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So I thought I'd write a post that is, in effect, a mini guide to Dublin. I've been to Dublin twice now. Once for 2 nights to celebrate new year right at the end of December 2010 with a girlfriend...and once a few weeks ago, as a winter break with the boyfriend.

I love Ireland. I love the atmosphere, the live music, the accent, the food, the Guinness! So suffice to say, I was MORE than excited to go back. I'd be planning it for months..because that's me, I will spend HOURS planning a holiday once I have a place fixed in mind.

My first piece of advice would be - take LOADS of euros. Ireland has been pricey for a few years but be warned...Dublin is VERY expensive....you're looking at roughly €5-7 for a Guinness/single Baileys/glass of wine.

It depends what you want from your visit and where you want to be, so I'll be up front and say that I am a 22 year old shopaholic who is partial to a good meal and several glasses of wine/<insert tipple of choice here>, and wanted to be smack bang in the middle of everything, good nightlife and lots of restaurants/bars but in walking distance of the main attractions.

On this basis, you will end up in Temple Bar, which is essential the hub of all activity in Dublin. Highly concentrated bars / pubs / restaurants / small cafés with little cobbled streets one side of the Liffey (that's a river, by the way).

There are plenty of hotels in Temple Bar - some pricey, some not so pricey. I've stayed twice in Temple Bar Hotel (http://www.templebarhotel.com) which I highly recommend. I couldn't beat their rates anywhere - very central location, breakfast included, reasonable and for what you're paying, clean and comfortable rooms with polite, friendly staff. We paid about €250 per person for 6 nights B&B [they also do free Wi-Fi]. A pleasant addition since my last visit is there is now a Tesco metro opposite the hotel...ideal for picking up snacks/drinks/things you've forgotten for room.

We battled to get to the Guinness Storehouse as the wind was biting and rain was lashing down mid-December....but it was one of the few MUST-DO's on my sightseeing list this time though, so determined to get there, we trekked on...and eventually found it - 40 mins later! It's a self-guided tour of the 7 levels of the Guinness Factory which goes through the whole process of how they make Guinness and how advertising etc has changed over the years. There's a few places to eat on the upper levels and the highlight of the tour by far is that you get a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar which is right at the top and with glass walls, sports 360º views of Dublin...photo opportunity! We were lucky enough to experience one of the barmaids singing her own version of Molly Malone as we got to the top. It costs €14.40 per adult on the door to get in..but euros well spent in my opinion! The shop is FULL of Guinness merchandise...clothing, bags, keyrings, magnets, glasses, mugs, wallets, food - you name it, they've got it!

A few pubs which deserve a mention in Temple Bar are:

1. Merchant's Arch - has live music almost every night, some great musicians playing a combination of Irish tunes, classic rock and some more up to date songs. Also serve food until 9pm ish (if memory serves me correctly). Generally quieter on week days compared to the other streetfront pubs. [Free wi-fi]

2. Quays Bar - seriously good bar with live music almost every night...quite big, good atmosphere, lively and always busy! Restaurant upstairs serves fabulous food - evening menu can be pricey but they do a 3 course meal for €29 inc free tea/coffee with dessert...and their 2 course lunch menu for €10 also delish! High quality food and service. [Free wi-fi]

3. Buskers Bar - this is the bar adjoining Temple Bar Hotel. Variety of cocktails - all €5 each! Wide range of bar food served. Large bar, shows sports.

4. Oliver St John Grogarty's - serves pub food and live music most nights. Quite small/cosy but good atmosphere (as always).

Lastly, I'll mention the Leprechaun museum...as this is somewhere I really wanted to go on my first trip to Dublin, that we never got to! It's €10 per adult...which initially I thought was a little steep but now think was well worth the experience. Guided by your super enthusiastic (and leprechaun-like) Irish tour chaperone, you make your way (semi-self guided) through the leprechaun museum, which has several areas...all seeming quite magical and full of mystery and intrigue.

The myths and legends of Ireland are equally gripping, and told by the guide, I'm sure you'll be suitably terrified by the faeries and tales of them terrorising folk throughout the ages...culminating in a final story and making a wish at the magical leprechaun wishing well. This is one thing the kids will definitely enjoy...but saying that, as a 22 year old and 21 year old (respectively), me and the boyfriend thoroughly enjoyed! Definitely an original, alternative sightseeing opportunity that is completely different to anything else you've ever experienced! I highly recommend it as something 'different' to do in Dublin. I found the Irish myths and legends more fascinating than the leprechauns' origins themselves...not to mention that having the opportunity to jump on giant furniture and take pictures was highly enjoyable. Although the complete lack of support or surveillance in this room does make you question whether Ireland have any Health and Safety rules whatsoever..regardless, I think running full pelt at a giant armchair to hurl yourself up and get a cool photo defines a good holiday.

All in all, I'd highly recommended Dublin! I think if your budget is tight, it's not exactly the place to be heading....but you can be thrifty if you're sensible about what you're buying/where you're eating/staying. I think 3-4 nights is the ideal amount of time to get around everything and have enough time shopping/sightseeing.

Things to do in Dublin:
• have a pint of Guinness in a typical Irish pub (Quays/Temple Bar/Oliver St John O'Grogarty's)
• eat a Boxty [at Gallagher's Boxty House] - a traditional Irish dish which is like a savoury pancake, with different fillings.
• visit the National Leprechaun Museum (a tour of Irish myths and legends by super enthusiastic tour guides) [http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie/]
• go shopping on Grafton Street
• visit Christchurch Cathedral
• have a crêpe at the Half Moon Crêpe Company in Temple bar (absolutely LOADS of savoury or sweet fillings to choose from....add a tea, coffee or glass of wine to indulge to the max!) [http://www.halfmoon.ie/]
• visit the Guinness Storehouse [http://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en/Index.aspx]
• stay out late listening to live music in one of the pubs.
• go to Bewley's for a coffee/tea and slice of cake.
• walk around St. Stephen's Green.
• walk around the city and take lots of photos!

P.S. No need to waste money on taxis...the Aircoach goes from right outside the arrivals terminal and costs €7 one way, €12 return (open ticket) which has several stops in the city and runs very regularly (every 15-20 mins, 24/7).
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On the last day of a whirlwind food tour of Ireland, our +Amy Cao and +Chris Connolly use the Foodspotting app to find dinner in Dublin...
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O'Connell street in Dublin city centre
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Tourism Ireland welcome the new routes into Knock with Ryanair

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We try to bring you only and simply all hotels and accommodation in Dublin and the whole of Ireland. We do our best to negotiate best deals on Hotels in Dublin. Our site is due redesign to make it easy for you to Book online. And we ant to make it easy and clean, Google style. We know you are not looking for adverts and banners and useless articles about nothing. We will present new clean site, without ads and with relevant information that you want to know before you visit Dublin and Ireland. Check the site very soon
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New website for booking Hotels and other Accommodation in Dublin and Ireland
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More than 200 hotels and accommodation places in Dublin and thousands in Ireland
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