People come to Dublin city for many reasons as the Irish capital offers various fantastic attractions and must-see sites.
There are, inevitably, many angles to the Dublin experience and if you sketch your visit accordingly, you can properly enjoy the traditions and culture of this incredibly social nation that has performed very well on the world stage.
While Dublin and West of Ireland get most of the attention and visitors who rush to explore Galway and Ring of Kerry after a few pints of Guinness in Temple Bar, we would suggest staying around for an extra day or two – because in addition to Guinness Storehouse and Book of Kells, there is so much more to see and do.
From castles and beaches to windmills and lighthouses-these are only a few things to savour along the way to make your journey more rewarding.
Getting there and around
1. Dublin International Airport | Dublin Airport with its two terminals that offer short and long haul flights is the main point of entry for most of the visitors. Air Lingus is the flag carrier airline of Ireland flying to Canada, USA and the Middle East.
2. Bus 747 | The express coach is a great way to travel from Dublin Airport to Dublin and vice versa. Tickets cost 6 euros each way or 10 euros for a round trip and can be purchased from a bus driver.
3. Aircoach | Is a private bus that runs between Dublin Airport and Dublin city centre every 15 minutes and its stops include Kildare Street, O’Connell Street. The tickets cost 7 euros each way or 12 for a round trip.
4. Bus 41 | Is a public bus that serves the Airport. It takes much longer to travel to the city centre due to all the stops along the way yet it is a cost-efficient way to go to and from the Airport with a one-way ticket costing 3.30 euros.
5. Driving | If you were planning on renting a car, in Ireland, we drive on the left side. There are plenty of car rental companies with desks in Terminal 1 Arrivals Hall including, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Avis and Hertz.
6. Public transport | Dublin doesn’t have a metro, but there are two tram lines known as LUAS, with the Red and Green line services, regional train service The Dart, who can bring you on a scenic coastal journey to visit Howth, Dalkey, Dún Laoghaire, Skerries and Malahide. And Dublin Bus.
7. Dublin Bus | Dublin Buses won’t stop unless you flag them down and they take exact change. The fares are calculated on the stage system and, no matter what, you always say thanks to the bus driver before getting off the bus.
8. Getting around | With 300 square kilometres and just over half a million residents, Dublin is a pedestrian-friendly city, and most of the prominent tourist attractions are within walking distance from each other. You can also join the scheme and hike a bike from Dublin Bikes.
9. Taxis | In Dublin, taxis have a starting fare, ranging from €3.60 – €4.30, before they start moving and they have a large yellow and blue roof-sign and door signage.
Things you need to know about Dublin
10. Dublin history | Dublin, an old Irish Phrase that translates to Black Pool, was built by Viking in the 9th century. Irish Gaelic is considered the first official language and English is the dominant spoken language.
11. Dublin city | Dublin, the capital and largest city of Ireland, is divided in two by the River Liffey and the Northsides of Dublin was where working-class people lived, and the Southside was for upper-class residents.
12. Safety | Even if you may have heard about bombs and riots, the Irish capital is a relatively safe place to visit. Of course, as with any major city, crime does occur in Dublin, but most of it is non-violent. Depending on where your loyalties are, there are however few areas worth skipping when visiting Dublin.
13. Nightlife | Don’t expect to party all night, on weeknights, most pubs close their doors at 1.30pm, and on the weekend it’s at 2.30m. Off licences and supermarkets don’t sell alcohol after 10pm, and it’s illegal to drink on the streets.
14. Famous Dubliners | Collin Farrell, U2, Sinéad O’Connor, Maeve Binchy, Frances Bacon, Oscar Wild, Samuel Beckett, Gabriel Byrne, Brenda Fricker, Luke Kelly and James Joyce.
15. Public Holidays | If you are visiting Dublin during the Public Holidays- some might refer to them as Bank Holidays – be prepared for road chaos and seaside spots crowded with locals. There are 9 three-day weekends each year, do your research before your trip.
16. Emergency Phone numbers | In case of emergency, just dial 112 or 999 and you’ll be asked for your location and for the service you need, either Fire and rescue services, Marine and Coastal Emergencies, Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance or the Irish Garda.
17. Sports | Irish people love sports and the most popular in the country is Gaelic football followed by hurling and soccer.
Dublin’s neighbourhoods worth visiting
18. Sandymount | Easily accessible by bus and The Dart, Sandymount is a residential suburb with a beautiful mix of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Nearby Sandymount Strand, a gorgeous Blue Flag-awarded stretch that goes on and on for miles, attracts walkers, photographers and birdwatchers. Dublin Bay is an essential habitat for several types of wildlife species and, when the timing is right, you can even witness thousands of Terns who flock to the beach to roost.
