In April, I had a couple of days free before starting my new job at a well-known newspaper and wanted to go abroad on the cheap. At €30 return, the cheapest fares were to Dublin, Ireland, so I set off for four days to the capital. I booked these flights with Ryanair (but searched for them with Skyscanner) and found the details of a hostel on Hostelworld, which was around €12 per night; I never book hostels in advance and just turn up and book in-person and after years of travelling, I can only remember being turned away maybe three times when a hostel was full. I prefer the flexibility of not booking in advance and being able to go into the first hostel I see en route to the city centre.
The centre of Dublin is quite ugly and I was very unimpressed by the spiral, but I did a free walking tour which leaves from the castle at 11am every day and it was incredible! Our guide was from Dublin and condensed all of Irish history into forty-five minutes for us, starting with the Vikings and leading to present-day Ireland. He took us around all of the main sites which were: Trinity College, The Keller Public Library, Dublin Castle, the tour was around four hours and left us in a pub (of course!) that served traditional Irish food. Below is a Guinness and beef stew, which was delicious.
Most of the sights of Dublin can be seen in a day. I loved Trinity College and spent hours there, but was quite disappointed upon seeing the Book of Keller. The library was gorgeous, but I don’t think it’s worth the entrance fee (a Trinity student I met in the line got me in for free anyway 😉 and I never visited Dublin Castle, but I heard that wasn’t worth it either. I heavily recommend the free walking tours though, they are so much fun and so informative, you can ask your hostel for more details.
I tried Guinness here for the first time and it is bloody delicious, I ordered it, thinking it would be a normal beer and then said to the barman, “No not that black stuff!” but he had already poured it and turns out I love it anyway. Gone are the days of drinking crap Italian beer, bring on the Irish stout!
For my fourth day, I took a trip to Howth, a fishing village, which has a long path from the centre of the village to the lighthouse. As it was April, of course the weather was terrible and it was rainy and windy (meanwhile London had a HEATWAVE!) and it rained at least three times a day every day I was in Ireland, I thank God for the wonderful weather we have in the south east. Howth was an easy one hour train ride from Dublin and the walk was mostly deserted, besides the odd Spanish tour group. I stopped to eat at this incredible fish and chips shop at the beginning of the walk, called Beshoff Bros.
The walk was easy but the wind was so violent that it was getting a little dangerous walking along the side of the cliff and a couple of times I was almost blown into the sea (need to get a couple more Beshoff Bross down me), but eventually the sun came out and I made it to the lighthouse. It was very beautiful and I’d recommend it to all travelling to Dublin.
Besides the Guinness stew, I normally kept costs quite cheap by eating in supermarkets for a few euros a pop, so the whole four days only cost me €150 including flights and accommodation, not bad for Ireland, which isn’t exactly the cheapest destination!