I haven’t written in quite a while – a combination of a new job, a new flat and a million other stressful life events have meant that I’ve been pretty distracted recently.
This week I went home for my niece’s christening, and luckily when my partner and I booked the flights we decided to go to Dublin for a few days afterwards. Fast forward three months, and I don’t think either of us have ever wanted a holiday so badly. So I thought I’d talk about what we did, and more importantly what we ate, and how good it was.
We arrived late afternoon, and after a lot of helpful tips from people on Facebook and Twitter ended up going to The Mongolian Barbeque for dinner. It was recommended as a relatively cheap and cheerful place and I’m so glad we went. Before 7pm, a buffet dinner costs €13.90 each (€15.90 after). The set up felt a bit odd – you fill a bowl with meat/vegetables/spices/sauces and then wait in a line for the chefs to fry it all. The bowl seems quite small, but I realised when I got back to our table that they also bring you a huge bowl of rice, and then you can go up and down as many times as you like. These photos aren’t very good and they definitely don’t do the food justice – it was really, really good (despite the restaurant being inaccessible).
When I think of going on holiday I think of ice cream, so I did some googling and found out that there were several Gino’s close by. The ice cream was absolutely incredible – it was quite expensive (€5.40 for a medium tub with two flavours) but the portions were huge and it was really, really lovely. I got butter salted caramel and peanut butter and it was up there with the best ice cream I’ve had in a long time. We ate it outside across the road while watching bemused tourists read the Irish Proclamation. It was a good end to the day.
We headed to Cornucopia for breakfast, a much-raved about vegetarian and vegan cafe. I had their equivalent of a cooked breakfast and it was great and cost less than €10. We went to Kilmainham Gaol – always book your spot on a tour a few weeks in advance! – and had our very own accessible tour which I would strongly recommend doing if you’re disabled. We also had very good gaol cake. We ended up trying to go to several places for dinner but nothing worked out so we bought Boojum (under €9 and has student discount) and drank wine in the flat instead, before going out to some nice pubs in the evening (including Grogran’s, Mary’s and The Stag’s Head – all strongly recommended, especially Mary’s on a Tuesday evening with incredible music). One thing I can’t really understand is that Dublin is more expensive to drink in than London. The pound is so weak at the minute that two drinks usually cost about £11. So we only went out for drinks once.
We wanted a fry for our last day, but couldn’t seem to find anywhere that included the good Irish breads (soda & potato bread). So we just went somewhere nearby and it was delicious and filling, albeit without the breads I badly wanted. That afternoon we had some much-needed alone time and I looked round shops and went to Butler’s and had a coffee and read. Late afternoon we headed to Sandycove to go to a restaurant my partner had been taken to the last time he was in Dublin called Daniel’s Restaurant. This was our most expensive meal out, but we got half an amazing lobster and incredible chips each for less than €20 and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. We sat by the beach before and after dinner, watched the sunset and lots of dogs playing with each other and talked seriously about the possibility of moving to Sandycove. It was the most beautiful place I’ve been to in a long time and was a really excellent end to the week.
Other practical things:
- We stayed in this AirBnb, which aside from a few issues was great location wise and I would recommend it. We usually need to stay somewhere accessible by a lift or on the ground floor which cuts down on options often. It cost £91 a night, but with two people on the sofa bed it would work out considerably cheaper.
- We flew Ryanair – because they let you take a small suitcase and a backpack I almost always fly with them. We booked flights at the end of June and got them for around £60 return.
- We got the train down from Belfast to Dublin, and because we booked it two months in advance got a single for £9 each.
- I spent around €150, not including pre-booked accommodation and travel. This included all of my food and alcohol, but it could definitely be done for less (or a lot more).
- We bought Leap cards, which are similar to Oysters, and travelled on buses, trams and trains. We found the buses a bit complicated and were overcharged a few times so I would recommend asking drivers and doing research before you get on one.