A city break to Dublin

When I booked for us to go for a long weekend in Dublin earlier this year I knew we'd need to plan lots to do to make the most of the three days we spent there. I tried not to focus on doing too many touristy things and instead picked out a handful to give us lots of time to just explore the city for ourselves.

I thought i'd share a few of the best things we did along with some travel tips for Dublin, just in case you're looking for places to go for a long weekend!

Visit Temple Bar. No trip to Dublin is complete without a trip to the iconic Temple Bar pub. I'd recommend visiting during a weekday when it's a bit quieter; we went just before lunch and managed to get served quickly and find a seat at the bar. At night the atmosphere in the streets around Temple Bar can be a bit crazy but it's definitely worth walking through, just for the experience!

Temple Bar, Dublin

Stay at the Ashling Hotel. I mainly used TripAdvisor to find the best hotel in Dublin for our price range as good reviews are so important. The Ashling Hotel is a little out of the city which makes it really good value and it was in the perfect location a few minutes away from Heuston station for both trams around the city and the bus to and from the airport. I can't fault the service and even though we got an early flight and arrived at 10am our room was ready when we got there! The breakfast is also great and the staff are really helpful so it's a great place to stay.

Ashling Hotel, Dublin

Buy a Leap card. A Leap card is a must if you want to skip walking everywhere and use the trams around Dublin. We bought the 72 hour one which also included the bus back to the airport. It ended up being great value, especially thanks to the convenient location of our hotel and we didn't have to worry about spending anything else on taxis or buses. You can pick one up from the official Tourist information centre on O'Connell street and there are lots of price options depending on the length of your stay.

Leap visitor card, Dublin

Visit the Guinness Storehouse. No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to St James's Gate where Guinness is made. My boyfriend loves Guinness so I bought this as part of his Christmas present and he wasn't disappointed. It's a great place to spend a morning and there's lots to see - the gift shop is huge and there's definitely a souvenir for everyone! I'd recommend buying your tickets through TripAdvisor so that you can queue jump as it does get busy on a weekend and means you can make the most of your time in Dublin. 

Guinness Storehouse, DublinTiny pint of beer, Guinness Storehouse Dublin

Explore the city centre. There is a huge mix of shops, and Henry Street has lots of choice if you're planning to go shopping in Dublin. I really enjoyed exploring the side streets where there are some great independent shops - we loved the Irish Design Shop which is on Drury Street in the creative quarter and has some amazing homeware! 

Shopping in Dublin - Henry Street

Walk around St Steven's Green. We were lucky with the weather and managed to fit in a walk around St Steven's Green before we flew back to England. It's close to the city centre and is a great place to sit and enjoy an ice cream after you've been shopping!

St Steven's Green Dublin

Don't forget to have a read of my earlier post if you're looking for restaurants or places to eat in Dublin!

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Five good things in Spring

Ted Baker black wedding guest dressEton Mess Ice CreamGosport beach

1. I went to two weddings in the space of a month so i'm enjoying not having to worry about what i'm going to wear anymore! For the first one we travelled down to Portsmouth and I wore this Ted Baker dress and these shoes from ASOS which were a bit of a nightmare to walk in! The venue was really nice and I liked visiting somewhere new especially as I love being by the sea! For the second one I wore this dress and the same shoes which I still couldn't walk very well in!

2. My Guinea Pigs are four next week which means they're on their way to being old ladies although they definitely don't act like it! I don't write about them on here as much as i'd like to but I was interviewed by Monster Pet Supplies as their featured blogger recently so if you'd like to find out a bit more about them you can read the post here.

Afternoon tea at Harrods in LondonCrumble Guinea PigSheep and lambs in Leeds

3. I went to London with the girls in March and we went exploring and had afternoon tea at Harrods which was so good! I'll be sharing a post soon with some more pictures as I think it's important to share the love after all the things that have happened in the city recently. If you're looking for somewhere special for afternoon tea i'd really recommend Harrods for a treat, even if it is quite expensive!

4. I finally started running again after over six months off! Now the weather is better and the nights are lighter I have no excuse and it's something I really need to do as I spend most days sat at a desk.  I also ignored my anxiety and ran solo for the first time which was definitely not as scary as I thought it would be! I still have a long way to go but i'm loving tracking my progress and you've got to start somewhere!

5. The music on my driving playlist at the minute is: Alone Together - All Tvvins ft James Vincent McMorrow, Bad Boy - Dan Croll, Running - A R I Z O N A and Undercover - Fenech Soler.

A city break to Dublin - the food

Earlier this month I went to Dublin for a long weekend to explore the city. I thought i'd share some of my favourite places to eat as that was definitely one of the things we loved the most! We wanted to make the most of the food there so we set a rule of no chain restaurants and read lots of reviews on the best places to eat in Dublin.

The Rolling Donut - it's hard to miss the rows of donuts that line the window of The Rolling Donut and we loved them so much we managed to get some through airport security and bring them home! The Molly Malone (apple and cinnamon), Coffee Lover and Baileys Bliss were our favourites although i'm sure all the others taste just as good!

Donuts in Dublin - The Rolling Donut

Brother Hubbard - after reading so many good reviews we went to Brother Hubbard for lunch with high expectations. The menu is unlike anything i've ever seen before but there's something for everyone. I opted for the harissa pulled chicken ciabatta (herby zhoug, cucumber, crème fraiche) - the flavours were really unique and I would definitely go back and try the rest of the menu if I could! I'm also planning to buy their cookbook (it was too heavy to bring back on the plane!) as i'd love to re-create what I ate at home!

Lunch in Dublin - Brother Hubbard

Luigi Malone's - the only place where we hadn't decided in advance, we went to Luigi Malone's on a Saturday night for nachos, pizza and fajitas. The restaurant is in Temple Bar so it was quite busy but we managed to get a table without booking. There's lots to choose from on the menu - the nachos were really good and not like your average Doritos with melted cheese on top! I chose a Strawberry Fields to drink which i'd definitely recommend - Luigi Malone's is a good choice if you're looking for a restaurant with something for everyone in Dublin.

Pizza and Nachos in Dublin - Luigi Malones, Temple Bar

Taste Cafe is a lovely little cafe tucked away at the end of a street not too far from St Stephen's Green and it's an ideal option for breakfast before exploring the nearby shops. I chose the pancakes which come with a choice of toppings (I opted for maple syrup) and James chose the eggs benedict with smoked salmon. Taste is quite popular but we managed to get a seat outside which was great and is definitely an ideal breakfast spot if you're in Dublin this summer.

Pancakes in Dublin - Taste Cafe

Catch 22 - a great fish restaurant with unique decor, Catch 22 is an ideal choice if you want some seafood and it was one of the best restaurants in Dublin that we visited. We started with Calamari which was some of the best we've ever had - perfectly cooked and plenty to share between the two of us. For my main course I opted for fish and chips - although I found them a bit salty the fish was really fresh and there were plenty of chips.

Fish and chips in Dublin - Catch 22

Gallagher's Boxty House is a popular choice and well rated on TripAdvisor. For our final meal I decided to try something that was typically Irish so I opted for poached eggs on a Boxty pancake. If you're eating out in Dublin, Boxty House is a great choice for some traditional Irish food and this was without a doubt one of my favourite meals, it was really simple but tasted great.

Boxty pancake in Dublin - Boxty House

In my next post i'll be sharing some of the places that we visited and a few ideas for things to do in Dublin so look out for that soon if you're planning a city break or weekend away!
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