Dublin Itinerary - help, help, help!

Old Dec 16th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Dublin Itinerary - help, help, help!

My husband and I are doing a quick trip, to Dublin for 5 nights at the end of this month(1st night is on the plane). We are staying in a guesthouse just north of the Liffey, and will be in walking distance of central Dublin. I have multiple questions - so bear with me! I suppose it would be useful for you all to know we have never been to Ireland before.

Of course we will do the major things, as I've been compiling a list from fellow Fodorites Book of Kells, Guinness brewery,the Goal, maybe the Jameson distillery (I've heard it is worth it in Southern Ireland, but not in Dublin - thoughts?), St. Patrick?s church, Christs?s church, Dublin Castle? etc. I'm not sure museum's/art galleries are our thing on this trip, but if you have a particular one you love, I could be convinced!

I also heard about the 'mummies' at St. Michan's and think I will try to fit that in - I never made it to the catacombs in Rome, but wanted to - so this will be my replacement until I get back to Rome!

What other things have you done that are wonderful? We are planning on spending 3 full days in Dublin, and one on a day trip to surrounding towns ? do you have ideas for that? We?ve looked into Newgrange, Glenendaugh (SP?), and also MIGHT have a family friend to visit in Kildare. It is a friend of my Aunt?s, but because we will be there during holiday time, we are not sure if she will be in town. Is it worth taking the train to Kildare anyway? I grew up around race horses, so that part doesn't interest me - too many other options that would be novel!

On the day we do our day trip we would like to see a seaside town or two, and there seems to be wonderful ones both north and south of Dublin ? recommendations? Should we take an organized bus tour to a few towns? Or would our time be better spent just hopping a train ourselves? I did look into the Irish rail trips, too $$$.

We will be there over New Years Eve, and from reading other posts I hear that outside a church, can't think of which one at the moment, is a NYE celebration, and right now we plan on attending that - does anyone know of any other activities that happen for NYE?

Also, if I do get to visit this family friend, can anyone think of a nice gift for us to bring? A book on our area of New York is all that comes to mind. Should I invite her our to lunch, or would that be bad since I am on her turf? (what an Irish pun! Sorry, couldn't resist )

Please and thanks in advance!
- Kristy

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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 08:31 AM
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One thing Twe did last September was to take the Walking tour of the 1916 Rebellion. It is conducted by Lormac Collins. It leaves from the International Bar near the tourist bureau off Grafton St. Check with the bureau for exact times. Takes 32 hours. Cost about 10 euros. Lormac is both witty and knowlegeable.

Also take a walk through St. Stephen's Green. The theater, at the Abbey or Gaiety, is wonderful.

A great restaurant right off St. Stephen's Green. is Browne's. We dined there on our final night in Dublin. Make reservations.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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Two not 32 hours, sorry.
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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I had heard that was a great tour - could be well worth our time - thanks Powell! I think we book that through the tourist office? Or is there a way to book it before we leave NY?

One other thing I am wondering, are we going to run into many activities that are closed or not scheduled b/c of the week we are there? I've read some hints of that in other posts. I'm guessing at least the student-run Trinity College tours are off.

Anyone know?
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Old Dec 16th, 2003, 06:39 PM
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Kristy,

My wife, daughter and I will also be at a guesthouse just north of the Liffey for the last 4 nights of the year. The Dublin Writers' Museum will be a definite stop for us.

We'll look for you in the neighborhood. Have a great trip.

BoH
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 04:50 AM
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This is the site for the Rebellion walking tour: http://indigo.ie/~1916/tourdetails.html

Both authors give tours, and both are equally enjoyable. I highly recommend it as well. I do not think you need to book in advance, as you just show up at the pub and join in. You might want to drop them an email to see if they are running tours in December and January, as the site appears to only have dates starting March 1.
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 05:29 AM
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a vist to the old Kilmainham Gaol is a
wonderful museum of Irish political history. It's the jail where leaders of
the Easter Rebellion were held and executed and where many other Irish political prisoners were held. A lot of movies were filmed there like In the Name of the Father , also some music videos. If you take the hop on hop off Bus tour you will be able to access the old jail .
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 06:56 AM
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Definately go see the Mummies in St Michan's Church. Its located on Church Street near the Jameson Distillery if you want to do both one afternoon.

