Scotland in July; Ireland in August

2006-07-20

in Travel

Electrical tower outline

I decided to bite the bullet and book my second trip of the summer. Between the 16th of August and the 23rd, I will be in Dublin. I will be leaving on the day after my third August tutorial with the St. Hugh’s Summer School. It promises to be an exciting trip, as well as one that will further flesh out my familiarity with the British Isles as a whole. I must make a point of visiting Wales before I leave next year.

Naturally, I am looking for advice from people who have been to Dublin. Three major questions arise:

  1. Where would you recommend staying? (Hostels in the £10 per night range are my usual style)
  2. What would you recommend seeing?
  3. Is there anything particularly useful to know about going to Dublin?

I will pick up a Lonely Planet guide to Dublin next time I am in town. Major plans of mine include spending a good number of hours drinking Guinness and reading James Joyce (I have promised Linnea I will give him another try). Which of his books would people consider to be the most appropriate to read while in this city?

Including the £5 surcharge for checked luggage, my return ticket with Ryanair from London Gatwick to Dublin came to just under £50, including taxes (£40 of the £50). I will probably have to pay a substantial portion of that amount to get the coach from Oxford to the airport and back, but it’s still a pretty good deal for travel. In fact, it is substantially less than I paid to fly to Tallinn in December. Even the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki cost a comparable amount.

PS. I am considering going to Prague in September, if I don’t end up planning a trip to Amsterdam with Claire, after her return from New York. The biggest downside of Prague is that I have been there several times already. The biggest upsides are that it is a place I know to be pleasant, and where I can stay with family for free.

PPS. To my surprise, Wikipedia informs me that: “Guinness is not suitable for vegans and vegetarians due to the use of a fish based fining agent called isinglass.” The basis of my vegetarianism lies in concern for animal welfare, concerns about hygenic practices, and concerns about sustainability. It is flexible enough to allow me to consume Guinness.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 20, 2006 at 6:14 pm
Milan July 20, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Anonymous,

Using AskMetafilter is a good idea. The thread I created is already full of great responses.

Meghan July 20, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Don’t spend your whole week in Dublin. Ireland is not that big – it took us about three hours to drive from Galway most of the way back to Dublin. There is lots to see near Dublin, and with all the biking you’ve been doing lately, you might consider checking distances and renting a bike for your week there. I have no idea as to cost, however. I really enjoyed seeing the Irish National Stud (typically), south of Dublin area, and Newgrange (a solstice mound), north of Dublin area. Also, the Cliffs of Moher are undeniably impressive, and the south-east coast area is beautiful, and very typically Irish. I loved the week I spent in Ireland, but only one day of that was in Dublin, and it was just about enough.

Milan July 21, 2006 at 12:05 am

Meghan,

Thanks a lot for the information. How vital was your having a car to you being able to see all this stuff? Distances that can be cycled are not enormous – especially on an unfamiliar rented bike. Are there public transit alternatives that you know about?

Anonymous July 21, 2006 at 1:07 am

Read Dubliners – seems appropriate for the city, and is very approachable.
It is expensive – second only to London. Hope you find an inexpensive hostel.

R.K. July 21, 2006 at 12:34 am

Echoing Meghan and the AskMeFi thread, I suggest making that a Lonely Planet book for all of Ireland, not just Dublin.

One thing to consider, given your interest in politics and such, is to go to Belfast.

Jessica July 21, 2006 at 11:02 am

Wikipedia is incorrect in stating that Guinness isn’t suitable for vegetarians. Fining agents such as isinglass and gelatin aren’t actually present in the final product. They bind with sediment and sink to the bottom of the container before the products are bottled (isinglass and gelatin are also used for clarifying many wines). Because no fishy bits remain in the final bottled brew, it’s suitable for vegetarians. It is not suitable for vegans because most vegans avoid products clarified with isinglass or gelatin on the principle that the use of any animal derivatives in production is unacceptable.

My status as a schmegan lets me make choices based on my ethics, logic and pragmatism rather than vegan dogma, so I choose to drink Rogue Shakespeare Stout instead of Guinness because it tastes a whole lot better.

(I’m blathering on about beer because I’m desperately jealous that you get to go to Scotland and Ireland, so I can’t talk about your trips.)

Milan July 21, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Jessica,

Perhaps you should clarify the Wikipedia article. I don’t know about you, but doing so would make me feel exceptionally empowered.

I have added Rogue Shakespeare Stout to the list of things I am keeping my eyes peeled for.

Meghan July 21, 2006 at 4:54 pm

The car was quite helpful. As we had a car, I didn’t explore public transit at all. However, a quick google tells me that Ireland is currently encouraging travel by public transit. They even offer: “The beauty and culture of Ireland are yours to discover with Bus Éireann’s multi-journey go as you please tickets.” A flex pass for three days of travel within a six day period is 45 euros. You might like to explore this page: http://www.cie.ie/home/

Milan July 21, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Meghan,

I will need to see how much the individual tickets cost before I decided whether to buy a pass, though it is nice to know that it’s possible. I bought the Lonely Planet guide to Dublin today, and it includes about thirty pages on day trips. I will make a point of reading it carefully once the editing of the fish paper is complete.

With seven plus hour drives to and from Scotland, and midge infested nights to hide from while there, I should have a good opportunity during my first trip to plan the second.

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