New Europe has free tours accross European cities. Amongst them is Dublin. Nothing in life is free, but the free tours works on the principle pay as you seem fit. Instead of asking for a fee, the tour caters for all budgets. At the end of the tour you just tip the tour guide as much as you think he/she deserves or as much as you can afford. Perfects for all you budget travelers.
Since this was a walking tour and it was the middle of winter, my tows were already frozen before we started. You walk from place to place, but often stand still to listen to the guide and in winter this can get quite chilly. So I was happy when my guide decided to go inside buildings as much as we could. We even sat in a chapel for a while, listening to Dublin’s history. Our guide was super enthusiastic and so was the group. Instead of the planned three hours, we were walking and talking for 5 hours! There was not a moment of boredom.
I don’t want to spoil too much, so I’ll keep the stories short. Our walk brought us to Trinity college, where the guide spoke about the strange rules of the school. Rules that are still in place. We saw Dublin Castle and bars where we learned about U2. We saw Christchurch Cathedral, where a caretaker once found a rat and a cat stuck in the organ pipes. You can still see the cat in the crypt of the church. Behind the church is a drawing of an old Viking’s house. Our guide explained about the Vikings by putting people in the drawing, where the bed would have been. “Yeah, it must have been the Vikings that invented spooning.” That made for a nice picture.
That’s the thing about this tour. You learn heaps, but not in a boring text book way. There is always humor involved and interaction. It is best to do this kind of tour as soon as you arrive. Because you walk through the city, you get a feel for it and learn how to get around. The guides can also give you practical tips and answer any questions. After this you can decide what you really want to see and do. The guides come to some hostels to pick up guest for the walking tour. If not, there is always a central place where all groups meet. Joining a tour is not only fun, but also a good place to meet people. Definitely recommended!