm ready for the full day tomorrow.
Top tip: If you’re in Belfast, try to take a black cab tour. It was only an hour, and I learned so much about the city and its history.
This day was St. Patty’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating the especially green holiday or not, going to Temple Bar is a must. We spent the whole day in this area and never got bored of bar hopping. There are so many different types of bars in this area, and drunk-food shops are open all day! You can start your day off at somewhere small and cozy, then work your way up to large busy bars, then to the more club types. The best way to get what you’re looking for is just to walk around the area and see what takes your fancy. There’s live music in almost every bar you go by, which provides free entertainment too.
This was our hangover day. After a full touring day and a full drinking day, it’s time for a break! We woke up late, then moseyed over to Trinity College. The campus is gorgeous to stroll along, and we chose to go into the Old Library and take a look at the Book of Kells (it might be the oldest thing you’ll ever set your eyes on!). We went to an early dinner and then had a relaxing night in our accommodation. Take breaks during your holiday so you don’t get worn out!
Top tip: Buy tickets online ahead of time for the Book of Kells, there was a line of at least one hour out the door in the snow, and we skipped it all and walked straight inside.
After a day of taking it easy, we chose to do another big touring day. We taxied to the Kilmainham Gaol, which is a prison about 10 minutes outside of the center of town. It might seem a bit boring for a group of university students, but the history and the architecture were so interesting. This tour also made us feel like we saw at least one necessary piece of history. Then, we slowly walked back towards town, en route to the Guinness Storehouse. I must say that I don’t have a taste for beer whatsoever, but I found this tour highly amusing. It took us about 3 hours to do it all and enjoy their top floor bar, so leave a big chunk of time out for it. This museum mixes learning and fun so well, that even the making of wood barreling is endlessly interesting.
Today was our leaving day, so we simply enjoyed the streets of Dublin that we hadn’t seen before and did a bit of shopping. The people of Dublin are such a wonderful bunch to be around, that we just wanted to soak in the place. We never wanted to leave, but our holiday ended, and we headed back to Edinburgh airport.
Do you have any more suggestions of what to do while visiting Dublin? Comment below!