Dublin Travel Guide: Exploring Ireland's Capital
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
The largest city in Ireland, the country’s capital, Dublin is a true cultural melting pot. You can experience and learn so much about the Irish culture, its traditions, centuries-old architecture, literature, folklore, music, dance, food and spirits. But make no mistake, Dublin is a modern, cosmopolitan city that’s been influenced by a growing immigrant population. The result is, between pints of Guinness and walks by the Lifey River, you’ll see that Dublin is a vibrant hub, home to five Michelin-starred restaurants, and you’ll love to explore it! Let’s go?
Things to Know
Language: English (main) but signage is also in Gaelic
Electricity: 230v, and if you’re coming from the U.S., you’ll need an adapter.
Always make sure to check the country’s official website for the most up to date information: Click Here
Where to Stay
I stayed at the Aloft Dublin City and can tell you it was THE BEST! Next time I’m in Dublin, I will stay here again. One of my favorite things about Dublin is that the city is extremely walkable. Alternatively, you can rent a scooter or bike (we did not go this route because we visited during winter and it was very cold/windy). Another getting around suggestion is to take the Luas, Dublin’s tram/light rail system, we loved it – clean, modern and effective.
I say all of this to say that Aloft’s location is prime, a quick 10min walk or less to several attractions, such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, but honestly, you can walk pretty much everywhere in Dublin.
I love the Aloft brand (Marriott), how contemporary, stylish and clean their hotels are (always smells soooo good!), plus they have cool bars and restaurants.
We have Marriott Bonvoy’s membership so we booked directly via the hotel’s website, but I also always check Trivago and Booking.com to compare rates / hotels.
The Good Stuff
I spent two days in Dublin and was able to see most of the attractions (all the ones I really wanted to visit), however, we try to optimize our trips, so if you have three or four days to spend here, it would be ideal. If not, no worries, you’ll still get to enjoy most of the good stuff. Let’s explore what to see, eat, drink and do in Dublin.
I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, create a list on Google Maps before I leave for every trip (I am an Apple girl, but Google does maps way better, sorry Tim Cook). Trust me, it’s a life saver, so you don’t have to be searching addresses, restaurants, etc. on the go. That said, I am sharing my precious Dublin list with you, so you don’t have to do it (it is time consuming).
Google Maps List: https://goo.gl/maps/3N79J3P8UeAqrKff6
Things To Do
This is Dublin’s top tourist attraction for a reason (a good one). Here, you get to explore the seven floors of the iconic building at St. James Gate, and learn about the history of Ireland’s most famous beer, its journey throughout the years, the artisan process to make it, the ingredients, and everything that makes it so special. At the end of the tour, you get to enjoy a pint of Guinness over 360 views of Dublin. They also have restaurants and, obviously, bars.
Ground floor / The Story of Guinness
First floor / Meet Arthur Guinness
Second floor / The Tasting Experience
Third floor / Guinness World of Advertising
Fourth Floor / Guinness Academy
Fifth Floor / Our Restaurants
Seventh Floor / Gravity Bar
Tickets range from €20 to €28 and you must book and reserve your time in advance. You can even buy an engraved pint online – which I did, and it was ready and packaged waiting for me when we arrived.
Checkout this tour of the Guinness Storehouse that I shared on IG:
If you’re interested in medieval fortresses, this one is for you! Located in the heart of Dublin, on the site of a Viking settlement, Dublin Castle was once the headquarters of the British administration. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, it became a major government complex and is one of the most important buildings in the Irish history.
For a quick tour of Dublin Castle, check out the Reel I shared on IG: Click Here
Until the end of 2021 and by the time I’m writing this guide – tickets are free but advance reservations are required.
Online tickets are available to book online within a week prior to visit but a limited number of tickets are available each day at the ticket desk.
Guided tours are available on a limited basis under current restrictions. You’ll need to ask at the ticket desk for availability.
On the grounds of Dublin Castle is located yet another great Dublin attraction, the Chester Beatty museum, which is the home to an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts and drawings dating back to 2700 B.C.
Admission is Free - no booking required (Suggested donation €5)
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St Patrick's Cathedral is one of the most iconic of the European cathedrals, and certainly on the list of the most beautiful churches in the world. The stunning landmark is Ireland's largest cathedral as well as the headquarters of the Church of Ireland.
Adult Ticket: €7.50 online / €8.00 at the gate
Christ Church Cathedral
This cathedral was originally a Viking church - we're talking 1,000 years ago!!! Today, the architectural masterpiece is an Anglican cathedral.
Adult Ticket: €9.00
St. Stephen's Green
So, for background info, as you probably know, I am from Brazil, which is a pretty "young" country, and I’ve been living in the U.S. for most of my adult life now, yet another young country as far as countries ages go. I can't help but be awed and amazed when I visit and learn about places that have been around for several centuries, or even thousands of years. That just blows my mind. Needed to make that addendum. Continuing with the guide...
You will find Dubliners exercising here on a daily basis, as well as tourists strolling around the 3.5km of pathways around the Victorian park, which features a series of monuments and sculptures, a small lake and fountain, and a children's playground.
