I’ve been living in Dublin for nearly 3.5 months now, and I could not say a single, genuinely bad thing about this country as a whole. I can’t speak highly enough of Dublin, its food, restaurants, and people, or of my experiences here.
You can easily walk around most of Dublin, but if you’re feeling tired, you can always hop on one of the buses, a city bike, or a grab a taxi. The city has some wonderful attractions year round, but mostly, it’s best to just enjoy the city as you discover it.
If you have a weekend in Dublin, you must go to a pub – final story. My favorites have become The Bleeding Horse, Hogan’s, Cassidy’s, The Stag’s Head, and The Quays. At any of these given pubs, and on any given night, you can find a pint, live music, and plenty of people to talk to. In the basement of The Stag’s Head, they have free comedy nights on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday – a surefire way to have some awesome entertainment and enjoy a night out with your friends.
Shopping in Dublin has also become a favorite way to pass the time, and I wouldn’t recommend any place higher than Grafton Street, which has stores like TopShop, Brown Thomas, and much more. You can also visit O’Connell Street for shopping, and to visit the Spire and the historical General Post Office, although it tends to be much more busy and bustling. Grafton is also decorated beautifully during the holidays!
If you’d like a more relaxed day, I’d recommend grabbing a hot chocolate from Butlers and walking around St. Stephen’s Green.
Another must is Trinity College. You can visit the Book of Kells and their magnificent old library, as well as stroll around the beautiful campus while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Restaurants in Dublin
For restaurants, any pub will generally have wonderful food, but The Merchant’s Arch, Hatch & Sons, Bibi’s Cafe, and Queen of Tarts have all provided some of the best meals I have ever eaten. The Merchant’s Arch has brilliant traditional Irish food upstairs and a lively bar, generally with live music, downstairs. Hatch & Sons makes a wonderful Irish breakfast and also does brilliant sandwiches (called blaas on their menu). You can order literally anything on Bibi’s menu and it will not disappoint – I’ve tried. Queen of Tarts has wonderful teas and scones, although I have to say their Lemon Aubergine sandwich is one of the best things I have ever tasted, if not the best. All of these restaurants are extremely charming, and all of them will give you a memorable experience.
If you have the time, while in Dublin, I would highly recommend taking some time to go to Howth.
I am fortunate to have a lot of family living in Howth, who have all shown me around the town very thoroughly.
The village is nothing short of beautiful between the harbors and the land, and you’ll surely enjoy talking to the people and grabbing fresh fish and chips for a light meal.
Howth is easily accessed when you’re in Dublin – simply take the DART from any Irish rail station, Pearse, Tara Street, or Connolly Station, and enjoy a scenic 25 minute ride to Howth for 6.00€ round-trip.
Walk around the harbor, enjoy the islands off the coast, and go for a hike to see the Lighthouse and an amazing view across the water to Greystones, the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire.
The Cliffs are well known by most and definitely worth a visit. While in the area, make sure to stop by Doolin – an adorable village about 20 minutes away from the Cliffs, whose original Irish pubs inspired those in Temple Bar today.
Visit Guinness Lake in the Wicklow Mountains, a beautiful, massive lake at the bottom of a valley. The Wicklow Mountains National Park has had many movies filmed in the area, from Braveheart to P.S. I Love You and is well worth a visit.
Dingle is a small fishing village with many restaurants, stores, and beaches. The countryside is nothing short of picturesque, and the people are so kind and polite, you’ll never want to leave. Slea Head Beach is one of the hidden beaches we went to while in Dingle, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
The Boyne Valley is home to a wealth of passage graves predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza. The best way to see these are through the visitor’s center, where you can take a tour, go inside these magnificent structures and, learn all about their history.
A trip to Ireland would not be complete without kissing the Blarney Stone! Blarney Castle is a wonderful place to visit, if only for the massive wool store, the magical forests and lakes, the multiple gardens, and the delicious food.
The Rock of Cashel is a beautiful castle in Cashel. The town is adorable and the castle is well worth a visit.
Ireland in general has some pretty incredible scenery, people, food, and sights, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
For more ideas, check out Anthony Bourdian’s videos on Dublin and Ireland: