Spend A Day In Dublin Cruising Ireland From North To South

Day In Dublin Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Cruising Ireland From North To South – Londonderry, Belfast and Dublin

We finished our cruise through the Nordic countries with a day in Dublin. We were so excited to get a small taste test of Ireland from North to South on this cruise. We started with a stop by Londonderry and a day trip to walk the Giant’s Causeway. Docked in Belfast, we toured along the scenic Ards Peninsula. And a day in Dublin brought back great memories of a visit long ago.

I know some eyes rolled when I talked about all of these stops as “Ireland”. Londonderry, the Giant’s Causeway and Belfast are all in Northern Ireland. This country is in the United Kingdom (UK). In fact the “Troubles” were fought over this exact issue – whether to be part to the UK or distinct. Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland and is not part of the UK. But permit me the liberty to think of the different parts of this great island as facets of the bigger whole.

Anchored in Greencastle For Londonderry

We knew we arrived in Ireland when we awoke and looked out the window at the green rolling hills. Londonderry was on the Foyle River at the end of the long Lough Foyle. Most cruise ships stop in the port in Greencastle at the mouth to the Lough. There was a commercial dock a little further in. But we heard it was a more expensive port to stay at. And not quite as quaint!

Greencastle North Ireland.jpg

Greencastle North Ireland.jpg

Our cruise ship anchored in the bay off of Greencastle around 1pm after the almost 2 day sail from our stay in Iceland. It then was a short tender ride to the dock. But with a 6.5 hour tour, the tender trip back and forth made it a long day.

Greencastle North Ireland.jpg

Drive To Londonderry

I did not look closely at my map before we departed the ship. Even though we were at a very northern point, I was surprised to learn that we actually landed in the Republic of Ireland. As we drove through Londonderry, we passed into Northern Ireland. It was strange to see us change from kilometres to miles. But I was glad they both still drove on the same side of the road.

The bus took us through Londonderry but did not stop. We caught a quick glimpse of the Peace Bridge in town. And saw the golf course recently used for the British Open. But unfortunately we were so late returning from our trip that we could not get off in Londonderry and make our way back to the dock before sailing.

The first stop on our day trip was at a viewpoint out to the Dunluce Castle ruins. The cloudy skies added a moody air to this deserted spot. We did not get a chance to get closer.

Londonderry Dunluce Castle Ruins.jpg

But we were quickly hustled back on the bus. Most of this tour day would be spent on a walk along the Giant’s Causeway. Definitely a great stop on our tour of Ireland from north to south.

Walking The Giant’s Causeway

We had a brief 2 hour stop at the Giant’s Causeway. We moved quickly to see as much as we could after the shuttle bus dropped us at the main area. Stone pillars started at ground level and grew in size as we moved along the shore.

Giants Causeway Northern Ireland - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Giants Causeway Northern Ireland - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

The red cliffs above the Giant’s Causeway called to us. As we navigated the slippery mud, we saw amazing sites in the the walls. And stunning sights when we turned the corner at the top.

Giants Causeway Northern Ireland - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Giants Causeway Northern Ireland - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

A walk along the Giant’s Causeway was such a fascinating stop on our tour of Ireland from north to south.

The Modern City Of Belfast

We had one rainy day in Belfast. There were a number of tours that went around the city of Belfast. But we chose to do a tour that took us outside of the city along the Ards Peninsula. What we saw of Belfast we got through the bus windows as our guide provide background information.

As we drove along we saw a lot of street art that depicted the historical conflicts in Northern Ireland. And showed that not all of the conflict was forgotten. But was also saw street art that reflected the cultural revival of this city. We saw much lighter themed street art when we spent a day in Dublin.

Belfast City Murals Street Art - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Belfast City Murals Street Art.jpg

Shops and restaurants lined the streets. Our guide talked about the entertainment now available in the city. Belfast certainly looked like a spot to return on a visit to Ireland from North to South.

