Weekend trip to Dublin and Belfast

My husband’s birthday was last week, so to celebrate we took a weekend trip to Dublin. It has been years since I have been in Dublin (I trained as a teacher there) so it was lovely to go back.

The city centre itself is small and easy to get around on foot, and we caught the Luas (tram) in from our hotel every day, which took 9 minutes. Our hotel was next to the Guinness Storehouse but we did not end up going there, for some reason!

My family used to be the Guinness bottlers.


We were all checked in to our hotel by 11am the day we arrived in Dublin, so we went out and did Grafton Street (where we stopped for tea and scones at Bewleys).

We then popped into Avoca, Penneys, Dunnes, Boots, and went by the Post Office on O’ Connell Street. After that we went to a restaurant and pub near our hotel for a birthday dinner.

The next day it was off to Trinity College to see the Long Room and Book of Kells. I am always in awe of the Long Room. So many ancient handbound books, arranged in order of size, and still in use.

I have written before about how the word books would be one I use to describe myself, so this kind of place is my heaven. Reading is a key to so many things – knowledge, inspiration, research, other worlds – and yet when this library was created, not that many people knew how to read. Reading is something we take for granted, but I come from a country where literacy is not a given so I try to remember how lucky I am. My dad taught me to read when I was very young and that has been one of the great things that life has given me.

The last time I was here, I saw the real Book of Kells. This one is a copy because there is renovation work taking place and they want to protect the original from theft and dust.

After that we went for a walk around Temple Bar. It is very touristy but we figured we may as well!

That night we went to Flanagans in O’Connell street for fish and chips. It was unprepossessing and not touristy which was really nice.

The next day we went by train to Belfast. It takes about 90 minutes from Dublin and is a really pretty trip – you travel by the sea for part of the way which is lovely. It was weird to realise that we were leaving the EU. The Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border is such a sensitive issue that it would be such a pity if it ends up being a hard border again. The border issue was covered extensively in newpapers in both Dublin and Belfast.

We wandered around looking at Belfast city centre

And then stopped at Bootleggers for a very late lunch as we would be on the train until about 8pm. We watched them making Irish coffees so we thought we would have some before we went home. I am not much of a drinker (one glass of wine is my maximum) but I love hard cider and Irish whiskey!

On our last day we went in to town for a long walk, tea (at Lily’s café) and lunch and then flew home again.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

10 thoughts

  1. Oh I didn’t know you were related to Michael Carr. My grandma is a Carr too (it’s such a common name in Ireland!). I’ll have to check if she is related to Michael Carr. Who knows?!

      1. So your uncle was the bottler of Guinness? That’s great! I’m even more interested in looking into the history of that family to see if it’s connected to mine. I’m gonna take our family tree out!

      2. Yes his company got the contract for a time. I think they had regular procurements at that time. I have my DNA results on ancestry and found some relatives that way, so if you have had yours done, it will find out if we match!

      3. Unfortunately I don’t rely on that DNA test as most of the people I know who have done it roughly found the same origins with just a difference in %. My father had his family tree professionaly as well as one of my uncle’s on my mum’s side and they were able to trace it back to the late 1700s. I also have a whole branch of the family in Ireland (Fitzpatrick, O’Conell and Carr) so they might know.

  2. Hi Janet, Looks and sounds indeed like you had a great trip! Thank you for sharing. I particularly love the photo of the pub. We had a “Grafton Street Pub” by our office that was very popular. We were 2,000 in the building and had many lunches and parties in that pub thru the years!

  3. Wow – sounds like you managed to pack in quite a lot on your visit. Glad you enjoyed it. I love being home in Dublin, even if it’s just for work, each month.

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