With the Easter bank holiday providing a rare chance of an extended weekend, it seemed only fair to get away for some sight-seeing. I decided to arrange a visit to Dublin for my sister and I. With it being Easter the usual attractions such as Guinness Factory and the Jamesons Distillery were closed (no alcohol is served anywhere on Good Friday) however as I had previously travelled to Dublin and therefore needed to seek new ways to occupy my 16-year old companion then this suited us quite well.
After departing from our Ryanair flight, we caught the Airbus at just 10euros each for return tickets from the airport to our hotel, the Best Western Academy Plaza close to O’Connell Street. Due to our early arrival, we were kindly allocated an early check-in which was most appreciated.
We then decided to stroll around O’Connell Street before finding our way to the Ilac Shopping Centre for brunch at O’Briens. A tasty Turkey Club bagel and Oats porridge filled us up for the busy day ahead.
I had pre-arranged tickets to see the Human Body Exhibition at the Ambassador theatre which was making it’s world preview in Dublin. At £15 each, the exhibition covers muscles, respiratory, skeletal, nervous and cardiovascular areas of the body. With the aim to educate and demonstrate the impact of certain lifestyle choices for example over eating and smoking it proved to be a vivid and enlightening experience. The exhibition shows over 200 real-life examples of body parts each preserved for the purpose of the event; we spent over two hours perusing the exhibition, reading and fundamentally learning more about ourselves. It runs until 27th April 2012 so be sure to visit if you can.
Following this we headed to Burger King to peruse the map before a stroll through Temple Bar, including a stop off at a sweet shop and heading up Grafton Street to Saint Stephen’s Shopping Centre. After a browse, we found a garra-fish spa for our first try at this process of this fish pedicure. I was more than a little dubious about this procedure, the idea of putting my feet into a tank of water with fish to suckle at my skin was more than a little new and certainly something that I was skeptical about. The end result: two very happy customers with silky soft feet that had succombed to a fit of giggles to go through the procedure which was definitely a painless experience and one to be repeated :-).
Following this, we headed to New Millennium, a Chinese restaurant just outside of Saint Stephen’s Shopping Centre to enjoy a four-course meal for just 19.95euros each. Whilst it wasn’t an amazing dining experience, the food was tasty and suitable for our relaxed evening requirements before a walk back to the hotel.
The following day we started off with a walk to Trinity College close to Grafton Street. This allowed us the chance to take in the stunning grounds of the college before heading for breakfast at O’Briens in Saint Stephens Shopping Centre (the bagels from the previous day had been too hard to resist!) Following a trip to Thornton’s and a bit of souvenir shopping at Carroll’s, we headed to Saint Stephens Green for a wander and to enjoy the bright, Saturday afternoon weather.
Saint Stephens Green is a city centre public park adjacent to Grafton Street and the shopping centre by the same name which we had visited before. With a few people milling around, the park is perfectly located for a relaxing walk around the park, providing a chance to feed the ducks and play on the apparatus (if you have children with you) as well.
Following this, we headed back to O’Connell Street for a little more shopping and a trip to the Savoy Cinema to watch 21 Jump Street, a surprisingly funny film.
We then visited La Pizza, a restaurant just next door that serves a range of European dishes, from fish and chips, to pizza to soups and garlic bread. The service was quite good and the food was freshly cooked although again it unfortunately wasn’t an amazing dining experience but sufficient for our appetite before heading to the airport.
Overall, we found Dublin to be a fantastic option for a couple of days away from the UK. With it being just a 45-minute flight from Birmingham directly to Dublin airport and around a 20-minute bus trip to O’Connell Street it was easy to travel around with clear directions at each point. The people were friendly and offered advice whenever we needed it, particularly when my sister lost two shopping bags which were found by an honest shop keeper (the luck of Irish rubbed off onto us at this point)!!
The city was noticeably clean and well maintained, something which I had also noticed on previous visits. There is plenty to see and do, a lot of which we were unable to fit into our break however with a bit of advanced planning it is easy to find a way to make the most of your available time. If you’re planning a trip and have any questions then please feel free to ask via the comments section below.