Hi, Peter, I'm planning to spend three days in Dublin with my wife. Can you recommend a hotel centrally located (within walking distance) to tourist sites and attractions? We're looking for a three- or four-star, reasonably priced hotel, preferably with breakfast included. Can you suggest some "must see/must-do" highlights? Do you suggest spending one day on an excursion outside of Dublin? If so, where?
TripAdvisor.com can often be a useful (if not entertaining) tool for finding hotels, because you simply enter the city where you are going and the dates you’ll be there, and the site spits out a list of hotels with rooms available on those days. You can sort the list alphabetically, or by price, class, or guest rating. The best part of TripAdvisor is that you can often make informed choices of where to book, because you can read reviews written by hundreds of actual guests who have stayed there before you. So I suggest going to the site and finding a few hotels that sound like they’d fit your criteria. Before making your booking, go to the hotels’ Web sites to see how far they are from the city center and whether or not they offer breakfast.
There are almost too many must-see sights in Dublin to mention. The Guinness Brewery, Trinity College (which houses the Book of Kells), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Leinster House, and the National Gallery of Ireland are just a few. There are also numerous other squares, buildings, museums, markets, pubs, and parks that are worth checking out. The best way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to take either a self-guided, walking, or bus tour. Tours usually have a theme, such as “Literary Dublin,” or “Historic Dublin.” Pick one or more that suits your taste, and off you go. You can always return later for a more in-depth visit of places that spark your interest.
As for day trips outside the city, there are many options. At Glendalough, which is only six miles south of Dublin, you can explore the famous ruins of an ancient monastic complex that was central to Ireland’s Catholic heritage. Near Enniskerry, 16 miles south of the city, you’ll find the spectacular Powerscourt Gardens and waterfall on the grounds of the 14,000-acre Powerscourt Estate. And in Newgrange, 17 miles north of Dublin, there is a prehistoric tomb that predates even Stonehenge.
You can either take guided excursions from Dublin or rent a car and drive yourself. Driving is the better option, in my opinion, because the roads are safe in Ireland, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are very friendly and speak English. And if you rent a car, you can make spontaneous stops if you happen to pass quaint country pubs or scenic views.