We have talked about a trip to Dublin Zoo for a while now, neither Colin or I have been before and with the girls being animal obsessed we knew they would love it.

A few weeks back Dublin Coaches got in touch to asked if we fancied trying out the service. I’m not going to lie my mind jumped to the idea of strolling up and down Grafton street, cocktails in the Westbury Hotel and a tipsy dander around Brown Thomas where I’d use the previously mentioned as an excuse for purchasing the Louis Vuitton bag I’ve been lusting after. But the rational part of me (otherwise known as Colin) suggested that we finally made that trip to the zoo with the girls.

The bus leaves 35 minutes passed the hour from Belfast, Glengall Street (beside the Europa Hotel) from 5:35am in the morning with 16 departures daily and gets you to Dublin in less than 2 hours so no need to worry about parking once you are there.

Free WiFi on board meant that Netflix on the iPad kept the girls entertained the whole way there. The luxury leather coach with spacious seats meant that Colin and I could sit back and enjoy the peace. I used the trip down to clear my emails so I could switch off for the day.

The bus also has a toilet on board which is much needed when bringing drinks and snacks.

The fare is £8/ €10 each way no matter what time you travel with up to 2 kids under the age of 12 free, so helps make family days out more affordable.

We arrived in Dublin in just under two hours. I grabbed some donuts (as I just couldn’t walk by them) and flagged a taxi to the Zoo which only cost €6 but Grafton street is just a short walk from the drop off point at Custom House Quay.

We arrived at Dublin Zoo just before 11am and must have picked a brilliant day as it was so, so quiet. The girls totally loved the animals and chatted away to them like they were their wee friends.

We stopped for coffee and sandwiches but next time I will definitely pack our own as, like all theme parks/ zoos etc it was pretty expensive.After just over 3 hours at the Zoo we decided to squeeze a little more of Dublin in and headed to Grafton Street (nicely played Anna, nicely played!) where the streets were alive with musicians and arts.

After a dance or two with special requests from Annie for a little ‘Castle on the Hill’, a trip to Brown Thomas and dinner in McDonalds (I wish nice restaurants give a free toy with their meal) as it was the girls day out and they got to pick, we headed back to the coach. You can use their app to book the tickets, use online booking or pay as you jump on the bus in either Stirling or Euros.

Another viewing of Matilda on the way home and we were back in Belfast in just under two hours again which was surprising as we left at 5:30pm, the busiest time. We will definitely be making trips to Dublin an option and a more regular thing, Annie asked when I was tucking her into bed if it’s going to be ‘mamas taking us to the Zoo tomorrow’, maybe not that regular.

Days out with kids are normally far from the idyllic and ‘perfect family days out’ that can be painted, we normally have lots of deep breathing and promises of ‘never again’ but today was pretty special, a tonic in these busy weeks that have been filled with long work days and one that will be remembered fondly. Don’t worry, I’ll not get too ahead of myself but we are living for the moment!

Anna xx

Thanks to Dublin Coaches for giving us the nudge to try out their service, this was a sponsored post but as always all words, images and opinion are my own. We will definitely be planning another trip to Dublin in the very near future, unsponsored. I think that says it all.

You can find out more about the service, the app and timetables here.

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