The blog posts which are posted here are written by customers who took the tours which are mentioned, some of the blog posts featured are visitor attractions within Dublin and others are of Day tours which leave Dublin Daily.
Today, I went to the Guinness Store for the first time. It was quite an experience. The fun begins right when you walk through the door. A friendly guide pointed me in the right direction and I was off!
It was good that it was a self-guided tour so I could go at my own pace. With so much to see and do, I wanted to do it all! Did you know it was the Mesopotamians who first discovered beer? First, to learn about Guinness I needed to learn about the ingredients that make Guinness. There are only four ingredients to make Guinness. They are: water, barley, hops and yeast. Seems easy enough.
First I learned about barley. Barley is the basic raw ingredient for fermentation. Guinness uses a combination of malted, unmalted, and roasted barley. The roasted barley gives the ruby red colour that Guinness is known for. At St. James Brewery, Guinness uses 100,000 tonnes of Irish grown barley per year.
Now lets talk about Hops. Hops are a plant that only grows between 35 and 55 degrees north and south of the equator because of the specific amount of sunlight the plant requires. Hop plants can grow up to 15 feet high.
Moving on to Yeast. The process that crushed grapes, kept in warm places, produced alcohol was discovered by the Egyptians. They found that yeast turns the natural sugars in grain and fruit into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Last but certainly not least, Water. I liked this one the best because I enjoyed looking at the big waterfall that was on display. The water that is used to brew Guinness comes from the Wicklow Mountains and not from the River Liffey like most believe. Arthur Guinness started his brewery at St. James’ Gate because of the excellent water supply.
I then moved on to the second floor which told me all about the magical 5th ingredient of Guinness, Arthur Guinness himself. This was the coolest part of the tour because you got to move from portrait to portrait. Once you stood in front of the portrait, it would immediately begin to move and talk! Each portrait talked about Arthur Guinness and why he started the brewery and how much he did for the company.
Next, I learned all about the process of brewing Guinness. The process is a 5-step process that includes roasting, mashing, boiling, fermentation, and finally maturation. First the barley must be malted, roasted, and milled. It is then mixed with hot water and mashed. The water is then filtered and boiled with hops. Then the yeast is added and fermentation begins. The last part of the process is maturation. After the beer has been tested and approved it has finally become Guinness.
I continued on and learned about how the beer was transported. First, I learned about coppers, the craftsmen who made the wooden barrels used to transport Guinness around the world. Guinness used the typical ways of transportation including horses, trains, barges, ships and road transport. Today Guinness beer is transported to over 150 countries worldwide.
Next I learned about the different ways that Guinness has advertised over the years. Guinness has used the typical ways of advertising, such as print ads, TV commercials and build boards.
After all that information about Guinness made me ready to try a pint for myself but before I could I had to go through the tasting experience to learn the right way on how to drink Guinness. First I was lead into a white room where a guide greeted us. He told us to go around to each of the columns. At each of the columns were the four ingredients of Guinness. You could smell each of the ingredients from the steam coming out of the columns. It was mouth-watering and such a delight to experience the difference smells.
Next, I was given a small glass of Guinness and I was lead into the next room. Here, I learned the proper way to drink Guinness. It’s very important to stand up straight, Stick your arm out parallel to your face, look out onto the horizon and take a big gulp. NO SIPPING! Now, I knew the proper way to drink Guinness. I was ready for my pint. I continued up to the gravity bar where I got to enjoy my wonderful pint of Guinness while looking out over the beautiful Dublin skyline. It was a perfect afternoon.
My boyfriend and I live in France and we decided to come to Ireland for 3 months to discover a new country and a different culture. We had been in Dublin for a month before going on our first bus tour. We decided we wanted to visit the country as soon as we arrived but as we were both working and had different schedules, it wasn’t as easy as we expected. When we finally got the chance to book a tour through Tourist Office Dublin, it was extremely hard to decide which would be our first trip ! After hesitating for ages we decided to chose The Cliffs of Moher Tour, we figured that we would just HAVE to do them all anyway and we had to start somewhere ! The Tourist Office told me that the tour to the cliffs was their most popular one and even back in France I had heard of the Cliffs and seen photos, I wanted to explore them for myself !
