Although we were sad to see the bean can car go, I felt a big weight lifted off me when Garin and I returned the rental car to the airport on Thursday evening. Although the driving was challenging, I wouldn't have changed anything, since we saw so many incredible sights along our 1700 miles journey through Ireland that we never could have seen any other way (except I suppose if we had biked and backpacked). Picture that! Every time I felt sorry for myself as I grew weary of driving, I'd think of a biking backpacker we might have passed riding in the rain a few hours before and quickly snap out of it.
As much as I was relieved to not be behind the wheel anymore for a while, I also missed the countryside, as did the children. We enjoyed seeing the sights of Dublin, but the city felt a bit jarring after having enjoyed so much bucolic peace.
Our long drives seemed to be replaced by what felt like even longer walks through a big, bustling city. We covered a lot of ground in Dublin (no surprise). The public transportation is not as easy to use or figure out as it was in some of the other cities we have visited, such as Lisbon, last summer, so we ended up walking quite a bit. We saw a lot more that way, but at times it felt a bit tiring. On our last full day, we had gotten ourselves quite far north into Dublin City and none of us could entertain the thought of a 45-minute plus walk back. So Garin, God love him, figured out the suburban railway network (DART) to get us back. It was a lot of fun to ride and we were glad to be "off our feet", despite the fact that we couldn't find any seats!
Since breakfast wasn't included at the Buswells Hotel in Dublin, we were left to fend for ourselves in the mornings. No more hearty Irish breakfasts for us! We tried a few pastry shops nearby, including the famous Bewley's on Grafton Street. To learn more about Bewely's use this link: https://bewleys.com/pages/grafton-street-cafe
It was laundry time again on Friday, so we hauled our huge bag of laundry (there and back) to a "Fluff and Fold" which was at least a 15-minute walk away from our hotel. That was not particularly fun. We dropped the laundry off in the morning and had it back by the early evening. We were so grateful for the clean clothes!
After enjoying our pastries, we visited St. Stephen's Green. We were there in the early morning so it was quiet and felt like we had the vast space to mostly to ourselves. The huge trees of every variety were what impressed us the most. We saw a mama swan with her baby ducklings, which Miles especially enjoyed, in addition to feeding the pigeons and seagulls. To learn more about the rich history of St. Stephan's Green use this link: https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/st-stephens-green/
Just across the street from one of the entrances to St. Stephan's Green was The Little Museum of Dublin. It was really quirky and really fun for kids. They had an entire room decated to U2, which was really cool! To learn more about this miniature museum use this link: https://www.littlemuseum.ie
Next, we were on to Trinity College. We were there to see The Old Library and the Books of Kells. It was a little bit drier than The Little Museum of Dublin, but the Book of Kells is a must-see when in Dublin (according to every travel source) so we had to check it off the list., The actual book felt a bit underwhelming once we were in front of it, but the exhibit itself as well as walking around the world-renowned college were both worthwhile. To learn more use this link: https://www.visittrinity.ie/book-of-kells/
Our final event was in the northern part of Dublin (a fair walk from the city center). where we spent the afternoon visiting the Epic Museum. One Irish tourism website describes it, "Don’t just visit Ireland, understand it, with a visit to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin City. You will not find leprechauns or pots of gold here, but you will discover that what it means to be Irish expands far beyond the borders of Ireland through the stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws all over the world. Discover Ireland from the outside in and find out why saying “I’m Irish” is one of the biggest conversation starters, no matter where you are". It was really interactive so the kids had a great time there. To learn more about this museum that was the winner of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards 2019, 2020 and 2021 use this link: https://epicchq.com
After stopping back at our hotel to rest our feet for a short while we headed out to a pub near our hotel for dinner on Friday evening called Doheny and Nesbitt, established in 1867. En route to dinner, we met this man and his dog. Apparently, they are legends in Dubin. Use this link to learn more about this dynamic duo: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/meet-the-dublin-terrier-famous-for-getting-bike-rides-around-the-city/40704679.html#:~:text=Meinzai%20the%20West%20Highland%20Terrier,become%20quite%20the%20internet%20sensation.
On Saturday, our second full day in Dublin, we started the day by visiting The National Museum of Archeology. For part of it, we joined a free walking tour which was informative. The space itself was stunning and they had a lot of interesting artifacts on display, dating back many thousands of years, all of Irish origin. To learn more about this trove of treasures use this link: https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Archaeology
After a quick and light lunch on the go, we headed to 14 Henrietta Street. "Nominated for European Museum of the Year 2020, 14 Henrietta Street captures over 300 years of family and city life within the walls of one address. Intimate guided tours bring visitors on a truly moving journey from the houses’ grand Georgian beginnings to the tenement dwellings of its later years." To learn more about this special place use this link: https://14henriettastreet.ie
After getting off the train, we stopped at Millstone, in the heart of Dublin, for dinner, I had Mussells, which I have now ordered at least three times in Ireland. They were delicious! Everyone seemed happy with what they ordered!