DUBLIN: Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Writers Museum, St. Stephen’s Green

After two days of exploring Ireland, it was about time we discovered the city we were actually staying in.

A friend of mine had been to Dublin before, and she really recommended us to go to Kilmainham Gaol. This is an old prison dating back to 1796 where many of the Irish revolutionists were locked up and assassinated in the twentieth century. It’s now solely a museum run by the Irish Government.

While at first I wasn’t really convinced about visiting a prison, I was really happy that we did after all. It’s such an interesting place with so much Irish history. On top of that, this prison has been the décor of many movies and series, such as ‘The Italian Job’, ‘The Ripper’ and U2’s music video of ‘A Celebration’.

The guided tour – which is the only way to visit Kilmainham jail – takes about 40 minutes and gives you just enough information. The normal entrance price is 6 euros, but since they’re renovating part of the prison, it’s only 4 euros now. Definitely worth it. Make sure to go early as the guided tours fill rather quickly. We were there ten minutes before opening and were able to get into the first guided tour of the day.

After escaping the prison, we headed to the Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn all about the Irish national pride: Guinness beer. This storehouse has six levels, all about different aspects of this beer: the making of, the advertising, the tasting room etc etc On the top floor you can have a Guinness which is complementary in your ticket, but most of all you can enjoy a lovely view on Dublin.

I personally didn’t like Guinness, but I don’t like beer in general, so that wasn’t a shock. If you buy your tickets online, you can save a few euros. We paid 18 euros, in which one Guinness (or soda) is included. It’s a lot of money, but since Guinness Storehouse is the most visited attraction in the world, you just can’t miss it.

In the afternoon, we went to the Dublin Writers Museum, which was opened in 1991.Ireland has brought forth many great writers, such as Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and W.B Yeats. This museum is entirely dedicated to all those people. There are lots of great artifacts and loads of information available. For those interested in the written word, this is a definite must. The entrance price is 7,5 euros and includes a free audio-guide.

While my friend visited the James Joyce Center (which I wasn’t very interested in), I strolled along O’Connell Street. There are plently of shops along the way, but more shops can be found on Henry Street. While you’re there, and you have some time, you definitely have to visit Pennys. This is the Irish name for Primark, and since Primark was founded in Dublin, you just cannot let that one pass.

After all those visits, we thought it was time to relax a bit, so we headed for St. Stephen’s Green. This is such a lovely park, and since the sun was out, many people were relaxing in the grass. Great atmosphere.

A little bit further, you can also find Iveagh Gardens. This is a smaller garden, but it’s usually a lot less crowded. It’s a bit harder to find, but it’s definitely worth it. Careful, this park closes at 6 pm, and a man with a whistle will alert you of that.

As it was still a bit early to go have dinner, I checked my travel guide and stumbled across the National Library. This library has an amazing reading room, with a lovely ceiling. Since it was quite close, I headed over there to take a look. You aren’t allowed to bring anything in the room, but there are lockers available to store you stuff. You also can’t take any pictures. It’s definitely worth it to just go in a few seconds as the ceiling is really beautiful and I don’t recall ever seeing something like that before.

For dinner, we headed to Bobo Burgers, which serves fresh burgers. Really great and tasty!

As it was our last night in Dublin, we decided to once again hit the pub. The pub we’d chosen for tonight was The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub dating back to 1198. Every night there is also traditional Irish music, so the atmosphere there is just brilliant. It does get quite busy so we couldn’t sit inside, but outside, you can also get the atmosphere, and you can still talk to one another. I really had an amazing time there.

And then it was off to bed as we still wanted to enjoy our last day in Dublin.

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

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