Ah, Dublin. When someone mentions Dublin, the first thoughts that come to mind are probably the color green, Guinness, St. Patrick’s Day, and Conor McGregor. I must say, as I got off the plane and stepped into Dublin, Ireland, the first thought that came to mind was, “Wow, Dublin is really green”. It was late and there was no public transportation available from the airport to our hotel, so we took a taxi. You should note that you do not have to worry when taking a taxi. They are regulated by the government. Thus, you don’t have to worry about the taxi driving in circles or taking a different road just to drive your taxi fare up. Make sure you ask for a receipt at the end if you think there is something shady going on. Also, taxi drivers do not expect a tip but it would be nice if you round up to the nearest euro. If you would like to download the taxi app ahead of time, it’s called “Hailo”.
Dublin is very easy to navigate around using their transportation system. You can purchase them on the bus or get a 24-hour tourist pass called the Leap Visitor Card at the airport or the Dublin City Center. Make sure when you are at a bus stop, put your hand out to signal the bus driver to come pick you up. I made the mistake of not knowing so I ended up walking the whole way home because no bus drivers would stop for me. Sadness.
If I had to redo my Dublin trip, one thing I would do is book a better hotel. The hotel I booked was away from the city center and it was kinda creepy. I would shell out the extra money to stay in something more comfortable. Also, plan to book as early as possible because when I went in September, all of the hotels that were reasonably priced was all booked up.
Things to Do
It’s true, Guinness does taste better in Dublin. You MUST grab a pint while you’re in Dublin. Better yet, go on a brewery tour and learn how it’s made, how it should taste, and how to pour your own Guinness at the end of the self-guided tour.
The Guinness tour is based on how fast you want to go or how much you care about Guinness. There are about 6 floors of information and once you pour your own Guinness, you can go to the bar on the highest floor. The bar has windows surrounding it so you can look down at Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
In Dublin, there are many beautiful places to see, such as the castles and cathedrals. The city is full of Gothic Architecture that you can marvel at. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland, so if you were only planning on visiting one during your trip, I would suggest St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
St. Stephen’s Green
Smack dab in the middle of the city lies a public park called St. Stephen’s Green. Here is where you can be at peace with the world around you. The green surrounds you with peace and beauty. Inside the park lies a pond in which you can sit alongside and watch the ducks swim around. Take a stroll around St. Stephen’s Green, as it is a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City.
As you should know by now, Dublin is very green. It’s no wonder why Ireland is usually associated with the color. Phoenix Park is no different to the stereotype. However, it does sit a little ways from the city so you will need to take transportation here. Phoenix Park is a very large park which should only be visited if you have some time to spend here. There is wildlife here, deer to be exact! When I heard that you can get up close and personal with them, I knew I had to put it on my list to visit. I had the whole image in my head on how I wanted to take a picture with them but once I got there, the number of deer intimidated me so I stood and admired them from afar.
Wander the Streets of Temple Bar
Dublin is pretty lively at night, especially around Temple Bar. Head over to Temple Bar and go bar hopping in the surrounding area. There is live music everywhere, you will never be bored. Most of the people around are actually tourists, so it’s more than likely you will be running into tourists rather than locals. The Temple Bar area does not only have bars, they also have places to eat. Head over to Oliver St. John Gogarty’s for some Fish and Chips if you are in the mood.
Don’t just wander Temple Bar during the night time, check it out during the day too! There are a lot of cute stores, you will never know what you might find. If you are able to wake up early, grab an Irish breakfast at Stage Door Cafe.
George’s Street Arcade
Ireland’s oldest shopping center. Here you can find a lot of vintage items or just browse around for what these little shops have to offer. I went into Spindazzy Records to see if I could find some vinyl for a steal.
If you visit a cathedral during your trip, you must also visit a castle. Dublin Castle should be on the top of your list if you want to learn and see historic Dublin. It is very spacious with a lot of great photos to take.
One of the most mentioned places to visit in Dublin is the Trinity College, more specifically, Book of Kells. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you will immediately recognize and remember the Book of Kells from one of the films when you see it. Although I did not have time to go through the tour, I had a great time just exploring Trinity College itself. You can simply walk into Trinity College, however, if you’d like to see the Book of Kells, it will cost you around 11 – 14 euros.
