Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Luck of the Irish

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a travel junkie! I would much rather spend my last dime to visit a new country than save it for a rainy day. Thus, you can only imagine my excitement for a weekend in Dublin, Ireland. Not just any weekend though, St. Patrick’s day weekend! I had been determined to go for the last month and a half but had no luck finding anyone to go with me. For my first big trip out of Wales I wanted to go with a few people to catch my travel bearings. Luckily, the week before, I found two other IFSA students as eager as me to spend St. Patty’s Day weekend in the home of the Irish. So, the Monday before we did some mad searching and booked our hotel and transport.

The first night proved long as we began our departure leaving Cardiff Thursday night and arriving in Dublin at 6 am Friday morning. We caught some z’s along the way, but made necessary Starbucks trips for Wi-Fi and caffeine upon arriving in the city.  My fellow Starbucks enthusiasts would be thrilled to know there is not a shortage of Starbucks shops whatsoever. We googled places to eat and free things to do in the city (as a University student, free is ALWAYS good), as well as stuff going on for the St. Patrick’s day festivities. We checked out the infamous Temple Bar area, explored the grounds of Trinity University and visited the National Museum of Archeology. We didn’t stay in town long as we were all pretty beat, but when we got to the room we made a to-do list for our Saturday adventure.

Saturday we got an early start wanting to make the most of our full day in the city. We toured the castle, walked through parks, went past the carnival, saw performers on Grafton Street and enjoyed the free live Irish bands performing for St. Patrick’s Day. We definitely didn’t leave a part of Dublin city unexplored as we trekked from one side to the other. The town was saturated with people adorning shamrocks and the iconic St. Patty’s Day green. Even many of the town buildings joined in the fun as lights turned many parts of the city green. The following day we finished our St. Patrick’s Day celebration with the boat races on the Liffey River. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay for the parade because of classes, but, regardless, we got to experience Dublin at one it’s most lively times! Check out my recommendations below for when you make your journey to the Land of the Leprechaun!

Travel advice:

  • Go with currency in hand- Do not expect an ATM to fall into your lap when you arrive.
  • Grab a bus map while at the port- This was literally our lifesaver for finding things to do and navigating through the city.
  • Watch your stuff at all time! – In a big city theft is common and the thieves are swift. So, keep your bags on your arm or body at all times and be mindful of your possessions and surroundings.
  • Do not forget to ask about student discounts!! – Whether at restaurants or stores ask-it’s worth the money you’ll save.
  • Do not hesitate to ask for your bill- Often it would take a while for us to receive our bills so don’t be afraid to ask for them when you are ready and, if needed, ask for orders to be separate.

Things to do:

  • Go to as many free museums or attractions as possible (archeology, natural history, Trinity science museum etc.)
  • Visit the River Liffey
  • Go to the Castle (remember your student ID for a discount!)
  • Visit Temple Bar District
  • Explore Grafton Street Shopping District (impossible to not find Ireland memorabilia here!)
  • Walk through some of the parks

Places to eat:

  • Elephant and Castle (near Temple Bar District) – Quaint atmosphere, unique name, great food and attractive prices.
  • Flanagan’s (O’Connel St. Main Drag) – Amazing food at a steal of a price since some meals include juice and all include tea or coffee (was definitely tempted to go back a second time).
  • The Mongolian Barbecue (near Temple Bar District) – They have an early bird special of €12.90 instead of €15.90 for their all you can eat cuisine (and early was considered before 7pm!). Very similar to HuHut except even fresher, so be sure to go with a large appetite in hand!
  • Brewbaker Cafe (numerous locations) – this cafe was perfect for a quick meal at a reasonable price.

Best wishes for your time in Dublin and may the luck of the Irish always be on your side!

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