I went for the fist time a few weeks ago as its down from my house and it was great. I only have one favour to ask you. If there is an American girl doing the tour do NOT let her convince you its OK to touch the crusader mummy for good luck. I was furious at this point in the tour. There is the body of the Crusader in a room with 3 mummies and she allowed people inside and to touch his hand as it was considered good luck. If a person fell they would have destroyed the mummies....so please do not do this. I am debating if this was a lack of judgement for the day as she was "filling in" or if I should alert the church.

Afterwards you can do a 2 minute walk to the Jameson Distillery. I would reccomment for lunch a cafe called Christophers in the laneway across fro the entrance. Nice for lunch or snack. The food in Jameson is not great.



For a lovely seaside town here are my picks, booth are reachable by the dart.

Northside - Howth lovely small village with the yacht club and boats in the harbour. Good seafood restaurants as the fish is brough in here. For a pricier meal try King Sitrics. Its supposed to be the best seafood in Dublin. As well Beshoff Chipper is here and the food is great. Both are locvated in the Harbour.

Southside: Dun Laoghaire -you can go to the pier for a walk or the shopping centre. There are a few cafe/restaurants facig the watr. THe Forty Foot is a bar and restaurant that is lovely at sunset overlooking the bay.


Southside: One town past Dun Laoghaire on the dart is Dalkey. Its nice for a 3wander and the queens pub is good for lunch or a pint. It gets busy on the weekends.

Take a bus tour down to Glendalough. Its not workth driving in Dublin and probably cheaper t take the tour. If they include Powerscourt it would be a nice day out. I love Newgrange and think its a real piece of history if you visit Ireland. Its a remarkable place.


New Years is a bit of a disaster in Dublin. Most people leave the city and whats open is packed. Try to book a table in a restaurant for a meal (Now if possible!) and just look for a pub you like and stay with it. Many large bars are charging entrance like they do in NY. Its not worth it.

As for the family friend don't bother with a NY book. Take her to lunch or bring a cake/flowers to her if you visit. I would not use a whole day for visiting in Kildare. People tend to be up to their eyes at the holidays so I would only visit if I knew them personally.

If you go to a museum I would reccommend:

1. the national Museum on Kildare Street. Beautiful old jewelry in the main hall

2. The Chester Beatty Library behind Dublin Castle - Its the largest Collection of Asian art in Europe. The cafe there has great food and nice trinkets in the shop. (I love museum Shops!)

HAve fun.
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 07:36 AM
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Kristy, if you go to Christ Church Cathedral, there's a fabulous fish and chip shop around the corner: Leo Burdock's (2 Werburgh St., just off Christ Church Place ).

I'd also strongly recommend Kilmainham Gaol and the Dublin Writers Museum (housed in a gorgeous Georgian mansion). They are two of the best small museums that I've visited.

Enjoy!

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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 08:04 AM
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Do not blame the American girl for touching the mummy, it is part of the tour package. Which I happened to do.

Also look at the size of the mummy, who is actually a crusader from the middle ages. He is almost 6'7" and must of been a giant at that time considering that is pretty tall now.
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 10:21 AM
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So much to respond to!

I'll start with - BoH2222 - you're not staying at the Clifden Guesthouse by any chance are you? That's where we will be, I couldn't find any reviews on here, but the price was right and EVERYTHING else reasonable in central Dublin was booked. We didn't plan this trip until mid-Nov!

I did email about the walking tour, will let you know when I get a response.

We are definitely planning on seeing the jail - sounds fascinating!

Siobhan - thanks for all the info! We were looking into Dun L for the day trip, so since it has good reviews I think we might go there!

I was shocked when you said people could touch the mummies - but since another poster said they too were able, do you think the one people touch could be fake? I will ask about it when we tour and come back with info.

