After retirement, my wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to travel the world and see many cities. Dublin, Ireland is my favorite international city and to me it offers the best combination of food, people, art and history. Just flying into Dublin, you will be amazed at the deep green of the land and fields; it’s why the land is called The Emerald Isle.
To get from the airport into the city, we took the easy Aircoach bus, which offers quick service from the airport to the center of Dublin, as well as all the main tourist hotels in the area. Fares are reasonable, at about $17 round trip, and the bus is easy to catch right at the terminal.
For a nice basic hotel right within walking distance of most tourist sites, we’ve stayed at The Arlington Hotel. You are also close to the pubs of central Dublin and the Temple Bar area and will never be short of things to see, do, eat or drink. In a city like Dublin, which has a compact city center with very strong public transit, we find the location of the hotel is important and we like to be in the middle of the action. That way we can walk everywhere and always have things to see and do just steps outside the hotel’s front door.
23-25 Bachelors Walk
Dublin 1, Ireland
The old historic center of Dublin surrounds the Dublin Castle and has since the buildings were first erected in 1204. The castle is open to the public for tours every day and is the site of many important events in Irish history. Before visiting Dublin, it’s good to read up on the politics and history of this sometimes troubled place and it’s relationship with England.
We visited the Guinness brewery and took the great tour. It shows the history of this beverage and ends with a tasting session. What started as a behind-the-scenes tour has evolved into Dublin’s biggest tourist attraction. It’s big and flashy, and no longer really a working brewery, but it’s still both interesting and fun. It’s called the Guinness Storehouse and it’s open every day, with the last tour at 5 p.m.
St. James Gate
We also recommend a visit to the great Victorian park, St. Stephens’s Green. There are miles of paths to stroll through the gardens and the park also has play areas and rides for children. They have free outdoor concerts in the summer which are fun for families and also for single or solo travelers.
Another must-see in Dublin is a visit to Trinity College, it’s library and the Book of Kells. This is an ancient Gospel text and one of the most significant examples of medieval publishing.The book is from the 8th century and lavishly illustrated.Different parts of the book are shown at different times to aid in conservation and the book is presented with a lot of interesting historical information. Although the Book of Kells is the star, the library is filled with historic texts and others are also on display.This can get crowded, so its best to see it early in the morning, also lunchtime is good and less crowded. It’s open every day.Just visiting the Trinity College campus is an enjoyable experience, many buildings are from the 18th century and it just has a great ambiance.
Food and dining in Dublin is a another great reason to visit this special city. We’ve had some wonderful meals at The Tea Room, the restaurant at The Clarence, one of Dublin’s nicest hotels. Yes, the hotel is owned by rock stars, but it’s a beautiful property, also right near the Temple Bar area and tourist sites. Rooms start around $175 per night.
The Tea Room is modern, Irish cuisine and is considered one of the best in Dublin. The location is also right in the city center, everything I have listed in the article can be easily reached on foot, even by older travelers like me.
The Tea Room
6-8 Wellington Quay
Dublin 2, Ireland
Dublin is an easy flight from the U.S. and the city is served directly by major international airlines.When your Irish adventure is finished and you are ready to return to the U.S., Dublin and some other major European cities have something very handy. The U.S. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has agents in the airport in Dublin, allowing you (forcing you) to clear customs before you even leave Irish soil. The officer, probably an American, will ask the standard questions about your travel and review your purchases for any customs duties due.When we arrived back in New York, we simply collected our luggage and left the airport, it made the process easier.