If there’s one city that has captured my heart totally and that I keep coming back to time and time again, it has to be Dublin. It’s such a friendly city, and with only one million people living there it feels quite homey. It’s really hard to resist the charm of the Irish. There’s simply so much to see and to do in the Irish capital that you’ll never be left idle while you stroll these cobbled streets.
The magic of Dublin really is easy to discover. Everything in the city centre is within walking distance, and if not then there’s lots of great public transport links that will get you there in no time. Whenever we decide to take a trip, the question always arises of how to organise our time in a city that we do not know anything about. So I present here a guide for Dublin to leave home with. With this handy Dublin city guide, that gives some great things to do in Dublin, how to get to the city centre, and the best spots to hang out in, you’ll be travelling the city like a local Dub in no time! The only tough choice is where your travels should start!
Dublin Airport is about 7 miles north of the city. To get into the city centre, you can hop on the green Airlink 747 buses, which run every 15 minutes. A single ticket will cost you €6, or you can grab a return ticket for €10. The bus journey will take about 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can catch one of the yellow and blue Dublin Buses. The number 16 to Ballinteer and the number 33 or 41 to Lower Abbey Street will all bring you to O Connell Street, Dublin’s main street.
Or, you can hop in a taxi, which will cost you between €20 and €25.
Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university. The campus is right in the heart of the city centre, close to the bottom of the shopping area of Grafton Street, and right at the top of Dame Street, another of Dublin’s busiest city centre streets. The area it’s in is called College Green and there’s plenty of cafés and restaurants to try out nearby if you’re getting hungry. Trinity’s Old Library is home to the world famous Book of Kells, an ancient manuscript written by Irish monks in the 800s AD. The beautiful book is on display all year round, so it’s more than worth checking out.
Just a short walk outside the city centre, and close to one of Dublin’s main train stations, is the beautiful greenery of Phoenix Park. If you’ve read some of James Joyce’s books, you will surely remember the park from Uylsses and Finnegan’s Wake. The park is one of the largest in Europe, and it’s not just the perfect spot for a picnic during your stay. The huge park is home to Dublin Zoo, or if you don’t feel up to wandering around the zoo for the afternoon you can always stroll around the park and wait to see some of the wild deer who roam about. The home of the Irish President, Áras an Uachtaráin, is also found in the park. You can visit this stately home for free every Saturday.
Who would have thought one of Europe’s biggest stadiums would be found in Dublin? Indeed, Europe’s third largest stadium is Croke Park, found in the northern suburbs of the city. It’s the home stadium of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland’s amateur sporting organisation, and the stadium fills to its 82,000 capacity for the All Ireland finals in September. If you get a chance to catch a hurling or Gaelic football game on your travels to Ireland, this is the place to do it. If not, then a visit is more than worth it anyway. The stadium offers a skyline tour of its upper levels, and the views of Dublin just cannot be beaten.
Dublin is one of the party capitals of the world, and there’s no better place for a pint than in the world renowned Temple Bar. Temple Bar is not just a bar itself, but also lends its name to the cultural area around it. The area is filled with cobbled streets, high arches, and reminders of Dublin’s old time charm. There are often live musicians playing on the streets, and it’s hard not to join in and tap your feet along. it’s not just home to The Temple Bar, but also to several other great pubs where you will always find the world famous ceád míle fáilte or “one hundred thousand welcomes”. Here you can also find the Gaiety School of Acting, one of Dublin’s biggest acting schools, the Irish Film Institute, and the Meetinghouse Square where open air film screenings are held in the summer months.
One of Ireland’s most famous exports has got to be Guinness, right? This smooth and delicious stout was first brewed in Dublin in 1759, and is still brewed in Dublin to this day. When you visit Dublin, be sure to pop the Guinness Storehouse on the top of your to do list. The Guinness Storehouse tour is housed in one of the old Fermentation Plants, where yeast was added to the beer. Here you can learn about the methods of brewing this world famous beer, and find out more about Arthur Guinness who founded the brewery at St James’ Gate. You can even pour your own pint and have a certificate to prove that you are a master! But, perhaps the best part of all is the Gravity Bar. Not only do you get to enjoy a freshly poured pint of complimentary Guinness, but you can also take in the stunning views of the city. The view really does stretch out further than you could ever imagine, way out towards the Dublin Mountains.
A meal in a nice restaurant: a meal in a mid range will set you back about €15. A three course meal in a fancy restaurant will cost about €60.
A McDonalds Meal: a Medium Value Meal will cost you about €6.
The Woollen Mills
If you’re looking for a light lunch in a beautiful setting, then I believe I have the place for you. The Woollen Mills is right in the centre of the city, and it’s perched right on the Quays beside the River Liffey. You can try out some delicious coddle, a traditional Irish meal made of sausages, bacon, potatoes and carrots. Or, sample their lunch menu with s soup and sandwich deal to really fill you up. Perhaps the best part of this lovely spot is the views you get out to the Ha’penny Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that spans the river. It got its name as it once cost a ha’penny to cross. If you’ve fallen in love with the bread here, then you’re in luck – there is a bakery on site, and you can bring some delicious fresh bread back with you. The Woollen Mills is also a sister restaurant to The Winding Stair, which is just close by and has a bookshop downstairs.
