My husband, Brian, traveled to Dublin, Ireland last week on a business trip. Somehow, I convinced him to write a trip report. He even took photos of the hotel bathroom! Without further ado…
The Trip to Dublin, Ireland
Since my trip was booked only a few weeks in advance, I had to take the cheapest flight, which was United from Dallas to Chicago and Aer Lingus from Chicago to Dublin in coach. (Editors’ note: Aer Lingus from Chicago to Dublin is one of the new 13,000 BA Avios redemptions mentioned in last Friday’s round-up post).
Everything on Aer Lingus is green!
Even the food tray: (this was dinner)
I lucked out and had a center section of three seats to myself. I had access to movies and games through a controller that pulled out of my arm rest and a touch screen on the seat in front of me.
Customs in Dublin was a breeze at 9:30 a.m. in the morning. With only ~4 people ahead of me in line, I just showed my passport and was quickly on my way. No forms, no fuss.
I exchanged $100 to Euros at the airport, but I wanted to take a cab that accepted credit cards so that I could more easily expense it. I had to wait about 15 minutes for a cab to come through that would take my Amex. If you are traveling for leisure, it’s much easier to just use cash.
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
The ride to my hotel, Fitzpatrick Castle, was about 30 minutes and cost ~64 Euros. Coincidentally, this is the same hotel that Leana stayed at which she talked about in her recent trip report on her stopover in Ireland.
My coworkers suggested this hotel due to its proximity to the office. The original part of the hotel was built around 1740 and was later named Killiney Castle. The Fitzpatrick family took ownership in the 1970s and added onto it to turn it into a hotel.
My room was ready when I arrived, so I was able to have about 2 hours to rest before I had to meet up with my coworkers. Except the fire alarm went off in the middle of that, so I only napped for 30 minutes. That was probably for the best anyway, since I needed to push through the time zone change to get adjusted more quickly.
My room was a “Classic” room with a full size bed. The room was bigger than many European hotel rooms I’ve stayed in before. It did not have a sea view, but other rooms in the hotel did.
It had a desk and a round table with two chairs.
The bathroom was small but fairly modern and updated.
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel certainly has a lot of charm and is not a typical cookie-cutter hotel. Here are some photos of the lobby area:
The stairs and hallways felt like I was inside somebody’s home.
The hotel has an indoor pool. It must also be open to outside groups, because one morning there was a children’s swimming class.
The gym had an adequate amount of cardio and weight machines which I used a few times during my stay.
Breakfast at the hotel was adequate and included with our rate. The buffet included fried eggs, scrambled eggs, Irish bacon, sausage, hash browns and white and black pudding.
Exploring the Hills and Dalkey
One afternoon, I went with some coworkers to explore the area around our hotel and downtown Dublin. We walked to the park behind the hotel and ran into this statue of Daedalus.
We could also see another castle below us, although I’m not sure of the name:
As we walked farther in the park, we could see a tall structure emerging from the fog.
It was the Killiney Obelisk!
More views of the coast:
We walked back down the hill to the road in front of our hotel to make our way to Dalkey. We saw some parts of Dalkey Castle that were still standing:
Taking the train to Downtown Dublin
My group decided to hop on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) to downtown Dublin. The station is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, and the ride to downtown was ~30 minutes.
It started to get dark in Dublin around 4:30 p.m. We first walked around the University of Dublin/Trinity College, founded in 1592.
We also explored Dublin Castle from the outside. It is quite a large complex.
Overall impressions of hotel and Dublin
I had never been to Ireland before. It was cold, wet and foggy for most of the time during my trip.The people were friendly and happy, especially the taxi drivers.
To be honest, I found the food in Ireland to be very bland compared to what I am used to. Each meal had two or three potato dishes. One night we went to an Indian restaurant, and my taste buds were happy to taste flavor for a change. Of course, when I got back to Texas I had to get some Mexican food ASAP!
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel was charming and had some beautiful views, but it was not in the center of Dublin and a little bit of a trek to get to the city center. In fact, I asked the hotel if there was a gift shop anywhere nearby to buy my kids some souvenirs, but the closest one was a 50 Euro cab ride. I did discover that there is a bus to the airport for only 10 Euros, which I took for my return trip.
Funny story about souvenirs, which I wound up buying at the airport. I bought my oldest a winter Ireland hat, my middle son a stuffed leprechaun and my daughter an Irish rag doll. I also purchased some Guinness chocolate bars, both dark and milk, for Nancy and the kids to share.
When I got home, I tasted the chocolate bar and I immediately knew that something was off. Yes, the chocolate bars contained Guinness beer! I thought they were just called Guinness since there were a ton of Guinness-branded souvenirs. Nope, they were alcoholic chocolate bars. The back even said not to be consumed by anyone under the legal drinking age. Oops! Sorry, kids.
If I return to Ireland, next time I’d love to branch out of Dublin to visit Giant’s Causeway and some of the countryside.
Note from Nancy
It’s not often I’m jealous of my husband’s business trips, but I admit I was envious of this one. It’s been years since I’ve been to Europe. I had enough British Airways Avios to buy a ticket and tag along, but alas we had no childcare.
Based on both Brian’s and Leana’s reviews, I think I would love Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, and a family room could fit my entire family. The scenery looks gorgeous. The cost of rooms is not too expensive, so I would consider this hotel if we do end up taking a trip to Europe with a stop in Dublin.
Thank you, Brian, for humoring me by taking photos and putting together this trip report!
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.