Ireland

Day 1 – Adventure begins!
My friend Joana, who is quite a citizen of the world (having lived in São Paulo, Scotland, and New York in the past few years) is now living in Dublin! Since I went to visit her, there will be no reviews on where to stay - Joana is simply a fantastic host! In terms of Dublin and the nearby areas, there is plenty to discuss…and an urge to go again!

First of all if you are travelling from Lisbon you can fly Air Lingus or/and Ryanair and have a cheap ticket if you avoid high season and book in advance.
From the airport to central city just take the turquoise buses ( 10€ return).

As I arrived a little bit after lunch hour, we grabbed some delicious sandwiches to go at a place smartly called Lunch and headed out to eat outside at Trinity College lawn fields, whereas most students were also soaking the fleeting sun.

We spent the afternoon just walking around town with a little few shopping stops – check out Avoca, a very cool store with Irish made stuff. We also went to the National Gallery, which has a small but fun collection of paintings from big names such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya. The entrance is free and also don’t miss their cute very colorful diner!
We also had time for some garden seeing at this national park, (I can remember the name sory) before going for some cheese and wine dinner to catch up!


Day 2 – Exploring Dublin
We are both early birds which gave us a long day ahead to explore Dublin! First, we took a free walking tour around the city. You book it online and you don’t have to pay unless you enjoy it, then you offer a tip of your choice. The free walking tour will take you to most well-known places in Dublin, with a nice back ground story which varies from Irish tales, the revolution, Guinness Intel and some fun U2 stories, which show just how much Irish people dislike Bono. Top places: Dublin Palace, the Cathedrals and the Temple Bar area!

For lunch we went across the river to the north part of the city, and to this very good veggie place called Brother Hubbard where we had the most amazing lunch!
Then, after some shopping at Penney’s (Irish for Primark) and some other northern side stores we went to meet a friend at Temple Bar. This friend of ours has lived in Dublin for many years and being an expert on the city she decided to take us to The Brazen Head, the oldest Pub in Dublin for a pint! This you cannot miss this!
Dinner was at an old church turned into restaurant/bar then we headed out to explore Dublin night life at some pub! 

Day 3 – Rain, Brunches and Dalkey
Rain! I knew that having a whole stay in Ireland without rain would be a lot to ask for and sure enough there it was! A full morning with non stop shower! So, in order to avoid getting wet, we took this time to enjoy a long cozy brunch at a very cool place called Fumbally and then coffee and desert at the lovely Bibi’s

It was still raining after brunch but we decided it would not get in the way of our plans anymore so we got ourselves on the Dart (Irish for train) and headed to Dalkey!

Dalkey (Deilginis in Irish) is a cute little town, 30 minutes or so from Dublin (and guess what, on the way we passed through Dún Laoghaire and it really doesn’t sound at all as you would say it)!

Dalkey supposedly has some of the best ocean views from Ireland and it’s where Bono and a bunch of other well-off guys have their "cottage" houses. We had a very nice warm lunch at the cutest place called Tramyard then headed out to see some more of Dalkey. It’s not a very touristic place so it’s nice enough to just have a quiet nice walk around and take some great pictures.

Later we headed home to meet our friends at a fantastic (but a bit overpriced) Italian restaurant called La Dolce Vitta, the best pasta I have had in a long time, and then explored a few bars.


Day 4 – Falling for Wicklow / Music in the air
So because we didn’t have a car, and frankly we were scared to drive on the right side of the road, we went to Wicklow County on one of those arranged trips. This was not well organized at all so I really recommend you rent a car instead. Here is why: the time you have at the places, especially at Glendalough and the Lakes is not enough to explore it properly. Also, no one advised us to take snacks or any sort of food for the way, and you really have no extra time to sit for a coffee or  grab a bite. By the time we got to Kilkenny we were starved and could not face anymore climbing to visit the caves. We stayed in Kilkenny hopping to find some nice warm food (which didn't happen). 

Kilkenny is supposed to be the most gothic town in Ireland. Never (and I live in Portugal) have I seen that many churches and cathedrals per square meter! If you are stopping for lunch its cool to check out their Castle- very Downton Abbey- but there is really nothing more to do so don’t waste a lot of time there. Also, something that really upset me is that the bus can’t really stop in the middle of the countryside narrow roads so basically you just drive through Wicklow and look at the landscape.  

Appart from all this horrible going around experience, Wicklow is amazing! The Wicklow Mountains are the location set for many well-known movies such as Braveheart, PS I Love You and nowadays some parts of Vikings. The lakes are breathtaking. And the best thing is how in a short drive you have a complete different scenery to enjoy. From its rocky arid mountains to green graze fields packed with cows and black sheeps, you must not miss this part of Ireland! Here are the pictures to prove it! Enjoy!



Back in Dublin and because we didn’t feel to head back home before dinner, we had some time to just walk around the city streets. We suddenly ran into a nice band of street performers, doing covers of songs you know by heart but using their own style. We had a nice time alongside with a crowd of other music lovers who were also just passing by and decided to stop to hear them. Just as they finished off and we continue heading for dinner, we passed through what looked like a normal building with some very cool live music playing. So we decided to head up the stairs where out of the blue we found another jam session this time the performers were their fifties, looked like a little reunion, and the rock and blues they sang were all written by them. Another very nice moment in my Dublin visit.

Later we went for some wine and a cheese board at J favorite place which is a very cool wine bar beneath a fancy market place. Lovely atmosphere and great wine! After three days of late nights and early rise we were weary enough to just head home for some Tesco’s apple and cinnamon tea and PS I Love You! Very non Irish I know! And the next day I had to get back Lisbon.

Here are a few more pictures of my trip!







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