To round out our Christmas Irish vacation, after visiting Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny and Galway, we spent our last three days, including New Year’s Eve and Day, in Dublin. This article explains what we did and provides some (hopefully) useful tips!
DAY ONE: IRISH COFFEE, JAMESON & A PUB CRAWL!
We arrived in Dublin around noon on the 30th of December, having driven from Galway directly to our hotel, The Davenport (see below for more info on The Davenport!). Some had a brief rest on arrival, while others walked over the River Liffey for an Irish coffee at Dan’s favorite Irish coffee shop, Vice’s. We discovered Vice’s on a Dublin food tour on a previous visit and now Vice’s is in our permanent itinerary. As always, Vice’s Irish Coffee was absolutely delicious, and this time we also split a chicken toastie (not nearly as good as the coffee). We also got a little visual tour of Dublin en route; holiday crowds were out strong.
After getting back to our hotel, we geared up for a big evening! First up, an hour long tour of the Dublin Jameson “distillery”, which is really just a museum relating to Jameson whiskey and whiskey production in Dublin. In any case, its a must for any first visit to Ireland and one of Betty’s favorites! In fact, she was really disappointed this time around that they no longer had the whiskey tasting challenge at the end! The crowds were a bit crazy at Jameson, but we had pre-booked tickets far in advance so that didn’t matter for us. I think everyone enjoyed the tour and we had dinner after just across the river at the historic Brazen Head Pub.
Post dinner and Jameson tour, our evening ended with a Literary Pub Crawl near Grafton Street. Dan and I had taken this tour before, and it’s really interesting in terms of Irish literary history, while simultaneously visiting five historic pubs. Over protest, Betty made it all the way through with a little whiskey encouragement. We called it a night after the final pub in preparation for the big holiday coming up!
DAY TWO: NEW YEAR’S EVE IN DUBLIN!!
Our second day in Dublin was another busy one, with us trying to fit in SO MANY tourist attractions before things began closing for the holiday. Up first was breakfast at The Davenport and then a quick walk by St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral en route to Vice’s for another fabulous Irish coffee! We also walked over the River Liffey, including the Ha’Penny Bridge. We were lucky and had nice weather for the last day of the year!
After our morning of sightseeing, we returned to The Davenport for what was supposed to be a nap, but turned into lunch at the hotel bar and meeting back up with Pryor, Myra and Bryan, who had returned from meeting up with Bryan’s family in Donegal. The Davenport pours a good Guinness.
That evening everyone put on their holiday best and headed out for two big events! First, Pearse Lyon Gin School where everyone toured the Pearse Lyon Distillery and then participated in a 1.5 hour class where we made our own gin. Dan and I did this back in February and had so much fun, we just had to book it again for the entire group. This was very fun and a great way to start our evening!
After Gin School, we had an 8 PM resy at The Church, where Dan and I ate back in February. The Church had a big NYE prix fixe party that allowed us to have a 3 course dinner and the table thereafter until 2 AM. Everything was great, but drink service slowed significantly as the clock approached midnight. In any case, The Church played great jams and had a balloon drop at midnight. The whole experience was awesome, so great that its going to get its own post for those planning something similar.
Finally, pro tip for NYE, we pre-booked a taxi through Booking.com, which was much cheaper than booking an Uber or taxi directly from a company. We were driven around from our hotel to the Gin School, from the Gin School to The Church and back to the Davenport at 1 AM for a grand total of $50 (and there were 9 of us!). This was so much cheaper than anything else that we tipped our drive another $50. Definitely figure out transportation in advance if you cannot walk.
DAY THREE: NEW YEAR’S DAY IN DUBLIN!
Given that we had a LATE night on the 31st, we slept in on the 1st and enjoyed brunch at The Davenport prior to heading out for a big day of Dublin sightseeing! And, some of us even woke up early enough to hit Grafton Street for luxury shopping at Brown Thomas. As always, LV had a fabulous Christmas display at Brown Thomas.
All 9 of us set our around midday for our first stop – Teeling’s! And, if you are traveling on January 1st in Dublin, you may want to pre-book your taxi. We had a very difficult time finding Ubers early (err mid) in the day. I guess everyone was sleeping in! In any case, we made it to Teeling’s RIGHT on time and, lucky for us, John Teeling, one of the founders (!!!) was there in person and gave our tour! This was made even cooler by the fact that Mr. Teeling taught at the University of Richmond at one point, which is where me, Pryor and Bryan went to college. This was my second time taking Teeling’s tour, and I think it’s the best whiskey tour in Dublin. Prove me wrong!
After Teeling, some of us walked and others cabbed to the Guinness Storehouse, which is about 1 12 minute walk from Teeling.
