After arriving at Dublin Airport from Charlotte, NC at 5:30 a.m. we headed in to Dublin on the airport bus. The bus dropped us a couple of blocks from our hotel just North of the Custom House and the River Liffey. After dropping our luggage off to be stored at the hotel until check-in we headed out for our first breakfast in Ireland. All of our planned activities this first day kept us North of the Liffey so we set off for Parnell Square and a little breakfast/brunch place called Lovinspoon, 13 North Fredrick Street, Dublin 1. This is a great little place with good service and tasty food. Very friendly proprietors and quite economical. Our breakfast came to about 6.50 euro.

Poached eggs on homemade brown bread was delicious. Had tea with breakfast and it was served properly, in a pot, with very hot water so tea could steep. Also served with milk and sugar. Brown bread accompanies almost every meal in Ireland and every homemade brown bread is a little different. Try them all.

After breakfast we headed to our first stop The Hugh Lane Gallery. If you are a lover of stained glass than this is a stop you should make. The gallery is free and located in Charlemont House which dates to 1763. It houses a remarkable and quite famous work by Harry Clarke, a renowned stained glass creator. The piece is called, The Eve of St. Agnes.

Another reason to visit the gallery is the Francis Bacon Studio. The artist’s studio was moved to the gallery in it’s entirety. The studio is a fascinating look into the creative process of one man. The gallery also has a cafe and bookshop to revive you after viewing the displays.

After visiting the gallery we headed to the Jameson Distillery. This was one of our favorite places in Dublin. The distillery is really welcoming and not nearly as crowded or overwhelming as the Guiness Storehouse. They give a great tour and whiskey tasting. I hate to admit it but I had never tasted whiskey before so I didn’t know quite what to expect.

They offer a variety of tours but we took the basic one. It’s best to reserve a tour on line as you can book a specific time. The advantage — you don’t have to wait in line and you’re let in a separate door. It can get quite busy so sometimes the lines can be long.

The tour guides are great and give you the history of the company and the whiskey making process. The last thing on the tour is the tasting.

As you can see from the picture the tasting portions are quite generous. You try three different liquors: scotch, American whiskey, and Jameson. Don’t do this on an empty stomach.

When your tasting is finished, you return to the main area and use a coupon (included in the tour) to get another sample of Jameson. You can have a straight shot, on ice, or a specially mixed drink. I opted for the mixed drink and it was delicious. My husband was a purist and had his straight up.

You’d think after this we would have had enough. Not us. We went from Jameson’s Distillery to the Guinness Storehouse where we had pre-booked our time. They are relatively close together so we were able to walk there easily. Jameson’s is smaller and more intimate. Guinness is like a trip to the circus in comparison. This tour is self-guided so you can take as long as you like and read every caption on every exhibit if you want to.

You get a pint of Guinness as part of your entrance fee and there are several ways to retrieve your pint. You can take a lesson on pouring your own pint (my husband did that). You can get your pint in the Gravity Bar, or you can get a pint at the bar and eatery. At this bar you can opt for a pale ale instead of the famous dark beer. Remember pints in Ireland are 20 ounces instead of 16 like in the U.S. The Gravity Bar has a 360 degree viewing of Dublin but is usually jam packed with people.

After the day’s adventures we headed back to the hotel to finally check in. After a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant we returned to our room for a good night’s sleep.

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