Before we forget all memories of our trip, I feel it is best that we just keep writing about it, so we can look back and smile as we reminisce about the places we’ve been, what we’ve seen and done. This is the summary of our trip. We will have detailed information about places we’ve seen and done in another post. This is just a sample of what you can do on your future Ireland itineraries. Note that we went in March 2017, and while the information we’ve published here may have been correct, it may have changed by the time you’re reading this.
For your reference, here are our other posts about the trip to Ireland:
- Getting an Irish Visa (for Philippine passport holders living in the USA)
- First Impressions of Ireland
- Ireland’s Ancient East Itinerary
Ireland’s Ancient East Itinerary
This itinerary is based on a one week trip, and will cover flights, hotels, and our actual route and what we did per day. This itinerary would only be possible if you rented your own car and drove around, while we did take public transportation or used our own two feet in certain parts of the trip, we mostly jumped from place to place with our rented Skoda (to Peter’s delight).
Day 0: Washington DC
It all started with a promo fare from Delta. While we were in DC, Peter had to get his EU passport renewed, so why not hit two birds with one stone?
Flights: We flew in on a Saturday night from Jacksonville, Florida – $29 fare from JetBlue, which we paid for in cash
Hotels: We stayed in two hotels on our trip:
- Comfort Inn Pentagon City – paid $131.19 in cash for the night. In hindsight, if we added this to the $58 we paid for the airfare, it is probably the same price as if we paid for regular flights to DC for two people.
- Grand Hyatt Washington DC – we moved hotels on Sunday morning and used our Hyatt free night to stay at the Grand Hyatt. Beautiful hotel, review coming up on a different post.
Sightseeing: Mainly walking around the following areas and saw the following (all free attractions)
- The White House (from the outside)
- The National Mall
- Tidal Basin (and rented one of those pedal boat things for an hour)
- Cherry Blossom Festival (although was a dud when we were there since there was a cold front and half the blossoms that were supposed to come out were damaged. In other words, we didn’t see cherry blossoms in DC)
- Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
Dining: We ate at the following establishments while we were traveling. Don’t get us wrong, we are frugal, but we do like to sometimes enjoy the finer things in life when we travel, like eating out. Watch out for an article called the Spendys and the Frugals, which outlines our alter ego when we travel vs what we are at home. These are all located in the Chinatown area, within a few blocks from the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
- Nando’s – Peri-peri chicken (we don’t have this in Jacksonville)
- Royal Thai Cuisine & Bar
Transportation: We mostly walked and utilized the Metro. The metro card is required and the metro costs vary depending on which station you’re boarding and which station you need to get to.
Days 1 & 2: Dublin
Our flight left DC on a late Monday afternoon and we landed in Dublin on a Tuesday morning.
Flights: Delta promo fare was $380 in cash roundtrip from mainland US to Dublin & back.
Hotels: Stayed at the Paramount Hotel. Located a block away from Dublin Castle, and within walking distance to the Temple Bar area, it is an excellent hotel. Not only did we have a big room as compared to other European hotels, we also got a deal on it. Paid $145.90 in cash and used $31.10 in Expedia points.
Sightseeing: You don’t have to follow this route, but these are the places we went to (in order):
- Dublin Castle
- Temple Bar
- Grafton Street
- St Stephen’s Green
- Molly Malone Statue
- Christchurch Cathedral
- Guinness Storehouse
- Kilmainham Gaol
- O’Connell Street
- Czech Inn – we highly recommend this place, it’s authentic Czech/Slovak food. Peter felt right at home!
- Spar – the convenience store has a cheap selection of ready to eat food
- The Larder
- Guinness Storehouse (it has a cafeteria where you can bring the beers you got downstairs)
Days 3 & 4: Dublin/Newgrange
We woke up early, checked out of the hotel and went to the airport to pick up our rental car. From there we drove to Bru na Boinne to see Newgrange (7 EUR entrance). Knowth was still closed for the season when we arrived. We recommend going to the visitor center early. You can’t buy tickets in advance online and they only sell tickets to the next available time slot, which could be a few minutes from when you arrive to a few hours after!
Accommodation: AirBnB in Trim
This is our driving route from Newgrange all the way to Trim. You can also replicate this when you’re driving. We also wanted to detour to Slane Castle but unfortunately it was closed (we went in March, and they only open in the summer)
- Newgrange & Bru na Boinne Visitor Center
- Donaghmore Round Tower & Cemetery, Navan
- Hill of Tara
- Bective Abbey, Ballina
Within Trim, we walked around and did a walking tour of:
- Trim Castle
- St Mary’s Abbey
- Sheep Gate
- St Patrick’s Church
- Antonia’s Bookstore (it’s just a bookstore but we picked up a souvenir along the way.
- Newgrange Visitor Center cafeteria
- The Stockhouse
Days 4 & 5: Trim/Rock of Cashel/Kilkenny
A lot of driving done on Day 4, but we definitely saw a lot of things! If we had more time, we could have gone down to Waterford, Cobh, and even Cork, but oh well!
Accommodation: Kilkenny AirBnB
- Trim Castle Tour – hours vary slightly for the tour. This is the only way you can get inside the fortress in Trim Castle. You can walk about the grounds at your leisure though. It’s short at an hour long, but very informative.
- Rock of Cashel – one of the highlights of our trip!
- Castle Takeaway (look at a brief review of Peter here)
- Supermacs (a local McDonald’s/Papa John’s)
Days 5 & 6: Kilkenny/Bray
Kilkenny is a small city but is great, perfect to stay for a day or so. Bray is definitely one of our favorite cities, we wanted to live there but it’s a bit pricey (seeing that it is accessible to Dublin and is quite close to the city center).
Accommodation: Bray AirBnB (absolutely brilliant, would definitely stay there again)
- Kilkenny Castle
- Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile
- St Canice’s Cathedral
- Dunmore Caves
- Brownshill Dolmen
- Self-catered (Tesco)
Day 6: Bray/Howth
Woke up early and ended the day late. What could possibly be better than a day of hiking?
Accommodation: Bray AirBnB
- Bray Seafront walk
- Bray to Greystones Trail (took the DART from Greystones back to Bray)
- Howth trails (Howth lighthouse, Cliff path loop)
Dining: Self-catered (from our AirBnB)
Day 7 – 8: Dublin
After 12 miles of hiking, we decided to lounge around our AirBnB until a few hours before check out.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport
- Bray Town
- Powerscourt House & Gardens
- A strip mall in Santry, Co.Dublin
- Santry Park
- Nando’s (Santry’s) – we decided to compare the Dublin one versus the Washington DC one even though they’re the same chain. Clearly Dublin won.
Flights: Dublin to Atlanta ($380 roundtrip per person). Flight was supposed to go to Washington DC but Peter thought it more appropriate to jump off Atlanta and drive 5 1/2 hours home. We rented a car from Alamo for a day, and got a friend to pick us up from the airport.
And there you have it: that was our complete Ireland trip. Again, you can replicate it as you like. Our flights are a bit unconventional seeing as we are originally from Jacksonville, FL, but you can take out all the flights and decide to stay in the same hotels we have and even sight-see in the same places.
We didn’t delve much in the places this time, that will be saved in another blog post which of course we’ll link back here. We still haven’t seen as much of the country as we wanted, but we definitely want to come back and do more of the Wild Atlantic Way, and the South. Maybe even Northern Ireland as Peter hasn’t been there (and it may have changed when I was first there).
There’s still plenty of places to visit and see in the world and we’re slowly ticking them off, one at a time 🙂