So, it has been a whole year since two broke (and broken) friends wanted to visit Dublin on budget. The life has shifted for me upside down since that, twice, actually, and now I can finally live my happy life. I realized this morning that despite the wonderful trip with one of my best friends to this charming country filled with magic, I never wrote a thing about how it actually felt to be in Dublin, to walk above the Cliffs of Moher and to actually taste a cider in one of the most famous pubs in the world with Irish musicians playing in the background (and foreground, damn, they were pretty loud!^^).
And when is the better time to dive in than in the moments we only dare to dream about being able to travel again, freely?
So, let’s jump in, shall we?
Everyone who has ever been to Prague has to remember our sweet integrated perfect system of public transportation. For me as a person who usually traveled abroad only by car to sea or with organized school trips it wasn’t always so clear. I heard the scary stories about public transport in the US or in Newcastle from my college buddies but despite that, I still used to take the way everything works here as granted. Well, not anymore after my trip to Dublin.
To be honest, I don’t have much to compare the public transport in Dublin with, except to Prague, so maybe in comparison to other big cities, it wouldn’t be bad at all. We experienced some misunderstandings already at the airport but who didn’t, right? Let’s start from the beginning.
Before our trip, I examined the options we had. I wanted something universal that would save us some money and allow us to use different kinds of transportation should we need it. I found that you can buy the Leap Card for 3 or 7 days and that it should let us use trams (luas), Dublin bus and even a rail. I said “Hallelujah!” and we decided to buy it so we needn’t be worry if we, for example, get lost (which never happened, but who could have known?^^).
After our plane landed, we bought the Leap Cards and a coffee and found ourselves a nice connection to our accommodation in a quarter called Drimnagh, finally found the proper bus and went in. We were so surprised when the driver, who didn’t even know how to speak English, tried to explain to us that the Leap Cards are not valid for this kind of the bus connection!
Okay, never mind. We left the bus with the sum we already spent on the bloody Leap Cards in our minds and found the proper Airlink bus where it was okay to use the Leap Card. The connection was kinda longer, but we didn’t mind as we were already tired from the travel. Then, another drama started.
We knew we had to get out of the bus at the beginning of red luas line, The Point stop. What we didn’t know was that the driver will announce the stop after we passed it. So, we missed it, got off the bus one stop later and had to walk back. And we didn’t even know how to cross the streets since the frickin cars were going on the other side! We knew this is a thing in Dublin, but our brains weren’t ready for it. We dragged Janča’s superheavy bag back to The Point and hoped for the Leap Card to work properly on the luas.
So, what do you need to know before going to Dublin? Not every bus is same, I’d say. We are so used to our integrated system of public transport in Czech Republic that it didn’t even cross my mind that this might be a problem. The Leap Card was really helpful and after few walks throughout the city I managed to navigate us to luas stops if needed. It is just good to know that the Leap Card is not completely universal as Prague’s Lítačka which you can use on everything.
Eventually, we managed to get ourselves to Drimnagh and we found the accommodation, but we were rather exhausted.
Luas are a nice way to connect the city center with its peripheries and suburbs. But in comparison to Prague’s metro, these are super tiny and don’t go that often, resulting in really packed trams during the morning and evening rush hours. On the other hand, you can at least see those parts of the city which you won’t have time to properly explore.
Also, don’t mix the directions, especially if you are used to trams and cars driving on the right side of the road as we are. Trust me, it can be really confusing!