The Guinness Store House, the National Wax Museum, Dublin Zoo, Christ Church Cathedral - can you see all these Dublin attractions in one day?
Challenge accepted. We decided to make it a family day out in the city with two kids - aged nearly 2 years and nearly 6 years old. Some of the activities weren't directly kids-related but everyone had fun in the end.
After some research, it became clear that it made sense to try out an activities day pass for the day. There are numerous ones in the market - DoDublin Travel Card and DoDublin Card - but we tried the Dublin Pass as it includes entry to attractions. You download your pass to your phone and off you go.
Here's how we got on.
An early start but not too early - you are on holiday after all. The key to this trip is the hop-on-hop-off Dublin bus tour that comes with a handy pass. With the bus tour you can, as the title says, jump on-off at different junctions through the city. Making it a lifesaver in this little adventure.
The starting point for the bus and this trip is O'Connell Street upper.
Tip: Joining a bus tour will activate your pass, so it is best to start first thing in the morning to make the most of it.
The bus has two sightseeing bus routes around Dublin, you can switch between the two. As we go up O'Connell Street the recorded guide gives us facts about the city as we go. We are deep into the map though as we plan our first stop. You can get the full bus map here.
Our first stop is a combination of sights in Dublin. Stop 10 on the route gives you access to Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick's Cathedral. Dublin Castle is also nearby and definitely worth a look, but since time is a consideration we stick with the churches.
Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin's oldest building and a great place to start the day. Located in the heart of Medieval Dublin, and founded in 1030, it is home to the famous 12th Century crypt - one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland.
Popping in to see the renowned architecture and exquisite floor tiles is well worth it and there are guided tours of the cathedral which are worth a look as well.
From the Archives: A 950 year history of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.
The second stop on this whistle-stop tour of Dublin is St Patrick's Cathedral. Another popular Dublin destination steeped in history, it was built in honour of Ireland's patron saint between 1220 and 1260 a walk through the nave and seeing the 200 monuments and impressive alter makes St Patrick's a definite stop.
Tip: Guided tours of the Cathedral happen regularly throughout the day or a free App can be used for self-guide purpose.
Two places down, it's time to grab a coffee and press on.
The next two places are alcohol-related but don't let that put you off at this early hour. Both venues are steeped in history and have lots of interesting things to see and do.
There are two choices of how to get to the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. You can walk or wait for the hop-on-hop-off bus, but make sure to take the blue route.
A guided tour (approx 1-2 hours) is recommended here so you can take in the fully-operational distillery and learn about the processes from distilling to dram. We only took a quick look around as time was the enemy, and we were out and onto the next stop at 12.15pm.
Next up? The Guinness Store House. It is probably best to get the bus for this one. We stopped in for lunch and took our time taking all that there was to do at the Store House. It took a good chunk of time from our tour but was totally worth it.
The seven-story experience shows, in detail, how the world-famous drink is made. One of the highlights is to sample it for yourself at the end in the panoramic Gravity Bar. The center of it all is the Atrium which takes you through the heritage and history of Guinness; from production and the ingredients, recipe and craft of brewing; to transportation and distribution; as well as advertising and sponsorship.
The Guinness Store House is also the perfect stop for lunch in either the Brewers' Dining Hall, Arthur's Bar or Cooperage Café. Show your Dublin Pass to receive 10% off any purchases!
We are back on the road and back on the bus, which collects you from right outside the Guinness Store House. Once aboard there is a decision to be made. The bus brings you towards Heuston Station, it will go up past it and head for Kilmainham Gaol Museum - which is definitely worth a look - but something else has made it on our to-do list.
Ten minutes after passing the jail we arrive at Dublin Zoo. The zoo closes around 5.30 pm so you have to be concise about what you want to see. When we visited, Dublin Wild Lights had just begun and although the lights weren't lit up, the structures were there and made for a very impressive backdrop.
In our whistle-stop-tour, we took in the monkeys, the elephants, the penguins (our favourites) and rounded it off at the farm.
The evening is winding down so we hop on the bus and go straight into the heart of the city to visit the National Wax Museum. It's open until 10 pm, which is perfect for our time-strapped day. We also visited at the perfect time to take in the spooky Halloween theme.
When you're there, make sure you visit the Wax Factor, Writers Room, Chamber of Horrors and the
Hall of Irish Legends.
The day has well and truly ended and it's time to wrap up our adventure. In just one day, we squeezed in lots of Dublin's best attractions and had a brilliant time with the family.
We were given a 1 Day Adult Dublin Pass to try. They are priced a €62.00 and a child is €33.00. They give you you access to thirty attractions and the company has put together their own Dublin Itinerary which is worth a look.