We met just next to the Old Stone Church on Suffolk Street around 6:40 and everyone got in the bus. We waited for the last few people and were away for our adventure ! After about 20 minutes, we could already see Ireland’s famous countryside. I had already been in Dublin for around a month but hadn’t got out of the city yet so it was exciting for me to get finally see something over than the famous capital. It’s funny because you can really feel the difference between the the countryside next to Dublin and the countryside further west. And, no wonder green is the colour of Ireland. You definitely won’t get bored of all the green grass and fields and trees you’ll see on this trip !
Our first stop was at the King John’s Castle in Limerick. It was only a short one, but was long enough to stretch our legs, take a few photos and to learn about this 13th century Castle in Limerick just next to the River Shannon built on the orders of King John in the 1200’s.
Our second and final stop before reaching the cliffs was at a small and quirky garage with a large shop downstairs and a restaurant as well as restrooms upstairs. In the cafe/restaurant area we were already a little bit hungry and ordered a bagel to share ! Don’t miss this cafe, the food was gorgeous and after all, getting up at 5 o’clock is hungry work ! We then headed off for our last round of sitting in the bus before arriving ! Eeek, the excitement was getting too much for me ! I just wanted to be there already !
We arrived at the Cliffs around 11:45, at the bottom, you can’t see much so we quickly hurried up as fast as we could. Around two minutes after getting out of the bus, the difficult questions started to pop up : Right or Left ? We decided to start with the right side as it seemed a little more interesting. The top arrived quicker than I expected and the view was just breathtaking ! I’ll let you guys have a look for yourselves, check out these photos !
We decided it was so nice, we didn’t want to move. We could have carried on going right but decided to stop and eat the rest of the bagel’s we bought in the cafe as well as a couple of snacks we bought for the ride ! It was so peaceful and just breathtaking. You really have to visit the Cliffs to understand the feeling you get when you look at them. The height is scary but at the same time beautiful. After having a little break looking at the amazing view, we decided to go left of the pathway and boy was I wrong. The view for the left side was just as amazing. Here are some other photos.
Unfortunately, the photographs don’t capture the astonishing sight, but they give you an idea. After visiting the Cliffs, we made our way round to the unique shops to the right of the cliffs. We bought some postcards to send to our friends and family and made our way back to the bus.
Just after leaving the Cliffs, we stopped at a local pub in Doolin. As we had already eaten, we both bought a pint of Guinness (I’m going to make myself like the taste before I leave, that is my mission) and chilled, it was really relaxing. If you’re looking for some souvenirs while you’re in Ireland, there’s a little jewellery shop just next to the pub that sells traditional Claddagh rings amongst other jewellery. It’s really cute and the prices are very reasonable.
After the Pub, we were on our way back to Dublin, but this time we didn’t go through Limerick. We went up to Galway and through the mini cliffs. Unfortunately, by then the rain had started to fall and not just a little ! We just had enough time to get out, take a few pictures and hop back on the bus before getting really drenched.
The next stop was Corcomroe Abbey. It’s a 13th century Monastery and is very detailed. It’s really pretty but also quite sad to see all the gravestones. We done one last stop in the little village of Kinvara to use the restrooms before finally, getting in the bus one last time on the way back to Dublin.
The tour was such a great experience and definitely something to remember forever ! What a great day ! If you’re looking for a great day out with friends and family or even to explore new places on your own, these tours are definitely worth it !
The wind was very strong during our Giant’s Causeway tour yesterday which shortened our time at some stops but increased our time in Belfast. We had two hours to explore the city and lucky for us, the Christmas Markets were open!
One of my favorite things about this time of year is the number of festive markets that pop up around town that are full of incredible crafts and delicious foods. I was on the tour with my two sisters and we spent about an hour wandering through the stalls and picking out the items we wanted to buy. (We waited to get money out in Sterling until we knew there was something we wanted to buy!)
My little sister bought three beautiful scarves (3 for £10 – a great deal!) and I convinced her to get one with elephants on it. (I might try to steal it from her.) My older sister and I fell in love with this stall that sold beautiful soap. The colors were magnificent and they smelled just as good. She bought five bars and let me pick out one for myself. I had the hardest time deciding but the man selling the soap said the exfoliating mint was his favorite so I went with that. (I almost bought a cinnamon one but my sister said I wouldn’t want to smell like cinnamon all day – I still think she is wrong.)