Thanks to all for the great restaurant/cafe info! Also, for NYE I have heard how hard it will be to get reservations, but I am just not yet ready to make that committment! I hope to see something the 1st day or so we are there and TRY to get in then. Wish me luck!
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Old Dec 17th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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Kristy, we are staying at the Townhouse of Dublin, just down the street from you. It seemed like a good central location, although we've been cautioned about walking back at night in that area. We chose it based on some guidebook recommendations.

Based on suggestions from other posters here, we made a reservation at a trendy looking Indian restaurant for New Year's eve. I agree that it sounds way too planned to choose a restaurant so far ahead, but I'll trust the locals that it's really hard to get into a place that night.

We left ourselves enough time to get to the Abbey Theatre if we decide to go that night. Our daughter is an aspiring actress and very interested in seeing "Aristocrats" by Brian Friel.

We're looking forward to visiting Ireland.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 12:56 AM
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I don't know whats going on with the St. Michan's tours but I can guarantee you the mummy is real and I would be wary of any damage that people could cause touching them. Only in Ireland are we that careless with our history. Its unbelievable sometimes what people get away with here.

Boh2222 - are you booked into Jaipur? If so its meant to be fantastic. I am being totally honest when I say it will be tough to get fed on New Years if you don't book. There is always the chipper and Mc Donalds or a kebab shop but a sit down place will be tough to find. Have a look around when you arrive and see if any place catches you eye and ask themif they have tables for New Years.

To both poster staying North of the Liffey - I assume on Gardiner Street. Be careful at night walking home especially New Years. If its very late just get a taxi its only a few euros. I live off the quays and I don't walk home at night unless my other half is with me.

Oh another fun thing is the Ice rink in Snithfield and there is another with a small market in the RDS Ballsbridge. They are only up for the christmas season.
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 05:52 AM
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You know, I must not understand good fish and chips. I had the fish at Burdocks and it was absolutely the greasiest food that I?ve ever eaten. The fries were soggy and the fish was dripping. It was terrible. Maybe they were having a bad day, but this stuff was inedible.

Bill
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Old Dec 18th, 2003, 07:51 PM
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SiobhanP, yes, we do have reservations at Jaipur, based on your recommendation from a previous post.

I've enjoyed reading your suggestions for all of us Ireland newbies. It certainly can't hurt to have a reservation in the pocket for an evening that's sure to be busy. Makes me think of those poor souls who were waiting for hours and hours and hours to get into the Uffizi Gallery while we just breezed in with our reservations.

By the way, what's the usual custom for tipping in restaurants and taxis? What about hotel rooms?

Thanks for your informative posts.
BoH
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Old Dec 19th, 2003, 11:34 AM
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Kristy,

I find that a nice bottle of CA wine makes a great gift for our friends in Ireland. It's pretty pricey there and if you can find the organic stuff that's even better! A friend of ours *loves* it and is always thankful for a bottle from us.

If you'd rather not bring something from the US, a sweet cake, tart (pie) or cookies (biscuits) are usually offered with tea so will come in handy for entertaining and will definately get used in most homes in Ireland.
If your Aunt's friend knows you are coming she'll probably already have tea made up and waiting for you when you arrive. I've found that the older generation in Ireland prefer to sit at home and chat while the younger will be up for a jaunt downtown and/or something to eat.

As for things to do in Dublin, my favorite musuem to visit is the National Museum. If you are into or know any Irish history, this is THE place to find a good bit of it. If you are not into Irish history, this is THE place to learn a general overview of it. It is great for an hour or for spending several hours, especially on a cold rainy day. The cafe inside is pretty good, too.

I've done the Dublin Castle tour but wasn't as thrilled with it though the rooms you do get to go into are beautiful. I really preferred the viewing the old Viking walls at the end of the tour...

As for day trips outside of Dublin I highly suggest you take in Newgrange. Older than the pyramids you will amazed to even contemplate what went into building and who was there so long ago. Your other ideas are all good ones, too, so it's really up to you, the weather and what you feel like doing.

