Hello hello! We just returned from a long trip to Ireland with our grandparents and guess what? Everything you’ve heard about Ireland is true. It is absolutely amazing. (Or as the locals say “absolutely grand”.) The history is overwhelming, the architecture stunning, and the food down right addictive.
We stayed for a week which was I thought was the perfect amount of time to visit Dublin. We traveled in the off season too so while the weather was chilly our plane tickets were much cheaper and we got to spend Thanksgiving in Ireland! Besides for Thanksgiving we also celebrated our grandparents 50th anniversary and our 5th anniversary so it was a very very special trip for all of us.
I’m excited to share some tips/pointers for traveling abroad with grandparents later but right now I’m dying to tell you all about Dublin itself – there is SO much to see and do. Let’s start with the good stuff: food!
Guys, the food is AMAZING. I’ll be honest, I didn’t go to Ireland thinking of the food as a main attraction but how wrong I was. We didn’t have a single dish that wasn’t drop dead delicious. Yes, lots of expected meat and potatoes but the variety and pairings were interesting and overwhelmingly tasty. Thick brown breads, piles of root vegetables, meats galore, and soup. So much soup!
Let’s pause and talk about Irish soups for a minute. Carrot and chili. Parsnip and artichoke. Broccoli vegetable. Almost every Dublin restaurant offered a “soup of the day” and I ordered it without question because there was no doubt the flavor would be amazing.
Coming from the States if you say soup I think broth with chunks of veggies and meat in it. In Ireland soup is the same thing but pureed to make a dish the consistency of baby food. Which I know sounds weird but no – it is SO good. Now that we are home and I’m back in my own kitchen I’m excited to start trying this yummy new way of making soup. Thanks for converting me, Dublin. We love you!
Dublin Museum of Natural History
What a treasure! One of THE prettiest museums I have ever had the pleasure to explore. When you walk through the door it doesn’t feel like a museum. Instead it seems like you stepped into the private home of an eccentric rich old man from a Lemony Snicket book. Three levels of warm yellow walls, wood floors, and stuffed animals in old fashioned glass cases.
Fun fact: Locals call this place the “Dead Zoo” which I find hilariously accurate.
Book of Kell + Old Library at Trinity College
I cried when I saw the Book of Kell…I couldn’t help myself. It was so overwhelming to think of this beautiful book decorated and written centuries ago by master artisans then passed down through the ages to the exact moment when I would stand viewing it. Very humbling.
The Old Library was one of our absolute favorites from the trip. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast! While guests were not allowed to touch the books (they are very very old) we still got a big thrill exploring the Long Room and being surrounded by so much beautiful history.
Christ Church Cathedral
If you get a chance to visit here be sure to do the guided tour. Our tour guide was hysterical! Andrew and I generally aren’t big tour people (we trend more towards exploring on our own) but with the grandparents along we decided to give it a go and had a total blast. We got to climb up towers, explore the crypt, and even check out the bell ringer room.
How cool is that tile design on the floor of the church? The guide told us the total number of tiles used throughout out the entire church but per usual I was busy taking pictures and not listening. Guess I’ll never know now.
Talk about intimidating. This huge castle towers over the countryside like an aging queen. We opted for the tour which once again was excellent. I thought the coolest part was the giant original key used by the tour guide to unlock the castle door. The guide explained the history of the castle and led us through corridors and winding steps until we where actually standing at the top of the castle. So amazing!!!
(Btw Trim Castle isn’t in Dublin but it’s the only thing we did outside of the city so it got included in here anyways.)
Other places we loved:
Dublin Museum of Archeology
Dublin Museum of Decorative Arts
Chester Beatty Library
Irish National War Memorial Gardens
Dublin struck me as colorful and quirky with a deep concern for human rights. The locals we met were generous, genuine, and seemingly all blessed with the saltiest sense of humor. Examples: A waiter joked with Andrew about “sitting on his arse” while the waiter did all the work and a cab driver had a phone conversation with another driver about which of them was the ugliest. We found this so hilarious.
I can also honestly say I have never been to a kinder city. Strangers on the bus jumped up to offer my grandparents a seat. While wandering around downtown in search of Trinity College a local lady overheard us and stopped in her tracks to offer directions. On the way back from Trim our bus never showed but the day was saved by a few local ladies who called a friend and arranged for our rides back to the city. Seriously…wonderful people.