Dia dhaoibh agus fáilte go hEireann. Hello and welcome to Ireland 🇮🇪
Ciara here from My Suitcase Diaries
Our little island at the edge of Europe is often on people’s bucket list but can be dismissed in favor of somewhere more tropical, where the sunshine is at least guaranteed. I am here to convince you that a little drizzle shouldn’t put you off and if you are lucky enough to be here when the sun does peek through, then you will be rewarded not only with stunning scenery but memories to last a lifetime.
So you have a snippet of a weekend to spend and you have landed in Dublin. Of course you could tear off to the west coast as fast as you can and you’d be guaranteed incredible sights like the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the tumultuous coast line of the Wild Atlantic Way reaching out into the sea. Or, stick around on the East coast and mix some history and culture in the capital with more luscious countryside in the Garden of Ireland.
Jump on the bus at the airport and head for the city centre. There are plenty of affordable city centre hostels and hotels to choose form so dump your bags and get out exploring! On the south side of the city is the iconic Trinity College. Pop in to see the college campus, and intricate, beautiful Book of Kells and the old library. There’s something ever so Harry Potter about this place.
If you have time go to the Guinness Store House, The factory tour is a mix of history, science and art with those iconic adverts playing and vintage posters showing just how popular a drink ‘the black stuff’ is. I’m not a fan at all but who am I to stop you from discovering where you stand on the taste for yourself? Check out views over the city and get your own pint at the rooftop bar there. No time to do the tour? No problem, head into Keogh’s Pub off Grafton Street or Mary’s Bar and Hardware Shop off Wicklow Street for a feel of traditional Irish country pubs, complete with snug.
The bonus is you’ll get to pass the Molly Malone statue. A tribute to the street seller made famous in the traditional Irish song. If all of this stout sampling and history soaking has you a little peckish head to the Westin’s Atrium for the most delicious afternoon tea, or for something a little heartier go to The Market Bar on Fade Street for decent portions of tapas style food in an old, renovated (illegal I think) abbatoir. The patatas bravas are yum.
Sign up for a tour or hire a car because Saturday you will be heading to Wicklow, the next county south of Dublin and aptly named, the Garden of Ireland.
Early to rise because you are off to Glendalough. This area is part of the Wicklow Way and there are plenty of walks to suit every fitness level. If you are an absolute amateur and your idea of a hike is walking from the car to the shop there’s a short stroll to the famous St Kevin’s monastery and an even shorter stroll to the lake with a nearby coffee stop to reward you.
IF you’d rather do a 2.5 hour 10km loop (well it took me 2.5hrs!) then may I present, THE SPINC! Get your cardio workout in and start at the steps by the lake. You may want to slap me when you reach the top as you bust a lung trying to catch your breath but trust me the views down into the valley and the lake are stunning PLUS the rest is downhill and the views keep coming.
Your forty shades of green fix will be satiated and there’s a great spot for a snack stop by the bridge.
A scenic stroll along the valley floor back to the carpark means you have earned yourself a lush lunch in Avoca Handweavers Café in Kilmacanaogue (if you’re driving) or a drink in the bar when you arrive back in Dublin city centre. Check out this company for example who do pick ups and drop offs from Dublin city centre for €17 return pp. http://glendaloughshuttlebus.com/index.php
Bit of city, dab of culture, snippet of history and a side of country. Your short weekend visit to Ireland is almost over.
Do get on to me if you need more details or info on hikes in Wicklow and this Spinc hike in particular! Bear in mind I am an absolute amateur hiker and so do not blame me if this is too vanilla for you!
Slán agus go n-eirí an bothar leat. Come back soon!