I’m always keen to spend any days I have off from work travelling the country or journeying a little further afield.
So when the opportunity arose to visit Dublin over the long Easter weekend with some of my nearest and dearest friends from uni, I jumped at the chance.
I started the journey off on Maundy Thursday, hopping onto a train to stay with my friend Alice in her handily placed central Manchester apartment. It would, of course, be rude not to start the weekend off with a bottle of something cheeky… which is exactly what we did.
After spending the early hours catching up on our recent escapades, a very unwelcome 4am alarm forced us out of bed and over to the airport.
Sleepily clutching coffees and boarding the plane, we realised our first mistake…
Listening to the onboard tannoy, we heard the air hostess mention that no alcohol could be bought in Ireland that day.
‘Very funny’, we thought, chuckling.
But turns out this wasn’t just some sick joke – lesson one, people!
Good Friday still stands with great tradition in Ireland, meaning that no alcohol really can be bought anywhere in the country in commemoration of Jesus’ death.
Feeling pretty ignorant and stupid to have begun a booze-fuelled weekend on a dry day, this was something no amount of legroom could make up for…
We instead vowed to spend the day sampling Ireland’s finest cuisine, before wholeheartedly making up for our dry spell with bounties of booze the following day.
After well and truly draining the cabin crew of all their tourist tips, we knew exactly where to head once we landed.
Avoid all tourist buses into the city, we were told. Instead, walk through the airport to the yellow buses that were more for ‘locals’ – and far cheaper. After about a 40 minute bus journey, we reached O’Connell Street, a wide street that reminded us much of London.
For the duration of our stay, Alice found a gem of an apartment. We stayed in Staycity Serviced Apartments, and apart from the dodgy Wi-Fi and a slight lack of hot water, we really couldn’t fault it.
A clean, spacious, and modern apartment that was situated smack bang in the middle of Dublin, offering a much more relaxed and private alternative to several hotel rooms. Just across the bridge from Temple Bar and conveniently surrounded by various cute independent cafes and a Spar, it was just the ticket. We even had a couple of balconies to enjoy the Dublin skyline. Split between the six of us, it was pretty cheap too, at around £44 each per night.
I wouldn’t consider staying anywhere else in Dublin now, and have been looking at their other locations which include Amsterdam and Berlin.
Whilst we waited for the others to arrive throughout the day, we set out for a spot of exploring.
We saw the Ha’penny Bridge… (I will always love the Irish for their need to abbreviate everything!)
Before meandering into Temple Bar and heading to the Brick Alley Cafe for a traditionally Irish breakfast.
It’s a pretty quirky cafe, where you are likely to sit on a table with strangers to eat. But the food was pretty sensational!
Slowly accruing the other members of the gang, we spotted the famous statue of Molly Malone.
Rumour has it Molly spent her days as a fishmonger, and her nights as a prostitute… and is the subject of a song which is effectively one of Dublin’s anthems. You can listen here.
We found ourselves in a room full of unexplained oversized furniture.
Hanging out with the locals…
And reaching for pots of gold…
Maybe you’d expect this, but the museum really wasn’t all that!
A mish-mash of bizarre rooms and some history which made the concept all a little too serious in places.
It is, however, worth the ten euros if you’re all about the photo opportunity.
We spent the rest of our first day in the sunshine, mixing with more locals…
To continue the rest of our day of prohibition on the Emerald Isle, we headed back to the apartment to get ready for the evening ahead.
We set straight for Crackbird, a chicken restaurant in central Dublin that is reputed for its famous clientele who include Professor Green, Millie Macintosh, and Laura Whitmore, who often rave about the restaurant on Twitter.
With its cool, pop-up restaurant style, in-house DJ, and limited menu based around either a half or whole chicken, I admired the distinct lack of chips on the menu. With the most popular items either buttermilk or soy garlic chicken (as recommended by the barman) paired with favourites including homemade croquettes or baked potato, this was far from a ‘posh KFC’.
Most of the group opted for buttermilk chicken, but feeling brave I went for the soy garlic and a wasabi mayo sauce, which was pretty tasty compared to others I tried.
Much recommended too! Finding the other chicken a little bland, the soy garlic was fresh, fragrant, and zingy, and great with probably the tastiest jacket potato I’ve ever had (hey, this is Ireland).
Even with a group of foodies like ourselves, we all agreed that the portion of half chicken was enough for two to share. The food was great, really tasty, and left us all feeling pretty stuffed.
The lack of alcoholic cocktails available on offer also turned into a plus – it was a great chance to try the mocktails we may not have otherwise gone for.
Most of us went for rhubarb lemonade which was pretty special – sherberty, slightly fizzy, and just incredible! The soda, lime, and mint was equally refreshing. All mocktails arrive in huge jam jars (the pictures don’t do them justice!), and are really cheap so they are well worth a try.
All in all a great day!
Watch this space for the next day’s rather more boozy antics!
What do you love about Dublin?