My big trip this year was to go to Dublin, Ireland for three days. While I will spare you the fine details, I would like to say a few things about the top places I went to eat and entertainment and my accommodations.
Since, I'm cheap, I took a Ryanair flight for £15 each way from Gatwick to Dublin. The plane ride itself only took an hour or less and the airport security etc. wasn't too horrible. I then took a bus to the city center which was only €7 bought at the airport. The hostel I stayed at was called Abbey Court it it was on Bachelors walk in a fantastically central area of town. Maybe a 5-10 minutes walk from temple bar and trinity college. The rooms and bathrooms were clean and the breakfast was free (cereal, toast, coffee, fruit, sausage rolls). For only €15 a night for a shared mixed dorm, it was definitely a good deal.
The first day I got there pretty late, and as I shall learn, everything closes by 5pm in Dublin so there wasn't much to do. I took a walk through temple bar and the trinity college area and around Dublin castle (which isn't really a castle.) After that I went to a nice little pub a bit out of the way called T. P. Smiths that had a cool brass spiral staircase to the first floor.
The next day was the big day, even though things were not opened until around 10 am and, as always, closing at 5 pm. First, I went for a walk around the trinity college campus and the national gallery of Ireland. The national gallery had a nice collection, but the museum wasn't very big, but it was free. I also went to see the Oscar Wilde statue which is near the museum. Then, I had lunch at Cornucopia which is a great little vegan/vegetarian café where you can get a selection of three salads for around €6 which was a lot of food. The next thing was the big one, the Guinness Factory Tour.
The tour was €16 for a student and definitely worth it. The tour is self directed so there is no limit for the amount of people allowed or times to enter so there is not need to buy ahead of time. The tour is spread out on 7 floors and involves both reading and interactive exhibits. It goes through the entire process of brewing beer and the history of Guinness and Guinness advertising. There is a room where they give you a small sample of Guinness and teach you the correct way to taste it. Then, you get a free pint of Guinness. You can either have it poured for you in the sky bar or you can be taught how to pour it. I would definitely take the class which is entertaining and that bar is less crowded than the sky bar. I would still go up to the sky bar for the view (you don't have to buy a drink). In total, I spent about three hours there. After that I just went to dinner and then to the hostel.
The last day was only really a half day since I had to take the flight home. So, I just went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for €5 which was a nice little trip, the architecture and funeral monuments were very nice to see. Then, I just had time for lunch and caught another bus for €6 to the airport and went home.
Overall, it was a nice trip. The flight and hostel was cheap and clean and the city was small and easy to navigate. I only wish that things stayed open past 5 pm because there were a few museums I wanted to see but couldn't because they were closed. The Guinness Tour was definitely the highlight of the trip and worth the money for the quality and length of the experience. I couldn't see spending a week in Dublin but another day would have been nice.