Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city steeped in history and culture. With its lively pubs, charming architecture, and friendly locals, Dublin is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re interested in history, music, or just want to soak up the atmosphere, Dublin has something to offer everyone. In this guide, we’ll take you through the most important places to see in Dublin, as well as some travel tips, routes, and recommendations for where to stay and eat.
Start your first day in Dublin by exploring the city center. Dublin is a compact city, so it’s easy to get around on foot. Here are some of the most important places to see:
- Trinity College Dublin: Founded in 1592, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university. The campus is beautiful, and you can take a guided tour to learn about its history and see the famous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript created by monks in the 9th century.
- Dublin Castle: Built in the 13th century, Dublin Castle has played a key role in Irish history. Today, you can take a guided tour of the State Apartments, which were once the residence of the British Viceroy.
- Grafton Street: This pedestrianized shopping street is a great place to browse for souvenirs and gifts, and also features a variety of street performers and musicians. Don’t miss the statue of Molly Malone, the fictional fishmonger who has become a symbol of Dublin.
- St. Stephen’s Green: This public park in the heart of Dublin is a peaceful oasis in the midst of the city. Take a stroll around the lake, feed the ducks, and admire the colorful flower beds.
- Temple Bar: No visit to Dublin is complete without a visit to Temple Bar, the city’s lively cultural quarter. Explore the narrow streets lined with pubs and restaurants, and soak up the atmosphere.
End your first day with a visit to one of Dublin’s famous pubs, where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness and listen to traditional Irish music.
On your second day in Dublin, venture outside the city center to explore some of the surrounding neighborhoods and attractions. Here are some ideas:
- Kilmainham Gaol: This former prison played a significant role in Ireland’s struggle for independence, and is now a museum that offers guided tours. Learn about the lives of the prisoners and the events that took place within its walls.
- Phoenix Park: Covering over 1,700 acres, Phoenix Park is one of the largest city parks in Europe. Take a stroll around the gardens, visit the Dublin Zoo, or see the residence of the President of Ireland.
- Guinness Storehouse: No trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the home of the world-famous Guinness beer. Take a self-guided tour of the brewery, learn about the brewing process, and enjoy a complimentary pint with panoramic views of the city.
- Jameson Distillery: If whiskey is more your thing, head to the Jameson Distillery in Smithfield. Take a tour to learn about the history of Irish whiskey, see the production process, and enjoy a whiskey tasting.
End your day with a stroll along the River Liffey, and take in the views of the city’s iconic bridges.
For your final day in Dublin, explore some of the city’s cultural offerings and lesser-known attractions. Here are some ideas:
- National Museum of Ireland: This museum has three locations in Dublin, each with a different focus. Visit the Archaeology branch to see exhibits on ancient Ireland, the Natural History branch for displays on the natural world, or the Decorative Arts and History branch for a look at Irish craftsmanship.
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral: This Gothic cathedral is the largest in Ireland, and has been a place of worship since the 5th century. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and architecture.
- Dublinia: This interactive museum focuses on the history of Dublin from the Viking era to the Middle Ages. Visitors can dress up in period costumes and try their hand at activities like archery and calligraphy.
- The Spire of Dublin: This 398-foot stainless steel monument is a modern addition to the Dublin skyline, and is located on O’Connell Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
End your day with a visit to the Irish Whiskey Museum, where you can learn about the history and production of Irish whiskey, and enjoy a tasting of different varieties.
Where to Stay
Dublin has a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Here are some recommendations:
- The Shelbourne Dublin: This iconic hotel, located in the heart of the city, has hosted everyone from politicians to movie stars. Its elegant rooms and suites offer a luxurious base for your stay in Dublin.
- The Morrison Dublin: This boutique hotel is located in the trendy Temple Bar neighborhood, and features stylish rooms with modern amenities.
- Generator Hostel Dublin: This budget-friendly hostel is located in the historic Smithfield neighborhood, and offers dormitory-style and private rooms.
- Airbnb: If you’re looking for a more unique and authentic experience, consider booking a room or apartment through Airbnb. There are plenty of options in Dublin, from cozy apartments to historic townhouses.
For more options, check out the official Dublin City tourism website here.
Where to Eat
Dublin has a vibrant food scene, with plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are some recommendations:
- The Winding Stair: This cozy restaurant in the heart of Dublin serves up seasonal Irish cuisine, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
- Bunsen: This popular burger joint has locations throughout the city, and serves up simple, delicious burgers with all the fixings.
- Leo Burdock: This classic fish and chip shop has been serving up crispy, flavorful fish and chips for over 100 years.
- The Old Spot: This gastropub in the trendy Portobello neighborhood serves up classic pub fare with a modern twist, along with an extensive beer and whiskey list.
For more options, check out the official Dublin City tourism website here.
If you’re traveling on a budget, or just want to learn more about the city from a local perspective, consider taking one of Dublin’s many free walking tours. Here are some options:
- Free Dublin Walking Tours: This company offers a variety of tours, including a general city tour, a pub crawl, and a literary tour. All tours are free, but donations are appreciated.
- Sandeman’s New Europe: This company offers a range of tours throughout Europe, including a popular Dublin city tour.
The tours are led by knowledgeable local guides, and are free to join, but donations are encouraged.
- Historical Walking Tours of Dublin: This company offers a range of tours that focus on different aspects of Dublin’s history and culture, including a tour of Dublin Castle, a literary tour, and a tour of the city’s Viking past.
For more information on free tours in Dublin, check out the official Dublin City tourism website here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to common questions about visiting Dublin:
- What’s the best time of year to visit Dublin? Dublin is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is in the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is mild and there are plenty of outdoor events and festivals.
- Do I need a visa to visit Dublin? If you’re a citizen of the European Union, you don’t need a visa to visit Dublin. If you’re from outside the EU, check the visa requirements before you travel.
- Is Dublin an expensive city? Dublin can be expensive, especially in the city center. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for accommodation, food, and activities.
- What’s the best way to get around Dublin? Dublin is a compact city, so it’s easy to get around on foot. If you need to travel further afield, there’s an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and trains.
Dublin is a vibrant and welcoming city with plenty to offer visitors. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or just want to soak up the atmosphere, there’s something for everyone in Dublin. We hope this guide has given you some inspiration and travel tips for your visit to this beautiful city. Sláinte!