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Fly Fishing in Dublin, Ireland

SectionHiker visits the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland
SectionHiker visits the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland

My girlfriend and I spent a week in Dublin, Ireland this month. While we have very different tastes in vacation destinations (I like the outdoors, she likes history and great restaurants), we’ve found common ground by vacationing in “walking” cities, like London, Edinburgh, and now Dublin that have lots of history and good food. This was our first trip to Dublin, but I’m sure we’ll go back. We had a wonderful time.

Why Dublin? There’s a direct flight from Boston on Aer Lingus. That was a big reason. I also didn’t want to do any driving on this trip through the Irish countryside (too stressful), and Dublin is big enough for a week’s worth of interesting adventures. We also popped up to Belfast for the day, in Northern Ireland (part of the UK), and visited the Giant’s Causeway, an area of 40,000 interlocking hexagon-shaped basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

The Giants Causeway
The Giants Causeway


Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland which makes it a very cosmopolitan city, full of visitors and diplomats from around the world. We stayed in a boutique hotel, called The Dylan, in the quieter south side of the city, surrounded by many international consulates, but still within easy walking distance of many historic and touristy destinations.

The Dylan is a great hotel. Clean, quiet, with great service, good food and drink. We lucked out. It’s located just south of the Grand Canal, about a 10 minute walk from St Stephen’s Square.


Being Ireland, the local currency is Euros, which currently have a decent exchange rate with US dollars. We got our Euros from banking machines in Dublin using our normal Cirrus-network bankcards – just notify your bank that you want to do this in advance before you travel. Chipped credit cards work also fine here, even ones without a pin code. We used pounds in Belfast that we had left over from a previous trip to the UK.


We walked most places during the day, except for a few more distant destinations that we took cabs to. You can’t hail a cab easily in Dublin, so don’t bother trying. They queue up at taxi stands and hotels around the city and it’s best to hire them there. Tourist buses are also available that will drive you from one attraction to another on a circuit, but we like to walk, so we didn’t use them. You can also hire bikes to ride on in town, and the next time we visit, I plan to bring a bike helmet.

Dublin is a walkers’ city with great Georgian boulevards, wide sidewalks, and large city parks to enjoy. We walked until we couldn’t walk anymore and then walked some more. Every street is mixed business and residential, so there are plenty of things to see, stores, cafes, and pubs to pop into, and no shortage of visual stimulation. We explored the city widely and walked all over.

Statistics Trivia - The Student T-test was invented by the Chief Brewer of Guinness to manage product quality
Statistics Trivia – The Student T-test was invented by the Chief Brewer of Guinness to manage product quality


It rained almost every day, but never very hard, and never for very long. We wore sweaters every day and rain jackets, but the rain was never really heavy enough to need rain pants. Temperatures were in the 50’s and 60’s and really quite pleasant, with a few partly sunny days. With all the rain, it’s no wonder all the vegetation is so green in Ireland.


We like to take walking tours when we visit cities since my girlfriend and I both like learning the history from local experts. We had good luck on this trip with walking tours given by Trinity College students and post graduates. The guides are quite knowledgeable and personable and I consider the fees well worth the value. You buy tickets and meet up with these tours at the main entrance to Trinity College.


Google maps rule. I love paper maps, but Dublin is a medieval city and the paper tourist maps we had access too lacked sufficient detail to navigate the tiny streets, allies, a closes of the city. Google maps has the detail you need to get around as long as you can get GPS access (no cell data access needed).


Free wifi is everywhere. I brought my iPhone as an internet browser/email client mainly and didn’t even bother getting local phone service. You don’t need it.

Food and Drink

The original Guinness Brewery is in Dublin and I drank a lot of Guinness. There are lots of varieties available that you don’t get in the states too, like a Guinness Porter and a Golden Ale. Never got bored quaffing the stuff. We took the Guinness Brewery tour of course, and it’s definitely worth doing, even if you know a lot about brewing beer already. You get a free pint too, when it’s over.

The best restaurants in Dublin are booked weeks in advance and we didn’t get to go to them because we didn’t plan ahead. No worries. We still found a lot of interesting and quirky places to eat. The best deals are the pre-theatre specials early in the evening, which is when we like to eat dinner anyway. Trip advisor, google, and yelp reviews are useful for finding good restaurant recommendations, but there’s a certain amount of “grade inflation” you need to factor in when reading other peoples’ reviews.

Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol

Historic and Scenic Highlights

We saw a lot and did a lot in Dublin, but did it in a relaxed way. Still there’s an excellent “density” of things to see and places to visit.

Fly Fishing

Yes, I brought a Tenkara Rod to Dublin and did a little fly fishing here. My girlfriend made a joke about it when we were packing, so I looked up fly fishing in Dublin and it’s perfectly legal to do without requiring a fishing license. Further googling identified some areas with good river access and I had myself a little adventure (on the border of Phoenix Park.)

Fly Fishing in Dublin on the River Liffey
Fly Fishing in Dublin on the River Liffey

I had to walk about 5 miles to find a decent place to access a river, but the walk was well worth the effort to fish in a big city. Chris Stewart, the TenkaraBum, would be proud!

Struggle for Freedom

All fun aside, I learned a lot about the Irish peoples’ struggle for freedom on this trip that I didn’t know. It’s sobering to realize just how long it took the Irish to break free from British Rule, how brutal the conflict was, and just how recent the struggle has been. The wounds are still very fresh in Dublin. This trip has been a good reminder for me as a US citizen, how lucky we are to have the freedoms we have and the sacrifices that people in other countries are willing to make to fight for them.

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  1. Excellent post. Its worth noting the struggle isn’t over for NI, but Sinn Fein has renewed calls for unity in light of the UK leaving the EU.

  2. Nice write-up of Dublin. I did a semester there in college and loved every minute of it. One additional thing I’d recommend to someone visiting would be the Temple Bar Food Market on Saturdays. It’s a great collection of prepared food booths, when I was there in 09, there was a Mexican stand that I loved and also a place with really yummy lamb sandwiches.

  3. Great that you enjoyed Dublin. Having been born and raised there I love the place and go often. Walking as you did is always the best thing to do in Dublin. I hope that you will go again and perhaps walk in the Dublin mountains or the Wicklow Way.

  4. Did you cast local flies or use patterns you brought? I will tactfully refrain from inquiring about angling success.

  5. Not being as tactful as AB (and extremely jealous), I’ll ask… Were ya fishin’ or catchin’?
    Just fantastic either way! Thanks for sharing, Philip.

  6. “We still found a lot of interesting and quirky places to eat.”

    While I haven’t yet been Across the Pond, I have traveled quite often South of the Border and I try to eat (mostly) like local. To me, it’s part of the experience.

    Once, when we were in Mexico, my wife and daughter stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. I told them I didn’t come to Mexico to go to McDonald’s and I was going to head across the street to the little hole in the wall and chow down on whatever they had there–as long as it was cooked and didn’t have eyeballs staring at me! It may have been a burrito made out of a real burro for all I knew, but it was good.

  7. Dublin is a fascinating city. Did you see the bullet holes in the Post Office? Or try a boxty?

    I walked the Wicklow Way a few years back. It starts in Dublin and then heads south-westerly. Not an exacting,Mars walk but throughly enjoyable.

  8. Very nice Dublin review. Thanks and happy anniversary!

  9. Great post. Last month I spent almost two weeks in Ireland with my family, spending several days in Dublin and a couple days up north. We enjoyed nearly all the same things you mentioned…as well as a trip to Cork, the Ring of Kerry, and Galway. Dublin really is a great city. There is SO much to see and do, and it is really quite affordable. The people were fantastic (this is true everywhere on the island); the only person who didn’t smile and chat us up like we were family was the guy at Customs. There are many places on my bucket list yet to see, but a return trip to Ireland is a must.

    If and when you go back, I strongly recommend spending at least a couple days in Cong. It is about 2.5 hours west of Dublin (and only about 45 mins north of Galway), and is one of the most beautiful places you can imagine, with miles of hiking trails and apparently some world-class trout and salmon fishing.

    Also, Kilarney National Park is stunningly beautiful and very much worth the drive. I agree that learning to drive on the “wrong” side of the road is a little unnerving, but you really do get the hang of it quickly and are then free to go and see places the tour buses don’t go & can’t get to.

    Sorry — obviously I could go on and on. I’m glad to hear you had a good trip, and enjoyed your post.

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