Dublin is beautiful, exciting, and bursting with a rich culture and a long and fascinating history! It’s the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which is south of Northern Ireland, and has a major international airport, making it a popular destination for tourists from all over the globe. This guide will help you plan a trip to the iconic city of Dublin, making sure you don’t miss any of the highlights. Here are the top things to do in Dublin, Ireland!
What to Expect in Dublin
Language: English is the main language spoken in Dublin, and most people that you meet will speak it. Although you probably won’t encounter someone who only speaks Irish Gaelic and can’t communicate at least a little bit in English, it’s important to know that Irish Gaelic is the other official language of the country.
Currency: The Euro (€)
Credit Cards and Banks: You’ll have access to ATMs while you’re traveling through Dublin if you would like to withdraw cash, although these will likely come with some fees for using an ATM not run by your bank. You’ll also be able to use your credit card at most places within the city so even if you don’t have too much cash on hand, you’ll be fine.
Climate: Summers in Dublin are pleasant; winters are long, cold, and wet; and it is windy and partly cloudy all year. Be sure to bring at least one pair of shoes that’s suitable for rainy weather and you can’t go wrong with a rain jacket.
Getting Around in Dublin
Dublin has a lot of options for public transportation, and you should be able to navigate most of your vacation by using a combination of the buses and taxi services. There are also other options that may suit you better, so here’s a rundown of your options for getting around Dublin.
Train: The trains around Dublin mostly include commuter trains, which may not be useful for the average trip to Dublin, but it’s definitely worth knowing about if you’re interested in exploring beyond the city limits.
Bus: Traveling by bus is probably your best option for getting around Dublin. Not only is it super affordable, but there are several different bus operators so you have plenty of options.
Luas: Luas is a tram/streetcar system that covers a lot of the city.
Rental Car: Although you can definitely rent a car if you want to, it’s not the best option for getting around Dublin because of the high cost and the fact that you’ll have to figure out parking wherever you go.
Taxis: Whether you’re looking for traditional taxis or rideshare services, you’ll have plenty of chances to get a ride wherever you need to go.
Bicycle: If you want your own transportation but a rental car is too much of a hassle, consider the DublinBikes system! You can buy a one-day ticket, a three-day pass, or an unlimited annual pass, and borrow bikes at various stations throughout the city. The bikes are available between 5:00 AM and midnight, and can be returned to a different station than the one it was borrowed from.
Walking: Of course, you can always walk! Dublin is a pretty walkable city as it’s relatively flat. There are also some nature trails that you can get to if you want to explore Dublin’s natural beauty.
Where to Stay in Dublin
Dublin has a range of amazing hotels, each with its own set of perks. Whether you’re looking for a cute boutique option or a larger chain hotel, this list of the best hotels in Dublin will help you pick where to stay in the Irish capital city.
VRBO has a variety of private apartments and flats you can rent on a nightly basis, for great prices! This is a good option for those looking to get an authentic taste of Paris life. Just be sure to read reviews and do your research before booking!
The four-star Iveagh Garden Hotel is an urban retreat near Grafton Street that offers a contemporary take on traditional grandeur. Enjoy exquisite informal meals, inventive cocktails, and the freshest local ingredients at Elle’s Bar & Bistro, before walking through the Iveagh Gardens that gave the hotel its name.
The Westbury is a renowned Dublin hotel that is located between Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green. It’s a great base for exploring various neighborhoods throughout Dublin thanks to its prime central location. Grafton Street, known for its color, street artists, and high-end shopping, is right outside the hotel’s front door.
Dublin, Ireland’s Clontarf Castle Hotel is the ideal example of a boutique and luxury hotel, with distinctive design choices and top-notch service provided by a welcoming staff. You get to experience modern comforts within a historic structure when you stay here, as well as the serene environment.
In the charming neighborhood of Ballsbridge, Dublin City’s Herbert Park Hotel & Park Residence is a five-star hotel. This exquisitely furnished hotel in Dublin has wonderful views of the gorgeous 48-acre Herbert Park and a distinctive metropolitan setting. The hotel is conveniently accessible to many of Dublin’s most well-known attractions as well as the city center. You have the option of booking a standard hotel room or longer-term guests may prefer one-bedroom or studio apartments.
Although it’s on the higher end of budget hotel options, Zanzibar Locke is a generally affordable option compared to other hotels in Dublin. Located in a series of former townhouses, it’s a trendy and modern hotel with guest rooms that are more similar to studio apartments, which makes it a great option for longer-term stays, or for any traveler that wants access to a kitchenette during their trip.
