Where We Stayed - Dublin: sandymount (VRBO)
What We Liked About It:
- Located in a beautiful, quiet, coastal neighborhood, only 4km south of the city center
- Walking distance to great restaurants, shops, and a park with playground (score)!
- Two blocks from the Sandymount Strand (beach) . . . fun shell collecting!
- Great access to the DART (public transportation into the city)
- Great backyard space with swing, hammock, and more for kids (shared with other apartment owners/guests)
- Parking space included
- Affordable (Dublin is E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E)!
HOW WE GOT AROUND
Arrived and Departed:
- Ryan Air from Krakow-> Dublin
- Picked up our rental car at the airport, drove to our VRBO in Sandymount, and kept the car parked for the duration of our time in Dublin (parking is notoriously expensive in the city)
- Took the DART (Irish rail), 5-10 minutes walk from our VRBO, to the city center
What We Did (48 Hours)
1. Meandered and explored Sandymount neighborhood. We found some great restaurants, shops, and even a park with a playground less than a 10 minute walk from our house.
2. Frolicked on the Strand. The Sandymount Strand (beach) was only a couple of blocks from our apartment, and it was a fantastic area for the kids to collect shells, run along the beach, and expel some energy.
3. Ventured on the Viking Splash Tour. The tour takes you on a tour of the main sights of Dublin via a World War II amphibious vehicle. Our guide was fantastic and hilarious, we got to wear Viking hats, the bus turned into a boat and took us on the Grand Canal, and the kids got a kick out of yelling at the locals and tourists in their loudest Viking roar. Such a fun experience for everyone! Buy tickets online ahead of time (or you will miss out). Also, there are no bathrooms onboard the bus/boat, so plan accordingly!
4. Strolled through St. Stephen's Green. We were super lucky to get a sunny day in Dublin, so we spent some quality time checking out this beautiful green space in the middle of the hustle and bustle of central Dublin.
5. Meandered through Dublin's cool "hipster triangle" area, on Drury and Wicklow streets, where we discovered the amazing Murphy's ice cream. Do not miss the amazing Murphy's ice cream. Seriously. They serve "only in Ireland” flavors, including caramelized brown bread, Dingle gin, Dingle sea salt, Irish coffee with whiskey . . . you get the point.
6. Experienced the Temple Bar neighborhood with its cobbled pedestrian walkways, crowded pubs, and art stalls run by local designers.
7. Crossed over the River Liffey and took in the vibrancy of the city.
8. Visited the Guinness Storehouse. When this activity was first recommended to us, I wondered if it made sense with the kids. But yes, yes it does. Guinness has done a great job of creating a wonderful, interactive, seven-story museum of the brand's history that the whole family will enjoy. The World of Advertising Exhibit is especially cool. We opted to do our own tour (rather than drag the kids on a planned one). And at the top of Guinness Storehouse is the Gravity Bar, where you can take in a 360 view of Dublin while enjoying a complimentary (well, kind of) Guinness and the kids, a complimentary soft drink. Just prepare for crowds. It will be crowded.
9. Took a pony and trap ride from the Guinness Storehouse to Trinity College. This was magical for the kids - and I have to say, even pretty cool for the adults. Just make sure to negotiate on the price before getting into the carriage.
10. And pubs - we ate (and drank) in plenty pubs! The food and scene is kid-friendly, so take advantage of it! Go for the lamb, soda bread, fish and chips, Guinness, and of course - whiskey!
- I've said this once, but I'll say it again. Buy your Viking Splash tour tickets online ahead of time, so that you can get the day/time you prefer.
- If you have good weather, consider visiting Phoenix Park. Fun fact: it is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It is home to the Dublin Zoo, Victorian flower gardens, free art workshops for children (at certain times of the year), and many sports, such as polo, cricket, hurling, running, and biking.
- The Guinness Storehouse is Dublin's most popular tourist attraction. You know what that means - crowds. Buy your tickets ahead of time online and try to go when the crowds will be tame (i.e. - not the weekend, if you can help it).
On the Map: Dissecting Dublin’s Ultra-Cool 'Hipster Triangle' - Travel + Leisure
Dublin: Five Favorite Kid-friendly Activities - Ciao Bambino