Every Irish adventure begins with Dublin – the owner of something for everybody. Imbued with incredible culture and history, this is a city of nuances and sensations! A city of beer and whiskey, deeply soaked in every Dublin pub. Dublin is an experience for the senses, always bringing positive emotions and is among the most interesting to visit European cities!
Where is located and how to get there
The capital of Ireland is located in the eastern part of the country, on the shores of the Irish Sea and at the mouth of the River Liffey. Access to the city is easy with low-cost airline flights. The airport is close to its central part and there are several different options to get there. It was most convenient for us to use bus 782 on DublinExpress, with a price of 6 euro one way.
Dublin is also easy to reach by ferry, with the nearest ports being Liverpool (operated by P&O Ferries) and Holyhead (operated by Irish Ferries). In front of the entrance of the port there is a stop from the city bus, which easily reaches the center. National Express also offers bus tickets from London to Dublin, with buses boarding ferries and calling directly at Central Bus Station.
What to see in Dublin
The city has an undeniable Irish charm that makes you fall in love with it. We had almost three full days available to see it. We walked a lot and visited the most interesting places for us. I have gathered most of them here to plan your stay in your own interests and get the most out of Dublin.
The neighborhood around Temple bar
The world famous Temple bar! It has become an emblem of the city, and its popularity leads to the fact that the entire surrounding neighborhood is named after him. The cobbled streets smell of delicious food and pour huge amounts of alcohol, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Almost every bar is full to the brim, mostly with tourists. Dubliners avoid going out in the evening at this region. However, here you can learn some other local word, such as “The Drinklink” – a place to withdraw money that will be used to buy alcohol!
Night Dublin attracts thousands of tourists to the Irish capital. Apart from the famous red bar, The Place is another iconic and photogenic place. The small bar is a particularly charming evening. Despite the crowds, we loved to walk around the neighborhood, explore the many shops and pubs and feel the so-called “craic” – the Irish word for fun and good time.
Christ Church Cathedral
The oldest building in Dublin! Yes, this charming Irish cathedral has existed for almost 1000 years. The former Viking Church has undergone many renovations, the most significants being in the 19th century, and they leave it in its present form. The facade is impressive and typical of Irish cathedrals, with Gothic, Romanesque and Victorian elements intertwined. It’s also famous for its impressive crypt, which is 64 meters long and is the longest in the British Isles. The visit inside is with a ticket, and the price is 9 euro – you can buy in advance from HERE.
The road between our accommodation and the center passed right through her and I photographed her at least around five times… It’s just that every time I was captivated by the opportunity to make a new and new shot. The beautiful bridge to the nearby museum is one of its most photogenic parts. Impressive is the subtle way in which the medieval building fits into the new and modern look of Dublin.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
The tallest church in Ireland! It looks very much like Christ Church, but was actually built to replace it. But fortunately this doesn’t happen and the two cathedrals managed to coexist at close range from each other. The huge green space around it is an ideal solution for a picnic or recreation in nature.
You can enter the cathedral with a ticket, which you can buy in advance from HERE or on the spot.
The price is 8 euro on the spot and 7.50 online. And inside the cathedral is captivating! Richly decorated with huge arches, many stained glass windows and hanging flags. The temple has a special relationship with the remembrance of the victims of the war. At one end there is a “Tree of Memory”, where everyone can leave their memory of a lost loved one. The collected memories are so many that the church board makes them an art installation and can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
💡 The cathedral once housed the Order of the Knights of St. Patrick. It’s the flags on display in one of the halls that still suggest this. They belonged to noble Irish families who were part of the Order.
💡 In one of the corridors I was impressed by the flags of the British Army. Before gaining their independence, the Irish were an essential part of the island’s army. It’s a curious fact that in the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated, about 30-40% of the British army was made up of Irish people. Today the flags are hung to pay tribute to all the men who died.
Stroll around the brick walls of the factory, where every corner of the cobbled streets carries the spirit of Dublin. And a visit to the interactive museum is a must! It’s the most visited landmark in Ireland. Yes, the ticket isn’t cheap, but inside you are immersed in the world of Guinness! You will learn the story, see how it’s made and you will acquire skills for perfect pouring. Details of the whole visit can be read in a separate post – At the home of the best beer in the world – Guinness.
The Dublin Castle
The Dublin Castle is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. It was built in the period 1204 – 1230, but only one of the towers (Record Tower) remains from his medieval appearance. Most of the buildings in the complex date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The castle is so popular that it was visited by Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. To touch the way previous generations lived, you have to pay to enter the castle – HERE.