On seaside towns, I enjoy walking about is Bray. Of course we have friends there so I may be a bit bias. Kiliney is another great place and the "Beverly Hills" of Ireland, or so I'm told. Many million Euro homes in this area, a few famous people and a lovely seaside town.

Have a great time and safe travels,

Wendy
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Old Dec 23rd, 2003, 05:12 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the responses - we're leaving in 4 days!

Wendy, thanks for the tips on being a guest - my aunt never mailed her friend's info, or it is lost in the Christmas rush, so that piece is still up in the air. I am STRONGLY thinking about Newgrange for our day trip.

It is funny, I think of myself as a person who needs to plan, but I'm learning I just need to have information - I can't get myself to plan a NYE dinner yet or to commit to a day trip! We'll go to the tourist office in Dublin and check options and prices, then go from there.

I'm packed (we leave today for family visits), have guidebooks and research handy, did my jetlag research, and cannot wait to leave!

Thanks again to all,
Kristy
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Old Dec 23rd, 2003, 05:31 AM
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To Boh2222:

Tipping - Try to stay in the confines of the Irish Norm. Maybe give a bit more new years but I would not go overboard.

Taxis - Change or 1-2 euro. Most people do not tip for a taxi ride here or if its 50 Cent just leave it to him. Taxi Drivers are getting cheeky these days when picking up at the airport so don't fall for it.

Restaurants 10-15%. Usually the charge is not included but check your bill on New Years to be sure. Anything more is a bit overboard.

Hotels - unless someone takes your bags up I would not tip anyone. It is not customary to leave tips for maids etc. They may be worried you left your own money out and would not touch it in case someone thought they are stealing it. Its just not done here.

Bars- nothing or a small bit of change. Don't think you are being cheap its just how its done here.

Americans seem to overtip for Irish standards. I am by no means cheap but this is the norm here and if you go against it they will start to expect it more and more from tourists and I don't think this is right. People are not paid 2 dollars an hour and depend on tips like I remember from the U.S. They are on an hourly wage.

Do tip in cash though. If its on the credit card in a nice restaurant they may pool it and the waiter may never see this tip.

We have had a few arguments about this in the past about Dublin but this is the norm wether you think its right or not. Let me know what ypu think of Jaipur.

KAMG: let us know how the trip went and enjoy Newgrange. Bring warm clothes it's gotten chilly here this week!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2003, 05:52 AM
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I had just last night read about tipping - the no tips in bars threw me! How delightful, its terrible here (Rochester NY) how bartenders expect it, if you do not tip well the first round your service will suffer!

SiobhanP - My warm clothes are packed, but 1. I need a reason to buy a nice Irish sweater and 2. Dublin will be warmer than Rochester no doubt!

FYI - I am guessing the 1916 rebellion walk is off for this month, as no one has answered my inquiry to their website.

What I'm most looking forward to: K. Gaol, St. Michans, Bray & DL for seaside towns. Trinity college holds special interest for me as well, as I work within higher education - I only hope I can find a student for the tours they normally run!

Least looking forward to: Flying out of Boston! It is such work to get to the airport

Have a nice holiday and thanks again for the help - I promise to post a trip report, even if it is not polished! (I have a habit of putting them off to perfect them)
- Kristy
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Old Dec 23rd, 2003, 11:09 AM
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Kristy,

I hope you get this... if not, I look forward to your trip report.

Don't worry too much about not having a "plan". I've planned for months then thrown the whole thing away the moment I stepped off the plane. You have the right idea; info. Ireland is just like that -- not that you wouldn't also have a great time if you did plan every move. (I've done that too...)

If you only have a number for your Aunt's friend then do not hesitate to call her once you arrive. The Irish are so welcoming and friendly that they mostly do not mind having people they know (or the friend of a friend even!) call and show up. We were house hunting for a friend on our last trip to Ireland and one family showed us their place then invited us back for a visit with them the next time were in the area! We certainly did not know them from Adam before we approched the farm asking if we could take a tour of their For Sale property. How's THAT for hospitality?

The same goes while you are there; ask away at the locals for places to see, visit, eat, stay, etc. Even if you don't make it this time, there's always next!

Safe travels,

Wendy
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