I love visiting Dublin, maybe its the Aussie in me that enjoys and relates to the Irish way of good ’craic’ but I do. There is so much to see, do, eat, drink and visit when in Dublin so here are my suggestions on how you too can make the most of your time in Dublin.
Best time to visit Dublin
In my opinion, anytime is a great time to visit Dublin. However, if you are thinking of the ‘best’ weather time to visit Dublin then you would be looking at the end of summer, usually September. These warmer months though bring a lot of tourists so expect to pay more for accommodation and other services. Winter is a magical time to visit but it can be very cold and you will need to have heavier clothes to keep you warm. This may lead to your bags being heavier than if you travelled during the warmer months. Some people don’t worry about the weather and just go to enjoy different events such as St. Patricks Day in March. And as I said, anytime is a good time to visit Dublin.
How to get around Dublin
Dublin has two tram lines, a train service and an extensive bus network (see dublinbus.ie). Many of the sights though are in short walking distance from each other in the heart of the city. This is good news because you will be able to mostly walk around to see the sights of Dublin. However, if you feet get tired you may want to take the Hop on Hop Off Dublin Bus Tour. I often take these bus tours when I arrive in a new city because they are a great way to get your bearings. Also, if you are time poor you will see a lot of what Dublin has to offer in a few hours. You can purchase a ticket to the Hop On Hop Off Dublin Bus Tour here.
How many days to spend in Dublin?
If you are pushed for time then a minimum of at least 2 days would be good to see what Dublin has to offer. If you can afford longer then maybe up to a week. But if you are coming on a working holiday then you will have up to one year to get to know the city.
Where will you stay?
Dublin has many accommodation options for you to stay at. They range from hostels to B&Bs to hotels with a few stars to apartments. There are many options that are close to, or are in the centre of the Dublin. This will mean you can easily walk to the major tourist attractions plus, all the nightlife around Temple Bar. Here are some Dublin accommodation suggestions.
Hostels in Dublin
Jacobs Inn Hostel, only 600m from the city centre.
The Apache Hostel in the Temple Bar area.
Generator Dublin, about 1.2km from the city centre and is great value if you measure it in terms of star rating, facilities and reviews.
Backpackers D1Hostel, only 450m from city centre.
The Times Hostel, College Street, only 500m from city centre.
Backpackers Citi Hostel, Dublin City Centre, 450m from centre.
If it’s a budget hotel room you are after then check out:
If you would like a small apartment then check out:
Things to see, do, eat, drink and visit in Dublin
Take the Hop on Hop off Bus Tour of Dublin
The first time I went to Dublin I purchased a ticket for a ride on the Hop on Hop Off Bus tour. And I am so glad I did. While still recovering from jet lag and feeling lazy it was a great way to get to know Dublin city. I was taken to all the major tourist sites and past many minor places of interest to visit also. If I had stayed on the bus it would have taken only a couple of hours to drive around the city but on a number of occasions I did get off and explore. And then hopped on the bus again after. If you are pushed for time, or even if you are not, I would highly suggest you take a ride on the Hop on Hop Off Bus tour of Dublin. You can purchase your ticket right here.
Take a walk over Ha’penny Bridge
Ha’penny Bridge was built in 1816 and was the first pedestrian bridge to span over the Liffey River. It’s name comes from the price the pedestrians had to pay (a halfpenny) to cross the bridge. You will recognise this structure because it is one of those things that identify Dublin and appears in most tourist brochures and on postcards, etc. The bridge links the Northside to the Southside of Dublin.
The Guinness Storehouse
If you love Guinness, or even if you don’t you will want to partake in story about Guinness. The ground floor of the building tells the story of the beer’s ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast) and takes you through the steps of how it is made. You will experience the smells of the processes and enjoy a tasting at the end. Tasting can depend on how long and how many you want to taste. If coming to Dublin on a working holiday and are thinking of getting a job in one of the many bars in Dublin take note of the ‘pouring ritual’ to get the perfect head. Take time to explore the museum and all its memorabilia and afterwards head to the Gravity Bar for great views over Dublin. You can purchase a ticket at the venue but jump the queues and book your ticket here.
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
Trinity College in Dublin was created by royal charter in 1592 and is Ireland’s highest ranked university. Today it is home to around 17,000 students studying many disciplines in the arts and humanities, law, business, engineering, science and health sciences. A tour of the university is very interesting. Walk through the college’s library and explore the Long Room that is lined with books and statue busts of famous masters. And don’t miss seeing the Book of Kells. Learn about the ancient illustrated book and why it is so important to Irish culture. You can purchase a ticket to visit the College and see the Book of Kells here.
