by - November 15, 2018

Nearly 8 weeks ago(!!!) early on a Saturday morning we dropped the children at Jay's parents and set off to start our long child free weekend in Dublin. Jay had booked it for my birthday as a surprise, every occasion he out does himself. I can't wait until my 30th next year ;) 

We flew with Aer Lingus for the flight out, in the teeniest plane I had ever been on, there were only 38 of us. By the time we had gone up it was time for us to come down the flight was just under an hour.
We arrived at Dublin Airport and jumped in a taxi, the journey was around 20 minutes and cost 25 euros. We stayed in The Westin Hotel, which was located right in the centre of Dublin and within walking distance of everything. Which to my husbands delight meant we didn't use one taxi throughout our whole trip. The hotel was part of Marriott group and really did resemble its 5 star rating. We were collected outside the hotel by the bell boy, who promptly took our bags to our room. The check in process was smooth and the receptionists were really helpful with local information. The hotel was a grand Georgian property with a lot of original features, it had 5 floors of accommodation and also boasts a gorgeous bar and restaurant. 
We had a Classic Queen Room and was perfect to act as a base, it was a small room, neutrally decorated with a gorgeous marble en suite. Perfect for us as we only had two nights and didn't plan on spending much time in there. There were a few room choices so if you were there longer you might want to look at one of there suites. 
We went straight out to experience The Temple Bar, it was jam packed but filled with happy chilled people listening to a fantastic Irish performer. I wasn't expecting the most iconic tourist attraction of Dublin to feel so authentically Irish. We had a few drinks in there and decided we would find somewhere to have dinner. We opted for The Bank, it was recommended by our hotel as somewhere with great food and a relaxed atmosphere, exactly what we were looking for. It was really grand and busy, you couldn't reserve so we put our names on the list and went for a cocktail at the bar. I didn't take any pictures whilst we were in there, we were having such a great night, it was the first evening we'd had without the kids in a really long time. Like any parents who get excited and start having a few drinks at 3:30pm we were fast asleep in our room by 9:30pm.
We had booked to have breakfast at the hotel which I'm really grateful for, there really isn't anything worse than having to find somewhere in the morning when you're hungry and in need of tea. The selection was great, they offered traditional Irish cooked breakfast and huge range in there continental side. 

We spent the day exploring Dublin, we must have done at least 20,000 steps, firstly we took a stroll down Grafton Street and had a look around the famous Brown Thomas. I must have sang the Ed Sheeran Lyric every 100 yards....when in Dublin. At the bottom of Grafton Street you're met by the gorgeous St Stephens Park, this reminded me so much of London, how you could be in the middle of a busy city but it be so quiet and serene. There was an art exhibition all over Dublin on the Sunday and the gates were lined with artists showing off there work.
We were handed a free map of Dublin and to be honest it was one the things we used the most over the weekend, apart from looking like a massive tourist we could easily navigate our way around and walk directly to where we wanted to go. We found Merrion square and the rows of gorgeous Georgian doors, they were a delight to walk by. We walked around the square and found the famous Oscar Wilde statue, what a dude he was. 
We decided to free style our way back just get lost in the streets of Dublin, we were not disappointed. 
For our final night out we decided to book the gorgeous Fire Restaurant and Lounge. It was a really stylish, sophisticated venue and the menu was incredible with a huge range to choose from. We ate at 5pm so it was still relatively quiet, which was nice because I can imagine later on when it gets busy it would be pretty loud in the main restaurant. The staff were really accommodating and friendly. 
After dinner we popped back to the room and got changed into Superga's, one thing to remember is in Ireland and most European countries nobody wears heels out. I wasn't over dressed for the restaurant we ate at but massively over dressed for Temple Bar. We spent most of the night in Buskers Bar, the live music was absolutely fantastic and the atmosphere was something else. 

Our final day was spent at the Guinness factory, it was something on Jay's list from the get go. I would absolutely recommend it, its a self guided tour so you can spend as much or as little time there depending on what you want to get out of it. I would recommend getting your tickets online before, we walked straight passed the queue and didn't wait at all. 
You can take part in the tasting experience, where you start by smelling the ingredients that are in Guinness and then get a mini pint and are taught how to drink it.
With your entrance ticket you get a free pint at the end of your tour, there are two options you can head straight up to The Gravity Bar and have one poured for you or you can take part in The Guinness Academy where you're taught how to pour the perfect pint in small groups. This was well worth the 10 minute wait and you even get a certificate at the end. We then took our pints up to the Gravity Bar to enjoy the 360 degree views.
And then it was time for us to depart, just two nights but a perfect break. It was everything I had anticipated Ireland to be and more. Even the most touristy locations were still authentic. It's a really expensive city I wouldn't say anymore than London but even the casual off the beaten track pubs are around 7 euros a pint. There is live Irish music on all day, everyday in all sorts of different pubs and I really couldn't get enough of it. We've got plans for the rest of Ireland when the kids are a bit bigger and I can't wait to see more.

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