Updated: Apr 19
Have you ever dreamt of having an epic vacation...all by yourself? Solo travel can feel like a big undertaking, until you have a well thought out game plan. That's where I come in with tips and insights that can help you plan a great getaway.
By the way, how CUTE is this coat that I made for my trip?!
I chose Dublin because I wanted my first solo trip abroad to be as accessible and stress-free as possible. Going to a place where you don't speak the language adds a whole layer of complications, and I wanted to avoid that hassle since I wasn't sure how I might feel while jet setting alone.
And while English is the primary language in Ireland, many of the citizens are getting back to their roots by speaking Gaelic, which was the nation's language up until the British colonized them. Back then you could go to jail if you were caught speaking anything other than English! Nowadays you'll hear Gaelic being spoken on television and see it on street signs, they even have schools that are taught only in Gaelic <--got that tidbit of info from my taxi driver, who was very informative and helpful! It was a pleasant surprise to learn how rich the Irish culture is, so I can't wait to go back and explore other parts of the country.
Before I bought my tickets, I made sure to research location options and pricing differences for each location. I landed on the capitol city because it had the best flight options. Since I was planning to travel during the off-peak season, I wasn't worried about the prices being too high. If you do plan to travel during the peak times, make sure you do thorough research to get the most bang for your buck. I like to search for flights on sites that show multiple airlines, so then I can compare easily. My go to has always been Kayak.com but if you're travel savvy, drop a new site in the comments for me to try!
You should also keep in mind the time of day that your flight arrives. Traveling alone as a woman can add an extra concern for safety, so ensuring that you land during the day is one way to help ease that worry. It's so much easier to get transportation to/from airports during daytime hours.You'll also have an easier time finding your way and getting familiar with the area you're staying in. I don't like to have too many hassles when I'm trying to get to my hotel, so I tend to use taxis once I arrive at a destination. Taxis are also a good idea if you're traveling with lots of luggage. They do have great bus options in Dublin with stops throughout the city center. I opted to use the Aircoach (www.aircoach.ie) since it had a stop near my hotel, but public transportation is another option. This website has great resources for travel to and from the Dublin airport:
I chose to stay at a hotel called Buswell's, located right in the heart of the Dublin city center. They had single rooms for €100 per night, which includes a discount for booking direct. A number of hotels do this, so always do your homework if you want the best deal. They have an in house restaurant, so you have the option to add on a traditional Irish breakfast to your room for €10. Buswell's did have a more formal vibe than I was expecting, but the front desk staff really made it welcoming. I forgot to bring a US to UK travel adapter for my phone charger, but they supplied me with one. They also had some umbrella's available-which I needed because it rained most of the time I was there. If you want more info about the hotel, check it out here:
While I was visiting, I had the pleasure of doing a set at the oldest comedy club in Ireland.
The Comedy Cellar has been operating for 35 years at the International Bar. The place was packed and you could tell everyone was ready to laugh! They have live comedy shows every Wednesday at 8:00. If you're not there during the week, they also have improv shows on the weekends so check their website for the latest schedule:
I wanted this vacation to be extra special, so I decided to make myself a new wardrobe and schedule photo shoot tours to capture all my lewks!
I did a quick Google search and found a number of photo tours in Dublin. I opted to go through a company called InstaTours.com and book their Dublin Sightseeing photo tour. I booked a private tour so I could ensure that I got all the pics I wanted, and have time for a wardrobe change. The group tours run around €20 and even though the private tour wasn't listed on their website, it was available upon request for €60. It was DEFINITELY worth it to schedule a shoot, and if I get to travel solo again, I'll be sure to book another! You get to have a tour guide show you all the best highlights in the city and you don't have to rely on strangers to get a good pic of you.
I wasn't thrilled with the food in Dublin, but I'm also no foodie! I did have a lovely lunch at The Pepper Pot (thepepperpot.ie) located in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. The building was open and airy with lots of windows and greenery. They had a variety of breakfasty-brunchy foods and freshly made pastries. I specifically went there for the bacon, pear and cheddar sandwich that I saw when I did a scan of the menu. The flavors were on point, but the chunky pear cubes made it hard to eat because they kept falling off the bread. Chunky pears aside, I would most definitely go back for it becasue YUM!
My favorite meal in Dublin came from Chimac (www.chimac.ie) a small restaurant that specializes in Korean fried chicken. I got the poutine and IT. WAS. GOOOOOOD. So crunchy and cheesy and flavorful, perfectly poutine-y. If you're into fried, yummy goodness, you should definitely give this spot a visit if you're ever in Dublin.
There are so many options for museums and cultural attractions, but since I was only there for two days, I had to be selective. Upon the suggestion of my helpful taxi driver, I decided to make my way to the award winning EPIC Irish Emigration Museum. With interactive exhibits, interesting videos and loads of information, it's no wonder they've won awards. Tickets were about €18, and it was money well spent! It ended up being the perfect way to escape the rain...and enjoy some edibles ;) If you have more time to spend in the city, head over to TripAdvisor.com to see which attractions catch your eye. A cliff walk in the city of Howth was at the top of my list, until I realized how luxurious it felt to be able to sleep in!
So, do you feel inspired to pack your bags and head to Dublin as a party of one?! Leave me a comment if you've got suggestions for which cities I should check out the next time I'm in Ireland!