Dublin Castle has been around since the early thirteenth century and sits proudly on the highest ridge in Dublin. For many centuries it was the headquarters of the English, and British administration in Ireland. In 1922, when Ireland gained its independence, Dublin Castle was handed to the Irish government and today is a major government complex. Walk around the grounds spanning some 11 acres and in the gardens and also through some of the Castle’s many rooms and learn more about the Irish culture. Also learn interesting facts like Bram Stoker, worked at the castle for over 10 years while writing his famous novel, Dracula. You can purchase a ticket to visit the Castle here.
Dublin Castle and Trinity College are right near each other so after you visit to one, it is easy to visit the other. You can purchase a ticket to visit both here.
St. Patricks Cathedral, the largest Church in Ireland
While in Dublin you might want to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Whether religious or not, this cathedral was built way back in 1191 and is rife and rich with over 800 years of Irish history and culture. It is a beautiful architectural wonder both inside and out and it is easy to to stand and stare at it. And if you love the book Gulliver’s Travels you will discover that Jonathan Swift, the author of the book has his final resting place here cause he was also the Dean of the Cathedral. Purchase a ticket to visit the Church here.
Discover the history of Irish Whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Museum and /or the Jameson Distillery
Learn about the history of Irish Whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Museum. Get a detailed insight of all types of whiskey and enjoy a taste test at the end of the tour. If this isn’t enough visit the Old Jameson Distillery. This is where Jameson whiskey was manufactured and distilled until it stopped production in the early 1970s. Walk around the old distillery and discover the processes used to create and refine Irish whiskey. Maybe enjoy another whiskey tasting. Get your entrance ticket here.
Picnic at Phoenix Park / Dublin Zoo
About two miles from downtown Dublin you will find Phoenix Park. Not just any ordinary old park this park is about 1,700 acres. Inside the humongous walls that surround the park you will find many tress and plants, a sports field, the Wellington Monument and Dublin Zoo. Yes, that’s right Dublin Zoo. There are many animals at the zoo to visit in their spacious habitats. You could easily spend a day at the zoo and exploring and relaxing in different parts of Phoenix Park.
Shop till you drop on Grafton Street
Grafton Street, along with Henry Street are the two principal shopping streets in Dublin. In 2016 Grafton Street was the thirteenth most expensive shopping street in the world. Grafton Street was named after Henry Fitzroy the First Duke of Grafton and was originally a residential street. After the O’Connell Bridge was built Grafton Street became a busy cross-city route and has turned into the shopping precinct it is today. You could easily spend a few hours, or longer, here visiting the many shops here or watching the many buskers including musicians, poets and mime artists. If needing a break head in to Bewley’s Oriental Cafe or any one of the other cafes for a quick bite.
Visit Croke Park, home of Gaelic Football
Watch a game of Gaelic football at Croke Park. One of the largest stadiums in Dublin the place is named after Archbishop Thomas Croke. The stadium is headquarters to the Gaelic Athletic Association and is a principal stadium where you can not only witness epic sporting battles but hosts many international rock and pop acts. Even if nothing is playing you can visit the stadium and take a tour. You can also incorporate into your tour to head 17 storeys high on to the roof. Known as The Ericsson Skyline tour you will receive unmatched panoramic views of Dublin. I hope you’re not afraid of heights. To jump the queues you can purchase your ticket here.
Enjoy Irish craic at Temple Bar
Temple Bar is Dublin’s premier tourist area and holds the title of being the ‘cultural quarter’. It is basically an area on the south bank of the River Liffey and is the centre of Dublin’s nightlife and also popular during the day. Along the cobblestoned streets you will find buskers, bars serving Guinness left, right and centre and many traditional pubs, bars, eateries and cafes. You will also find Temple Bar, one of the most iconic bars in all of Dublin with many flocking there to have a Guinness inside its famous walls. Temple Bar, the bar, dates back to the early 1300s and you cannot miss it cause of its red exterior. Temple Bar, the area, is easy to find as it is located alongside the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin and sits close to the Ha’penny Bridge. If the craic becomes too much you might want to visit the Irish Rock Museum and discover the lives of many of the rock ’n’ roll superstars of Ireland.
There is so much more to see, do, eat and visit in Dublin but it depends on the time you have as to how you spend your time. How ever long you spend there I am sure you will enjoy the ‘craic’. If coming to Dublin on a working holiday then get the lowdown here.
Sharyn McCullum has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. In her 20’s she went overseas on her own for the first time and found herself in London where she spent 4 years living, working and playing and travelling through many countries. Her travels have inspired her ‘Live Work and Play’ series of working holiday guides and a number of travel websites. She continues to travel regularly and currently calls Melbourne home.