The Irish portion of our Scotland/Ireland trip left us with only two full days in the country. We knew that it would not be enough, but looked at it as a “taste” of Ireland. Hopefully in the near future a longer more thorough trip can be made. For this trip we simply tried to maximize our time.
During the planning of our trip, I spoke with a friend of my mom and she gave us some advice on some ‘must-see’ attractions in and around Dublin. Our itinerary goals for the day: Wicklow National Park/Sally Gap
The Viking Tour
Eat in an Irish pub
After a hearty Irish breakfast we finished packing and left our first B&B. The drive through Glendalough Valley to Wicklow Mountains National Park was beautiful. Our hike through the monastic ruins and park trails were even more gorgeous.
Our first stop in the park was to the Monastic City. This is where most of the park’s monastery ruins are found. They are almost 1,000 years old!
After the city we made our way around the various trails and towards St. Kevin’s Cell. This is where St. Kevin is believed to have stayed at times. My husband really wanted to hike up and see it. The girls both decided not to try and climb the steep stairs up to the cell. At this point in the trip they were becoming worn out much more easily.
Instead, we visited the ranger station and learned there was an Easter Egg Hunt going on. It wasn’t a traditional egg hunt. Rather, we followed clues around the park. All the clues focused on eggs in some way. It was easy and cute. Each girl earned a poster as a reward.
We spent about three hours total in the park before heading through Sally Gap and on to Dublin. Our Viking tour of the city was around 4:30 and we wanted to leave plenty of time to eat and explore a bit.
The drive up to Dublin was uneventful. Driving in the city, not so much! Some streets were barely wide enough for our small car. We drove around for about 20 minutes trying to find parking and ended up in a garage. Sport and Bean were barely awake at this point. I sat in the car with them while my husband went to find a pint.
A half an hour nap was just what the girls needed. They revived further over lunch and a quick walk through St. Stephen’s Green. This was a large, green and busy park in the heart of Dublin. True it its name, much of it was more garden/greenery. It did house a sizable playground with some great equipment. Bean would have stayed on this rotating rope tree all day if we’d let her.
We had to pry them away from the playground and luckily found the Viking tour location without any trouble. The Viking Splash tour had been recommended to us by a few people. It seemed like a fun way to see the city. The girls were thrilled with the idea of the bus turning into a boat.
The Viking Splash tour consisted mainly of driving around the city and viewing the highlights while yelling like a Viking at innocent and not-so-innocent pedestrians. Halfway through the bus tour, floats were added to the bus, life vests handed out and the bus drove into the water to continue the tour.
It was a lot of fun, but there were some raucous, drunk people on board. I don’t begrudge them a good time, but some of the jokes our driver made were not 100% appropriate for young ears. I am not sure if there is a way to book a more family-friendly time or tour. Probably early in the day is better? Fortunately many of the lewd jokes went over the girls’ heads and they had a lot of fun yelling like Vikings.
After our ride, the girls begged to visit the playground again. As we strolled back to our car we stopped to watch some street performers.
Overall, our day in Dublin was enjoyable but too short. We got a taste of the city, but not a good measure of its vibe. I’d love to return one day and spend more time exploring.
The last thing on our list would be a real Irish pub!