Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Being the first time travelling overseas since coming to the UK, it was a thrilling experience to know the ease of travel within the EU, and that a day trip to another country was entirely possible. Ireland is well known for their irish pubs, whiskey, and the irish themselves. With 3 days on our hands, here’s how we spent it.
It was an unfortunate start to the day as one of our group of 4 (Wei Loon) had accidentally purchased an air ticket that was meant for departure 2 hours before our flight, and he completely missed it (He had to buy another air ticket and ended up spending half the day at Southend). On my side, I was stopped by security for having forgotten to take my toothpaste out of my carry-on luggage. This ended up in me clearing security 2 minutes before our gate was meant to close. With 2 minutes to cover estimated 15 minutes walking time, it was a mad sprint to the gate. Fortunately, there were some delays, and everyone (except wei loon) managed to catch the flight.
Things in Ireland were more similar than different to the UK (probably cos Ireland was once part of the UK), and it wasn’t difficult for us to navigate around. We took the airport express shuttle service to Dublin and wandered around for a decent meal. In all honesty, the only thing we planned for the first day was just to “chill and walk around”, which was exactly what we did. We settled on paninis for lunch at some nearby cafe. They weren’t exactly excellent, but it did fill our stomachs, and we continued our stroll around Dublin.
We came across the Irish Whiskey Museum and decided to take a tour of the museum (which included tasting for 4 different types of Irish whiskey). Our tour guide (John) went through with us the history of Whiskey in Ireland, how whiskey was derived from the term “uisce beatha”, which means “water of life”. Whiskey originated from Irish monks during the 11th century when they learned how to distil perfumes while on their trips around the Mediterranean. From the number of distillations, they must go through for the whiskey, to the types of casks used to give it a smoky taste, the trip was extremely informative, and I would recommend for one to give it a shot (pun intended). We ended off the tour with a lesson on how to consume whiskey, as well as the difference in each type of whiskey. If there was anything we learnt, we learnt that to seem knowledgeable about whiskey, just mention this: “Insert name of whiskey” has got a distinctive taste of honey, vanilla, and caramel, with a slight pinch of “banana/maple/whatever fits”.
After our tour of the whiskey museum, we were re-joined by Wei Loon (who apparently had a whale of a time in Southend), and had dinner at Quays, which is famous for their local delicacies. Made from sheep/lamb, potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots, it tasted amazing and we couldn’t help but come back to this place on the last day for another bowl.
A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without visiting her bars. We bought breakfast for our next 2 days at Tesco’s and visited Fitzgerald’s bar for drinks, before heading back to our apartment for the night.
With a long day planned, we woke up early to cook breakfast, before heading off for a guided tour to Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains. At 30£ per person, the trip included a journey to and from Wicklow Mountains, as well as a tour guide explaining the history behind the county of Glendalough, and a hike around the most scenic locations.
Wicklow Mountains was the site for the filming of Braveheart and “P.S. I love you”, but what blew us away was the breath-taking scenery of lush green and clear skies.
The tour included a trip to Glendalough, which was the home to one of the most monastic sites in Ireland. The monastic site was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century, but most of the buildings that survive date from the 10th through 12th centuries. Despite having suffered raids from Vikings over the years, Glendalough remained as one of Ireland’s best schools of learning until the Normans destroyed the monastery in 1214 AD.
With the days ending at 4.30PM, we returned to Dublin. In true Singaporean fashion, we settled down at Burger King, ordered and ice-cream, and whipped out our laptops to work on our Christmas project and study for the upcoming Christmas tests.
We headed for dinner at the old storehouse bar and restaurant. What we thought would be a simple 1-hour meal ended up in a 3 hour stay due to the lovely live performances, as well as the jolly atmosphere.
Without any plans for the day (and having drank quite a bit the previous night), we slept till lunch, which we had at a Chinese buffet restaurant (Jimmy Chung’s). Considering that it was in central Dublin, the price of 9.99€ per person was affordable as we ate to our heart’s content.
After lunch, we visited the national museum of Ireland, which consisted of the decorative arts and history of Ireland, their country life, as well as their national history. Admission to the museum was free, and we spent most of our afternoon exploring the museum. The museum even had a parade square.
Upon completion of our museum visit, we headed back to Quays to have our last meal in Dublin before taking the airport express back to the Airport for our flight back to London Stansted.
Air tickets 30£
Drinks (Optional but I spent quite a bit) 50£
Wicklow Mountains Tour 30£