Along The Ards Peninsula

We left Belfast and drove out along the Ards Peninsula. The main stop on our day trip from Belfast was at Grey Abbey. It was one of Ireland’s most impressive examples of early gothic architecture. We walked around the grounds and looked at the abbey ruins in a beautiful park setting.

Grey Abbey Ruins Ards Peninsula - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Grey Abbey Ruins Ards Peninsula - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Even though it poured rain while we explored, we enjoyed the chance to walk around the ruins of the Grey Abbey. An interesting spot to visit if you travel in Ireland from North to South.

Our final stop was the small fishing village of Donaghadee on the Irish Channel. We walked along the harbour in the rain. But were glad to have a stop for Irish Coffee at the Pier 36 Pub.

Donaghadee Town.jpg

Pier 36 Pub Donaghadee Town.jpg

As we drove back to Belfast, the Irish Sea presented a very different side of the Ards Penninsula. This was definitely a spot to return to when we come back to visit Ireland from North to South.

Returning For A Day In Dublin

Our final Irish port as we finished up our cruise of the Nordic countries was Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Many years ago I spent some time in Dublin on business. So it was great to return for a quick day in Dublin. After the ship docked, we took the shuttle from the cruise dock into town.

There were many ways to take a tour in Dublin. We originally planned to take a river tour. Our local friend Jim suggested we do the duck boat tour. But the grey skies did not bode well for the day. So we just walked and walked. We were sure we would find a pub or two if the rain came!

Viking Splash Tours.jpg

The Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre were along our route as we headed to the Liffey River. The interesting Ha’penny Bridge was a good spot to stop along the river.

Dublin Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre - Dublin For A Day.jpg

River Liffey Hapenny Bridge.jpg

There was so much to see when we had a quick visit in Dublin on this return to Ireland.

Delighted By Colourful Dublin

We were amazed at the colourful flowers that decorated the fronts of the stores and pubs. We made sure to stop at the iconic Temple Bar. Even if we did not go in for a beer.

Bulding Flowers.jpg

Bulding Flowers.jpg

Temple Bar - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Temple Bar - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

We found a very eclectic collection of street art when we visited Belfast. Much of that carried strong political messages. On our day in Dublin, we were delighted with the whimsical street art we found.

Street Art.jpg

Street Art.jpg

Setanta Street Art - Dublin For A Day.jpg

Even on a rainy day in Dublin, we found colour everywhere to brighten our day.

Churches Around Dublin

We marked a number of churches on our online map of Dublin. The vast Christ Church Cathedral sat at the intersection of several streets. It even had a bridge over the road. An interesting statue of a sleeping person was on a bench was outside of the cathedral.

 Church Christchurch Cathedral - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

 Church Christchurch Cathedral - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

From there we wandered to St Audoens Church. While I enjoyed the grounds outside, David headed inside. It was both pretty and historic. David touched the lucky stone for both of us.

Church St Audoens - Dublin For A Day.jpg

Church St Audoens.jpg

Church St Audoens - Dublin For A Day.jpg

As we walked along we saw the St. Augustine and St. John The Baptist Catholic Church. It was a stunning red stone building on the outside. And inside we found a beautiful and ornate church. I was drawn to the stained glass windows.

Church St Augustine and St John the Baptist - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Church St Augustine and St John the Baptist - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

Church St Augustine and St John the Baptist - Dublin For A Day.jpg

Church St Augustine and St John the Baptist - Dublin For A Day.jpg

Church St Augustine and St John the Baptist - Dublin For A Day.jpg

We got a little lost on our way to meet our friend. The statues in front of the Whitefriars Carmelite Church beckoned us inside. But we really did not have time to do more than peek into the entrance at this church.

Church Whitefriars Carmelite - Dublin For A Day.jpg

The final church on our map was St. Patricks. We wandered in the park beside the church. But were out of time to explore the inside.

