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Second Cities: Destinations to add onto a trip to Dublin

Feb. 02, 2020
6 min read
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Welcome to TPGs series, Second Cities. The series is designed to help you find smaller or less-popular-but-equally-amazing places to visit no more than a few hours by air or land from your original destination so you can maximize your itinerary.

Dublin is full of craic (fun), as the locals might say. It blends Irish heritage and history with a bit of decadence on the side. By day, you can check out attractions like the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and Trinity College. At night, you can listen to traditional Irish music in The Temple Bar area while downing a pint of Guinness or two into the wee hours. No wonder tourists flock to Ireland’s capital all year long.

But Ireland is more than just Dublin. There is an array of smaller cities and towns around the Emerald Isle that are full of just as much culture, pints and craic. Here are three destinations that showcase all that Ireland has to offer.

Cobh

Cobh is a chapter in the history of the doomed ocean liner, RMS Titanic. A major trans-Atlantic port known as Queenstown in the early 20th century, Cobh was the last port of call before the Titanic set out across the Atlantic on her maiden voyage. But Cobh is also an enchanting port town with picturesque rows of colorful homes along the harbor and a vivid history.

Cobh is on the south coast of County Cork. (Photo by Danita Delimont/Getty Images)

Getting there: Flying around Ireland is expensive, so the train or bus is the best way to get from Dublin to Cobh. A train from Hueston station to Cork will take a little over two hours. Once you reach Cork, it will take about 30 minutes to get to Cobh by bus.

Read more: Amex Avios 40% bonus sweet spot: How to fly to Ireland for just 10,000 points

Where to stay: The centrally located Commodore Hotel opened in 1854 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s first visit to Ireland. The roof garden is the best spot for a breathtaking view of St. Colman’s Cathedral and Cork Harbor.

What to see and do: Since Cobh is heavily associated with the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic, a trip to Titanic Experience is a must. Then pop over to the glorious St. Colman’s Cathedral known for its tower carillon of 49 bells. Although it may be small, the Cobh Museum is full of exhibitions of maritime and emigration history (the town was the departure point for 2.5 million Irish citizens who came to North America from 1848 to 1850) as well as the last written record for the Titanic.

St. Colman's Cathedral from Cobh Harbor. (Photo by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)
St. Colman's Cathedral from Cobh Harbor. (Photo by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)

Kinsale

Meaning “tide head,” Kinsale is a beautiful former fishing port and ideal for dolphin and whale-watching trips. But Kinsale is also the culinary capital of Cork.

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Kinsale Harbour. (Photo by Eduardo Fonseca Arraes/Getty Images)
Kinsale Harbour. (Photo by Eduardo Fonseca Arraes/Getty Images)

How to get there: Fifteen trains operate daily to and from Dublin to Cork Kent Station in about two and a half hours. Once in town, take a 20-minute trip on the 226 Bus to Kinsale.

Where to stay: Kinsale’s oldest lodgings, Actons Hotel is a mix of old-school charms with luxurious amenities such as a bar, restaurant, gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam room.

Read more: Using points and miles to travel to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day

What to do: Kinsale is a food paradise with an array of local producers and amazing restaurants. It’s hard to recommend just one, but seafood should be on your menu wherever you stop. Make a reservation at the Michelin-award-winning restaurant Fishy Fishy to sample the local catch in a fine-dining setting. After all that eating, stroll along The Old Head of Kinsale, a 30-minute walking route that loops around striking scenery that includes a 17th-century lighthouse and ancient ruins along the coast.

The Fishy Fishy restaurant in Kinsale. (Photo by Vickie Easton/Pinterest)
The Fishy Fishy restaurant in Kinsale. (Photo by Vickie Easton/Pinterest)

Waterford

Waterford is Ireland's oldest city dating back to when the Vikings invaded the Emerald Isle. But the city’s real claim to fame is that it’s the home of the world-renowned Waterford Crystal.

Waterford, Ireland. (Photo by Sebastian Kolczynski/EyeEm/Getty Images)
Waterford. (Photo by Sebastian Kolczynski/EyeEm/Getty Images)

How to get there: The Dublin/Waterford train line serves Waterford-Plunkett Station and will get you into town in under two hours.

Where to stay: The Fitzwilton Hotel Waterford is an opulent hotel in the center of town; all the tourist attractions are a short walk away. Or if you’re feeling fancy, book a stay at Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort, a beautiful ancient castle with a 500-year history.

Read more: Explore, relax and drink beer in Ireland

What to do: Take a guided tour of the museum at the House of Waterford Crystal and get schooled on the process of crystal-making. Then pop into the gift shops for souvenirs. History buffs can climb the stairs of Reginald’s Tower, a 13th-century tower that was used to defend the city from attack.

The House of Waterford Crystal. (Photo courtesy of WaterfordVisitorCentre.com)
The House of Waterford Crystal. (Photo courtesy of WaterfordVisitorCentre.com)

Featured of the Temple Bar district of Dublin by Holger Leue/Getty Images.

Featured image by HOLGER LEU/GETTY IMAGES

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more