We had pre-purchased timed tickets and we were early, but the line was AROUND the block. Luckily we were able to get in at our designated time, otherwise our whole day would have been thrown off. Know that the Guinness Storehouse is crazy on New Year’s, probably because it’s one of the few tourist attractions open on New Year’s Day. Well, we got in and it was actually not too bad once inside. We made our way through the museum, made our Stouties, and enjoyed a Guinness at the Gravity Bar, just as it was getting dark.
After Guinness, we ended our day (and trip) with a 3 course tasting menu at Gallagher’s Boxty House, one of my favorite restaurants in Dublin! The menu was really great and of course we added Boxty Fries, my very favorite, to the order! If you do visit Gallagher’s over the holidays, note that they do have mandatory prix fixe menus on certain days/times, particularly for larger groups. Pics below if you are interested.
And finally, as our dinner was quite early and we were up late packing, we ordered a late night pizza from D8, lol! I found D8 on UberEats, and it was actually kind of good and a great way to end our proper trip.
DAY FOUR: LEAVING DUBLIN AND FLYING TO THE USA = (
We unfortunately had to check out on January 2nd and fly back to the States. Our flight was around noon and we used the same driver we did coming in, the FABULOUS John (info below), to drive us to the airport. We were split between 2 flights leaving about 30 minutes apart from each other, so we were all able to go to the airport together. Don’t forget when flying out of Dublin or Galway, Americans clear US Immigration and Customs in Ireland at the airport, so leave extra time!
WHERE WE STAYED: THE DAVENPORT
This trip to Dublin, we stayed at the American-friendly Davenport Hotel, which I found from a mention in Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. Given that we were traveling with 9 people of varying ages and social statues, we found The Davenport, which has American sized beds and a good location, was a great fit for our group. We really enjoyed our stay, especially the design of the hotel, see pics below!
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR VISITING DUBLIN OVER NYE
- Dublin has a host of free activities on and around NYE, details of which are released shortly before NYE. Keep an eye on Dublin’s public channels for the best information. In general, expect crowds and cold, but good performances, shows, fireworks, etc.
- If you are not doing one of Dublin’s public events, book a private dinner or a party in advance. We booked our dinner at The Church in mid-November.
- Teeling’s and Guinness Storehouse are open on January 1. Teeling was chill and Guinness was a crowded mess with a line around the block for those even with tickets. Allow extra time.
- Christmas decor will still be up and beautiful through the New Year!
- Daylight hours are short. Get out early if you want to take advantage.
- Like Galway, Dublin has holiday sales this week. Expect shops to be a little crazy, especially on the likes of Grafton Street.
- A lot of Ireland is off for the holidays between Christmas and New Year, so expect pubs, tourist attractions, restaurants, etc. to be crowded every daily. Allow yourself a little extra time.
- Make dinner reservations during this period in advance, especially if there is somewhere you must go. Also note that many restaurants, especially on NYE and NYD, have prix fixe menus. I encountered this a couple times, but prices were reasonable.
- Plan for all tourist attractions to close early on NYE and possibly not open on New Year’s Day (and even the 2nd if over a weekend).
- Despite the crowds and holidays, Dublin was still as great, friendly and welcoming as ever! I would not hesitate to spend another holiday here!
STEAL OUR TRIP
The Davenport: 8-10 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin, Ireland. We booked via Expedia because the fare was much less expensive.
Driver: John at +353 87 258 8288. I CANNOT recommend John enough. Send him a What’s App message to book. John drives all over Ireland.
Vice’s: My post on Vice’s – visit for information.
Jameson Bow Street Experience: Bow St, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 N9VH, Ireland. Open daily 10:30 – 6:00 Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 7:00 on Saturday, 12:00 – 6:00 on Sunday. The standard tour and tasting is around 30 euro.
Brazen Head Pub: 20 Lower Bridge St, Usher’s Quay, Dublin, D08 WC64, Ireland. Open daily 12:00 -11:30. Reservations possible for larger groups by emailing.
Literary Pub Crawl: 9 Duke St, Dublin, D02 NR76, Ireland. Book in advance, as this tour sells out!
Pearse Lyon Gin School: My post on Perse Lyon – visit for information.
The Church: My post on The Church – visit for information.
Guinness Storehouse: My post on the Guinness Storehouse – visit for information.
Teeling Distillery: 13-17 Newmarket, The Liberties, Dublin 8, D08 KD91, Ireland. Open daily 11:00 – 6:00, until 7:00 on Saturday. The standard tour is 18 euro and goes up to 30 euro depending on tasting.
Gallagher’s Boxty House: This is my review on Gallagher’s – visit for information.
D8 Pizza: 28 Clanbrassil Street Lower, Portobello, Dublin 8, D08 V4Y6, Ireland. Open late every night. Pretty decent for late night pizza delivery in Ireland, LOL!
Brown Thomas: 88-95 Grafton Street; Dublin, Ireland. This is the main location on Grafton Street and where we did our luxury shopping.