Church St Patricks Cathedral - Dublin For A Day.jpg

Church St Patricks Cathedral - Dublin For A Day - Cruising Ireland From North To South.jpg

There were so many churches to explore on a visit to Ireland from North to South. So we were glad we took the time in Dublin to see a few more closely. When we hit Southampton, we continued our look at beautiful churches when we visited the Salisbury Cathedral.

Finished With A Pub Stop In Dublin

We headed quickly through the St. Stephen’s Green Park. It looked like a spot to spend more time. But we were more excited when we headed to a local pub and met our friend Jim for a drink.

St Stephens Green.jpg

We were sorry we missed the Guinness tour on this visit to Dublin. But David was glad he got a Guinness at the Doheny & Nesbitt Pub before we left. When we visited Belfast, I had Irish whisky in my first Irish Coffee. Of course, I needed just another one of those. Visiting the whisky distilleries and the Guinness brewery were definitely on the list for a return trip to Ireland from North to South.

Doheny Nesbitt Pub Guinness.jpg

Doheny Nesbitt Pub Guinness.jpg

We were glad our cruise stopped in Dublin for the day. It was certainly not enough time to see this city or the surrounding area. But we loved the chance to catch up with a friend. And we got a taste test of why we need to return.

Dublin For A Day Was A Great Way To End When Cruising Ireland From North To South

We were delighted with our small taste test of Ireland from North to South when we did a cruise of the Nordic countries. Our first glimpse of the green shores of Ireland drew us in. Exploring the Giant’s Causeway gave us a view of the volcanic history of this beautiful island. Belfast was a delightful surprise. And spending a day in Dublin was the perfect way to wrap up our taste test of Ireland. We got an interesting glimpse into life in the city and the countryside. And experienced both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the South.

But our short visited just teased us. There was so much more we wanted to explore. A return trip to Ireland will definitely be planned. After we finished our day in Dublin, the cruise ship headed for the final port in Southampton for our last taste of the UK countries.

Have you cruised Ireland From North To South? Did you get a day in Dublin? Did it leave you wanting more?

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  1. A day in Dublin sounds delightful! Your pictures say it all, I must make my way to the area soon. I would love to experience the many sights for myself, especially the Grey Abbey, gothic architecture.

  2. What a great adventure! Looks like you arrived in Dublin when it was in full bloom. Don’t you just love the flower baskets? I haven’t visited Northern Ireland yet but it is high on my list of things to do. There is nothing better than a pint of Guinness in a traditional Irish pub.

    • Jane, I was amazed how much colour we found in Dublin. It certainly brightened a rainy day. Hope you do get to visit Northern Ireland. It was an eye opener for us. Linda

  3. I’m now a great fan of Game of Thrones and they say some of its scenes was held in Northern Ireland. Through your post, it makes me want the visit the place more.. The art, architectural structure and it’s view makes me go back to the ancient times. Also I would like to take pictures of me there where they filmed some of the scenes of game of thrones. Undeniably, the place is instagramble.

  4. That must have been a really enchanting cruise. Your pictures have lovingly captured the vibrant colour and beauty of Dublin to perfection. Ireland, indeed evokes an aura of mystery and intrigue for us and is one place we would love to get to. Waking up the beautiful scenery that surrounded you must indeed have been an experience that one cannot easily forget.

  5. I loved your stopover of 1 day at Dublin while cruising from North to South. The first stop of your day trip – Dunluce Castle ruin with cloudy sky really looks like some movie scene or very dramatic types. Dublin is really colorful with those quirky colorful restaurant especially the Merchant’s Arch and the iconic Temple Bar.

    • Yukti, It was interesting to see the variety of sites in Ireland. A cruise is a great taste test. And it made us realize we do want to go back for a longer road trip. Linda

  6. I have a love hate relationship with tours. Bummer to not be in charge of my time but great to have someone force me to move on to see as much as I can. Catch 22. The Dunluce Castle ruins look beautiful. You described the 2 hour stop at Giant’s Causeway
    As brief, the area must be huge.

