One of the worst parts of international air travel is coming back home. And by that, I don’t even mean the fact that your international adventure is over. (Although, let’s be real. That isn’t easy, either.) No, what I mean is that you arrive back in the United States only to stand in line for who knows how long, reeling from jetlag, in order to clear customs and immigration.
But international travelers flying into the United States from Dublin are required to complete Dublin Airport US Preclearance. You read that right: air travelers pass through United States customs and immigration before even leaving Ireland…or even Europe! While Dublin preclearance still requires you to wait in line, it gets the immigration check out of the way early.
This is especially relevant to travelers taking advantage of direct flights to Dublin with Aer Lingus. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than arriving at your home airport after hours on an international flight and being able to simply go home without any extra checks. While this guide is generally for those with US citizenship, it also applies to international visitors, too.
Some of the best things to do in Dublin do not actually cost any money at all. Capital cities often have a reputation for being rather expensive. But there are plenty of fun free things to do in Dublin without being a budget traveler. The capital of the Republic of Ireland has so much to offer. And visitors to Dublin can enjoy beautiful architecture, experience history, visit free museums in Dublin and more without spending a single Euro. Spend a long weekend in Dublin without breaking the bank or feeling like you are missing out!
With its relatively compact size and flat terrain, Dublin, Ireland is a fantastic quick trip. The Irish capital city is full of history, a lovely landscape, Irish charm and, yes, pubs! With great museums (some of which are free!) and a bonafide castle in the of town, it’s not difficult to fill up a long weekend (plus maybe a few extra days) in Dublin. In fact, the difficult part might be limiting yourself to only a weekend in the Emerald Isle!
I’ve put together a travel guide for how to spend a long weekend in Dublin with some of my favorite spots from my recent trip!
If Howth is the Dublin day trip to experience a quiet seaside village, then a day in Dún Laoghaire is one for experiencing true Irish life. Dún Laoghaire is home to a bustling city center; a waterfront area complete with a harbor, promenade, and piers; not to mention the Irish National Maritime Museum.
Where Dublin is a busy, congested and rowdy capital city, just a short rail ride away in Howth it is like a different world. A peninsula along Ireland’s jagged eastern coast, Howth juts into the Dublin Bay. It seems worlds away from Dublin.
Pretty sailboats dot the marina while larger fishing vessels go in and out of the harbor. Charming homes and businesses in pretty pastel colors line the streets which get steadily steeper as you head towards the peninsula’s interior. But it is the Howth cliff walk along the edge of the sea that stole my heart and, quite simply, took my breath away.
Whether you simply want to sit quietly along the windy coast and watch the seagulls gliding effortlessly over the crashing waves and the odd frolicking seal; or take a hike along the cliffs of Howth, no visitor to Dublin should miss the chance to visit Howth, if only for a single day’s escape. Howth is an easy and rewarding day trip from Dublin.