Traveled and Written by Henry Seth
With increasingly hectic schedules finding the time to go on a family trip to Europe has proved to be a difficult task for our family of 6. But, Dublin, Ireland proved to be smaller and more manageable than many of its European counterparts, and was the perfect destination for a long weekend jaunt across the pond.
After arriving in Dublin on Friday morning, we checked into The Merrion Hotel, a beautiful five-star property located directly in Dublin’s city-center. This 123-room hotel contains the largest private collection of 19th and 20th century art in Ireland, making it a popular destination for art lovers. Further, the hotel has the only 2-Michelin-starred restaurant in all of Ireland. The cozy hotel features fireplaces scattered throughout the lobby, which makes for the perfect place to enjoy a pot of Irish tea after a long day exploring the city. We stayed in the historic Main House, which featured large rooms with beautiful fireplaces and marble bathrooms.
Located only a short walk to Grafton Street, Dublin’s famous high street, we took a nice stroll through the area and neighboring parks. While visiting Grafton was a fun experience, the street is filled with larger chain stores, and we found more unique boutiques and shops on the side streets and less touristy areas. For true local tips, be sure to talk to your taxi drivers. Not only was every cab driver we had extremely nice and chatty, but they loved nothing more than giving us tips on where to visit and what pubs we needed to experience.
No trip to Dublin (or Ireland) is complete without a visit to the famous Guinness Storehouse where you get to learn about the process of making one of Ireland’s most famous beverages. After wandering up the seven floors of interactive exhibits, you become an expert on how to taste, pour, and drink this staple Irish beer. At the end of the museum, you reach the Gravity Bar where you can put your skills to the test and drink a pint while enjoying the rooftop views of the Dublin skyline. While we had a variety of ages on the tour, even the under 18 crowd enjoyed the visit.
The next morning we left the city to experience a taste of the Irish countryside. Only 40 minutes outside of Dublin is the historic Malahide Castle, a 12th century castle on 260-acres. After exploring the estate and learning about the families (and ghosts) who have called it home, we continued on to the seaside town of Howth. The picturesque fishing village sits directly on the water, only 13 kilometers outside of the city. We enjoyed a meal consisting of fresh seafood at the Brass Money, one of the many restaurants dotting the harbor. While the weather was too cold and windy for us to enjoy the beautiful Howth Cliff Walk, we were able to take in some of the amazing views seen from the top. On a nice day, the scenic walk offers breathtaking views of the cliffs and Irish seaside.
Our last day started with a tour of the Trinity College library, a magnificent and historic library that is not to be missed. We then continued to explore the city, making stops at Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral before lunch at The Brazen Head, Irelands oldest pub.
The whisky drinkers in the group then ventured off to the Teeling Whisky Co. factory where we got to learn about how this Irish whisky is made. The highlight, of course, was the tasting at the end, where you got to try 3 different Teeling whiskeys while your guide explained the similarities and differences between each. We ended our trip with dinner in the Temple Bar neighborhood of the city. This area was filled with restaurants and pubs and the sound of Irish music was flooding the streets.
Before we knew it, our trip was over and we were back in the car heading to Dublin airport. Dublin proved to be a great option for our long weekend trip. 3 days allowed us to visit most of the key sites in the city, while also getting to experience some of the countryside. Another plus to Dublin is you that you clear United States Customs and Immigration in Dublin, so when you arrive in the US, you simply collect your bag and head out…no more waiting in those crazy JFK immigration lines!
Kelly's Dublin Packing List
Waterproof walking boot from Blundstone, lined rained jacket, Barbour, Maison Michel Felt hat through Farfetch, Fisherman's Sweater, LL Bean, Marni Belt, Isabel Marant Trousers, Corroon Passport case, Pai oil for skin recovery after flights or a blustery coastal walk from Onda Beauty, Asha earrings to dress up your tweed for dinner on the town!