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yk's TR: One week in Dublin with 6-year-old, June 2019

yk's TR: One week in Dublin with 6-year-old, June 2019

Jun 25th, 2019, 06:17 PM
  #1  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,176
yk's TR: One week in Dublin with 6-year-old, June 2019

Hello, our family of three spent one full week in Dublin last week. I hope this report will be helpful for others, especially families traveling with young children.

Why Dublin?
Back in Jan when i was trying to pick a European destination for our summer vacation, everywhere else seems prohibitively expensive airfare-wise ($1500pp). I was about to give up until I saw Aer Lingus fares to Dublin - and I have never been to Ireland before even though I have traveled extensively to Western Europe. Most people would think one week in Dublin is way too long and wondered why we didn't travel to other parts of Ireland. The truth is, neither my husband nor I were interested in driving a rental car, and bus tours would simply be too boring for our son (he needs to run around to get his energy out).

FWIW, I bought us Aer Lingus "Saver fares" (the cheapest option) which does not include checked luggage nor seat reservation. Even within 24-hr online checkin window, we could not pick our seats. I was anxious because obviously we cannot have our child seated separately from us. When we arrived at the airport we were assigned seats together. In addition, our seats were in the "choice seating" area which normally costs more to reserve because it is closer to the front. So it all works out in the end but it certainly caused quite a bit anxiety for me prior to our trip.

Accommodations
We are normally AirBnB people, so I spent a good deal of time researching apartments, until a fellow Fodorite here told me about the new law regulating short-term apartments. I was disappointed because there were so many more choices for AirBnB than "apartment hotels" but in the end it was quite a blessing. We booked a 2BR penthouse suite at Molesworth Court Suites and we couldn't be happier. First of all the location is perfect, situated in between Merrion Sq and St Stephen's Green, 2 blocks from Grafton Street. Second, despite its proximity to everything, the apartment is super quiet - I have never stayed in a hotel in a city center that is so quiet at night. The bedrooms face the back - there is no street noise, no car noise, no drunk people yelling middle of the night, no garbage truck coming at 4am - the only noise you hear is seagulls. You also don't really hear the neighboring apartments either. And since it is the penthouse, there is no one stomping on the floors above us. My husband and I are very light sleepers and I always travel with earplugs. I didn't even have to wear them on this trip. The rooms also have black out curtains, which is needed because we were there the week of summer solstice. It stays light until 10pm and starts getting light by 4:15am. The black out curtains aren't perfect but they most definitely helped. Our penthouse apartment is 2 levels - lower level are 2 BRs and 2 baths. Upstairs is the living space with an outdoor patio. It is very very spacious. Molesworth Court also has a regular 2BR apartment which would have served our needs but it is quite a bit smaller.

Getting Around
Given that we were there for one full week, we bought the Visitor Leap cards for myself and husband. I doubt we got our money's worth ( 40pp for 7days) - at best we got even. I got them mainly for the convenience of not having to worry about topping up. HOWEVER, there is no child's version of the visitor Leap, so we had to get him a regular Child's Leap and top it up. Because of that, we could have just gotten regular Leaps (adult and child) for everyone and just top them up as we go. Oh well. For our son, we ended up spending 15 on him (3 for the card and 12 for fares). he had 1.20 left on the card when we left Dublin.

We used mostly buses, but also tried the Luas once, and took the DART on 2 separate days. We also took the Airlink 757 bus to/from the airport. I used both TFI app and Dublin Bus app for journey planning and they work quite well.

Weather
Before we left, the weather forecast calls for temps in 50s-low 60s and rain every day. We packed raincoats and umbrellas. Luckily, husband packed a sun hat. Because our week there turned out to be fairly sunny! We didn't even use our umbrellas once. It did rain on occasion but the rain rarely lasted for more than 5 minutes before the sun would come back out, then rinse and repeat.

DAY 1
Aer Lingus has twice-daily flights from Boston to Dublin; we took the later flight in hopes of getting some sleep on the plane. Flight time was only 5 hours. No immigration lines at Dublin airport. Bought our adult visitor Leap cards from the SPAR in T2 arrivals. Bought a separate r/t Airlink child ticket for our son. Our plane touched down at around 8:30am and we got to the hotel at 10am by Airlink bus 757. Our apartment was not ready but we were able to leave our luggage there.

Just around the corner from the hotel is Le Pain Quotidien so we went there for breakfast/lunch. Originally I was thinking of going to Phoenix park/zoo on our first day just to get ourselves fresh air to stay awake, but it was the rainiest day of our trip so it rules out outdoor activity. Our son pleaded us to visit the National Leprechaun Museum so off we went. Before that though, we stopped at carphone warehouse to get a local SIM for my phone, and to the TI to pick up a child's Leap card for our son.

Even though all guidebooks say the Leprechaun Museum is kid-friendly, their website as well as the box office staff don't recommend kids younger than 7 to visit. It is visited by guided tour only, and the tour is 45 minutes long and some stories can be a bit "scary" to children. We debated for a while and our son said he really wants to visit so we went. It really isn't that scary though I can see younger kids won't have the patience to stand around and listen to the guide's storytelling. Our son enjoyed it a lot.

After the visit, we went to check out Ha'Penny bridge and River Liffey, then took a bus back. We still had time to kill so we went to Merrion Sq. Someone on Tripadvisor had mentioned that both Merrion Sq and St Stephen's Green have a children's playground. our son had quite a fun time at the Merrion Sq playground. Finally it is check-in time and we took a look at Oscar Wilde's statue before returning to the hotel.

