Travel Recommendations, Reviews, and Stories: Welcome to The Grain and Grape
4 Best Tours in Dublin
We visited The Emerald Isle for the Aer Lingus American College Football Classic and arrived on a Wednesday so that we would have a few days before the game to tour Dublin. We had a list of sights and pubs we wanted to visit, and we also lined up a few tours. Each tour was fantastic in its own unique way, lots of interesting history of Dublin and Ireland. The 4 best tours we enjoyed in Dublin are below.
Quick note, hotel tip to share: the Wren Urban Nest, in the Temple Bar area. A friend recommended this spot to us, and we are so happy with it. The rooms are small (“nests”), the location is right in the heart of it all with easy access to pubs and sights, but still, it’s very quiet. They took great care of us, and they have a most wonderful breakfast. Fortified with the Full Irish Breakfast every day (take that, cholesterol!), we were ready to explore Dublin.
Kilmainham Jail’s history is closely tied with the fight for Ireland’s independence. Built in 1796, it closed as a jail in 1924, and is now a National Monument. This is a fantastic tour with incredibly knowledgeable guides that gave an insight into Irish history and Irish independence. The tour is extremely popular, it must be booked at least a few weeks in advance.
The Book of Kells is an ancient tome from 800 AD, an illustrated gospel in Latin, created by Monks, very elaborate and intricate. Amazingly preserved, one of the oldest known writings in Ireland. We got a glimpse of the Book of Kells, housed in a small room with tight security, and no photos allowed. The real win from this tour was seeing the Long Hall, an impressive library with a collection of books that look like they have been around since writing itself. We felt the enormity of the room even though the Long Hall was also crowded, it is an impressive space. The Hall also houses the oldest harp in Ireland, an artifact from the 15th century. Worth seeing.
A tour of the story of uisce beatha (pronounced ishka baha), the water of life, whiskey. This was a fantastic tour, with unique technology that manages to capture the feelings and times over the last 300 years. The history of John Jameson is intertwined with the history of Dublin and Ireland.
Our tour guide was fun and energetic, a proud representative of the organization. He showed each step of the whiskey making process and took us through a tasting of three types of Jameson.
Afterward, we were treated to a free drink at the bar.
Of course, Guinness is near-and-dear to our hearts, and we must mention the Guinness Storehouse when we’re talking about tours in Dublin. It is a must-visit. The story of Dublin cannot be told without the story of Guinness. We’ve been to the Storehouse a few times, so we skipped it on this trip.However, we did enjoy dinner and Guinness tastings at Guinness Open Gate Brewery, a restaurant and pub that offers some Guinness experimental beers. The Nitro Coffee Stout was a favorite of the table and the burgers and chicken sandwiches hit the spot.
These are 4 fantastic tours in Dublin, and although it’s tough to beat the Jameson tour, both of us liked the Kilmainham Jail tour the best. We highly recommend all of these.
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