19. Dalkey | Situated on the Southside of Dublin, Dalkey is a lovely seaside village that is perfect for a sunny summers day. Here, you can visit the 10th-century church, two Norman Castles, take a boat trip to Dalkey Island or keep an eye out for famous locals, The Edge, Bono, Van Morrison and Enja, all live nearby. To get there, take a Dublin Bus from Kildare Street or hop on Dart.
20. Portabello | because of the Eastern European Jews that sought refuge in during the late nineteenth century Portabello is known as Little Jerusalem. This is where George Bernard Shaw, an Irish critic and playwright, was born and this is where you’ll find one of Dublin’s best bars named after the writer.
21. Ranelagh | Known for its gourmet food shops, cool bars and lovely eateries, Ranelagh – a southside urban village – is just a short ride away from the city centre. Walk trough extremely photogenic Edwardian streets, grab brunch at Dillinger’s and check out its classy murals.
Top Places to see in Dublin
22. Guinness Store House | Located in the heart of St. James’ Gate Brewery is one of Dublin’s iconic attractions – the Guinness Storehouse. A ticket to the factory costs around EUR 18 and the Tour through the building that is designed to look like a pint of Guinness will take you through the seven floors. The Tour ends on the seventh floor where you’ll receive a perfectly poured pint of the black stuff at the Gravity Bar offering a 360-degree view of the city.
23. Book of Kells | It is worth to queue to see this national treasure, richly decorated and written by Irish Monks on calfskin. Keep in mind that in you have to see The Old Library at Trinity College and rows and rows of old books and manuscripts, its one of the most beautiful libraries.
24. Saint Patricks Cathedral | Originally founded in 1191, Saint Patricks Cathedral is the largest church in all of Ireland. The church is an architectural masterpiece with 800 years of history and its where the Johnathan Swift who wrote the Gulliver’s Travels was laid to rest.
25. Dublin Castle | One of Dublin’s oldest landmarks makes for an enjoyable visit for those interested in history and royals. Dublin Castle dates from the mid-1700s, and some of the highlights include The Throne Room and St. Patricks Hall. Today the castle is used by the Irish Government for different state events and is particularly pretty during the Christmas time when all the rooms are decorated with trees and lights.
26. Kilmainham Gaol | Tour an abandoned prison where 150, 000 inmates passed through between 1796 and 1924 and hear stories of the rebel leaders and Irish Republicans once imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol. Located just outside the city centre, right beside the Irish Museum of Modern Art it’s an absolute must-see destination for all history lovers.
27. The Cobblestone Pub | Don’t let the outside of the pub fool you, once inside you’ll find an authentic Irish pub experience with acoustic Traditional Irish Music. The pub is tiny, and they don’t serve food yet it has a fantastic atmosphere and friendly service. The Cobblestone Pub is located in Smithfield, and the music sessions start at different times each day – make sure you look it up before you go.
28. Old Jameson Distillery | If you are a fan of whiskey than head to Smithfield where Old Jameson Distillery is located. Watch a film about its history, taste and compare different whiskeys and follow a guide through a recreated distillery scene. No whiskey is distilled here anymore, and the place itself is touristy, yet the Tour is very much enjoyable.
29. Christ Church Cathedral | One of Dublin’s oldest building and a leading visitor attraction were ground in 1028 by King Sitrick. The beautiful church is worth a visit from a historical standpoint with elegant interiors, lovely stained glass windows and many relics on display.
Where to go shopping in Dublin
30. Grafton Street | Entering from Stephen’s Green in the south and winding all the way down to College Green and the entrance to Trinity College, Grafton Street is a place to shop, eat and admire architecturally luxurious townhouses.
31. Stephens Green Shopping Centre | Located at the top of Grafton Street, Stephens Green is a large indoor shopping centre with great shops, baby changing facilities, cafes and food outlets. Here you’ll find Carroll’s Irish Gifts and Celtic Spirit – great for souvenirs and high-end gifts to bring home.
32. Jam Art Factory | A design shop specialising in local art and products made in Ireland, Jam Art Factory stock jewellery, ceramics, prints and textiles created by talented Irish artists.
33. Celtic Whiskey Shop | For whiskey collectors Celtic Whiskey Shop is where to find a vast collection of rare bottles as well as a wide range of Scottish whiskeys, Celtic ales and world beers. The shop is located on Dawson Street, and you can visit their online site to sign up for whiskey tours and tastings and Celtic whiskey auctions.
Excellent day trips from Dublin less than 1 hour away
34. Malahide Castle | One of East coast jewels is Malahide Castle and Gardens, set on 250 acres of parkland, it’s a perfect place to go for a walk. My favourite time of the year to go back in spring when all the trees are covered in pink flowers and bluebells blossom in woodlands.
35. Skerries Village | The main attraction in town is Skerries Mills Industrial Heritage Museum that is home to a watermill powered by a pitch-black waterwheel, 4-sail thatched windmill and 5-sail tower windmill. You can visit the mills and learn how wind has been harnessed throughout the centuries.
