SuperBreak’s Kirstie shares her great family adventure with us after an exciting weekend in Dublin….find out what she got up to….
Last weekend I headed on an Irish odyssey to Dublin to discover my family roots in the city; Mum, Sister, Boyfriend and 91-year-old Grandad in tow. Now in his twilight years, we wanted to take him back to find his birthplace, while he can still remember where he came from.
Once we’d arrived in the city on the Saturday morning, after an early flight from Birmingham to Dublin, we all headed on the Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour of the city to help get our bearings. We got on the bus at O’Connell Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the city, which reminded me of the Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona, with its wide pavements lined with trees. On the bus, we caught glimpses of Trinity College Dublin, various spots made famous in James Joyce’s novel Ulysess, the Oscar Wilde monument and the iconic Molly Malone statue, before disembarking on Dame Street and heading down towards Temple Bar.
After taking photos outside the famous Temple Bar pub, we ate a much needed brunch at Quay’s Bar, where I sampled my first Irish Breakfast, complete with white pudding and potatoes. It was delicious; and would have tasted just as good even if I hadn’t been so hungry! The others sampled Guinness Stew and soda bread which looked equally as appetising. Refuelled, we headed up towards the iconic Christchurch Cathedral, which dates back to 1028 and is built in a gorgeous gothic style with a moody grey exterior.
Back on the bus, we toured past the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park and the Old Jameson Distillery, before heading back along the River Liffey into the heart of the city to finish the tour. We spent the afternoon browsing in the shops along Henry Street, before heading across the Ha’penny Bridge for a nosey in St George’s Arcade behind the Temple Bar area. This Victorian Arcade has been converted into a marketplace full of quirky boutiques selling a range of clothes, accessories and gifts. Round the corner I found an amazing home-ware shop called Industry, which sold a mix of vintage, up-cycled and modern, Swedish-inspired goodies that I had to be dragged away from before I spent all my Euros.
That evening, we decided we’d earned ourselves a feast after all the walking round we’d done, so ate at Jimmy Chung’s Chinese buffet overlooking the River (not very Irish, I know!). There was an impressive selection and it was good value too, especially considering how much we ate! Back at the hotel, we all had an early night, exhausted from our first day in the city.
The next morning, after another delicious Irish Breakfast at our hotel, we took my Grandad back to the streets he grew up on, near the old Children’s Hospital. It was touching to hear him reminiscing about all the families that used to share the same building as him like it was yesterday, especially as he often can’t remember what did happen the day before.
That afternoon we met up with our extended family of Irish cousins in nearby Clontarf, after a quick visit to the seaside at Bull Island. I didn’t realise just how close Dublin was to such a gorgeous beach; it only took us ten minutes to drive from our hotel to the sea front. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the gorgeous Clontarf Castle hotel, catching up about old times and drinking a pint or two of ‘the black stuff’.
Later that evening, back in the centre of Dublin with my Grandad tucked up in bed, we ate dinner at a no-frills Italian restaurant off O’Connell Street, before merrily ambling back towards the Temple Bar area. We had drinks at the Merchants Arch pub where an amazing live band was playing, before ending the night at the Temple Bar pub. As a well known tourist spot, there weren’t many locals in here but there was still a buzzing atmosphere nonetheless. We weren’t feeling brave enough to sample the legendary Guinness Oysters, opting for a cheeky slice of pizza on the walk back to our hotel instead!
Find out what I got up to during the rest of my Dublin weekend in Part Two, coming soon…