The Conrad Dublin was recently renovated, with new design elements inspired by Dublin’s rich literary culture and local heritage. The hotel has a beautiful view of the National Concert Hall and is located across from St. Stephen’s Green’s gardens. It’s the ideal place to explore this genuinely extraordinary city amid the cobbled lanes, secret passageways, and twisting walkways.
The five-star Westin Dublin is a luxurious hotel that overlooks the city’s famous Trinity College. You can experience luxurious accommodations when you stay here, along with serene vibes thanks to the art and design of the guest rooms which was heavily inspired by the Irish coastline.
Where to Eat in Ireland
When you visit Dublin, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to dining. Some of the best restaurants in Dublin serve up international cuisine while others offer a menu that’s filled with local delicacies. If you’re wondering where to eat in Dublin, this list will give you a good start.
Read More: 10 Local Foods to Try in Ireland
Fire Steakhouse and BarSteakhouse
Fire Steakhouse and Bar is popular with locals and tourists alike thanks to the high quality of the food and the service. The steak is naturally one of the most popular options here, but you’ll be impressed with anything that you order. Although it’s a steakhouse and most menu items will include meat or animal products in some way, they do serve a few options that are suitable for vegetarians.
31 Lennox is one of the best places to eat in Dublin, thanks to its affordable menu and the inclusion of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The vibe of 31 Lennox is similar to a relaxed cafe, and the food you can order here is inspired by Italian cuisine with plenty of lighter options for an earlier meal.
Davy Byrne’s is likely Dublin’s most famous pub, thanks to its connection to Irish author James Joyce. Joyce often visited the bar and personally knew Davy Byrne, the original owner of the place. Davy Byrnes has a bar area, a library room, and outdoor seating available where you can enjoy lunch or dinner that is made with fresh local produce.
Richmond RestaurantModern European
Richmond Restaurant is a bustling local hangout with a charming and cozy vibe. It’s decorated with candles, deep red leather seating, and string lights, which helps create the previously mentioned cozy vibe. The menu changes seasonally to ensure that they are always featuring the freshest best ingredients.
Delahunt is one of the best restaurants in Dublin for traditional Irish food with a contemporary spin. The restaurant serves up a tasting menu every evening, with options for those who prefer to eat vegan or vegetarian. Delahunt is defined by a cozy dark interior, a long bar, and stained-glass windows that look out onto Camden Street.
The Church BarCocktails
The Church Bar has great food, delicious cocktails, and some amazing beer, but what really sets it apart is the gorgeous interiors and the lively warm atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to dance. The Church is located in a carefully restored 17th-century church. You can also choose to enjoy your drinks and food in the later evening, which is when live musicians and DJs often perform.
Mulberry Garden is a great Dublin restaurant for anyone who is looking to treat themselves to a little bit of luxury. The menu changes weekly, always presenting meals with fresh and local ingredients. Favorites include the foie gras torchon, which is served with cherries, hazelnut, and milk bun, and the risotto with peas, girolles, and eggplants!
The Vintage KitchenModern Irish
The Vintage Kitchen is popular — you’ll probably have to wait at least a little bit for a table — but its popularity is truly well deserved. It’s a small and intimate place where you’ll get amazing service and a cozy experience like no other. The menu changes regularly, but there are some staples like the chowder that is almost always available thanks to how popular it is!
Chapter OneFine Dining
If the fact that Chapter One has two Michelin stars doesn’t convince you that this upscale eatery is well worth a visit, the delicious food will definitely do the trick. You’ll definitely want to get reservations if you want to taste the amazing French-inspired seafood dishes that are part of the menu.
The Little Pig SpeakeasyCocktails
With a name that is a playful nod to “blind pigs,” venues that produced alcohol during prohibition, the Little Pig Speakeasy is a fun and unique place to grab a cocktail in Dublin. You can also sign up for a masterclass offered by the Little Pig, where you can learn how to make delicious craft cocktails.
The Mini Martini flight gives you a chance to sample a few cocktails so if you can’t decide, it’s a great option!
The Bakehouse is the place to go for baked goods, pastries, and cafe food that includes sandwiches and delicious freshly made flatbread pizzas. On the weekends, they serve a brunch menu that combines the best of the typical breakfast and lunch offerings you can find at The Bakehouse on a weekday.
What to Do in Dublin
Dublin is filled with exciting cultural landmarks, museums, pubs, stores, and so much more you can explore during your visit. It’s definitely a good idea to spend some time wandering and checking out whatever catches your eye, but there are also several things that are worth putting on your itinerary.