There were tons of food stalls set up, selling desserts, meat, sandwiches and much more. Everything smelled delicious! There were also at least two beer tents up that I believed also sold mulled wine. I’ve never had mulled wine before but everyone said it is something I should definitely try. One thing is for sure, you will not leave hungry if you visit this market!
There was holiday music playing throughout the market and visiting the Belfast Christmas Market was the perfect way to end our day!
I had seen signs for Dublinia during my walks home but never made it further than saying, “Hmm…I wonder what that is about.” I decided to check it out the other day and was very happy I did!
I went on an hour guided tour of the museum with two of my co-workers. We started in the Viking Dublin Exhibition and learned about where the Vikings were from, their ships and their long and challenging voyages. I was surprised to hear that the Vikings did not actually have horns on their helmets even though that’s how they are depicted in many pictures today. We saw what a typical Viking house would look like and how it would smell poorly due to the smoke and animals. I was also impressed to hear that Viking women were able to get a divorce from their husbands. The relationships seemed more equal back then than I would have believed. The two main rules were that Viking men were not able to hurt their wives or be lazy.
In the Medieval Dublin Exhibition, we learned how the city looked during medieval Dublin and how it was very dangerous if you went outside of the city walls. We were shown the different remedies that were used for health issues such as a toothache, earache, chicken pox, etc. They would put a clove of garlic into a person’s ear to help cure an earache – I wonder if it actually worked!
On the final floor, we had a quick tour of the History Hunters Exhibition. Here we saw two medieval skeletons that were found in Dublin. One of the skeletons is on loan from the National Museum of Ireland. I did not spend too long examining the skeletons because I find them quite eerie!
I wasn’t able to spend more time in the museum after the tour was over but it would be easy to spend between 2-3 hours exploring the three exhibitions. I found the guided tour very rewarding and would recommend it to anyone visiting Dublinia!
The Celtic Boyne Valley day tour does not depart until 8:00am which I was very grateful for! Our guide, Patrick, arrived to the old stone church on Suffolk Street at 8:00 and we all hurried on the bus to get out of the cold.
We drove through Phoenix Park and made our way to our first stop, the Hill of Tara. Patrick walked us around the site, describing the history and significance this land held. It is called the most sacred site in ancient Ireland because this is where the High Kings of Ireland ruled from. It was a crisp morning but the sun was shining down so our pictures turned out to be quite beautiful!
Our next stop was to Trim Castle which was my favorite part of the tour. We took a guided walking tour of the castle that is still standing after 800 years! Our guide told us about each part of the castle and how it was not able to be broken into for 400 years. He also told us how you did not want to be living in Trim back then because there were over 30 hangings a week. He described the armour and swords that were used – I can’t believe how heavy the armour was! I would be completely useless if I had to fight with that amount of weight on my body. Our coach key broke so we had about another hour in Trim than expected but it worked out very well. We went to the visitor center cafe where you can get a hot drink or a nice lunch. We also walked around the city of Trim for about thirty minutes.
We were on our way to Loughcrew which is home to one of the most prehistoric cemeteries in Ireland. It was a 15 minute walk up to get to the site of the passage tombs. The wind was very strong the higher we climbed! We were able to go inside one of the tombs but it was very small so I went in quickly and then raced back out. We got caught in some rain on our walk back down but thankfully, our bus heated up very quickly.
We took a quick stop at Slane Castle which hosts one of the biggest music concerts each year. Apparently, they do not love us on the grounds to take pictures so we just opened up the coach doors for about 30 seconds and snapped a few shots! Patrick told us that U2 recorded one of their albums in Slane Castle.
Because of our earlier delay, we weren’t able to see the “The Jumping Church” and headed right for Monasterboice. It was getting dark so it was a little eerie to visit the monastery and graveyard at night. Even in the dark, we could see huge high crosses on the site and the second tallest round tower in Ireland.
Our last stop was to the town of Drogheda. Our time was limited here but we had enough time to visit St. Peter Church and see the head of Oliver Plunkett. I remember reading about this on the itinerary and thinking it would be a model of his head, not his actual decapitated head! It was a very odd sight – still not sure how I feel about it. Interesting nonetheless!
