Written by Brian Callender | Photography by Brian Callender & Julie Boyd
We touched down in Dublin close to 10:00 p.m. on Monday night after a short flight from Brussels. I had pre-booked our transportation taking the 700 Route with AirCoach which came out to about $25 roundtrip for two people. Not bad considering it can easily be booked online and you ride in a comfortable coach bus. The Airlink Express is another option that runs between the airport and city centre for around the same cost and is more similar to a regular city bus (double decker).
For our time in Dublin, I was able to secure us four nights at the Westin Dublin, located next door Trinity College. The first three nights of our stay we were able to pay for with points we collected with our Starwood Preferred Guest Card. From one sign up each, we earned 55,000 points. I took advantage of the one time each year that Starwood bumps its sign up bonus to 30,000 points, while Julie signed up for the regular 25,000 point bonus. To achieve the sign up bonus on each card, we needed to spend $5,000 in the first six months (this is now $3,000 in three months) which also net us an extra 5,000 points for meeting the spending minimum. Being diligent with the card and purchases, we were able to earn enough points to stay four nights in London and three nights in Dublin on points. Pretty good I think, for not spending any nights in a hotel to earn the points!
After quite a bit of travel and moving between hotels, Julie and I both welcomed our stay in Dublin as it brought with it our most centrally located hotel. Our airport coach dropped us off a few steps from the hotel’s entrance. Trinity College is located just around the corner and the famous Temple Bar, filled with bars, restaurants and shopping is just across the street. We settled in comfortably to our well appointed room, looking forward to three days in Dublin.
With no set agenda for Dublin, we spent our time exploring the city on foot.
We visited, on two separate occasions, the Mint Bar at our hotel. Located in an old underground bank vault, the bar had a modern, speakeasy feel to it and excellent cocktails. Julie and I were impressed by the level of effort and passion being mixed into each drink by the bartender.
On our second full day in Dublin, we opted to take a tour out to the Cliffs of Moher. More to come on that soon!
Dublin, like Bruges before it, was a bit rainy during our stay which kept us inside for portions of the trip. When the rain let up, we made our way back out into the city.
On the morning of our flight home, we made a quick stop at Trinity College to visit the Book of Kells.
As with many of the locations we visited on this trip, the Book of Kells was incredibly crowded as it is a popular tourist destination. We bought our tickets online in advance, but there wasn’t a line since we arrived when the exhibit opened. At other times, the line is quite long, so we highly recommend purchasing ahead of time. The book itself is famous for both its elaborate decoration and that it dates back to roughly, the 8th century. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed in the book room, but they are permitted in the incredibly popular Long Room in the Old Library.
This is easily one of my favorite places in Dublin. I especially love that they have books from a variety of different countries of cultural significance, including a copy of Harry Potter! 🙂
After Julie captured her fill of pictures from the library we headed back to the hotel to grab our things and head to the airport. We were sad to leave Dublin and for our adventure to end, but looking forward to sleeping in our own bed once again. Before long, we were already talking about where to explore on our next adventure!
So long Europe, we will be back soon!