Morning came and we were greeted by an unusual sight from our window: bright blue skies. The day turned out to be blazing hot, proving that it is possible to get sunburnt in Ireland.
I highly recommend on the first day in a new city to go for a tour, either a free walking one or a paid bus tour. There are three main sightseeing bus companies in Dublin: CitySightseeing, Dublin Bus, and CityScape. The first two charge 19€ per person, while CityScape costs only 10€ (and kids go free). Don’t be afraid of picking the budget option – all three routes are practically identical and we had an amazing experience with CityScape.
Tickets are valid for 24 hours so hop on and off at your discretion. We used the sightseeing bus as an alternative to public transport, since the buses in Dublin sell single ride tickets (a pain if you have to switch) and accept exact fare in coins only. Just make sure you don’t miss the last bus – it leaves from stop 9 at 5.45 pm.
We got off at stop 7, which is the O’Connell Bridge, crossing the River Liffey by the main shopping area. And we headed to the National Leprechaun Museum. While not cheap at 14€ for adults (10€ for under 18s), you will receive a 2€ discount if you show a valid CityScape ticket. A guide will take you through the exhibits, telling fascinating stories about mythological creatures in Ireland. It’s a magical experience.
Since the tide was low and the river almost drained of water, we took the chance to explore a few shops in the centre. I left my companions and visited the GPO Witness History Museum alone. This is a brand new exhibition devoted to the 1916 Easter Rising and the events leading up to Irish indepence in 1922. With tickets at 10€ for adults, it’s a must-see for anyone with Irish heritage or an interest in their history. If you are travelling from Britain, please be respectful inside the exhibit but also on the streets of Dublin.
Back to the River Liffey and we used our CityScape ticket again for a 15% discount Dublin Discovered Boat Tours (originally 14€ for adults and 10€ for under 18s). These are perfect for a relaxing ride down the river, while your guide talks about the founding of Dublin and the importance of various historical buildings. Feel free to ask questions or wander around the boat to take photos.
For dinner we went to Ten Thousand. This is an Asian all you can eat buffet located just off O’Connell Street. At only 7€ per person and packed to the brim with tasty dishes, this is an absolute bargain. We would have returned for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day if we could.
On our way home we stopped at the Merrion Strand again. This time, with clear skies ahead, we climbed up onto the wall and waited for sundown. We were not disappointed.