Formed along the banks of the River Liffey, Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city. This town is home to almost 800 pubs. It seems like one cannot walk more than a block without coming across one. Live music bellows through the streets, pubs, and most restaurants. The people of Dublin work hard during the day, and play hard at night. There is an energy to this city, one brought about by the locals who know how to have a good time. Countless attractions are here to cater to almost every whim and fancy. We hope you enjoy Dublin as much as we did.
Where to Stay
Holiday Inn Express Dublin City Centre – An affordable hotel right on O’connell St. The location of the Holiday Inn places you only minutes from many of the main attractions in Dublin.
The Westin Dublin – Situated between Trinity College and Temple Bar, this hotel offers luxury accommodation while staying in Dublin.
Aloft Dublin City – Located near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this is a trendy hotel with great views of the city.
What to See and Do
Dublin Castle – Built in the ground of a former Viking settlement, this impressive structure opened in 1204. The castle served as the home to the English, then British government, from 1204 until 1922. Today, a tour of the castle is a glimpse back in time, and an hour well spent in Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Named after Ireland’s patron saint, this formidable religious building is usually one of the top attractions for visitors to the city. When in the church, take a moment to take in the magnificent floor tiles, and the intricate stained glass windows.
Guinness Tour – The tour takes about 45 minutes and provides a solid history lesson on the production of their beer. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to pour the perfect pint. The best part of the tour is a view from the 360 degree observation deck. Incredible views of Dublin make this a great place to take photos. It is also where the bartender proudly hands over a pint of this creamy goodness for you to enjoy after the tour.
Jameson’s Whiskey Tour – This 40 minute excursion takes you on a journey into whiskey making, the distillery’s history, and is topped off with a taste of the classic whiskey.
Christ Church Cathedral – Only a 7 minute walk from St. Patricks, Christ Church is an equally impressive church, and we think it is a better place to visit. This venue allows visitors to step into the hallowed crypts beneath the church. Plenty of artifacts line the crypt walls, and make this church our favorite in Dublin.
Newgrange Stone Age Tomb – One hour north of Dublin exists an attraction older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza. Located in County Meath, the Newgrange monument is over 5,000 years old. The guided tour takes you inside the burial chamber. It should be worth noting at times you will need to duck your head to avoid touching the structure. Once inside the chamber, the guide covers the history of the burial mound, and the surrounding stones and structures outside. Reservations are needed, and some dates are booked out months in advance.
Molly Malone Statue – Near most attractions in the city center, travelers rub Molly’s knockers for good luck. A little rub for good luck never hurts, right?
Trinity College Library & Book of Kells – Long lines form to enter the college to view the Book of Kells so it is smart to book tickets in advance. The first part of the tour will take you through large illustrated reproductions of some key pages in the Book of Kells. This part of the tour ends with everyone jockeying to get a glimpse of the Book of Kells. It is under glass and opened for people to see two of the illustrated pages. The big thrill was the second part of the tour which was the Trinity College Library. If you close your eyes and imagine a grand library, this is probably what comes to mind. The tour is worth it, just to walk through the library.
Where to Eat and Drink
Darkey Kelly’s – The live music draws people into this pub. It is not always easy to get a seat as it is a first come, first served, place. Grab a seat if available, or, order a drink and stand while hearing the delightful sounds of Irish musicians. It can get crowded, but this bar is our favorite place for music and only a 3-minute walk from Temple Bar.
The Brazen Head – This bar was opened in 1198. Anyone who fancies history must enter, order a Guinness or a proper shot of Jameson’s or Teelings. Sit back and soak in the history of the oldest bar in Dublin.
Murphy’s Ice Cream – This shop has the creamiest ice cream served in Ireland, and in inventive flavors. We recommend the Rum and Raisin, Chocolate Whiskey, or the Butterscotch. We think you will go back for seconds!
Church Cafe Bar & Restaurant – Originally St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, this venue was erected in 1699, but serves food and beverages to its devoted following. Ask for the self-guided tour brochure and make your way through the former church with a cocktail or pint in hand. The is a great place to have a drink after a long day of touring Dublin, or to enjoy a great meal with loved ones or friends.
The Hairy Lemon – This establishment is covered from floor to ceiling in eclectic memorabilia. Wander through the rooms taking it all in. If you are looking for live music, bands play every night. The Hairy Lemon prepares the best homemade Beef and Guinness in Dublin.
Madigans – O’connell St. Leo Burdock’s has been crowned the best fish and chips in Dublin, but for our money, Madigan’s has the best fish and chips. Big portions of delicious fish, coupled with a heaping mound of crispy french fries “chips.” When you are shopping in and around O’Connell St., pop in for lunch or dinner.
John Kavanaugh The Gravediggers Pub – Located next to Glasnevin Cemetery, this watering hole has been slinging pints since 1833. Families would come in to drink away their sorrows of those they just laid to rest, and afterwards, the gravediggers would gather in the pub. Saddle up to the bar for a pint or shot, and introduce yourself to the locals sitting around you.
Temple Bar – This neighborhood is known the world over for it’s music filled pubs and eclectic food scene. We have visited several pubs in the Temple Bar. All have a similar recipe of live music, traditional food, and Irish pints of love.
Best Hidden Gem
Dun Laoghaire Harbor – Hugging the southern coastline of Dublin Bay, this area is a short 25 minute train ride from the city center. There is a sense of relaxation walking along the shoreline. Tourists are rare here, so the area and its locals represent an authentic slice of Dublin. Kids play in the parks, families have pic-nics, while others enjoy a meal or drink at one of the seaside restaurants. On Sundays, the People’s Park hosts a Farmer’s Market loaded with traditional Irish foods and crafts. For South Dublin’s best fish and chips, go to Fish Shack Sandycove, then top it off with some ice cream from Teddy’s.
Best Day Trips from Dublin (Traplanz viator links)
Belfast and Giant’s Causeway – Head north and enter Northern Ireland for a visit to Belfast, and onward to the Giant’s Causeway. The causeway has over 40,000 basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic explosion. The ocean waves make some of this attraction slippery. Make sure to watch your step and have shoes or boots with decent traction. Check out these day trips with Viator from Dublin.
Cliffs of Moher – This attraction is usually on most traveler’s top 3 things to see and do in Ireland. The cliffs are stunning, but we must say often it is windy and overcast along the western shores of Ireland. We recommend you walk as far north and south of the main entrance, in order to gain better views and a full appreciation of the cliffs. We recommend the Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin Viator Tour.
Powerscourt Estate & County Wicklow – This picturesque setting south of Dublin is something to behold. Movies like Far and Away, Braveheart, and P.S. I Love You, used this lush natural paradise to film movie scenes. While taking in the countryside, make a visit to Powerscourt Estate. This massive estate with immaculate gardens sits on over 47 acres of land.