Dublin & Environs with Teens Trip Report

Old Jun 26th, 2017, 08:10 AM
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Dublin & Environs with Teens Trip Report

This was part of a 2 week vacation to London and Dublin. I posted the London trip report under the UK forum. Our family consists of mom and dad and 2 tween/teen kids. After a fun, but hectic, time in London, we were looking forward to Dublin and some day trips as being more relaxing—and it was!! We truly lucked out on weather. It was even hot a few days. There were sprinkles one morning—nothing big and the last day was cloudy and cool but no rain. People were out all over the city enjoying the sunshine.

I am going to post this report in sections because it is long. First part here--

Lodging
We stayed at an Airbnb flat in Dublin. “Quiet and warm city centre home” by Jorinde. For some reason, I can’t copy and paste the url???? The owner was very communicative and answered questions promptly. It was not as posh as the place in London, but then the price tag wasn’t either!! It is very well located—quiet residential area near St Patricks Cathedral. Nearby Tesco express, 2 pubs, and a great coffee place called Little Bird. There is a parking space that takes quite a bit of maneuvering to get into—but it is doable. This was a big plus for us because we had a car for day trips. There were other, more modern places we could have stayed but I wanted the location and it was worth it.

Transport
We rented a car because we wanted to do 2 days in Dublin and 3 days in the country. We wanted the car for the whole week so that we could decide on a day by day basis what to do based on the weather. We were so very lucky—the weather was gorgeous!! Even a bit too hot! So we rented from Dooleys based on advice here. Very easy to do. I thought DH was going to have a coronary driving on the wrong side of the road. (and he is a licensed race car driver!) But we made it to the flat and on subsequent journeys as well.

Groceries
We do breakfast and dinners in house for the most part. I looked for a Tesco near the airport and found 2. One directly to the north of Dooleys and the other to the South. We went to the Southern one, which is actually in a shopping mall. I have never seen that before so it took some walking around to find it. But when we did, it was a great shopping experience, So glad I didn’t count on getting groceries at the Tesco Express near the flat—we got varioius ingredients or snacks there throughout our stay but I am glad I didn’t try to get a week’s worth of groceries there.

Day One: Sunday, arrived at 12:30 from LHR. Rented the car, got groceries and made it to the flat around 3 pm. Unloaded and took a much needed nap!!! Then we went to the nearby Headliner Pub for dinner. They require that kids leave by 8 pm, which was fine for us. The food was ok. What looked really good was the selection of gins and whiskeys—this would be the place to drink great cocktails!
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 08:12 AM
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on for the crac.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 08:18 AM
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Day Two: Monday-County Wicklow
We first drove to Glendalough and somehow we got on a total goat track over the mountains. There was nobody else on the road except for sheep. Actually, it was really nice. We are from Utah so we are used to space and far away views and this road had all of that for us. I don’t know that I could tell you what road it was—but it was fun.
Glendalough was lovely and interesting. We just walked the sites at the lower lake.

Then we went to Powerscourt Waterfalls. I am honestly not sure it was worth 16 E or whatever we paid to see it. Beautiful falls—really gorgeous. And our kids loved the playground—I am not kidding, I guess I should be glad that they can revert back to being kids some times. We had lunch there at the snack bar which as bad as it sounds but the staff were nice.
I thought we could make Powerscourt Gardens too but our goat track adventure had taken a while and we had to go horse trekking!!!

This was my number one bucket list item—to ride a horse in Ireland. I got a recommendation from a horse-connected person to contact Brennanstown Riding School. This is a class outfit. Nice, steady horses. Just the 4 of us. Got good helmets and boots. The 2 guides were nice and helpful—I am the only rider in the family so we just walked and trotted, which was fine. We rode through a forest and fields and then up a hill where we had amazing views of the sea and Bray and a great house. It was really lovely. It lasted a good 2 hours and was something like 70 E a person. It’s only 30 minutes or so from Dublin which was very convenient.

Day Three—Tuesday--Dublin
We started the day at the Book of Kells. I had booked tickets online which is definitely a smart move. We were supposed to take the bus. For the life of me, trying to figure out times when the bus was going to stop at our bus stop was hard, It came every 20-30 minutes and the time tables only had when the bus had left the initial station plus some markers. Argh. It was just easier to walk. It took us 30 minutes—they are doing some train track construction and streets are blocked off near the Irish National Bank. But we got there! It was amazing. And the long room in the library was gorgeous. It only took us about an hour to see it all. Mostly because it was over run by a group of French teenagers on a school trip. Argh—a group of teens is the same no matter what language they speak . But we saw what we wanted to see.
On our way—we stumbled across a great coffee shop-the Fat Fox! Yummy baked goods and friendly staff and a good latte. I was very happy.

We went to have lunch in the National Gallery café, which is good. And we saw that they were having a Vermeer exhibit. DH was so excited. We got tix for the next timed entry and saw a great exhibit. The kids really enjoyed it and begged to come back. My kids have never really been in an art museum. I have always had them do historical sites or museums or outdoorsy things. So we planned to come back on Thursday.