Our ride back to Dublin was only 45 minutes and Patrick played us some Irish music along the route. The Celtic Boyne Valley tour is the perfect tour for anyone looking to learn more history about Ireland and wants to visit some of the less touristy spots in the country.
We had no rain all day during the Cliffs of Moher day tour – lucky us! I arrived to the old stone church around 6:30 for our 6:50 departure. The bus and our tour guide, Kevin, were already there and he was checking people in. (I had Kevin for my Connemara tour – he’s great!) It was a large bus and almost every seat was taken. There was a lot more morning chatter on this tour than my previous tours. I’m not sure how people had so much energy that early in the morning!
We drove for about an hour and stopped at a convenience store for some drinks, snacks and to use the bathroom. Back on the bus, we headed towards the town of Limerick where we took a quick stop for pictures at the Treaty Stone. We continued on to the main attraction of the day, the Cliffs of Moher.
I was so thankful it wasn’t raining during this stop but we did encounter some very strong winds. There were tall and thin rock slabs boarding the edges of the cliffs that you could easily see over to take pictures, etc. It was a stunning sight! Since the wind was so strong that day, it was blowing the water up the cliffs and you got a little wet walking through those sections!
I walked up and down the path and then headed to a walking trail
along the cliffs. This trail connected a couple different towns (I believe you could walk to Doolin along it?) and I was planning on walking about 20 minutes out and then turning back around. But the weather had other plans and I only got half way on my route and hit winds stronger than I’ve ever experienced in my life. (Much stronger than they were near the cliffs when I first arrived.) I had to focus all my energy on placing one foot after the other and I was being pushed left and right as I walked. I ended up sitting down on a rock and waiting for people to pass me so I could turn back around and head towards the safe visitor center! The visitor center has a wonderful cafe and gift shop inside that I would recommend checking out if you had time.
We headed to a small pub in Doolin for lunch and the service was great. I had packed my lunch but bought a delicious hot chocolate from the bar. Most of the shops in Doolin were already closed for the winter. I’ve heard wonderful things about Doolin and would love to visit it during the summer! We had about an hour to eat and then we were back on the bus for a lot of scenic stops during our route back to Dublin.
We stopped at the Burren for about 30 minutes to walk around and take pictures. You are able to climb up a hill to get a wonderful view of the water and the rocks below. I did that first and then climbed back down and headed closer to the edges of the cliff. Kevin was out taking pictures of everyone so I didn’t have to resort to those terrible ‘selfies’. He explained that this was how the Cliffs of Moher use to look before they put up the rock walls for safety.
Our last stop was to the Corcomroe Abbey and I walked in a circle around the abbey and saw the grave stones that filled the grounds. Some of my favorite photographs from the tour were pictures from the land surrounding the abbey – beautiful trees, green fields and the sun was just starting to go down!
We had about a two hour drive back to Dublin and stopped mid-way for a quick restroom break. It was the perfect day for the Cliffs of Moher tour and I was so happy I didn’t need to use my rain jacket or umbrella!
I have seen the Gravedigger Ghost Bus Dublin during my evening walks in Dublin and was curious about what went on inside. Luckily, I had the chance to go last night and the tour did not disappoint. It was an amazing combination of scares, humor and history!
I went with two of my roommates and I must have had “I scare easily” written on my forehead because someone jumped out at me as soon as I entered the bus. I screamed loudly and then scrambled up the stairs to find my seat! There were only eleven of us on the tour which ended up being a perfect size. Our guide was able to talk to all of us and it made the tour very personal. He remembered all our names by the end of it!
The main topic of the tour was the black plague that nearly destroyed the Dublin in 1348. Our guide sat at the front of the tour bus and was an incredible actor. We switched between laughing, screaming and silently listening to some very dark stories during the tour. (It was a whole mix of emotions!)
Our first stop was to St. Audeon’s and I shook my head ‘no’ when we first approached the gate because it looked very dark and scary. We gathered in a circle around our guide who told us the story of a time when the women in Dublin were terrorized.They were badly hurt or killed when walking home at night and everyone gave the same description of their attacker – a huge, black pig!I could not stop looking around, up and down the stairs, to see if someone was coming out to scare us.I put my back against the stone wall just to block one direction of ‘attack’!As we walked out, a man in a pig mask came running through our group and I screamed loudly again!
