We coordinated a trip to Dublin, Ireland through Gate1 to take place in late February 2014. We also opted for the 3 prepaid tours offered and available in their website: the Dublin Bus (Hop on-off bus); the Guinness factory and the Wicklow Mountains tour. We did not buy transportation from the airport to the hotel because there is a shuttle bus right outside the luggage claim area that takes you downtown (round trip 14 euros). You can buy it at the airport exchange counter if you need to get euros or at the booth outside. They run every 15 minutes, they are comfortable, the luggage goes in the various compartments and you can enjoy the first views of Ireland in a relaxed way. The stops are well chosen. Ours left us only two blocks away from our Hotel. Very convenient!
We did not know that the "Dublin bus" was good for 48 hs. (instead of just the 2 hours mentioned in the description; that would be the length of the round trip if you stayed in the bus) and that it could be coordinated with the Guinness factory tour, so that was a "plus". We walked the first day through every single street, avenue and neighborhood and the next day, taking the bus, allowed us to "re-visit" those places we really wanted to spend more time at. Be aware that the voucher says "Grey Line" but that is the name of the operator. In fact the bus is RED, and it is the Red line that you have to take in O'Connell Street, it is also where you have to exchange your vouchers the exact day of the tours (although not the Guinness one that you present directly at the factory avoiding a long line). The next day we took it to revisit St. Patrick's and other spots. The Temple bar was a BLAST!!!! Live music and the most wonderful cheerful atmosphere. The entire area is worth walking around for hours!
The whole trip went very smooth; the tour guides were very knowledgeable, more like history teachers and anthropologists, with a nice sense of humor and a lot of love for their City and Country. Just to take into account, some of the buses do not have automated or recorded descriptions that you can hear with headsets (provided) in your language of preference. In some coaches, the driver is also the tour guide so you will hear a nice Irish accent, but there is no translation. The Wicklow Mountains tour was kind of a magic trip - if you happen to have John Murray as your guide, he is FABULOUS! (Say hi! to him from Argentina!). We took other tours since we took advantage of our time wisely and that left us with more time to get to know a little bit more of Ireland. (My recommendation is Brú na Bóinne and Newgrange (tour by Mary Gibbons): may be Gate1 could work some arrangement to offer this tour too! It is really awesome!!!!)
The Mespil hotel was also a great part of our feeling of well-being: the staff is friendly, helpful and very patient with their guests and their breakfast is solid great! It is very well located in a nice borough, steps away from the Grand Canal, and at a walking distance from downtown. It is super clean and neat.
All in all the experience was fantastic! Thanks to everybody who made our trip so enjoyable, Namaste!