Today’s first activity is the very highly recommended Dublin City Bike Tour. Note this your only runs March to November, but it receives virtually universal raves and is obviously very eco friendly. The 2-3 hour, 7.5km tour starts at 10am and you need to get there at 9.30am for check in and orientation. There’s no time to go out for breakfast today, so pack a box of cereal and a carton of soy milk for breakfast at your hotel. The meeting place is Issac’s hostel. It’s 24 Euros or 20 Euros for students, which is great value for Dublin.
During the tour you’ll hit central Dublin highlights like Docklands, Grand Canal, Merrion Square, Portobello, George Bernard Shaw’s Birthplace, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Dublin Castle. This is a great alternative to the hop-on/hop-off bus to get orientated to the city. Plus, one of the best things about traveling to Ireland is getting to hear the sexy Irish accents. A bike tour is a great way to get into the Irish spirit.
Dublin’s Bike Share Program
If you’d prefer to be independent, you can use Dublin’s bike share program. There are 44 stations. A 3 day pass is 2 Euros. The initial pass can only be purchased at some of the bike stations, so check their website for the list. The rules of the bike share program are that you can use the bike for up to half an hour for free (you can take and return bikes as much as you want for free, as long as each period is less than half an hour). For longer rides the charges are:
First ½ Hour : free
1 hour : €0.50
2 hours : €1.50
3 hours : €3.50
4 hours : €6.50
Every extra ½ Hour : €2
For lunch, we’re going for tofu pizza from Blazing Salads at 42 Drury St. It’s takeout only so head to take your food to nearby park or square. You can buy the pizza by the slice and they have an excellent selection of salads and bread baked on site (Not open Sundays, which is why they’re on our list for Saturday). Alternatively, there are vegan/raw options to be found at the Temple Bar Food Market.
Grab an early dinner at Cornucopia, an extremely popular vegetarian restaurant with quite a few vegan options. When you’re done with dinner, grab some dessert to go (You might like to use my vegan trick of bringing a small cooler bag on your travels – the soft type you’d use for taking lunch to work). I recommend blueberry silken tofu vegan cheesecake or vegan chocolate fudge cake for dessert. You can view their dessert menu online. Their website clearly lists which items on their menu are vegan, gluten free etc. You can check out their menu before you even leave home.
Evening – Guinness is not Vegan
Going to the Writer’s Museum this afternoon was a warm up for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl that’s on tonight’s itinerary. It starts at 7.30pm and runs 2 1/4 hours. The tour only stops at each pub for around 20 minutes, so even omnis will need to eat beforehand. It’s not hugely boozy, so straight-laced vegans should feel reasonably comfortable. The tour is run by two actors who entertain by reciting pieces from Ireland’s famous writers along the tour.
A word of warning that Guinness is not vegan – a fish derived product called isinglass is used in the processing. The Irish Vegetarian Society has a list of beers available in Ireland that are vegan.
Go back to your hotel and eat your dessert.
At your hotel. Note that if you want to go out for breakfast any day other than Sunday, you can get a vegan version of a classic Irish breakfast at Cornucopia. Everyday except Sunday they open at 8.30am, but on Sundays they don’t open until noon. Highly recommended are their homemade vegan sausages. I just wish their hash browns were vegan.
Morning – Free Dublin Walks – mp3 Audio Guides
The Dublin tourism board has put together an amazing selection of free mp3s of guided walks. Check their offerings, select what you’re interested in, and download the audio guides to your iphone or mp3 player before leaving home. Also, print the associated pdf map. (I like to listen to these types of audioguides at home and follow along on Google maps before I arrive in a city).
Lunch and Packing Some Goodies in Your Suitcase
Head to the Dublin Food Co-op (supermarket but with ready to eat options) for buying lunch supplies. Try the Organica vegan white chocolate and the vegan icecream.
There are various health food/organics store chains (Nourish, Down to Earth, and Heath Matters) who carry Redwood’s Cheezly Vegan Cheese. This cheese is a good cracker or sandwich cheese (rather than particularly a melting cheese). If you’re American and can sort our how to keep the Cheezly cold in transit, you’ll probably want to take some home! Their soy free vegan cheese is particularly recommendable.
Do another audio guided walk or head to one of Dublins’s free museums. The National Gallery of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, and The National Museum of Ireland, are all free.
My preference when I have an evening flight is to skip dinner and take food to the airport to eat once I’ve checked in. It’s nice to relax knowing the check-in procedure is over. My choice for dinner would be to buy extra yumminess at the Dublin Food Co-op and have an airport picnic.