My cousin and I are planning 1.5 days for Dublin in May before heading south with a rental car. In looking at maps I'm worried that we won't have enough time to get out to Howth and Newgrange since everyone says to arrive there first thing. We arrive by ferry in Dublin around noon the first day so can't get to Trinity (book of Kells) early that day. Is this itinerary "do-able", or which items would have to go? 1st day: National Museum, Dublin Castle, Howth. 2nd day: Trinity College, Newgrange, Guiness brewery, Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park. Thanks!
Newgrange is about a 45 minute drive from Dublin, so it could take half a day by itself. The Guinness brewery isn't worth the cost, in my opinion. You see none of the brewing process, but have plenty of time to shop for Guinness merchandise. You can easily do Trinity and the National Museum in a short time since they are not far from each other. I'd definitely recommend Kilmainham, but you'll need about 1.5 hours for the tour, and some time for the museum as well. And it's not near the city center, so you'll have to take a bus or cab to get there.
The last time I was there I had about a day and a half in the city. In that time I saw Kilmainham, O'Connell St., Trinity College and the Book of Kells, National Museum, 29 Georgian House tour, and had plenty of time to wander Grafton St and the Temple Bar area.
I'm assuming you're starting in Howth? I think you can definitely do the National Museum and Dublin Castle. However, I personally would recommend going to Trinity and the book of Kells/the Long Room library and maybe skipping Dublin Castle especially if you're going to see castles elsewhere in Ireland. Guinness brewery, Kilmainhan, and Phoenix Park are all in the same direction (Phoenix Park is apx a 30min walk from O'Connell St)There are busses that run constantly up and down the Liffy that will get you there in just a few minutes. I disagree about seeing Guinness brewery. Their museum set up is pretty neat and the view from the Gravity Bar at the end of the tour is amazing--360 degree view of Dublin from one of its few tall buildings. Plus, Guinness has been so ingrained in modern Dublin history it would be a shame not to see St. James gate brewery. Newgrange I think would be hard to fit in unless you do only that your second day because all your sights in Dublin close by about 5:00
If you weren't trying to make time for Howth and Newgrange, I'd say you had plenty of time to see the sights in Dublin city. But that seems to be your priority and you only have a 1.5 days. I think you will have a difficult time trying to fit in all you want to see (especially Day 2).
Sorry, I also think the new Guiness tour is a waste of money. The only redeeming factor is the fairly new Gravity Bar because of the view. I remember the first time I toured Guiness (20 years ago) and you got to actually see parts of the brewing process and at the end you could sit in their pub and drink as much free Guiness or Harp as you wanted to. You no longer see the brewing - just a large display of their advertisements over the years and eventually wind up in the Gravity Bar where you can redeem the 1 token you are given after you pay admission for 1 pint. Then it's a huge gift shop downstairs where you can buy overpriced clothing and souvenirs with the Guiness logo.
You can walk around the periphery of the Guiness complex, but that's about as close as you get to the brewing process. The "tour" takes place in the "Storehouse" (whatever that means). I would describe it more as one giant advertisement than a tour.
I found the National Museum a bit disappointing as well. It only concentrates on two periods of Irish history, the revolt of the early 1900s and Irish pre-history. See it if you have the time, but don't go out of your way.
I would suggest the "hop on hop off" buses that tour Dublin in an hour. You can get off and see what you want. I agree that the price for the Guiness tour is way too high for what you get/see. I was not that impressed with Dublin Castle. On the ho/hoff bus you get an hour tour with history of what you are seeing and you can also get on and off to see what you want. I think it's an hour well spent.
I too, opt for the Book of Kells but everyone's taste is different. YOu can see it as quickly as you want. I think Temple Bar area very touristy and there are probably other pubs that are less crowded but I don't know what they are.
Go see the Book of Kells, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Guinness Storehouse definitely. I would suggest skipping Phoenix Park for St. Stephen's Green or even Merrion Square as they are more centrally located. However Phoenix Park looked gorgeous when I was there two weeks ago and I would have liked to go if we had more time.
I also agree to skip Dublin Castle. Its not worth the price. It's worth it to amble around the courtyard, ponder the figure of Justice that is not blindfolded, and peek around the lobby area but that's it.
Skip the Dublin Hop-on Hop-off Tour buses, they're a waste of money when you can take the City Buses and save $$$. Besides admission to the sites isn't even included in the ticket.
Going to Howth and Newgrange AND trying to do Dublin sites sounds like a bit much to me.
I completely disagree that the hop-on hop-off buses aren't worth the money! To the contrary, they are an excellent introduction to the main sights of the city. The guides are excellent and give lots of interesting information about the places you are passing. They are very entertaining -- ours even sang to us. You can ride the whole circuit in about an hour, but the pass is good for 24 hours. You could do a whole introductory trip late in the afternoon, then spend the next day using it as transport, at no additional cost, to stop at the sites you want to see.