Our second stop was at Kilmainham Jail. We were told of the men that were killed inside the jail and how they were killed. As our second guide told a story about the jail, he scared my roommate so bad that she jumped up in the air and let out a huge scream! (I could not stop laughing which caused me to miss the second party of the story!) When the guide asked for a volunteer, I pushed her forward which inevitably caused me to be the volunteer. Oops! He demonstrated on me how I would be hung from the rafters and how they would cut my body and pull out my organs. It was pretty gross!
We headed to our last stop and were told the sad history of what would happen if a family tried to hide one of its family members that was inflicted with the plague. If found, the government would board up the entire home with the family trapped inside. One by one, the family members would come down with the plague and slowly die together inside their home. 80 days later, the Government would come and open up the house and remove the bodies.
Our last stop was to the Gravedigger’s Pub near the Glasnevin Cemetery. We were told the two ways gravediggers took bodies out from the grave. One was to tie rope around the body and pull them out. The second (and more disgusting!) option was to take a hook and put it under corpse’s jaw and through the mouth to drag them out. Unfortunately, sometimes their jaw wasn’t strong enough and it would come right off! (I am cringing as I type this.) Afterwards, we were rewarded with a yummy drink that tasted like orange juice and then made our way into the pub for about 15 minutes. Apparently, this pub is known to have the best Guinness in Dublin so of course I had to get one!
We returned to Trinity College a little after 10:00pm after a fantastic time on the Gravedigger Ghost Tour. It was an extremely entertaining night and I would recommend this tour to anyone looking for a unique experience when visiting Dublin!
I had been looking forward to the Cork and Blarney tour since I got to Dublin. My little sister had studied in Cork for a semester and I was excited to see where she lived for three months!
I arrived to the meeting point around 6:30am and our tour guide, Ross, was already there and chatting with people. There were only ten people on our tour which is the smallest I’ve experienced so far. Ross went around the tour bus and asked us where we were from and a few questions about our home town. I completely blanked when he asked what the best attraction in Virginia was!
We took a quick stop at a convenience store about an hour into our trip to grab drinks, use the restrooms and stretch our legs. Ross talked most of the way to this point about the history of Ireland and the Rock of Cashel which was our first stop on the tour.
Entrance to this stop is included in the ticket price and we also were able to view a short movie explaining the history of the site. It was lightly raining but we were still able to walk around the grounds, see the Round Tower and go inside the Rock of Cashel. Ross let us know that lightning was the main reason that many round towers were destroyed – I had no
idea! There were great views of the surrounding landscapes from the hill at the Rock of Cashel. I do not know if I’ll ever get tired of seeing the beautiful green landscapes of Ireland – I’m still blown away by their beauty each time.
Our next stop was to Blarney Castle and I must have said “This is so pretty!” at least 100 times while I was there. I was excited to kiss the Blarney Stone but did not expect the grounds of the castle to be this stunning. The walk up to the Blarney Stone was quite tricky. The steps you climb up are extremely small and the spiraling staircase is very narrow. I finally made it to the top and there was no one in line to kiss the stone. Apparently it is a two hour wait in the summer time to kiss the stone! I had kissed the Blarney Stone many years ago when I came to Ireland with my older sister but that did not help ease my nerves as I sat down and leaned back over the big open space! There was a worker there to help hold your back while you kissed the stone and there were also metal bars below you in case something happened! They take two pictures of you while you are kissing the stone that you can buy at the gift shop for €10 each.
Afterwards, I continued to explore the beautiful grounds and took dozens of pictures. There are a lot of walks you can take that are mapped out on the site’s brochure. (Entrance to Blarney Castle is also included in your tour price.) This was my favorite part of the Cork and Blarney tour and I highly recommend visiting the castle if you have not yet!
It was a short drive to the city of Cork for our last stop on the tour. I felt like the city size was in between that of Galway and Dublin. I grabbed a sandwich at a local shop and ate it as I walked around the streets. I walked into the Eastern Market which has tons of fruit, bread, chocolate, meat and seafood shops. If you’re hungry – this is the place to go!
