So, it was my 21st birthday this weekend and what better way to celebrate than flying over to visit our Irish friends and drink our way around Dublin. Seven of us made the trip over and all of us being students, we were keen to keep down the price as much as possible, here are a few ways we kept the money down and places we visited.
*NB Ireland is full of the NICEST people
Ryanair Manchester to Dublin return £19.99
Airlink 747 return €10
Kinlay House Temple Bar €14
We only actually booked in for one night as we had to be at the airport at 4.30 am on Sunday but this hostel was no frills, cheap and cheerful – great for us as we only needed a bed and a cheap one at that!
Where we ate
Dunne & Crescenzi South Frederick Street €45
We decided to have a more spendy meal on my actual birthday and this place was perfect. Traditional and fresh authentic Irish food in a beautiful ‘wine cellar’ setting. I had the vegetable pates (sundried tomatoes, pesto, artichokes and olives) to start and Panzerotti ravioli filled with forest mushrooms dressed with Grana Trentino DOP fonduta and truffle olive oil and Panacotta (topped with a candle). It was all so delicious; some of the best food I’ve had in a long time. They also serve a rather tasty Peach Bellini.
We had to take a pit stop to warm up and have a few moments out of the ‘authentic’ Irish rain. This cafe was a gem and just around the corner from the Natural History Museum. This cafe worked in a ‘serve yourself’ system, the food selection was all local, delicious produce. Loads of fresh salads and a wide selection of hot foods from stuffed potato skins to vegan vegetable masala. This was perfect for a warm-up and a good feed half way through the day.
To top off the trip, we wanted a big hearty traditional Irish meal. We actually found the place by jumping into a taxi and asking the taxi driver to take us to his favourite pub for some hearty food. O’Neill’s has a carvery menu alongside a more ‘normal’ pub menu, their roast beef was delicious and gravy just perfect and potions sizes huge but just what we wanted! For about a tenner, I highly recommend this real Irish pub for some proper food to fill up on.
Where we drank
The Parliament Hotel
We came here for a few pints before dinner, it was just a very chilled bar with two guys playing the accordion and guitar at the end of the bar. They even played “Dirty Old Town’ which was my Grandpom’s song when he was with us and it was just perfect. I f he had wanted me to be doing anything on my 21st, it would be drinking beer in Dublin. I recommend a pint of Smithwick’s Red Ale or Smithwick’s Blonde Ale.
Now, I’m pretty sure I found the love of my life in this bar. We stumbled upon this by chance, but it was everything I wanted from an Irish Bar. We were recommended this bar as it was out of Temple Brand away from the tourists. O’Donoghue’s had buzzy feel in the air and handful of drinkers were twirling around the room in a rather clanky, ale induced fashion to the singer and his guitar in the window. The beer was cold and fresh after a rich meal and the atmosphere brilliant. I was also lucky enough to have the dreamy guy in the window sing me ‘Happy Birthday’ and dedicate ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ to me. My only regret is not taking the local advice and leaving my number for him on a beer mat.
The Temple Bar
I mean, you can’t have a trip to Dublin without a trip to The Temple Bar. This was instantly a different vibe to O’Donoghue’s, filled more with University students on society trips and stag do’s, the crowd was certainly a different bag altogether. Still so much fun, we spent the rest of our night here drinking yet more beer and jigging to the mix of traditional Irish songs and covers of newer stuff sang by the two guys in the window. I highly recommend if you’re up for a boozy jig and some good company.
After we finished our meal here, someone had the bright idea of playing a few drinking games here. Hours of ‘Shit Head’ and 7-14-21 followed and we left O’Neill’s very merry and ready for the night ahead. The guys behind the bar were hilarious and there were plenty of beers and ales to try. We had a hilarious time and drinkers around us didn’t mind some rowdy 20 years olds playing ‘Guess-Who’ rather loudly.
Prize for the most random bar in the world goes to this place. Another accidental visit but a rather funky one. There was an actual live band and dance floor in this bar which was great for our more ‘out-out’ second night. Although as the night went on, it became clear that this was a more gothic/screamo bar, something we’re not normally into but it was a fun experience. Although, after the death metal version of ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ we decided to call it a night.
This place is a gem! We went downstairs to the smaller bar below where there was traditional Irish music from a fiddler and guitarist. We were welcomed as locals and spent a good couple of hours jigging along with the rest of the bar. The bar itself is pretty tiny but feels as though your in a wine cellar, just enough room to tap along to the fiddle.
Average price for per pint €5-6
What we did
Sandman’s walking tour Free!
Unfortunately, the Irish weather didn’t let up so we had to give up after 40 minutes due to frostbite but the 40 minutes we did do were highly enjoyable and entertaining. I done a few of these tours across Europe and have alway had a fab time.
The Guinness Storehouse €15.50
Any trip to Dublin is not complete without a trip to the Storehouse. Located a bit further out from the centre, we got a €10 taxi out here to avoid the rain. I also booked tickets beforehand and we managed to beat all the queues. With your ticket you receive a complimentary pint of Guinness, redeemable in the Guinness Academy or in the Gravity Bar. After spending 2 hours wondering around the Guinness Experience we drank our in the Gravity Bar overlooking a 360 degree view of Dublin in the pouring rain. The experience itself is excellently put together and presented, from the brewery process to the tasting room where you are taught how to properly drink a Guinness. I could not recommend a visit here highly enough.
And for those wondering, does Guinness really taste different the other side of the Irish Sea? Yes! I whole-heartedly stand behind this idea. I’m not generally the biggest fan of Guinness but couldn’t get enough of its smooth and light taste whilst dancing along to a man with a guitar.
I know this isn’t a beauty post but I thought this would be a nice quick update for any of you considering a trip to the Irish capital.