Flying from Southampton is just great - 10 minutes from home to the airport. Shame the air fares had grown so much of late. Cheap tickets with Flybe to Dublin were just the dose to beat pre-christmas boredom. Our hotel, the Westin, at £250 per night was courtesy of EasyHotels (see Sardinia 2005 for that story). The short bus trip from the airport in to the city centre dropped us near to our hotel and allowed a baggage drop off. We had already purchased two Dublin Passes for two days and a one day City Tour bus card each. These cards are a must for hassle free, no queueing travel with commentary on the bus.
We had planned a packed day of sight-seeing to justify the purchase of these cards so immediately got stuck in. The Guiness Storehouse was must - at the top is a Guiness bar with 360 degree panaroma with a complimentary pint of the black stuff. Next, we visited the Old Jameson Distillery museum and adjacent chimney tower with a glass lift to the top for views of Dublin. We also squeezed in the Christchurch Cathedral and a combined walking / bus tour of the town, crossing the River Liffey a couple of times. The evening was spent on Temple Bar, which was truly the most relaxed street in the world. Every bar was packed with friendly people, traditional Irish music and we enjoyed a great meal in one the reastaurants. This was one of those nights that should not have ended.
Another packed day which included a guided tour of Dublin Castle with hundreds of years of history including the remains of an ancient viking fort and the state apartments, the City Museum, Grafton Street shopping centre and St Stephen's Green park. By the afternoon, we started walking northwards, up O'Connell Street where the very impressive Spire monument scrapes the sky. After a few guiness stops, we were forced to catch a bus back to the airport for the flight home.
The overwhelming and lasting impression of Dublin was that it is very grey town but with the most colourful atmosphere. It is on our short list of places that we must return to.