I was unsure about going to Dublin. Reviews from other travellers had not been amazing, many online resources sounded a bit blasé and I was simply not sure about what to see there. But, despite my uncertainty, I backed Dublin in the destination negotiations, figuring it was a capital city and therefore must have something going for it. To my delight, I was right.
Having driven the two hour freeway route from the west coast the day before, Dave and I woke bright and early in Dublin, ready for one day of exploring the city. The sun was beaming and the air was warm… a meteorological wonder that we had not really experienced since leaving Australia three months earlier.
The sunshine certainly set the mood for the day; it was a day made for lazing, wandering, meandering, taking our time and soaking up the precious rays. So, with almost three months of continuous travel under our belts, we decided to enjoy a laid back Sunday… in Dublin.
Here is my lazy-day-in-Dublin itinerary.
0700: Wake to rays of sunlight prying through the campervan curtains.
1030: Wander over to catch the first bus into the city and realise that it’s not actually 9.30… daylight savings has started and we are an hour late for the bus. (Ooops).
1100: Actually catch the bus to Dublin city centre. It’s €2.60 for a one way ticket from our site, Carmac Valley, a front double decker seat and views of the proud suburban lawns.
12oo: Take a walk from Dame Street, past the impressive Bank of Ireland building on College Green, down through Trinity College, where you can imagine time rewinding between the wise brick buildings and elegant flowering trees.
1230: Meander past the National Gallery, take a quick coffee stop and then stumble across an open-air art gallery around Merrion Square.
1300: Spend an hour or so on the warm grass of St Stephen’s Green, where immaculate spring blooms brighten the day and people sprawl with their lovers and friends.
1400: Find Metro cafe in South William Street and eat their famous chilli bowl with a glass of white and a side of people watching.
1500: Scout the surrounding blocks and end up at a table in the sun with a bottle of wine to share with my fella.
1630ish: Take a wander down Grafton Street, into Temple Bar and down to the Liffey River, giving change to the buskers along the way.
1800: Chow down some tapas in the cool Sweeney’s Mongrel bar in Dame Street, surrounded by local art, a derelict piano and soothing lounge tunes.
1900: Explore more of Dublin’s streets in the amber evening glow.
2000: Return to South William Street for some Moroccan food and live flamenco music at Dada.
2200: Try to retrace our steps to find the last bus back to our campsite.
After struggling to remember the gate access, we are mysteriously buzzed in so we can return to Panda for a good night of sleep before driving to Rosslare the next day to take the ferry to Wales.
Tips for travelling to Dublin:
The only campsite open and available in winter was Carmac Valley, which is conveniently located on the M4 and has a 45 minute bus into the city. The down side of this park is the expensive pitches and the need to pay €1.30 per shower.
Dublin is easy to walk. Just grab a free map and go for it! There are a couple of groups that do walking tours of the city, some free (with tips) and some paid for. We passed as one of them was 3.5hrs long (!!!) and another was not starting until the following week.
Know your streets. In our wanderings, I discovered:
- Grafton Street is for buskers and chain stores
- Temple Bar is for more buskers, bars and takeaway food
- Dame Street is the busy commercial street, with City Hall
- The block between Merrion Street Upper and Kildare Street hosts heaps of attractions – museums, galleries, libraries – all good stuff.
Up next, follow me back to Wales to take a walk through the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Brecon Beacons National Park.
A big cheers to Wicked Campers UK for the awesome van (Panda) and for making this trip possible. So many amazing experiences!