Husband and son stayed in for the rest of the day, while I made a trip to M&S Food Hall on Grafton Street to stock up our apartment kitchen. The Food Hall is only 5-7 minutes walk and it is so fabulous. It has a lot of semi-prepped foods so we can still "cook" at the apartment without really "cooking" if you know what i mean. I got cold cuts, pre-cut/pre-washed veggies, fresh pasta and basically you throw all of them in a pot and dinner is ready.

End of Day 1
yk is offline  
Jun 26th, 2019, 04:11 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,384
I love Dublin, you still had time to rent an apartment in Dublin. I think the new law is now July but am going to check out your place. Good location. I love M&S foodhall. Dunnes has a good grocery also.
Macross is online now  
Jun 26th, 2019, 10:45 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,384
I forgot this wasn't TA where they love the apartment law. It is crazy and have talked to many on how they will ever enforce. I stay close to Dublin castle and who in their mind would want to live in that location full time? We are going back at Christmas and NYE but have one of the quieter apartments. Our one in May was loud and we would never open or sit on the balcony since Hard Rock is renovating the Arlington next door. Boo to that. She rents to corporate people for short term leasing and gets top money for that. I think they are going underground to rent. They all have their client list. daft.ie has so many available homes to rent or buy but very pricey in the city plus many can't come up with first, last and security. Same here where we live. We have homes but people have horrible credit and no one wants to rent to them. Anyhow, Your place looked good and love location so will remember.
Macross is online now  
Jun 27th, 2019, 12:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 325
Enjoying your trip report yk I love the area you stayed in - so central but quite.

Very glad they are bringing in an Airbnb ban in Dublin. Housing shortage has hit critical levels. Families are living in their cars and in shelters.

Looking forward to more. Its always interesting to see my home town through other's eyes.

Regards Ger
OReilly64 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2019, 03:47 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,384
Ger, will those homeless be able to afford a 3,000 a month apartment though? That is the problem we face here. Bad credit and not enough money for all the deposits. They charge for each application. Someone was saying that they couldn't afford the background check required. Check out daft.ie and look at the number of homes for sale or rent. Affordable housing isn't there in Dublin but expensive housing is there that many can't afford that are living in cars. We have over 2000kids homeless in my county. Huge problem everywhere but how to solve? We have a friend that lives in Stoneybatter and rents out to medical students in his house. Paying all his bills and they are never home. He said everyone that has an extra room does that now.

Waiting for more reports. I love to hear about new places to eat.

Last edited by Macross; Jun 27th, 2019 at 03:50 AM.
Macross is online now  
Jun 30th, 2019, 06:49 PM
  #6  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,176
Day 2

We began our day with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. If you buy tickets online it is cheaper ; in addition, there are further discounts if you visit before 11am. Getting there was easy with the bus; several of them leave from across the Trinity College Green, just a few steps from the TI. Even though i don't drink beer (my husband does) I felt this is a "must-see" while in Dublin. I didn't have much expectation but I have to say, the storehouse was really well done and interesting. There are many floors to visit but I'd say the first 2 levels have the most information. Our son was interested in the transportation segment as well as how they used to make wooden barrels. It took us 2 hours to make our way to the Gravity Bar on top for our complimentary pint. Husband got his Guinness but I shared a soda with my son. By the time we were done it was lunch time. At first we thought about eating at the restaurant just below gravity bar, but then I remember there is a casual cafe on a lower level with cheaper prices. We ate at the cafe where they served Guinness beef stew. We ordered 2 and oh boy they were HUGE! We barely were able to finish it.

Then we took the bus back but stopped at Dublinia/Christ Church Cathedral. Dublinia is a museum on Dubin's Viking and Medieval history. It is quite kid-friendly and informative. We got the combo ticket that includes both sites. While Christ Church Cathedral might have been boring for our son, they have a kids scavenger hunt sheet so that got our son interested too. We spent 2.5 hours at the 2 sites combined.

By then we were pretty tired but our son wanted to visit the Dublin Castle. When we finally got there, we realized it would be too much to try to see it on the same day, so we decided we would save it for another day. We slowly walked back (stopping at Ginos for gelato) and stayed in for dinner.
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Jul 2nd, 2019, 06:16 PM
  #7  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,176
Day 3
Took a day trip to Malahide today. It was a 10-15min walk from the hotel to Pearse station to take the DART. Our visitor Leap card covers the journey. The train runs every 10-20 minutes and takes 30 minutes to get to Malahide. It is a beautiful sunny day for this day trip. The Malahide Castle is quite beautiful (what you expect a castle to look like) so my son was quite thrilled. We got there just in time for the next guided tour. Tour lasts under an hour and our son was attentive throughout. Afterwards we went to the West Lawn where they have a Fairy Trail, which our son enjoyed a lot. We had lunch at the Avoca Cafe (on site), which is fairly pricey but the setting is beautiful.

After lunch we explored the rest of the gardens, including the butterfly house and walled garden. We spent about 3 hours there total. On the way out, we stopped by the playground next to the castle grounds (my son begs for playground time every day). Wow, that Malahide playground not only is huge, it also has a kids' zipline. Our son must have done the zipline at least 50 times and we had to drag him away after almost 2 hours on the playground.

The Malahide Castle is on one side of the DART station; on the other side is the town and the seaside, so we walked over there to have a look at the town center and to the marina. If one desires, one can walk further out and there is a beach (we didn't go that far). Finally we returned to the DART station to return to Dublin. We were all tired from the daytrip so we got takeout from a Japanese take-out place (Kokoro) by the Merrion Hotel and ate back at our apartment.
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Jul 2nd, 2019, 06:20 PM
  #8  
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,176

Malahide Castle
yk is offline  

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