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Spend time in Dublin/Not big city people

I've been reading all your tips, thank you. We are flying into Dublin, train to Galway, then getting a car to visit the area where my husband's family came from (NW part of the country).
We love small towns, churches, not at all into art museums. We went to Normandy last year and just flew in and out of Paris, didn't visit Paris at all.
Should we make time for Dublin? We have to come back to Dublin to spend a night before a flight back home, just wanted to know if there are things we shouldn't miss.
Thank you!

Posted by
8815 posts

Spend the night in Dublin before the flight home.

Smaller towns far more enjoyable and interesting.

Posted by
7573 posts

I second Claudia. And I’m even less and less of a big city person lately, but on our most recent trip, September 2019, we did something very similar to your plans. We landed at the Dublin airport and immediately hopped on the bus for Galway, which passed thru downtown Dublin en route, giving us a mini tour. After Galway, we rented a car (Enterprise office just east of the town) and drove NW Ireland, clockwise around Northern Ireland, and finishing in Dublin for just a few nights. That allowed some things you get in a city, including a Shakespeare play by actors visiting, ironically, from Galway.

The one thing you absolutely shouldn’t miss in Dublin is the Cobblestone Pub. Even if you’re there for just a short time, and don’t even get any beverage, pop in and hear some Irish music. It was one of many highlights on that trip!

Posted by
6629 posts

Dublin's a big city and you can avoid it by staying at any of several hotels at or near the airport. Aircoach has direct service between DUB and various smaller cities, including Galway. That could save you having to go into Dublin to get the train when you arrive, and you could either bus or drive directly to the airport before you leave.

One Dublin sight that might appeal to you is the National Archeological Museum, with displays of prehistoric artifacts from all over the country. You might find yourselves at rural archeological sites earlier in your trip, and want to see some of objects found there and now displayed in the museum.

Posted by
6734 posts

I felt Dublin’s highlights could be seen in a day, two days if you wanted to tour the Guinness brewery or see a museum and enter the castle/house. We did take the Trinity college tour, went to the brewery but didn’t take the tour, and went to a couple bars in the evening to listen to live music. We had two nights there.

Posted by
15565 posts

I would suggest one fill day in Dublin. The Kilmainham Gaol and th Trinity College library are two interesting places to visit.

Additionally, a visit to Newgrange just outsude Dublin was a highlight for me.

Posted by
295 posts

I can only speak from my experience with this scenario in other places, but I flew out of Madrid and Barcelona in the past year. Both are places that come highly recommended by many, but we were headed to other places and only went through those particular airports because we got amazing deals on flights to Europe.

With Madrid, I arrived the night before my flight, found my hotel and then got back on public transport the next morning to go to the airport. The experience was unpleasant overall- tiring and unfamiliar with nothing to look forward to for that whole day of travel and transition and no time to enjoy the hotel (chosen for budget more than comfort, but was so nice).

I had even less interest in Barcelona (slightly larger and more population density) than I did with Madrid, but we stayed for a couple nights and took a guruwalk on our first day there. I have a much more filled-in and colorful portrait of Barcelona in my mind and feel like I have context and such interesting history for another place now stored in my memory. I don't really have plans to return to Barcelona anytime soon, but the experience was a lot more pleasant than rushing through Madrid. It was nice sitting on the plane to the states with a satisfying day of food and education and new sites on our palate as opposed to a series of transitions before a day of transition to home.

Posted by
1986 posts

It all comes down to personal choice. I dislike big cities and missing Dublin wouldn't bother me - unless there was something there (possibly the Book of Kells) that I just couldn't not see... The smaller towns are much more rewarding.

(I don't do London either!!)

Posted by
509 posts

I have been to Ireland five times and love the rural and urban parts of the country.

As big cities go, Dublin isn't intimidating. It's worth a stop.

A couple ideas: 1. See the Dublin Writers Museum ( It might be the best literary site of the hundreds I have ever see. 2. The separately run James Joyce Center ( is only a couple blocks away. 3. See a play at either the Abbey ( or Gate ( theaters. 4. Take a stroll on Grafton and O'Connell streets.

Posted by
509 posts

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that there are at least three interesting churches to visit in Dublin. It has two great cathedrals: Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Both of them are part of the Church of Ireland, i.e., the Church of England in Ireland or what Americans call the Episcopalian Church.

Christ Church has some interesting denominational history regarding the Protestant Reformation. Christ Church was originally a Catholic cathedral, but it was converted to a Protestant cathedral at a date unknown to me. (I assume this was during the reign of King Henry VIII.) The Catholic Church has formally requested the return of the cathedral, but I have heard nothing about where these negotiations -- assuming there even are negotiations -- are going. In 2002, when I made my fourth visit to Ireland, I went to an Evening Song performance at Christ Church.

And the third church I had mentioned? It's Whitefriar church in Dublin. Supposedly, the bones of St. Valentine -- the same saint who inspired the eponymous Feb. 14 holiday -- are interred at Whitefriar. It's a long story about how the remains of a medieval Italian saint ended up in dear old Dublin. Here is some background:

Posted by
140 posts

Dublin is fine. Certainly worth a day or two. Trinity College, Kilmainham Gaol and many nice pubs to visit. However, Dublin is my least favorite part of Ireland. Temple Bar felt just like Fort Lauderdale during spring break.

Posted by
888 posts

Dublin is a big city, and it’s busy and crowded like most cities, but the thing with big cities is that they tend to be where the best museums are located. Someone mentioned the archaeology museum, it’s free, and I think would be a great place to start a tour of Ireland as it will really add to your understanding of a lot of things you will see down the road. I loved it, and spent a couple hours there. Kilmainham Jail is another sight that will do the same as it will cover a topic that will come up over and over as you travel. I spent four nights in Dublin and was glad to leave for the countryside, but I was also glad I spent the time in the city getting an understanding of the history. There are many other worthwhile sights in the city, but if you don’t want to stay long then these are the two I would suggest you make time for, and you could do them both in one day.