Hours: St. Stephen's Green closes according to daylight hours.
Download a Guide to the Monuments of St. Stephen's Green Park
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and Grafton Street
This is where you go to do some shopping therapy in Dublin.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre hosts a variety of retailers, including Dunnes Stores, Argos, Boots, Eason, United Colors of Benetton, Mothercare, Elverys, Golden Discs and TK Maxx.
Grafton Street is a promenade paved with charming bricks, full of stores and pubs, where buskers give wonderful live-music performances to standing street audiences. While you wander around the blocks surrounding the highly instagrammable Grafton Street, you might just find another insta-famous spot: The Umbrella's Dublin (location on my Google Maps list).
One of Dublin's most iconic post cards, the Ha'penny Bridge (officially The Liffey Bridge), is made of cast iron and was built in the 1800's out of pure necessity. That's because until then, a ferry was used to cross Dubliners from one side of the Liffey River to the other.
If you're an U2 fan, you've seen their pictures in here before.
I really enjoyed walking by the river and taking in the views of the city, crossing the bridge and exploring the north side of town.
Temple Bar Neighborhood
Don't miss the chance to take a stroll around Temple Bar! Truth to be told, there's a pub at every corner in Dublin, and while the Temple Bar area is known as the most touristy, here you'll find the largest number of Guinness pints poured per square ft in town. It is also where The Temple Bar Pub is located - one of the city's main attractions. More on pubs down in the "Where to Eat / Drink" section.
The Old Library of Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College sits on a beautiful property, centrally located, but inside the Old Library building is the main reason why so many people from all over the place come here: to get a closer look at the Book of Kells - a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world which is Ireland's greatest cultural treasure.
Adult Ticket: €18.00 (children under 12 are free).
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed city park in Europe, and the home of the president of Ireland, the American Ambassador, as well as the Dublin Zoo. Click here for a list of things to see and do in Phoenix Park.
Near Phoenix Park is the Kilmainham Gaol (prison). I must say, particularly to me, this type of attraction is not really what I look for when visiting a new place (for example I have never visited Alcatraz, in San Francisco), and full disclaimer, I have not visited Kilmainham Gaol either, however, I do understand and recognize it is an interesting and important experience that provides an unique look at some of the darkest days in the Irish history, that's why I wanted to make sure to include it here.
Jameson Distillery Bow St.
Even though they no longer make whiskey there, at Jameson Bow St. you can get tours of the Distillery, cocktail-making classes, premium whiskey tasting sessions or even learn how to blend your own whiskey. Tickets start at €25.
Doors of Dublin
The Georgian style front doors became one of Dublin's most recognizable symbols. You can literally find them throughout the city in many, many colors.
Where to Eat / Drink:
One of the things I make sure to do whenever traveling is trying the local food. That's one of the best - and delicious - ways to immerse yourself in another culture.
In Dublin, I tried Irish scones and yes, they are close relatives to English scones, however, I must say that Irish butter plays an important part here. They are purposely plain and simple, usually made of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and milk. Best enjoyed with butter, jam or clotted cream!
Queen of Tarts (Cow's Ln)
This quaint tearoom / cafe was our first stop for breakfast in Dublin and it was such an interesting experience! It was where I first tried an Irish scone and fell in love with it! Their specialty are baked goods and I highly recommend a visit for the Queen's Delight and for the ambience.
Brother Rubbard North (menu)
Another breakfast / brunch spot that's top notch. Here, the menu is focused on local and seasonal produce. If available when you visit, get a Lemon Brulee Bar and thank me later.
La Caverna (menu)
An Italian restaurant located in the Temple Bar neighborhood, with cellar seating that you can reserve in advance. The food was good, and the staff super friendly.
Fade Street Social
Irish-inspired tapas! I haven't visited this one yet - but it's on my list for next time! If you do go, let me know how you like it.
It's Ireland. Pubs are places where you go to get a pint after work, but also, where us, visitors from all over the world, come to drink, eat, and get a glimpse into the Irish culture and habits. Here are the pubs I recommend in Dublin, cheers!
The Brazen Head (Ireland’s Oldest Pub!! This is probably my favorite pub in Dublin)
Temple Bar Pub
The Dame Tavern
The Merchants Arch
The Old Stand
Baileys Coffee or Irish coffee?
It comes down to whether you're a sweet person or not.
Baileys coffee is a sort of spin on Irish coffee, as Baileys Irish Cream is used instead of cream and sugar. I had this and it was just as I expected / wanted, sweet and warming for a cold Dublin day.
Irish coffee is a classic cocktail you probably already know: hot coffee with a shot of Irish whiskey, topped with whipped cream. This one tastes much stronger!
I truly hope you enjoyed this guide and that you can get to visit this amazing city real soon!
If you loved the tips and places recommended here, please support by following me on Insta: @wlovefrombella and on Pinterest.
Now, enjoy a free gift that's going to come up super handy for your next trip to Dublin, a travel checklist!
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