Dublin, Ireland: Exploration & Fact Finding Trip – Day Four

On Saturday, the four of us traveled from Dublin via the Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train to Bray sort of on a fact-finding mission.

He had heard it was a nice seaside place to live, just 45 minutes or so, south of Dublin in County Wicklow.   The town was nice, the beach area was cute with some restaurants and hotels and the amazing Wicklow mountains just off the coast, but I just don’t see us living there (if we move to Dublin).  Nils thought it was a bit like Cromer…. an old Victorian seaside community which is past it’s prime but great in the summer time.  I like Cromer, so I defend it, naturally and can see parts of that point.

One of the highlights of Bray is the Sea Life Centre, which is an aquarium right on the beach.  We have been wanting to go to the ones here in Hunstanton or Great Yarmouth for a while, but the cost for a family to go is quite high, so we have not yet gone.  But as I had a buy one child ticket, get an adult ticket free offer from Kellogg’s breafkast bars,  we decided to do it.  Plus it was raining on & off so thought an indoor place was a good idea.

The kids LOVED it!  It was not a huge place, but there was a guy who worked there, who did a few demonstrations like fed the piranhas – and shared some myths about them.  He says you can walk across their tank with bear feet and they’d leave you alone.  He talked about how they got the reputation about stripping a cow in seconds was from a trip to the Amazon River in 1913 by President Roosevelt where they starved some fish so that they’d attack…

There was a really cool octopus.

This Sea Life Centre specializes in breeding Sea Horses – which were sooo cool.  I have a few videos of them, which I’ll upload soon.

He then opened up the touch tank and shared a lot more info with everyone nearby.  Kids loved that part!  The kids received ribbons for touching starfish and anemone.  And at the end, as they got all their answers correct on the scratch card quiz (thanks to Nils for some help), they got a second one.  Of course, you end in the gift shop and both kids wanted everything especially all the Octonaut stuff, but thankfully we talked them out of it quickly. 🙂

It was a lot of fun and we’re hoping to go to some of the others. Though due to the storm in early December, the Hunstanton location closed and relocated their animals to other centers, but once open, we’ll definitely check it out.  There is even a Sea Life Centre in London, so when we are there for a visit, perhaps we can go.

Once we left the Sealife Centre, we walked up to the town center to see what it was like. Nothing really grabbed us here – some standard shops like Specsavers and KFC but when Nils suggested I poke around in the three charity shops, while he takes the kids to a nearby pub for a drink, I jumped at it.

Instead of having lunch in Bray, we took the DART up to Dalkey to check out that town.  We heard it was really a great place to live and judging by the cars on the road, Range Rovers, Porsche, BMW and the fact that Bono from U2 lives there, it is not a place for us to live! 🙂  Surely we’d be back for visits to walk around the town, attend the Lobster Festival, explore Dalkey Castle (originally named Goat Castle) and just enjoy the seaside but not a place to live.  We had lunch in a nice pub called the Magpie Inn. Seafood chowder was great – and they had a large selection of Craft Beers so a big plus.  The other place which we were eyeing was Finnergan’s Pub, which is the place where Bono and his wife took Michelle Obama and her daughters for lunch when in Ireland – so widely popular and full.   In fairness to the town, we didn’t spend much time walking around as it was really raining and it was cold.  I’m sure it’s a lovely place to explore in the summer.  The few shops which windows I peeked in were so nice – a bit like Newburyport with the old money of Beacon Hill.

Afterwards we took the DART up to Sandymount and walked through Ballsbridge.  Another popular neighborhood which some find really nice stately homes.  Many Embassies and diplomatic residences but truthfully again, not a place for us.  Just take a look at these two beautiful homes – lovely right. The rental market for such homes is from €3,000 to €5,000 per month and sometimes more on daft.ie! 100% not an option for us.  Sure there are some 2 bedroom apartments just around €2,000 – but you can get a lot more elsewhere. (4+ bedrooms for that much money and even less!) 

I did some research online to get opinions from others and have been doing a lot of looking at properties, schools, etc.   Based on all the properties posted for sale, here are the ten most expensive areas in Dublin (found this online – not my findings).

1.) Sandymount!
2.) Dalkey/Sandycove 
3.) Ranelagh
4.) Ballsbridge
5.) Rathgar
6.) D4
7.) Foxrock
8.) Dublin Mountains
9.) Howth
10.) Booterstown/Mount Merrion 

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