In Dublin’s Fair City

Weekend in Dublin

If you’re going to travel to a new place, whether it’s for a weekend or a month, it’s always good to get input from people who have traveled there before.  So I asked Jessica McManus, who has been to Ireland several times, to share her top picks for a quick trip to Dublin.  – Ty

The Emerald Isle

Ireland won my heart from the very first visit, and my love has deepened with every subsequent trip.  While I don’t recommend that you limit yourself to only visiting Dublin, especially if you want to really know Ireland, I do realize most people want to start there.  With that in mind, I’ve put together some suggestions for your trip to get you started.  I’ll share with you my other suggestions for Ireland in my next post.

Now I don’t know what brings you to Ireland, and I hope that you’re able to spend more than a weekend…perhaps you’ve found a great deal on a discount airline, or are looking for a stopover city on your way back to the USA from Europe.  Dublin is an ideal choice. The people are welcoming and amazingly friendly, and there are so many things to do and see.

Another little-known benefit of a Dublin getaway is that if you are flying back to the States on a US-based airline, you can go through US Customs right in the Dublin airport! What does that mean?  No standing in long customs lines after your flight home. You are welcomed back to the United States before even leaving Dublin!

Where to Stay

Dublin is a bigger city than you may think. Researching the area that you want to stay in is key to enjoying a long weekend or shorter trip to this amazing city. My recommendation would be to look for hotels and bed & breakfasts that mention a close proximity to Temple Bar, Trinity College, Grafton Street, or St. Stephen’s Green.  This is especially important if you plan to do most of your sightseeing on foot.

I generally like to stay within walking distance to the Temple Bar area. Dubbed “Dublin’s Cultural Quarter” it is full of pubs and restaurants and is a great way to find adventure by walking. If participating in pub culture and nightlife is on your agenda, this is where you will want to be based.

The Merchant House

Luxury Guest Suites in the heart of Temple Bar, each is named after an iconic Irishman.  Read poems by Joyce in the James Joyce suite, have a toast to Oscar Wilde in his namesake room. A private entrance is available to guests.  Also important to know, no smoking, no pets, and no children.

The Morrison Doubletree by Hilton

A contemporary style Doubletree by Hilton brand hotel. Directly across the Ha’penny Bridge, a famous pedestrian bridge, from the Temple Bar area.  If you’re comfortable going with a chain or well-known name, this place will be perfectly suited for you.

O’Neills Victorian Pub and Townhouse

Who knew that you could find old world charm in the heart of a big city like Dublin? This is a family run B&B with a delicious, cooked-to-order breakfast in a private nook upstairs. It also features a fantastic pub and restaurant downstairs. Very close to Trinity College, home of the famous Book of Kells.

Buswells Hotel

Gorgeous Victorian style hotel, near St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s version of Central Park.  Also very close to Grafton Street, Dublin’s famous shopping district.

To Do & See

Dublin is a great city for the traveler that prefers to stroll around and take in the sights and sounds at their leisure. The winding cobblestone streets will lead you to plenty of “unscheduled” fun.  Here are a few places that you must see along the way.

Temple Bar | by Diogo Palhais

Temple Bar

Have I mentioned how much fun the Temple Bar area is? During the day it is a great place to explore. You will find street artists, musicians, and plenty of pubs. This area is, of course, home of the famous Temple Bar but you will also find other great pubs such as Garage (owned by Bono of U2), The Auld Dubliner, and the Norseman. At night, this is where you will find great live music, dinner entertainment, and pub crawls.  If you are interested in a specific place for dinner entertainment, a pub or music crawl, reservations are required.

St. Stephen’s Green

Dublin’s version of Central Park. Take a leisurely stroll on paths through the beautiful greens and flower beds that will lead you to stone fountains and a variety of other magical surprises.  You can schedule a tour, or wander on your own.

Grafton Street

This is the famous shopping district where you can find both traditional Irish shops as well as high-end stores. Grafton Street also has plenty of cafes to pop in and have a “cuppa” (that’s tea) or if you prefer a latte, and grab a quick bite to eat.

The Brazen Head

Stop for a pint and traditional Irish pub cuisine in Ireland’s oldest pub. The Brazen Head dates back to 1198 and is a maze of rooms and a courtyard.  This place oozes with history. If you are looking for a true Irish pub experience, this is the place for you! Be sure to check their website for live music and story-telling schedules.

Advanced Planning Recommended

Some places are easy to walk up to, and some you are better off making a plan for so that your time is maximized.  This is especially important if you are only visiting for a few days.

Trinity College

Trinity College, Book of Kells

Take a stroll around this beautiful campus – the same one where many notable alumni such as Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and even Niall Horan once roamed. Trinity College is also home of the famous Book of Kells, which is housed in the old library and is open to the public. Although advance tickets are not required, they are highly recommended as the lines can get quite long, especially in high tourist season.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland and a must-see when visiting Dublin. Be sure verify hours and special closures before making the trek across town.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Dublin | by Travis Beck

Can you really come to Dublin without a stop at the Guinness Storehouse? I think not! Guinness Storehouse is seven interactive floors of everything Guinness! Spend the day on a self-guided tour of this incredible museum, finishing off with a pint of the black stuff on the top floor Gravity Bar, their in-house pub. I recommend pre-purchasing tickets online to take advantage of discounted rates as well as avoiding lines during high tourist season.

The Old Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery | by Robert Anasch

Ah, here we have the birthplace of Irish whiskey.  Pop in for a drink at the bar or go on one of the many guided tours and experiences to learn all about world famous Jameson Irish Whiskey – all dotted with a whiskey tasting at the end of the tour. Tickets are available at the door, but if you’re on a schedule, advanced ticket purchase is highly recommended.

Kilmainham Gaol

This historical prison opened in 1796 and closed its doors in 1924. Learn about leaders of the various Irish rebellions housed at this prison as well as heartbreaking stories of ordinary men, women, and children that were housed and even executed for petty crimes. Tour times often sell out.

Dublin Castle

The gorgeous Dublin Castle served for centuries as the headquarters of the English government.  It was handed over in 1922 after Ireland established independence. It is now a major tourist attraction as well as a government building. Both guided and non-guided tours are available, and tickets can be purchased in advance.

Getting Around

This is a walking city, but sometimes that isn’t an option.  No problem! The Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus tours are a perfect solution, making stops at 33 of Dublin’s famous tourist attractions. Buses depart from each stop every 15 minutes, allowing you to hop on and off each stop at your leisure.  Click here to see a map of all of the stops. Passes are available for 24, 48, or 72-hour increments.

If you have more questions, you can click here and we’ll pass those along!


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