Three Days in Ireland: Your Guide to Dublin & The Cliffs of Moher
Updated: Dec 12, 2018
If you read my post about the Epic European Adventure I went on last summer, you would know that the first stop on the list of countries I visited was Ireland. Out of all of the places I traveled to on my trip to Europe, Ireland was one of my favorites. Although I didn’t spend too much time there (only 2 nights), I feel as though I did and saw so many traditional Irish things. As I said in my trip overview, we flew into Dublin, but we luckily got to see more of the country than just the one city. Scroll down to read about some of my favorite places we went, foods I tried, and amazing moments I got to experience while in Ireland!
Where To Go and Things To Do:
Cliffs of Moher
This was hands down one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. On the first full day we had in Ireland, we hopped on a tour bus and headed way out west to The Cliffs of Moher. For about $100 we booked our day trip with Wild Rover Tours through the viator.com site, and the day-long tour included admission into the Cliffs, a stop along the Atlantic Coast, and a visit to the historic city of Galway. (The Cliffs were obviously the main event!) The gorgeous, rocky Cliffs are located on the southwestern coast of Ireland and rise over 100 yards above the Atlantic Ocean. After a three hour bus ride from Dublin through Ireland’s beautiful countryside, we made it to our destination. The weather in Ireland can be so unpredictable, but we lucked out and got to experience the Cliffs of Moher on a warm, sunny, and clear day! (Our tour guide said it’s more common to have crappy, overcast days.) I have always loved places that make me feel small and give me a different perspective of life’s problems, and that’s exactly what this place did for me. This is definitely my number one “must see” out of everything we did in Ireland.
Is it even possible to think of Ireland without thinking of alcohol? Specifically beer? Considering one of my favorite hangouts in college was an Irish bar and I’m no stranger to Irish Car Bombs, Guinness has always been one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about Ireland. On the very first day in Dublin, we went to The Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse is where Guinness is brewed, and it was one of the top attractions I wanted to visit while in Dublin - especially after reading about how awesome it is! The Storehouse is seven floors high and for about $20, you get full access to the entertainment (we got to see a traditional Irish dance performed by a few of the Storehouse workers), the history of the beer and how it’s made, authentic Irish cuisine, and of course Guinness! My favorite floors were #4 and #7. On the fourth floor you can attend “Guinness Academy,” where you learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness - and you get a personalized certificate to prove you completed and passed the course. From there, you can take your complimentary pint of Guinness all the way up to the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor. The Gravity Bar is a 360 degree view of the city of Dublin. And I'd say there’s no better place than that to tell someone “top of the mornin’ to ya!”
The second kind of alcohol that comes to mind when I think of Ireland? Whiskey, of course! My boyfriend’s drink of choice on any given day is Jameson so I had to make a quick stop at Dublin’s Jameson Distillery to get him a small bottle of Jameson Black Barrel Whiskey and so that I could enjoy a freshly poured Jameson neat! While any type of tour or viewing of how the whiskey is made costs 20 euro or more, the distillery itself is actually open to the public, so anyone is welcome to pop in for a drink at the bar(s) or a mosey around the gift shop! This was actually the first place we went after we landed and checked into our hotel, and it was the perfect way to kick-off our short stay in Ireland.
Can someone cue up Ed Sheeran’s song, "Galway Girl," and let me pretend he wrote it about me because I’ve been to Galway? Galway is a prime example of historic, culture-rich streets of Ireland. During our day trip out west to The Cliffs, we stopped in Galway before returning to Dublin. Our tour guide took us on a short walking tour around Lynch’s Castle (where we saw "The Hanging Wall") and St. Nicholas Parish - both of which are filled with Irish history! We also grabbed a bite to eat at King’s Head while in the city.
Temple Bar District (and the actual Temple Bar)
If you do find yourself in Dublin, you CANNOT leave without strolling through Temple Bar. Temple Bar is a neighborhood next to the river with cobblestone streets filled with authentic Irish music, art, cuisine, shops, and pubs. I highly recommend visiting the district during the day and at night to fully experience the liveliness of Temple Bar. Just don’t forget to make a stop in the actual “Temple Bar” Pub. If you’re like me, you’ll even brave the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and get a drink while you’re there!
Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland (it dates back to 1198!), but you wouldn’t know it by how it looks and how the atmosphere feels there. After our long day-trip to the Cliffs of Moher, we walked to Brazen Head for a late dinner. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and we managed to snag a spot (it was super busy!) at one of the small outdoor tables. If you’re looking for an authentic Irish pub experience, I highly recommend putting this place on your list!
Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
If you’re looking to kill some time while you’re in Dublin (like we were on our last day in Ireland before our flight), I’d suggest taking a stroll around some parts of the city. While we were exploring on that final day, we stopped to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral (we didn’t have time to go inside, but they do offer tours) and Ireland’s Trinity College. Again, we didn’t have time to tour anything, but if we did I would have loved to go inside Trinity College’s Book of Kells Library - I have heard that it is gorgeous inside! You should definitely at least walk past/through these two places!
What and Where to eat:
King’s Head in Galway
If you do make it to Galway, I highly suggest going to King’s Head for a bite to eat. Our tour guide actually recommended this place to us when we got off the bus, and it did not disappoint! Since Galway is nestled on the Atlantic Coast, I ordered their Atlantic Seafood Chowder with a side of brown bread. I also tried their house-brewed Kings Head Lager. It was all delicious! Definitely one of the best seafood-based food I’ve ever tried.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Anyone who knows me know that I can’t say no to ice cream. I read about Murphy’s Ice Cream online before leaving on our trip, and after learning about their different flavor combinations, I needed to check it out! On our last day before catching our flight out of Ireland, we stopped into the Dublin location. I combined a scoop of the sea salt flavor with the brown bread and it was absolutely delicious! I highly recommend this place, and there’s more than one location around Ireland - we spotted one while we were exploring Galway as well!
Quay's Irish Restaurant
On our first night in Dublin, after a day of traveling and drinking Jameson and Guinness Storehouse, we found ourselves stumbling into Quay’s Irish Restaurant for dinner. For our first meal in Ireland, I was looking to eat something traditional, so I got the Bangers and Mash Coddle: Two Irish sausages and mashed potatoes on a bed of beef stew. (I promise, it tasted much much better than that sounds - haha!) And for dessert, we treated ourselves to some homemade bread pudding - yum!
Must Try Irish Foods:
-Seafood (I tried the most delicious Atlantic seafood chowder in Galway)
-Banger’s and mash
Ireland Bucket List:
Blarney Castle (This would have required us to take another day trip like the one we went on to the cliffs, so unfortunately our time in Ireland didn’t allot for this to happen.)
Belfast (I’ve heard that Belfast is a great place to explore, and the second season of Sons of Anarchy makes me wish we would have had time to spend there!)
More Irish countryside (Contrary to popular belief, I so believe happy, free-range cows come from the beautiful Irish countryside - not Wisconsin.)
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Timeless V-Neck Tee (Black)
3/4 Flare Sleeve Linen Top - mine is no longer available, but here's a similar option I actually like more!
Jeggings (Dark Wash)
Converse Chuck Taylors (White)
Let me know if you've ever been to Ireland, or if you plan on ever going there!
Thanks for reading!