First Time in Ireland: Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains

We scored a deal to Dublin with Air Transat for only $110. With Guinness being Rishi’s favorite beer, it was a no-brainer.

We booked the trip for 7 days and thought it wasn’t enough time to see all of Ireland, so we decided to see Dublin properly for 3 days and see another major city in Europe for another 3.

Dublin city center is quite small and easily walkable to all the attractions. Our first stop was to the Jameson Distillery Bow St. We took the distillery tour which was quite entertaining. First, the history of the Jameson brand was told in a very animated way, then they showed us the process of making its whiskey with interactive tables. Finally, we got to taste and compare their whiskey with the other top brands in the world. Each tour comes with a voucher for a cocktail at the bar and we both enjoyed “Jameson, Ginger & Lime”. If you don’t want to so the tour, the bar itself is a great place to spend some time, brilliantly decorated with Jameson bottles everywhere! More information on visiting Jameson Distillery, click HERE.

We used the Grayline Hop On Hop Off bus (more info citysightseeingdublin.ie) to get around to the attractions since it was a bit chilly at this time of year to walk about. Although Dublin’s public transit was fantastic and highly recommended, it was good to use the Hop On Hop Off bus to get more information about attractions before stopping. The Red route had an prerecorded information you could listen to with headphones whereas the Blue route had a live hilarious tour guide.

Some of the highlights of Dublin which I highly recommend are Trinity College, Glasnevin Cemetery, and Grafton Street.

Trinity College is a beautiful campus to walk around in, with the Long Room being one of the most amazing libraries. It also contains the famous Book of Kells (more info HERE).

Glasnevin was the first time we ever visited a cemetery as tourists and it was absolutely fascinating to walk through.

We went on a guided full-day tour of the Wicklow Mountains (more info on this tour on wicklowmountainstour.ie). If you are looking to be in the middle of Ireland’s naturalistic beauty, I highly recommend this tour. Our day started with a couple hours drive south of Dublin and entered the mountains. The scenery was breathtaking! Even though it was cloudy and rainy, we were still in awe of how pretty it was. We drove through the Mountains for a few hours, our favorite stop was at Lough Tay or better known as “Guinness Lake”.

We then were driven to Glendalough, where we were given 2 hours for a guided hike through the forest. It hadn’t snowed yet and the trees still had its pretty fall colors so it was a really nice hike. We had a late lunch before heading back to Dublin. The tour guide, Eion, was very funny and informative.

The food and beer we had in Dublin were on another level. I wasn’t expecting the food to be so incredibly delicious! See the list below of some must-eat places as well as some bars we enjoyed:

  • The Brazen Head: the lamb stew
  • Bunsen: burgers
  • Zaytoons:
  • Bad Bobs
  • Fish Shack Cafe
  • Palace Bar

It was a fantastic trip and we can’t wait to travel to the rest of Ireland next April. I’m still drooling over all the great food we ate after building up an appetite discovering the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough. The Irish people are some of the friendliest bunch ever, I would even say friendlier than Canadian! If you have a chance to see Dublin, do it! You won’t regret it!

If you need help planning a trip to Dublin and need recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact me at farah@nextdeparture.ca

  1. Christina

    We’re going to Dublin in April thanks to your deal. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Gregory

    Never even heard of Wicklow Mountains! I’ll make sure to check it out next time I’m in Dublin.

  3. Mel

    We got the the same deal! Can’t wait to visit Ireland!!! Thank you so much 🙂

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