36. Howth Village | Howth is a beautiful suburb located on the northern side of Dublin. Go for a Cliff Path Loop Walk and see The Baily Lighthouse that has been shining since 1814 or stay near the marina to sample fresh seafood.
37. Newgrange and Hill Of Tara | Go on a day tour to visit the Hill of Tara, the ancient capital of Ireland, explore Boyne Valley and travel back in time by visiting the Neolithic tombs of Newgrange, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
38. Wicklow National Park | National parks are some of the great natural wonders of Ireland and if you wish to clear your head and connect with nature make sure you visit Wicklow Mountain National Park, and it’s surroundings.
Irish words you need to know
39. The Gardaí | You won’t hear ‘police’ in the Republic of Ireland. Collectively known as Garda here, the single version being Garda – the short form of Garda Síochána na Éireann meaning Guardians of the Peace of Ireland.
40. Minerals | Are usually referred to as soft drinks aka 7up, Pepsi etc.
41. Chips | In Ireland Frech fries are chips and chips are crisps.
42. Messages | Some Irish people call groceries messages.
43. Sláinte | Literally translating as “health” and pronounced “slaan-sha” is a way of saying cheers.
Where to stay in Dublin
44. The Shelbourne Hotel | Designed in 1865 by John McCurdy and located near Stephens Green Park, The Shelbourne Hotel is a luxury 5-star hotel that features the SPA, full-service salon and spectacular suites. With almost two hundred years of rich history and with JFK, Princess Grace and Éamon de Valera being just a few of the notable visitors, the hotel offers a memorable experience.
45. The Merrion Hotel | A five-star hotel where you can enjoy afternoon tea in A Drawing room and dinner at the Michelin Starred restaurant, is also home to the largest private nineteenth and twentieth art collection in all of Ireland. The Merrion Hotel is situated in Merrion Square, and the rooms are tastefully furnished with Georgian décor.
46. The Merchant House | Situated in the heart of Temple Bar and restored in 2005, The Merchant House offers luxurious and spaces rooms, fantastic roof garden and an excellent location.
47. The Spencer Hotel | Situated in Docklands where Royal and Grand Canal meet the River Valley, The Spencer Hotel feature indoor pool and spa centre.
48. Generator Dublin | The award-winning Hostel is located next door to Jameson Distillery. The Hostel offers budget en-suite, traditional breakfast and a late-night bar. Situated in the Smithfield Square and featuring on-site selling sightseeing tours and tickets travel shop its perfect for youthful visitors.
Where to eat and drink in Dublin
49. Fallon and Byrne | For a fantastic selection of from artisans products from all over Ireland, visit this outlet housed in a restored building located on Exchequer Street. At Fallon and Byrne you’ll find the wine cellar, restaurant and food hall under one roof.
50. Hatch and Sons | Located on St. Stephen’s Green, Hatch is a traditional Irish kitchen, and the menu includes Smoked Irish farmhouse cheeses and sandwiches made with a ‘blaaa’ a soft white roll from Waterford.
51. O’Neill’s Pub | For traditional dishes, warm welcome and live music session visit one of Dublin’s most historic places O’Neill’s Pub. Located just stones thrown away from Trinity College, their menu include sausage, bacon and potato stew, bacon and cabbage with parsley sauce and traditional Irish breakfast.
52. Delahunt | For some of the best contemporary Irish food in Dublin, make a reservation at Delahunt, to sample their Guinness bread and signature home-smoked salmon. Set in a Victorian listed building, this place features The Sitting Room with vaulted sealings and retro furniture, The Café and restaurant.
53. The Taste of Dublin | In June, Irelands premier drink & food festival offering culinary talks, wine and beer tasting, as well as award-winning chefs cooking up amazing dishes, takes place at Ivy Gardens. To book your tickets visit the Taste of Dublin.
54. Brazen Head | Ireland’s oldest pub, established in 1198 AD as a coach house and located in Dublin is a great place for Irish pub experience. It’s a truly unique place where travellers can immerse themselves into Traditional music, storytelling and traditional dishes such as Guinness stew.
55. Cornucopia | Located on Wicklow Street, which is right in the middle of the city, Cornucopia is a vegetarian restaurant that serves satisfying portions of salads, hot dishes, freshly baked bread and cakes.
What to pack for a trip to Dublin
56. Travel umbrella | You can never know what the forecast in Dublin is going to be like. Don’t let the miserable weather with unexpected rain showers deter your mood. Pack a travel umbrella or get one as soon as you arrive in Dublin.
57. Rain jacket | You’ll definitely see some rain during your travels in Ireland. Make sure your rain jacket is durable, lightweight, windproof and waterproof.
58. Camera | Bring your camera to capture Dublin’s landmarks and always use common sense while exploring the city – don’t leave your camera or other valuables lying around unattended and you will be fine.
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Now, over to you!
Have ever been to Dublin? Do you have any tips to add?
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