Temple Bar is so well-known that an entire neighborhood has been named after it! Weary travelers have been pulling up a stool here to relax after a long day since the fourteenth century.
Take a photo of Temple Bar’s famous red exterior before heading inside for an Irish Whiskey. Every night of the week, Temple Bar and the surrounding area are hopping, so you can easily make a night of it. But be cautious! Temple Bar, both the bar and the surrounding area, is one of Europe’s most expensive drinking establishments.
Trinity College is located in the heart of Dublin and is one of Ireland’s cultural centers. Bring a good book and lie in the lush gardens of the campus if you are fortunate enough to have some sunshine during your visit.
Trinity College, an architectural masterpiece, hosts regular events, a Zoological Museum, a theater, a science gallery, and the famous Book of Kells. This book contains four New Testament Gospels that are over a millennium old.
While many people just take pictures of the Book of Kells and leave, I recommend exploring everything Trinity College has to offer.
You can’t visit Dublin without having a Guinness!
Even if you can’t stand the dark beer, give it another try in Dublin. The freshly brewed Irish variety tastes different from what you’ll have anywhere else in the world. You can take a tour of the storehouse and sample some of the beer while learning about how it’s made.
Read More: Visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
If walls could talk, imagine everything the 800-year old walls of Dublin Castle could tell us! The next best thing is taking the tour of the 11-acre property, where you can see the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum, and the Revenue Museum.
The Chester Beatty Library is a highlight – it houses world-class European and Chinese cultural artifacts and is easily one of Europe’s best small museums!
Grafton Street, Ireland’s premier shopping street and a path down to the beautiful St Stephen’s Green Park, is a must-see. Countless Irish musicians have made a name for themselves on this street, where they sing their hearts out for every passerby.
Bono, Hozier, The Script, and Damien Rice have all ventured down this well-known street, and Ed Sheeran even mentions it in his song, Galway Girl.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin’s oldest structure, was founded in 1030 and houses the largest crypt in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The guided tour is ideal for learning about the Cathedral’s dynamic past, and there are regular events where you can experience a brief moment in its history firsthand.
If you happen to be in Dublin on a Sunday, you will be able to hear the bells from Christ Church Cathedral echoing as you walk along the riverbank.
The best part is that you can go inside the church and ring the bells yourself! You can sign up for the Friday practice session before the big event on Sunday.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in 1191 and is currently the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The cathedral is famous for many things, including its fantastic historic architecture.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also known for its choir, which was first organized in the early 1400s, and still performs to this day. There’s another historic musical aspect to the cathedral: with over 4,000 pipes, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral organ is one of the largest in Ireland.
You can take guided tours of St. Patrick’s Cathedral that take place on most days, but you can opt to download the app and do a self-guided version.
The Little Museum of Dublin may be smaller than other institutions, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in fascinating artifacts and engaging stories of the city’s history. In fact, they have a collection of over 5,000 artifacts that help illustrate what daily life was like during various eras of Dublin’s 20th-century history.
The museum itself is located in a historic building — the Georgian townhouse that houses the Little Museum of Dublin dates back to the 18th century.
Traditional Irish music, also known as trad, is extremely popular in Ireland. At these sessions, local musicians keep the crowds dancing seven days a week. Because anyone can walk in and start playing with the band in many places, no two sessions are ever the same.
The best place to take it all in is the Hairy Lemon Pub. Come early for dinner to sample one of their classic cottage pies, Dublin coddle, or a hearty Irish stew!
For a look at the history and culture of Dublin and Ireland as a whole, check out the exhibits throughout the multiple buildings and locations that make up the National Museum of Ireland. Focusing on archaeology, country life, natural history, and art, these exhibits are actually free to visit!
There are several rotating and temporary exhibitions and plenty more that are on display throughout the year so even if you’ve visited before, it’s worth coming again and learning something new!
For a chance to enjoy the outdoors and relax in a pocket of greenery within Dublin’s city blocks, check out the historic St. Stephen’s Green Park! In addition to the green space, the park features a bust of James Joyce, a fountain representing the Three Fates, and the Fusilier’s Arch. There’s also a memorial garden for W. B. Yeats, who is one of the most famous poets in the English-speaking world and is particularly important to Ireland’s literary history.
Henrietta Street was developed and designed in the 1720s and was unique at the time for how wide it was compared to other streets. There are several Georgian-style red brick homes built along the street, one of which houses the 14 Henrietta Street Museum. You can step inside and learn about the lives of the people who lived in that very house over the years.
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