FOR all the aforementioned reasons and many more, a trip to Dublin, whether it’s a boozy weekend with the lads or a longer stint exploring more than just the Irish pubs, is a rite of passage for every Australian.
The good thing is a weekend in Dubs doesn’t need to be planned months in advance as several different airlines offer regular inexpensive flights to Ireland’s capital all year round.
With the Emerald Isle only a short flight from London, you can arrive in Dublin straight from work on a Friday evening and be three Guinness’ deep before customs have finished stamping your passport. While the proximity of the city is a definite positive, the one thing that can let down a weekend getaway is accommodation. If you’re staying too far away from the city’s attractions or nightlife, you can spend a fortune on transport. If you’re staying too close to the pubs and clubs, you might find your inability to get any sleep leaves you too tired to enjoy yourself in the daylight hours.
I stayed in the Generator Hostel Dublin, which is perfectly positioned to avoid both of these scenarios. Located on Smithfield Square directly next to the Old Jameson Distillery and within walking distance to the infamous Temple Bar ‘nightlife’ district, the hostel has over 500 beds so even if your decision to visit Dublin is last minute, chances are the Generator will still be able to accommodate you. The big danger of staying at the Generator Hostel is that you may not want to leave. The rooms are on par with what you would expect of a standard hostel but it is the communal areas where Generator separates itself from the pack. Games area… check, outdoor area… check, pool tables… check, free wifi… check, bar that better resembles a nightclub… check. But the crowning glory is The Sleepover Room decked out with comfy beds, projector screen and popcorn machine.
If you do manage to make it out of the hostel there are a few must do’s on the sightseeing list and for those who might only have a weekend to spare, below are the essentials:
The Guinness Storehouse: Ireland’s Number One Visitor Attraction and the home of the black stuff since 1759. A visit will teach you everything you need to know about the world famous beer, and a pint of Guinness at the end of the tour is complimentary and should be compulsory.
Jameson’s Distillery: Follow the path through malting, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling and maturity of the whiskey declared the number one whiskey in the world. Funnily enough the distillery tour is not recommended for children.
Dublin Castle: Situated right in the heart of historic Dublin, the Castle stands on the ridge at the strategic junction of the River Liffey and its tributary the Poddle.
Temple Bar: If you’re looking to kick on after your Guinness or Jameson’s tour there really is only one option. The Old City area of Temple Bar is the place to visit for everything from high quality fashion, footwear, furniture, food, culture and… oh yeah a few more pints of Guinness.
One challenge you hear a lot of people setting for themselves when visiting a new city is to get to know ‘the locals’. In Dublin, you don’t have a choice. The Irish are among some of the friendliest and chattiest people you will be lucky enough to share a cab, pint or bathroom with. So even if you decide to visit Dublin solo, head to a bar and before you know it you’ll have been adopted by a couple of locals who’ll take great pride in showing off their new ‘Aussie mate’.
Check out the Generator Hostel Dublin at GeneratorHostels.com