Brother Hubbard has two great locations in the city, one on each side of the river, so you’re never far away from this great spot. The restaurant, which is run by two Irish guys, focuses on Middle Eastern cuisines, and they have a great range of vegetarian and vegan options available. This café is open for breakfast and lunch as well as for dinner, so it might just be the perfect spot to start off your day. Nothing gets the days going like a hot coffee and a delicious pastry for under a fiver. I really recommend the pulled pork for lunch, and the wild mushroom kofta from their dinner menu is just heavenly.
Burritos really have taken over, haven’t they? They’ve hit Dublin too, and there are plenty of burrito joints to pick from. One of the most famous in town (and, in my humble opinion, the best), is definitely Boojum. The burrito chain started out in Dublin with restuarants on and has spread its franchise across the country, with stores now in Cork, Galway, and Belfast. If burritos is your thing, then make sure you make a stop here as you surely won’t be disappointed. Do be sure to get here early if you’re coming mid day, though – Boojum is a hugely popular lunch choice for working Dubs. There is another Mexican food chain in the city, Tolteca, which is equally worth checking out.
You can’t really put together a food recommendations list and not mention where to get the best burgers, can you? Forget Five Guys, which opened in Ireland in October 2016, Bunsen is the best in the city by a country mile, and you’ll see why when you arrive at one of the three city centre locations, on East Essex Street, South Anne Street and Wexford Street (there is another Bunsen in Ranelagh, one of the city’s southern suburbs). The menus in this quirky eatery are printed on business cards, so if you fall head over heels in love (like almost everyone who comes here does), then you’re in luck as you can bring the menu with you. There might be a bit if a queue to get in, and a wait for your burger, but when you get in I’m sure you will agree it’s totally worth it. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
One for the foodies who have some serious cash to splash! Chapter One, found on Parnell Square, is a fine dining restaurant in Dublin, right in the city centre. It has won the award of Ireland’s Best Restaurant seven times, and has had a Michelin star for 10 years. The restaurant takes its name as it is found in the basement of the Irish Writer’s Museum, but this is unlike any basement you’ll have ever been in. This place is warm, bright, and inviting, and the smells of food wafting upstairs will almost drag you in. You can choose to really dine in style, with a seven course feast at the chef’s table for €100 per person, or maybe go for a four course dining experience for a slightly less eye-watering €75 per person.
Queen of Tarts
I hope you’ve left space for dessert! You can of course choose to come to this delightful quaint café for breakfast, lunch or Sunday brunch, but by far the best reason to come here is the cakes. Between decadent chocolate pecan cake tart and a deliciously smooth Baileys cheesecake, you’ll be lost for words at the huge selection of cakes available. Don’t worry if you’re gluten free, too, as there is even a huge selection available for coeliacs. This is the perfect spot to enjoy some traditional Irish soda bread and a cup of tea, a really traditional Irish lunchtime meal in the past.
If you’re looking for live music in a wonderful location, then Whelan’s is the spot for you. This great pub on Wexford Street is hugely popular as a venue for live music, live comedy, and for the famous craic that you’re expecting from Ireland. The venue has hosted big names such as Ed Sheeran and Jeff Buckley, and successful Irish acts such as Lisa Hannigan and The Corrs have also performed here. Don’t worry if you’re travelling solo, as there’s a life size statue at the bar, complete with a pint in hand, so you never need feel like you’re drinking alone.
One of Dublin’s biggest and best gay bars is definitely The George, found on South Great George’s Street, is a hopping and lively venue right in the centre of the city. It was opened in 1985, eight years before homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland, and the old George still stands beside the huge bar and club it has become today. The bar has a game of bingo every Sunday, run by resident drag queen Shirley Temple Bar, and it’s well worth coming along for that alone.
There are two Porterhouse locations in Dublin city centre, on Nassau Street and at Temple Bar, although the company began its life in the nearby Bray in County Wicklow. The first Dublin-based Porterhouse, the one in Temple Bar, opened in 1996 as Ireland’s first brewery pub. It’s gone on to make some delicious award winning porter, which you can (and should) sample in both locations. There are ten porters, ales and stouts made in the Porterhouse and each of them is delicious so you won’t be disappointed whichever you pick! There’s also a very tempting food menu on offer too.
Copper Face Jacks
You simply can’t write a Dublin city guide and not mention “Coppers”. Ask any Irish person you know and they will certainly have a tale to share with you about this notorious Harcourt Street haunt. The club is famous (or maybe infamous) for its eclectic mix of music, that can take you straight from Post Malone’s biggest hit to the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It’s also well known as a place to hit it off with the other revellers, and it’s common knowledge in Ireland that a night in Coppers will be a success ;) Who knows, you might even be there on the night of one of their infamous lock ins!
So, there you go! A complete and handy Dublin city guide, with some tips on where to go, what to eat, and (most importantly) where to party. With this super handy Dublin city guide, I’m sure you will be hanging around the city like a pro in absolutely no time!