I feel it’s so cliché to say “I LOVE to travel!!” but, call me basic, it’s the truth – and a trip to Ireland is no exception. Because “Dance Moms” was aired in so many different countries, my family has had some really amazing opportunities to travel around the world and meet some fabulous new people. (Trust me, I could wax poetic and get misty-eyed when I think about how fortunate I am, but I am trying not to bore you.)
In August, Chloe and I had the opportunity to take a trip to Ireland – Dublin, in particular – with our friends Jill and Kendall Vertes, Kira Girard and Kalani Hilliker. It’s always such a totally different and fun experience to go places with friends, especially for Chloe. The girls have been traveling together since they were little and these types of trips always end up in sleepovers (girls and moms), sightseeing, shopping (Jill) and usually at least one dramatic incident (this one was SO dramatic I can’t even write about it because I completely blocked it from my mind.)
Jill, Kendall, Chloe & I flew the redeye, so we arrived early morning and went straight to hotel to unpack and shower. (Why is it that you can literally shower immediately before a flight and you are DISGUSTING the minute you land?) Per usual, Kendall ended up in my room and the girls fell asleep immediately. Since sleeping off hours is the WORST thing you can possibly do for jetlag, I jumped on the bed and sang songs until they woke up and I DRAGGED them out of the hotel.
(True Story: cute boys JUST walked by when I took this photo)
While we were waiting for Kira and Kalani to arrive, the four of us went to lunch at restaurant called The Bank. I’m almost certain that I have never ordered anything other than fish & chips (hold the mushy peas) when I am in Ireland or the UK and this trip was no exception. On my personal Fish & Chips Rating Scale, I would give them a solid 4 ½ out of 5 stars. Yum.
Kira and Kalani arrived later that day and we didn’t have time to do much of anything before heading to bed. Our fan events were early the next morning and lasted until late afternoon, so we only had a few hours left in Dublin before heading to our next stop.
When we are traveling for work, we usually don’t have a whole lot of down time to sightsee, and this trip was no exception. However, we have found tricks to make the most of the time we do have.
Stay Close to the Action
We stayed right in the middle of one of the most famous tourist areas in Dublin: Temple Bar. Every building is a hotel, pub or store. We had the MOST fun stopping in all of the little pubs, listening to live music and drinking Guinness (Local tip: add blackberry currant to cut the bitter taste.) The girls were welcome to go into the pubs and listen to the music (no drinking, of course) and hang with us.
Visit Sights Nearby
A quick Google search of “Must Sees in [Insert Whatever City We Happen to Be In]” usually will bring up a list of the highest rated tourist attractions. We just go down the list and see what is walk-able or a quick cab ride away. This trip, we happened to be close to the Ha’penny Bridge and a quick Wikipedia explanation taught us that it’s name comes from the toll that they used to charge to cross from one side of the river to the other. A Half-Penny or Ha’Penny, if you will. See? Culture.
Plan Activities in Advance
This trip to Ireland, we didn’t have an entire free day to do any major activities, so we just walked around and stopped in places that looked interesting. Since we never know exactly how much free time we are going to have on any one particular day, it ‘s hard to make reservations weeks in advance. So, we usually call the night before to schedule times that work around our schedules. For example, in San Francisco, we rented these little yellow cars for a few hours and explored the city. (And I will look for any reason I can to share this gem with the world.)
Ask Locals Where to Go
My best travel tip is always to ask the locals where we should eat or what we should see. They obviously know their cities and are better than any travel guide I have ever read. I have found the best little secret places all around the world and it remains one of my favorite tricks (disclaimer: do NOT go up to random people on the street and try this. Talk to staff at your hotels or restaurants.)
I have been to Dublin a few times before, but some things that stood out to me this trip to Ireland were how charming (and difficult to walk on) the cobblestone streets were, how old all of the pubs are and how friendly the Irish are. The people made us feel SO welcome. In all of my travels, I look for places that I would love to travel back to with Marc and Dublin is definitely high on the list. Or maybe it’s just an excuse to eat more Fish & Chips? Whatever the reason, we definitely will be back!
Thanks for reading and sharing!