My Way or Galway

In my previous post about Dublin, I mentioned I visited the city yet again in the summer of 2013. This time around it was a lot more sunny so I took advantage of the amazing weather.

Firstly, because Trinity College was closed for the Christmas holidays, I was unable to visit the Book of Kells. FYI, the university will usually close from 23 December until after New Years Day. Naturally I went this time around. I suggest going very early to avoid long lines. Visitors are obviously not allowed to take photos of this medieval manuscript, but you can definitely take photos along the way.

 

Glendalough, Wicklow, and Kilkenny

There are plenty of day tours offered that depart from Dublin. I booked my day trip with Collins Day Tours, but there’s also Wild Rover Tours, Paddy Wagon Tours, and Hilltop Treks. I can vouch for Collins Day which provided a great overview of the surrounding nature. If I was not part of the tour group, I would have hiked through Glendalough all day. This tour also includes walking through a world famous 6th century monastic site, more commonly known as Monastic City.

Galway

During my second trip to Ireland I discovered that there were frequent buses travelling to Galway. I purchased a ticket through Citylink, which picks up people along the River Liffey. Citylink also offers numerous destinations besides Galway and picks up from Dublin airport as well. Visit their site for a complete list.

Dublin –> Galway:

  • Standard Ticket: €11.50 departure and €11.50 return if purchased online
  • Student Ticket: €10.50 departure and €10.50 return if purchased online.
  • Duration to Galway: about 2 hour 30 min.

Galway is yet another beautiful and quaint town in Ireland and is the destination you want to make if you’d like to visit the original Claddaugh makers. Do pay a visit to Thomas Dillon Claddaugh Gold, which also houses a tiny museum of the claddaugh ring. There are some affordable pieces…and there’s also not so affordable pieces.

 

I also did the very touristy thing of booking an open-top city bus tour which leaves from the main coach station in Galway. I booked with Lally Tours whose first departure time is 10:30am and last is 3:00pm. Once you purchase a ticket, it will be good for all-day and you can hop on and off at any of its points.

  • Adult Ticket: €12
  • Student Ticket: €9
  • Stops (not a complete list): Courthouse and Town Hall Theatre, Galway Cathedral, View over the city, Salthill Promenade, and more

 

Double Dublin

“The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

– W.B. Yeats

The more I travel the more I discover those magical things. I see them in the people I meet, the wilderness I explore, the cultures I experience, and in the increasing realisation that the world is both large and small. Large in the sense there is so much of the world to see, and small in the sense you have the chance to build connections (however small and fleeting) while travelling.

I visited the country of Yeats, Wilde, Joyce, Stoker, and I fell in love with Ireland, so much so that I visited it twice: first, during Christmas in 2012, and again in the summer of 2013.

The Highlights

I stayed at Avalon House during Christmas, and at Kinlay House during the summer. Both were fairly decent places but Avalon had the better breakfast, hands down.

Visit

Guinness Storehouse

You can’t visit Dublin and not visit this national treasure. You get a free taster during your tour and a voucher for a free pint, which you can validate at their fabulous Gravity Bar. FYI children can actually attend the tour but don’t expect them to have a pint.

Howth

Howth is a small fishing town that lies east of Dublin and easily accessible by a €5 train ride via the DART (similar to San Francisco’s BART). It looks like prices may have increased slightly. Feel free to purchase a ticket at your nearest DART station on the day of your trip or online. I got by just fine purchasing it at the station same day as my trip.

Dublin Writers Museum

If you’re a fan of Irish literature and poetry, do visit this quaint museum.

Millstone – I literally followed my nose into this place and was not disappointed. It’s a place for carnivores and vegetarians alike. They have a beef tasting plate, if you can’t decide on a cut!

Temple Bar district – Do experience the musical nightlife of Temple Bar and the surrounding pubs.

The Brazen Head – Established in 1198 (what?!) and Ireland’s oldest pub. Serves traditional pub grub but it’s nice to cross off your list. By the way, if like me you thought to yourself that if this place had to specify it was the oldest pub in Ireland, what is the oldest pub in the world? Look Here.

Read my other post to learn about my second trip to Dublin and my first visit to Galway.