But it’s completely free to walk around it, including the Dubh Linn Garden, which offers a wonderful view of the medieval tower, left as a relic of British rule in Ireland.
💡 You can also visit the Chester Beatty Library, whose entrance is from the garden. It’s one of Dublin’s free attractions.
O’Connell Street and Dublin one
O’Connell Bridge connects the south with the north part of the city. The beautiful 18th-century bridge is almost always crowded with pedestrians heading to the Temple bar or Dublin One’s shops. Try to stop for a minute without being crushed by the crowd, and enjoy the architecture around the dark waters of the river…
O’Connell Street is one of Dublin’s main thoroughfares, and the 120-meter-high monument of light (Spire of Dublin) is visible from afar. It’s next to him that we turn onto Henry street to be tempted by its boutiques, legendary department stores and shopping malls. It’s also one of the most ornate streets at Christmas.
The pubs of Dublin
There’s something special about drinking a pint of beer at a local pub! And they are over 1000, there are them literally on every corner. We fell in love with the unadulterated atmosphere of Arthur’s, as well as the unique character of the oldest Irish pub – The Brazen Head. O’Neills’ cuisine is superb and The Hairy Lemon is another charming place. You can read more about them in Places to eat in Dublin.
On the streets of Dublin
Everywhere you look in Dublin you will see beautiful architecture and historical monuments. They all add a particle to the charm of the city. Our favorite activity was just wandering the streets during the day and evening, and the wonderful atmosphere of the urban environment is inspiring.
Dame St. is one of the city’s main streets and will take you to many of Dublin’s attractions. In addition to key buildings, there are many restaurants and shops. She is a continuation of another pleasant street to walk, Thomas St., and starts from the Catholic Church Christ Church, continuing south of Temple Bar. Close to her is Dublin Castle and ends in the square in front of Trinity College. There is also one of my favorite places to photography – the building of the popular bar The Bank.
Don’t miss the secret street Dame Ln, where you will find a huge number of bars, and some of the most famous are The Bankers, The Dame Tavern and The Stags Head, which are almost always crowded and you can hardly find a place in them. Wooden barrels, beer kegs and hanging flags complement the coloring of this narrow street.
You can continue to the unique architecture of South Great George’s Street and Exchequer St., with beautiful reddish buildings resembling castle towers. Be sure to stand next to the parked bicycles in front of The Central Hotel and take a look along the busy street.
The most commercial place in this part of the city is Grafton Street. Much of it is pedestrian and crowded, hosting many shops, restaurants and various street artists who lift the spirits of passers-by. And Christmas decorations made it an even more enjoyable place. The statue of Molly Malone, which has now been moved a few hundred meters to the side, was once located on it. It’s located right in front of the church of St. Andrew’s. Be sure to see and touch the lucky bronze bust of the heroine in one of the most famous Irish songs.
I have two other favorite locations around Grafton Street and these are the charming Wicklow St.. intersection, where garlands and flags adorn the facades of various boutiques and the secret little street Anne’s Lane. There you will find the umbrellas of Dublin!
This is the oldest and most elite university in the country. It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. The territory of the school is surrounded by high walls and passing through the central gate, the city noise disappears and we find ourselves among spacious green areas surrounded by cobbled alleys. Walking around campus is one of the most enjoyable things to do in downtown Dublin. Be sure to take a picture in front of the famous bell tower of Trinity College!
The college library is one of the most beautiful and famous in the world! The long room and its neatly arranged books are an inspiration worth seeing. Hidden in it is the greatest cultural treasure of Ireland – the Book of Kells. Exactly at the time of our visit, the book was missing due to restoration, and we thought it wasn’t worth the high entrance fee without being able to see it. There is always a huge queue around the entrance of the library and if you want to visit it it’s good to book a ticket in advance – HERE.
Oscar Wilde’s house
For a city the size of Dublin, its world-famous cultural figures are huge. These include three Nobel laureates – Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. The city is also the birthplace of the famous poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. You can walk to his childhood house, which is directly opposite his statue in Merrion Square Park. You can see him elegantly reclining on a large rock, wearing a bright green jacket with a pink collar and a pipe in his hand. The statue is made of semi-precious stones!
I had the feeling that the Irish were obsessed with donuts, there were them everywhere! Walking along Nassau Street we were tempted to try them, and the park is an ideal place to relax from walks in the city with a donut in hand.
