Dublin is one of my favourite cities in the world. The atmosphere is electric, the locals are the friendliest and the whole city is teeming with culture. Flights are short enough from the UK to escape to the Irish capital for a weekend or even an ambitious day trip. The following attractions and activities are my personal suggestions on how to fill your precious time in Dublin.
Be prepared for steep prices and a bar filled with nobody but tourists. However, a trip to Dublin is not complete without a drink at Temple Bar (extra points for those who get a pint of Guinness). With courtyard seating and live entertainment and events, it is a great way to get a touristy taste of Irish nightlife and is a bit of a guilty pleasure! For the sake of your bank account, don’t forget to try out some of the local’s bars too.
For a glimpse into the struggles of the Easter Rising and the darker history of the Republic of Ireland, don’t miss out on a trip to Kilmainham Gaol. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and cost 8 euros. The haunting execution of the leaders of the 1916 uprising is a tough topic – especially on seeing the holding cells and wall against which they were executed by firing squad. James Connolly was even strapped to a chair to be executed, being too injured to stand. The deaths and events that took place at Kilmainham Gaol shaped Irish history and the future of the Republic – making it a vital visit in your trip to Dublin.
The Giant’s Causeway and Galway
Although not strictly in Dublin, the Northern and Western hotspots are accessible by day trips from the city. Viator, Groupon and getyourguide are all good places to search for some good deals on guided trips. The great thing about Ireland is the abundance of natural beauty and attractions – and most are only a few hours drive apart. Both Galway and the Giant’s Causeway are around 3 hours’ drive from Dublin and are a feasible trip in a day. This means alternatively you could hire a car and drive yourself. Galway is great for shopping and is a very authentic place to unwind and take in local life. It is close to Connemara National Park – which could be incorporated into a trip. The Giant’s Causeway is a natural phenomenon famous for its unique rock formations, found in Northern Ireland.
Take a tour through 7 floors – ending up at the Gravity Bar with 360 degrees views of the city. Tickets cost under 20 euro and visitors get a chance to pull their own pint to enjoy! The storehouse is one of the most popular attractions in Dublin for a reason…
Croke Park Stadium
Home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, for the sport lovers among you it is well worth checking out a game if you can. The Gaelic games include Hurling which is renowned for its fast pace and associated with Ireland. If your visit doesn’t coincide with a game though, there are tours of the stadium on offer too! Prices for the stadium tour start at 14 euros for adults, whilst under 3s go free. Feeling inspired after? Visit Experience Gaelic Games to get a crash course on Irish sports and a chance to give it a go yourselves.
St Patricks Day
Arguably, there is no better place in the world to be on the 17th of March than Dublin. The St Patrick’s Festival Parade starts at noon and festivities continue on long after. If you want to celebrate in style, then you seriously want to consider a visit that includes this date.
For a bit of greenery, get yourselves down to Phoenix Park. An urban park home to a zoo, herds of deer and endless bike paths – it is a great place to spend an afternoon or grab a picnic. The park is also included on many bus tours of the city, which may be a good way to access the park and include other attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse.
Trinity College is Ireland’s most prestigious university – boasting gorgeous architecture and cobbled squares that burst with character. The university campus is open to visitors and is a notable attraction in Dublin. Tours can be found online which include a visit to the Book of Kells, which resides at Trinity College. The Book of Kells contains the four Gospels and is one of the most famous books in the world, despite attracting much controversy over the date it was actually written.
Wherever you choose to visit, Dublin will be an adventure to remember. There are tons of museums and galleries to explore, in addition to water activities on the sea. The possibilities really are endless. Feel free to drop any extra ideas below in the comments:)