Now that I live on the East Coast, I’m constantly on the lookout for inexpensive trips to Europe (versus to Asia when I lived on the West Coast). I subscribe to travel newsletters and Travelzoo advertised an incredible deal: a roundtrip ticket to Dublin for under $400. When I searched for hotel rooms, Travelocity had a great rate of $125/night at the Westin. Ireland has never been on my radar screen for places to travel, but for those prices, why not check it out? It was also my first trip traveling solo and knew it would be easy and comfortable for a single woman traveler.
The Westin Hotel is the perfect base for a visit to Dublin. The hotel is ideally located next to Trinity College, across the street from the Temple Bar area, and in close proximity to the shopping on Grafton Street. Unlike many other Westins, the Dublin outpost is cozy and more intimate. The service was exceptional, as to be expected with the chain.
Dublin is truly an international city, which was an unexpected discovery. There are many ethnicities that call Dublin home. Each day I sampled cuisine from a different region: Morocco, Tibet, Indonesia, and Spain. And, of course, I enjoyed “typically Irish” things. In fact, one of my favorite meals consisted of corned beef and cabbage. Also, no visit to Dublin is complete without a visit to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery and to the Guinness Storehouse. At the end of the tour at Jameson, I was selected to participate in a whiskey taste comparison. Funnily, I selected Jameson as my favorite of the three tastes (the others were Jack Daniels, and Johnny Walker Black Label). At Guinness, there is a tasting room at the top of the building with the most stunning view of Dublin.
Dublin is an incredibly vibrant city teemed with friendly people. Although I traveled alone, I was never by myself. Wander the streets and visit the sights. Stop into a local pub, sit at the bar, and chat with new friends. I’m not much of a beer drinker. However, I really enjoy Irish whiskey. I tasted many within my short stay and discovered I have expensive taste (of course!) My favorite whiskey turns out to be Midleton Very Rare whiskey. I also enjoyed Redbreast 12 year old whiskey, something more affordable!
During my quick four day trip, I took two full-day trips. These trips were filled with university students studying abroad and several single travelers, like myself. The first excursion I took was to visit the Cliffs of Moher. The trip consisted of a beautiful drive through the Irish countryside with stops along the way for photographs. The stop at the Cliffs of Moher allowed for plenty of time to walk and see the beauty from different angles. It was truly breathtaking. The second trip I took was to Northern Ireland. Remember to bring your passport as it’s another country. The day trip ended up being the highlight of my visit to Ireland. Be prepared to do some walking! The tour stopped at the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, where you can see the Scottish Coast. The Giant’s Causeway promises spectacular views of polygonal basalt columns set along the Northern Irish Coast. On our way back to Dublin, we stopped in Belfast for a tour of the city. The landscape of Northern Ireland was unexpectedly magnificent. Definitely consider a trip to Northern Ireland during a visit to Dublin. It’s a long 14 hour trip, but absolutely worth it!
My trip to Ireland was a quick introduction to the country. Ireland is a country with spectacular sights and friendly people. It is also more affordable than many other European countries. If you are interested in visiting a friendly, relatively inexpensive city in Europe, I cannot think of a better place than Dublin.