After traipsing around the European continent I started wrapping up my journey by going to Dublin. I spent 5 nights in Dublin staying with family friends and had a great time
Accomodation: I ended up staying with some good family friends in Malahide, which is a cute coastal town about 40min outside of Dublin. There is a Generator hostel in the centre of Dublin near Temple Bar. I had a good strike rate with Generator Hostels on my travels and found most of them accessible. I am sure they would be more than happy to answer any questions about accessibility. You can find them here
Transport: As I was staying with friends I mainly got around in their car. However I did catch a train from Malahide into Dublin and while in Dublin I caught a bus. Both were reasonably accessible. On the train I organised a ramp off and on the train which was easy enough to do with the station staff. The bus had a fold down ramp. However because I caught the bus on a weekend it was full and hard to find a spot. This website has information on accessible transport and links to the individual bus and train websites https://www.transportforireland.ie/accessible-travel/
Overall Accessibility: Dublin itself is pretty accessible. The city itself is flat. Most of the main tourist attractions are also flat and as a wheelchair user offer free or discounted entry. Temple Bar can be a bit difficult to get around because of the crazy cobblestones and the narrow pedestrian footpaths.
Day 1 – Flight from Milan, driving tour, Malahide
I had a super early flight from Milan so arrived in Dublin nice and tired. I was picked by the friends I was staying with and they took me on a driving tour around Dublin. We drove past the beautiful colourful doors of the old Georgian houses, past parliament, city hall, The Guiness Brewery (I wasn’t going to go there on this visit, but I have been there before and its fully accessible), and the national gallery. While driving my host provided excellent commentary on the history of Dublin.
We finished at Phoenix Park one of the largest residential parks in Europe. It was huge and had lots of deer walking around. A lovely way to finish a lovely day.
Day 2 – Book of Kells and Trinity College, Powerscourt
My host’s son studies at Trinity College and so took me around the university and to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library. The Book of Kells is one of the oldest known books and also houses the beautifully illustrated Book Of Durrow. The Actual Book Of Kells is a little underwhelming as there are heaps of tourists huddled around it but the museum itself is very interesting and informative. The museum is set over several split levels so there are a number of lifts which the security guard helps with. Some of the lifts are very squishy. The Old Library is also accessible by lift and it houses floor to wall of old books and looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie.
After lunch we drove out of Dublin for about an hour to Powercourt Estate in County Wicklow at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. Powerscourt Estate is a old stately home with an amazing old estate and beautiful gardens. Entry is free for wheelchair users and they provide you with a map that shows an accessible route around the garden. Most of the garden is flat and easy to get around.
That evening was spent at various engagement and house parties with lots of people I didn’t know and accents I couldn’t understand. But because the Irish are so hospitable it was a lovely evening.
Day 3 – Walking tour, 2 plays, Kilkenham jail and Templebar
My host’s daughter had a lot of activities planned for me today. After a late night we started really early so we could make the walking tour however we arrived for the Spanish tour and had to wait an hour for the English version. On our shortened walking tour we went to Dublin Castle and the Chester Betty Library. Our guide had a lot of very interesting stories about Irish history and folklore.
The first play for me today was at Collin’s Barracks. Collins Barracks is where the English Army used to be placed. The play was a moving interactive play about 38 women who were witnesses to the atrocities of the 1916 Easter Uprising. So It was very interesting and also very historical.
We ended up having lunch in what I was told was the ‘hipster’ area of Dublin on Capel Street. After being rejuvenated by our lunch we continued with our very busy day.
Our next stop was Kilmainham Gaol. Top Tip!!! book your ticket before you go as there are only limited spots on the tours. We didn’t book a ticket, however a security guard took pity on us and gave us our own private tour. Parts of the guided tour are not accessible however you would get a reduced rate ticket and the guides do fill you on the bits you missed.But because got a secret private tour our informal tour guide made sure it was fully accessible – what luck! Kilmainham Goal was originally where convicts were kept before being shipped to Australia. During the Anglo- Irish war it was where many members of the Irish Resistance were kept and became a symbol of Irish independence.
Our last couple of stops were in Temple Bar which is where all the pubs, restaurants and night life can be found. It can be difficult to get around as there are a lot of cobblestones and not many pedestrian paths. Also the buildings are a bit older here. We went into a couple of traditional Irish pubs, ate dinner at a restaurant serving only Potatoes and finished with another play (this one was less historical).
Phew what a day!!
Day 4 – Walking the dogs and the Celtic high crosses
After a full on day yesterday, today was a little more laid back. We started by walking the dogs around the park which also had a castle in it. In Australia we never go to the local park and find a castle, so i found that fascinating.
In the afternoon my host took me to to see the Muiredach High cross in Monasterboice in County Louth about an hour from where we were staying. High crosses are large, tall intricately carved crosses that were erected in medieval times. They had ceremonial and educational uses as they were often inscribed with scenes from the bible and feature celtic knots and Irish symbolism. The high crosses were located in an old cemetery. It was a little bit difficult to get around as the ground was uneven and had lots of deep gravel but very interesting.
I wrapped up my Irish trip with a traditional Sunday evening roast.
And that was Ireland, full of friendly helpful people, great friends and lots of activities.