There is an abundance of bridges in Dublin, so what makes Ha’Penney bridge so special? I don’t quite know, it’s probably the history behind this bridge. All of the travel blogs will tell you that this bridge is a must visit so I put that on my list of things to check out. However, I don’t think it’s anything special about the bridge otherwise. It isn’t worth going out of the way to look at but if you were to cross it to get to somewhere you need to be, then why not.
Other Recommendations to Visit
- Dublin Castle
- Kilkenny Castle
- Blarney Castle
- The Olympia Theatre
- Newman University Church
- Croke Park
- Grafton Street – Popular with tourists and locals
- Head over to Bewley’s Coffee for a nice brew with a view
- If you are into a different type of brew, walk on by to Porterhouse Central for a cool vibe and entertainment along with their house brews.
Places to Eat
The Brazen Head
Known as Ireland’s Oldest Pub, a popular place to get drinks and food.. mainly drinks. Since this was the oldest pub, that means you have to try it right?! After all, it is a part of Irish history! I had my first meal here and I still can’t decide if I enjoyed my dining experience here or not. As we walked in, we were unsure if we would need to seat ourselves or have someone would seat us. When I tried to ask someone, all they did was yell at me! So my first impression of Irish people is that they are not very friendly people. However, I’m sure they get a lot of tourists that come and go here that could do some annoying stuff but I was trying to be as courteous as possible.
Anyway, I had my first beer in Dublin here and for the entrees, I got the chicken wings and a beef dish which was both not very memorable. However, what I should’ve ordered were the bangers and mash and the Guinness stew.
Please note: They are very impatient here and if you ask them what they would recommend, they will give you a snarky attitude and respond “everything here”.
Queen of Tarts
If you love sweets and desserts like I do, then you have to head over to Queen of Tarts. There are several locations around the city that serve brunch food, pastries, and tea. Each cute little store only holds a few people at a time, sitting down so be prepared to either wait or take your food to-go. Everything I wanted to order, they were already sold out of. So, I got the cheesecake and it was pretty good. Come to think of it, I probably should’ve gotten a tart since their name is Queen of Tarts. Oops. Everyone raves about the scones or the chocolate fudge cake so I would suggest getting that if it is available.
If you know me, then you should know that I LOVE flights or samplers. I like trying one of everything! At The Boxty House, they have a stew sampler in which you can try all of the Irish stews they have to offer. I liked the idea of it a lot and they actually give you good portions! The service that I had at The Boxty House was top notch also. It definitely made up for my bad experience in Dublin.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Whatever you do, you have to make a stop at Murphy’s Ice Cream! This little ice cream store has artisan ice cream with various flavors aside from your basic strawberry, chocolate an vanilla. The lines can get a little long but it moves pretty quickly! Don’t know what you want? Ask for samples!
I am not a big fan of waiting in line and the line for Brother Hubbard was just too long to wait. Also, we were on a time crunch so we wouldn’t have been able to dine in even if we wanted to. Thus, we decided to order our food to-go and sit somewhere nearby to feast on our pulled pork sandwich.. and you know what? This was actually really surprisingly good, although extremely messy to eat (be sure to grab a fork). I recommend it!
As we were leaving, we stopped by a local bar because they had a special on 3 oysters and a Guinness for 5 euros! Is this why they call it Oyster Stout?
Watering Holes (Pubs)
- Bushmills Whiskey
- Copper Face Jack’s
- The Church
- Mulligan’s – Get the Oyster Stout
- John Kavanagh – The Gravediggers
- Breakfast & Coffee
- The Joy of Cha
- Third Space
- The Lovinspoon
- San Lorenzo’s – Get the French Toast
- Real Meals
- The Fumbally
- Bunsen (Burgers)
- Recommendation: Chicken Wings
- The Old Storehouse Bar and Restaurant
- Recommendation: Seafood Chowder
- The Vintage Kitchen
- Recommendation: White onion soup, risotto, and salmon
- The Lotts Cafe Bar
- Recommendation: Fish and Chips alongside a pint of Galway Hooker
- My Meat Wagon
- Recommendation: Mixed meat plate
- Fade St. Social
- Recommendation: Truffle Pasta
- Bernard Shaw
- Tipping is customary in Dublin if it is a good meal and good service, you need to tip 10-15%.
- Do not talk about leprechauns