But first—we needed to see the National Museum of Ireland/Archeology. This museum is well done and you can easily get through it in 2-3 hours. Not overwhelming like the British Museum. (I know that I am comparing apples to oranges—it was just nice to have a museum that was doable in a short time period)
DS saw a sign for a WWI exhibit at a museum on the same street so DH took him there. It was a small exhibit--just a few rooms but it was a good perspective on Ireland in WW I. DD and I went to a cheese shop which was small, but nice. We got some cheeses and olives for snacks and then we went home.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 08:30 AM
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Day 4—Wednesday—Newgrange and Trim
This was the day of the Summer Solstice. Fortunately, that isn’t a big event at Newgrange. We really enjoyed the exhibit and the tour into Newgrange. The scene couldn’t be more Irish—green hills, fields separated by hedges and filled with sheep. Very bucolic. Newgrange was quite impressive. We spent about 2 hours or so there and had lunch at the café, which was good.

Next—Hill of Tara. Now that turns out to be a big deal on the Solstice. We would have had to park far away and walk on a traffic choked narrow road. There were people there with a giant deer wooden sculpture for burning and people camping. We passed and drove straight to Trim.

Trim Castle was fantastic—really a highlight. We had a great tour in side the keep. I wouldn’t go there and not do the tour. We all really enjoyed it. We had an enthusiastic guide and learned a great deal. We then walked all around the grounds. It was quite enjoyable.

Day 5-Thursday--Dublin
We spent the morning at Kilmainham Gaol. I had bought tix online. We ended up using Uber to get a taxi, which was easy and convenient. The Gaol tour is quite sobering. The museum did a good job of explaining Irish political history between 1915 and the end of the Civil War.
We ate lunch at the Lime Tree Cafe which had tasty sandwiches. Then we took a taxi from the Gaol to St. Patricks Cathedral.

The Cathedral was nice to tour. Again, not as fantastic as Westminster but so much more accessible. There was a visiting choir rehearsing there and it was fun to hear them sing.

We then walked to the National Gallery. We had a great afternoon at the gallery. Unfortunately, one whole wing was closed for rehanging but otherwise it was quite lovely and the kids really enjoyed it. Their gift shop had great things. We meandered our way through St. Stephens Green on the way home—always fun to go through a good city park in nice weather. By now we had the hang of our neighborhood and we enjoyed talking a different way each time to see different shops etc.

That night we had dinner at the Bleeding Horse. My kids are not adventurous eaters and I figured we could find passable food—we did. And I got my pint of Guinness. Ahhhhh.

Day 6—Friday—Kildare
On our last day, we left at 10 and drove out to Kildare. I wanted to see the National Stud and DH likes Japanese gardens. At first, we only saw the stallions, which I could appreciate—the kids not so much. Then we went through the central garden there that has lots of little fairie doors. We saw a swan with cygnets and other ducklings. It was really beautiful and extremely well kept. Finally, we got to the mares and foals. So cute!! There was even one mom and babe in the nursery paddock. We spent a lot of time on that road. The Japanese garden is quite small but very unique in its layout and interesting. We went to the museum while the kids played on the play ground. The museum is simple and easy and I enjoyed learning more about Irish horse racing.

Then we drove into Kildare for lunch at Hartes Bar and Grill. The food was quite good. I had an awesome shepherds pie. And we were right next to our second sight-seeing objective.
St. Brigids Cathedral is very simple but unique because of her story and because it is so old. Everybody went up the Round Tower. I made it up about half way and then the whole afraid of heights thing got to me. I went down and had a lovely chat with the Tower Keeper. Nice man.

And then we drove back to the airport, dropped off the car and made our 7:40 flight to Heathrow. When we got there, they had busses to the various airport hotels. (I didn’t know this and thought we would take a taxi) First of all, make sure you know which Sheraton or Marriott you are going to—that was a scramble. Then it is a quick 15 mins to your hotel. Kids under 15 are free. We got a round trip ticket—it stopped at our hotel every 30 minutes. We stayed at the Marriott on Bath Road. Honestly, it was probably too nice for just a one night stay but they had room service which we ate at 10:30 at night so it was worth it, I think.

We were so lucky to have great weather. We met many nice people who were so helpful. This was a good introductory trip. We will definitely have to go back at some point.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 02:14 PM
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I enjoyed your report, did your kids like the bog people? Dublin has some of the best museums. There is a netflix mini series Rebellion that you should watch. https://www.netflix.com/title/80094273

I finally went to Kilmainham and glad I did before seeing this film. Collins Barracks is a good museum and your husband and son would enjoy next visit.
I am so happy you got to ride horses. I can picture that splendid view.
I love that you are doing these sort of trips with your children.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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Yes, the bog people were a favorite. I was looking forward to seeing them after an interesting National Geographic Article. It is one thing to read about something. It is entirely different to see it in person!!

Thanks for the Netflix recommendation. Right now I am thrilled that the Great British Baking Show is back on in the US and Broadchurch has a new season!
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Old Jun 27th, 2017, 03:53 AM
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I like your trip report! You gave me ideas how to plan my time in London and Dublin.
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