    • Sherianne, We too have a love hate relationship with tours. It is why we went out to explore on our own when we hit Dublin. It was easy to find things to do in Dublin too. Linda

  7. I love it how much of the country you were able to see on this trip. Many times it feels like there is only time to see a small portion of one city for example. I am so curious to see all these old, historical places and ruins in Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is amazing!

  8. I would never have thought to explore Ireland by cruise ship but it looks like a fantastic way to get a great glimpse of the country from top to bottom. The ruins and churches and castles all look amazing. Especially the Giant’s Causeway and oh I wish I could taste that Irish coffee!

    • Mireille, We do love to take cruises as a taste test. We definitely found out that we want to go back. Hubby liked the Guinness beer. But I kept going for Irish Coffee. Linda

  9. Great list of places here but haven’t done the Giants Causeway which is not on my list as I live in the UK. Not sure why everyone has to visit the Temple Bar in Dublin, its a bar for tourists. I rather go to the bars away from the centre and be with locals (and the beer is cheaper). 😀

  10. I can’t believe how much ground you covered in such a short period of time. Sounds like it was a great taster, and I’m so glad you got to see Giant’s Causeway in NI!

  11. I always thought Ireland was this gray, somber country where the sun never shines, but your gorgeous pictures prove me wrong. Even if the sky is not so clear like I’d like it to be, there seem to be so many colorful places to see there. Those giant cliffs above the Causeway remind me a lot about the Devil’s Punchbowl in June Lake, California. It seems that driving is the best way to experience Ireland and see all these beautiful sites. I’d like to do this itinerary someday.

    • Anda, I am glad to show you a sunnier side of Ireland. We were delighted with how much we saw during our visit. I do hope you get to visit. And I am adding the Devil’s Punchbowl to my California travel list. Linda

  12. I would say it’s a good thing everybody drives on the same side of the road at the border crossing in Ireland. Imagine the chaos if they didn’t…. 🙂 We used to live in Tucson and the freeway heading south (I-19) was marked in Km instead of miles. It was always fascinating to watch the units switch over once you merged from I-10 to I-19.

  13. I’ve always imagined a trip to Ireland just like you described it – a look out the window at the green rolling hills. 🙂
    Belfast looks charming, but the view of the Dunluce Castle ruins would probably blow me away.
    Have never been to Dublin and I have to say that after those photos of yours with all the colorful flowers, I would just might put it on my bucket list for next year. Temple Bar will be a stop for me.
    You made me smile when saying that you were sure you’d probably find a pub if it rains. A picture-perfect sentence for Ireland, right! 🙂

  14. I haven’t been to Ireland yet – and this is such an inspiration! The streetart alone should be worth the trip. However, I’d love to see the red cliffs – only that I’m afraid of heights so I have to find out if it will be pleasure or pain for me.
    Also, you were quite lucky with the weather, weren’t you? Most pictures I see from Ireland are rather dull with grey skies – yours are lovely!

    • Renata, I am glad this blog post has been an inspiration to visit Ireland. We did get quite lucky with weather. But even on the cloudy day in Dublin, we were cheered by all the flowers. Linda

  15. I love the contrast of the art styles you got to see in Dublin. Between the graffiti Yoda and the stained glass windows of the churches, I’m not sure which one I like more. I’m sure a few Irish coffees would help make the choice a lot easier. I love the ducky boat tours, too bad the weather didn’t cooperate! Thanks for sharing!

  16. A day in Dublin sounds wonderful! Your pictures are as gorgeous as they could be, make me want to go there. Ireland looks exactly the way it should. 🙂 Looks like you went there when the weather was mostly on your side. We are not always fan of tours and mostly do it on our own. But I feel sometimes we should go with them especially when we are short of time.

  17. Dublin looks like it has an interesting contrast of overlapping churches, pubs and eclectic (non-political) street art. I love a diverse community as it gives a bit of insight to the mindset of the people who live there. Are the Belfast and Dublin locals both generally welcoming to tourists? Or more (just) tolerant?

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