Breezin in Dublin

This is a journal describing the visit of a woman travelling alone in Dublin.

Breezin in Dublin

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by milliebell on July 8, 2003

The Jamesons distillery tour was fantastic. I did a whiskey tasting session. I visited all of the national museums in Dublin, but my favourite by far was the Museum of Archealogy and History. It is a free musuem, and I could have spent days in there. I also enjoyed strolling around enjoying the Georgian architecture. Dublin is a lovely green city, with lots of spaces to relax in. I enjoyed St. Stephen's Green especially. ${QuickSuggestions} Dublin is expensive but it is also a great city for people on a budget as many attractions are free and there is a lot to see just through wandering around.

Most restuaurants do lunch time specials and early birds. These are set menus, and can be very good value for money. Don't forget to include the cost of tips and drinks though. I tried the early bird special at Juice, but I spotted most restauarants around the old town offering these.

I have travelled alone to many places, but Dublin is the one place where being alone was not a relaxing experience and I felt very much out of place. You will see very few females out on their own. I found St. Stephen's Green to be a good place, as there were other people around me who were relaxing and alone. The musuem cafes and courtyards were also much more relaxed. I did eat at restaurants in town, but I felt the service was a bit poor sometimes. I stayed in a hotel, but I left firmly saying that if I ever go again I am staying in a hostel. ${BestWay} Dublin is very compact and everything can be covered easily on foot, if your quite fit. During my time there I walked miles! There is a lot of nice places to see in Dublin that are better explored on foot anyway.

On my first day there I took a city bus tour to get orientated. This was a good introduction. It was also very entertaining -- see why the hospital beside the Guiness brewery is so unfortunately misplaced, and learn more about Molly Malone. My driver even gave us some live Irish vocals as he drove around.

Harding Hotel

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by milliebell on July 11, 2003

I stayed at the Harding Hotel for two nights in February 2003. I had a single room. For 2003, the rates are single rooms are 60 euros and double rooms vary from 89-105 euros depending on days and season. As this is a USIT hotel, I was wondering what if it would be like a youth hostel without the bunk beds. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I liked the location of the hotel, as it was in walking distance of many attractions. The Dublin Tourist Information centre was just around the corner. Directly opposite the hotel is Christchurch Cathedral. It is located in the Temple Bar area, so was a good focal point of the city. My room overlooked the Cathedral, and it was a nice view!

The rooms are basic, but clean. There was a small bathroom and shower unit, TV, hairdryer, telephone and tea/coffee facilities. The reception staff were quick to deal with anything. When the bulb in my room blew, it was dealt with immediately.

However, there were lots of things I was not very happy with. Breakfast is served in the bar downstairs. I paid as part of a bed and breakfast package. However, if you book in individually, the room rate does not include breakfast. This I DON'T recommend. The cooked breakfast costs nine euros. It was not that great, consisting of fried egg, beans, sausage etc. It had been on a food warmer for a long time. Tip: the cafe a few doors along does far better and cheaper breakfasts. In addition, the staff were not particularly welcoming of guests and gave out the impresison that they couldn't be bothered with guests.

Internet access is available, but it is costly. The time taken to change pages is VERY slow, so I would recommend something with faster connections if you want more value for your euro. The keyboard was badly damaged and had keys missing, so that hindered typing speed.

The hotel has a bar downstairs, Darkey Kellys. The main problem with it was that despite the large open fire and selection of ales and whiskies, it had about as much atmosphere as a railway station waiting room. It may have been different on live music nights though. Conversation was limited and there were few people.

I don't think I would come here again -- I am sure that there are better places to go. This would perhaps be better suited to a couple travelling together who want clean, cheap and centrally located accommodation. If your travelling alone but want more comfort and privacy than hostels, I am sure you could do better than here.

Harding Hotel
Copper Alley
Dublin, Ireland
353 (01) 679 6500

Jameson Distillery Tour

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by milliebell on July 13, 2003

The Old Jameson's Distillery is located in Smithfield Village on the North Side of the City, a short well signposted walk from the quayside.

You have to go around with a guided tour, which costs 7 euros. The tour was very informative, as the group was taken into rooms in the order of the distilling process and the process was explained and demonstrated. It took in everything from soaking the grain to the final bottling. As we went around, various historical tales were told, and we learnt of the differences between Irish and Scottish whiskeys. It was interesting to see the vast vats of grain, the gleaming distilling machinery, and the reconstructions of the roles of the workers. We also learnt some things on working conditions at the time.

Then, the real highlight began. I volunteered to do a tasting session. All participants got a free drink -- either whiskey or a soft drink. The measure of whiskey that everyone got was very generous.

For the tasters, it was even better. There were five small tasting glasses -- three Irish whiskys (Jameson's, Paddy's, and Black Bush), one Scottish whisky and 1 American whisky. To begin with, we had to smell and have a small sip of the Irish whiskys. They were surprisingly different in taste. Then, we had to smell and taste the Scottish whisky, and then sample the Irish ones again, and repeat this with the American one. The guide asked the tasters which Irish whiskey they liked best. I chose Jameson's, my long time favourite brand. The guide returned with a certificate for all of the tasters and a large measure of the whisky they liked best. I left the distillery with my head swimming.

It was a great experience and I learnt a lot. The entry fee is very good value for money as the sample of whisky that you get is a good pub measure. The gift shops were well stocked with a good selection of whiskeys -- a bottle of 26-year-old Middleton Rare could be yours for 500+ euros. My budget was more modest! A bottle of Bushmills 10-year-old went for around 35 euros. Miniatures of Jameson's 12-year-old went for around 3.50 euros. Ordinary bottles were much cheaper. In addition, there was a good range of books, T-shirts, glasses, etc.

Old Jameson Distillery
Bow Street Smithfield Village
Dublin, Ireland
+353 (1) 807 2355

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