I headed to St. Anne’s Church next and paid the €5 to climb to the top. On the second floor of your climb, you get to ring the church bells! They have a book of songs that are numbered and you ring the corresponding bells to play a song. You keep climbing a few more floors to the roof and here you are rewarded with amazing views of Cork!
The bus ride back to Dublin was about 2 ½ hours. It gets dark around 5:00pm now so it felt much later than 7:30pm when we arrived back home! We were dropped off in the city center after a wonderful day on the Cork and Blarney tour!
It was a beautiful Sunday as we made our way to Kilmainham Jail. It was actually our second attempt to take a tour at the jail. We tried to visit the Sunday before but showed up too late and the tours were sold out for the day. Bummer! We set our alarms this time and arrived to the jail around 12:30pm.
Our assigned tour did not start for about an hour so we took a look around the fantastic three story museum. The museum details the history of Kilmainham Jail as well as what was going on in Dublin at the time. The museum was a perfect way to spend the hour before our tour.
The tour began with a short video showing clips of Dublin and then we began our walk around the jail. We entered the ‘new’ section of the jail that was a huge oval shaped building. Our guide told us the story of Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford who married in the jail right before he was executed for his part in the Easter Rising.
We were then taken to the ‘old’ section of the jail which was cramped, cold and dark. During the potato famine, many chose to commit small crimes so they were taken into the jail, thinking their chance of survival was higher at Kilmainhaim Gaol.
Outside in the courtyard, we were told of how the children in the jail were only allowed outside for one hour each day. At this time, the boys walked silently with their heads down on the outside edges of the circle and the girls did the same inside the circle. They were unable to look up towards the sky or talk during this hour outside.
We were shown where 15 members of the Easter Rising were executed from May 3-12, 1916. It’s hard to picture that these acts were committed in the exact spot we were standing. Your mind feels like you are in the middle of a move set rather than being at a location that holds an incredible amount of historical significance.
Our tour guide told us to come back since every tour given at Kilmainham Jail is an unique experience. It was a fantastic hour long guided tour and I definitely recommend visiting the jail during your time in Dublin.
To begin my Connemara day tour, I took a taxi to the Old Stone Church on Suffolk Street and arrived a few minutes early. Our tour guide Kevin arrived on time and welcomed us all onto the coach. The first 90 minutes of our journey were pretty quiet, most people fell asleep since it was dark and rainy out. We stopped outside the city of Athlone for snacks and to stretch our legs. (I got a croissant and it was delicious!)
We stopped for a 20 minutes to take pictures at Maam Cross. I took about twenty pictures because we were surrounded in every direction by beautiful lakes and mountains!
We arrived to Kylemore Abbey and this site is truly remarkable. Kevin told us the story of Mitchell Henry who came to Connemara with his wife for their honeymoon. They loved the region so much that they eventually bought a large amount of land here. One of his many projects and improvements to the land was the building of Kylemore Abbey which took over four years to finish. It was one of the prettiest sights I have seen during my time in Europe. I’d love to go back another time and explore the Abbey in its entirety.
Back on the bus, we headed to Killary Fjord for a 90 minute boat ride down the harbour! There were plenty of seats inside and on the decks of the boat so everyone could take in the gorgeous scenery around us. During the first half of our ride, we were told the history of the region and of Killary Fjord. I took a ton of pictures but stood about 5 feet back from the rail since I could see myself accidentally dropping my phone into the water! There was a small cafe inside the boat that served drinks and sandwiches for lunch. On the way back, I found a perfect sun spot on the deck and closed my eyes for a minute. Then a nice man from Norway made fun of me so I got up to take more pictures!
We made a quick stop at “The Quiet Man” bridge as we headed to Galway. I wasn’t aware what movie the bridge was referring to at the time (“The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne) but it was still a beautiful spot to see.
Our good luck with weather ran out as we approached Galway. We had an hour to explore the city on our own and Kevin gave us maps as we left the bus. I walked through the main streets of Galway and ducked into the shopping center to get out of the rain for a minute. It seems like a great town and I hope to visit it again when the weather is nicer!
We arrived back to Dublin around 7:30pm after a great day on the Connemara day tour!
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