My wife and I (early 30s) will be traveling with my parents (early 60s) to Dublin for 5 days over the US Thanksgiving holiday. We'll be spending, I assume, the whole time in the city and it's immediate surroundings. We'd rather not rent a car and take public transit when possible. What suggestions do you have for this time of year? I've read a lot of sightseeing type stuff outside of Dublin is limited during this season, hence the reason for exploring close to the city (unless I'm mistaken). Is 5 days too long to spend in Dublin? Thanks in advance.
@Gail: Thanks for the suggestions! @Nancy: Great idea re: the Belfast day trip! Will have to check it out. @Paul: It's because we got a good deal on the flight and thought, why not? I agree, spring/summer would be optimal, but if we can sneak in some stuff out of Dublin it would add some nice variety.
Definitely Newgrange, easy day trip. Can't recommend any other days trips as we had a car but am sure if you get tour book you can find may options. In Dublin, be sure to see The Book of Kells, Kilmainhaim Gaol, Cathedral, GPO, etc. Skip Guinness Brewery, thought too expensive and waste of time. Enjoy.
A few things that I really loved in Dublin were the Georgian House tour at 29 Lower Fitzwilliam St, just off of Merrion Square, Grafton St, the National Museum (with the gold hoards and archaeology), and Kilmainham Gaol. You could take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to get an overview of the city, and then use it for transportation for the rest of the day, getting off at whatever looks interesting. I, too, would suggest skipping Guinness. You could also look at taking a day trip to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains. Even if it's gloomy out, there is the monastic settlement to see, and a nice museum. If it's nice, there is hiking there, too. You could also take the train to Belfast for a day - it's only 90 minutes away. Check with the Tourist Information desk at the airport, or in town when you arrive, to see what other day trips might be possible.
There are a multitude of things to do in Dublin in the off season, not just hanging out in pubs (unless that's your thing). There are many museums and historical sites, St. Michan's church and the cathedral, theatre, shopping, Trinity College (in November you might be able to get a tour from a student - not sure what time of year those are on). I have been to Dublin on two different trips (both times in late February) and found plenty to do - and I don't drink or hang out in pubs.
Had to post again, we took a trip to Skerries by car but I think bus only about an hour from Dublin. Lovely seaside town with windmills!!! We had early bird dinner at The Red Bank, a little pricey but the fresh seafood, wow. You might look them up on web to see what time it is as it is much cheaper than regular dinner service. Just an other idea. If you get a chance before you go, watch In the Name of the Father, actually filmed in the Gaol and based on true story. Enjoy Dublin.
@Nancy: Yes, the pub thing won't be playing a major role. Glad to hear there are other options and thanks for your input. @Gail: You didn't just happen to watch a certain Irish travel program on TV today did you? The host went to Skerries and featured The Red Bank. I'll add it to the list. Thanks for your suggestions!
No, but what a coincidence. Wish I had seen it. Would have brought back memories of a great day.
As mentioned, Belfast is a great day trip and checking out the murals in The Falls Road and Shankill areas either by the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus circuit, the city bus and on foot, or hiring a black cab for a private tour makes for an interesting afternoon. There's also the Ulster Museum which is adjacent to the Botanical Gardens and very close to Queen's University. Another easy day trip just outside of Dublin would be to take DART to Howth (about 30 minutes by DART). If your wife and mother are foodies, they might enjoy participating in one of the many cooking classes offered year-round at Howth Castle (The Kitchen in the Castle Cookery School) while you go with your Dad to check out the National Transport Museum which is full of antique vehicles. If you like seafood, Howth has a couple of really good restaurants for lunch or dinner that serve up the fresh catch of the day. You'd have to check the schedules, but there may still be some rugby matches or other sporting events taking place in late November in Dublin that might be of interest to you and your Dad.
Just returned from 5 days in Dublin, some spent with my husband on business, and some with our 20ish daughter. We did not have a car, and certainly didn't need it for Dublin. We did a ton of walking and thoroughly enjoyed all of it. We did the green hop-on hop-off bus, interesting and very useful for getting around, and the ticket was good for two days. However...not all buses have a 'live' narrator, some use a taped presentation - nowhere near as entertaining, and the canned music is annoying. Definitely an 'older' crowd on the bus, so should be suited to your parents. Not sure if the 'red' hop on hop offs are any different or better... We did Kilmainham Gaol and thought it was the best tour of our trip. Very informative, and quite moving. Make sure you spend time in their museum after, really interesting. Also did the brewery, which I thought was a great slick presentation, but if you're not keen on Guinness, then probably not worth it. Daytrips can be organized quite easily through various tour companies - Newgrange, and Glendalough as mentioned. and Powerscourt - beautiful gardens - and an easy day trip. Had some fabulous meals as well, for a light lunch for the gals if shopping - the cafe upstairs in Avoca on Suffolk street - delicious salads.
Have fun and enjoy!
Also in Belfast, if you get there, is the Titanic Exhibition - opened this year.
@Ceidleh: Excellent idea re: Howth Castle (everyone might be partial to that, too) and catching a rugby match. Thanks! @Cami: Walking with the parents is a concern, so glad to know about the hop-on/hop-off bus system. Does that cover a good portion of town? I've heard mixed things about the Guinness tour, but I'm a Guinness fan, so we'll probably do that (and the Jameson one as well). Thanks for the tips. @Katy: Saw, but forgot that was going on. Will have to look into it. Thanks!
I would suggest the red hop-on, hop-off bus rather than the green. Live narrator who was friendly, funny, and even sang to us. Oh, and the Jameson distillery is not a working distillery anymore. For that you have to go to Midleton, near Cork. And Guinness is a huge waste of time and money unless you just want to see a lot of marketing, no actual brewing process, and a expensive "free" pint.
@Nancy: Thanks for the tips.