The old Jameson Distillery
Visiting Jamieson’s old distillery is one of Dublin’s most exciting experiences. You find yourself in the world of the most famous Irish whiskey and thanks to your own guide with unadulterated Irish humor, you will learn a lot about it. You can learn more about John Jameson, the triple distillation and when a whiskey is called “Irish” in a detailed post – The old Jameson Distillery – one good story.
Along the river and Ha’penny Bridge
Walking around the River Liffey is something not to be missed in Dublin. I passed by her dark waters early in the morning when I was alone on the streets, catching the last city lights before sunrise. Also during the day or evening, when the city comes alive. You can’t get bored of this pleasure, just admire the different architectural styles and colors that are revealed around the coast.
Today, the River Liffey is crossed by many bridges, but in 1816 the first footbridge was built connecting the two parts of Dublin. William Walsh owned ferries between the two shores and was forced to renovate them due to their poor condition or to build a bridge. He chose the latter and built the cast iron Liffey Bridge, known today as the Ha’Penny Bridge. The name comes from the fee Walsh was entitled to collect for the next 100 years from every pedestrian crossing the bridge.
St Stephen’s Green Park
Dublin is an example of a green European city and its well-maintained city parks prove it. No matter what time of year you visit it, these green oases offer the most pleasant environment for a walk around the capital of Ireland.
The nestled in the heart of the city St. Stephen’s Green was once a swampy pasture, and today it is a relaxing area, offering Dubliners and guests a great opportunity to escape the busy city streets. Its interior is filled with perfectly shaped alleys, tall trees, fountains, statues and a beautiful lake with swans.
One of my favorite photos in Dublin is right here! To the entrance of the park, from the crossroads of St. Stephen’s Green and Cuffe Street. There is a reddish Victorian house, contrasting with the surrounding green areas, and behind it is a beautiful Gothic church… The perfect match!
💡 In the western part of Dublin is Phoenix Park, which is the largest enclosed public parks in any capital city in Europe. It’s so huge that it takes at least a whole day to explore. If you have more days, it’s definitely worth it.
💡 City parks close and lock in the evening, so watch out for the warning bell, which signals to visitors that the gates are about to close.
Stephen’s Green shopping center
The huge shopping center, which resembles a greenhouse because of its glass roof, is an ideal place to hide for a bit of the surprising rain. In December it has beautiful Christmas decorations and is among the popular city places on Instagram. The most famous shopping center in Dublin houses over 100 sites. From world famous brands to small souvenir shops and various delicacies. You can walk around its floors and see the interesting assortment of items or have a coffee.
The doors of Dublin
Among the most recognizable things in Dublin are the color-painted doors of houses. They add a different touch to the otherwise monotonous Georgian architecture. There are several stories about how the idea of painting the doors in different colors came about, but my favorite is related to the Irish writer George Moore. She says he painted his door so that Oliver St. John Gogarty, a writer living across the street, could stop confusing his house when he came home drunk from the pub.
Thanks to a collage with many colorful doors from the city, which appeared in the window of an Irish travel agency in New York in 1970, they became a cult attraction. You will find some of them on Merrion Square, Saint Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square.
Where to stay – Choose a convenient area to the center, but my advice is to avoid the ideal center, because the noise and entertainment there are until dawn. Of course, if they are the goal of your trip, then Tample Bar is the perfect place to spend the night. We had reserved a budget apartment in Usher’s Island. The area is close to the river, the center and the two main attractions for which we had reserved morning visits – the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery.
How to move – Almost everything to visit in Dublin is within easy walking distance, but you can combine walking with the bus network. Public transport in Dublin is well integrated into google maps and it is very easy to navigate between two specific points. By setting them on the map and marking “public transport”, the application will show you the best travel option.
Prices – Certainly not among the cheapest European destinations. Prices aren’t low, similar to those in London (equalize the pound-euro). The most expensive are the sights with entrance fee. As for the food, the main course in a traditional pub varies between 12-18 euro. A pint of Guinness is between 5-7 euro. In the area of Temple Bar the prices are one idea higher than the other places.
Weather – One of the main rules when visiting Dublin is to always be ready for the rain! We visited the city in early December and for a three-day stay, we were extremely lucky and only one day with rain. We visited the city in early December and for a three-day stay, we were extremely lucky and only one day with rain.
DublinPass – If you plan to visit more attractions in the city and use public transport, then it would be better to take advantage of the Dublin Pass. Almost all the sights are included in it. You can compare the prices of normal tickets for the places you want to see and compare to the map. The whole list is described HERE.