We had an amazing weekend exploring the city of Dublin and getting in touch with our Irish roots. It was fun experiencing the energy of the Temple Bar area, listening to live Irish music and watching the Irish dancers. Our trip wouldn't have been complete without a few pints of Guinness and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse to learn how to pour the “perfect pour.” Another highlight was our half day trip out to Howth, a cute fishing town just northeast of downtown Dublin, where we spent a few hours taking a muddy hike along the beautiful Irish Sea coast. We left Dublin with a little jig in our step and plans to return to Ireland again soon!
Top Things to do in Dublin
Temple Bar is an area in central Dublin full of classic pubs with live Irish music. The area also boasts some great restaurants and fun souvenir shops. Our favorite spot for Irish music and dancing was Oliver St. John Gogarty. Some other fun options: The Temple Bar Pub (a bar by the same name as the neighborhood), O’Sullivans, Merchant Arch, and the Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant.
Tips: At Oliver St. John Gogarty, visit the upstairs bar for some Irish entertainment, including live music and dancing. Access the stairs from the side street.
You can't visit Dublin without a stop at the Guiness Storehouse to learn about the black stuff. On the self-guided tour, you can learn about how Guinness is made and the history of the family, company, and brand. You also get the opportunity to visit the Tasting Room, where you get to learn how to properly taste Guinness to experience its flavours. Upstairs you can graduate from the Guinness Academy, where you get to learn how to pour your own perfect pint.
Tips: Book your tickets online to skip the queue at the entrance. The ticket price includes the Tasting Room, Guinness Academy, and one pint of Guinness. Give yourself 2-2.5 hours to visit the entire site, giving you time to visit the glass walled Gravity Bar on the top floor to enjoy your pint and amazing views of Dublin.
Trinity College (and Book of Kells)
Located right in the heart of Dublin, Trinity College is a beautiful city campus that is worth a visit. Founded in 1592, the campus is made up of a variety of historical buildings, dating back hundreds of years. You can also visit the Book of Kells, a lavishly decorated Latin manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament housed at the Old Library at Trinity College.
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful park in central Dublin, perfect for a morning stroll with a coffee or tea. It contains nicely manicured gardens and a lake with a few cute bridges and plenty of ducks.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, and was founded in 1191. It is the largest church in Ireland and is characterized by its Gothic style, distinct flooring pattern (very colorful) as well as various memorials and plaques dotting its walls.
Christ Church Cathedral
Originally constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries and restored extensively in the 1870s, Christ Church Cathedral is located right in the heart of Dublin. It has many Victorian Gothic features and contains an impressive medieval crypt full of historic artefacts. The crypt is the largest in both Britain and Ireland and dates back to the 11th to 12th centuries, making it the oldest structure in Dublin.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery
The Teeling Whiskey Distillery was a fun way to learn about the process of making Irish whiskey and experience an authentic whiskey tasting. It was interesting learning about the history of Irish whiskey from Dublin, including its rise and fall from being a top producer worldwide. The Teeling family have been distilling for centuries, and this project is their push to bring Dublin back to where it once was in the whiskey trade. The visit was extra special because one of the whiskey distillation tanks was named Natalie!
Tips: Book a tour in advance to guarantee preferred date and time slot.
The River Liffey runs right through the heart of Dublin and makes for a nice riverwalk, especially at sunset. Visit two of its unique bridges, the Ha’penny bridge and Samuel Beckett bridge. The river is also lined with shops, bars, and plenty of cafes.
Grafton Street (& Henry Street)
Known as Dublin’s main shopping street, Grafton Street is full of high street shops and souvenir stores. It is pedestrian only and there are many side streets full of cafes and restaurants as well. Henry Street is another well known shopping street just north of the river.
Howth is a quaint fishing town just outside of Dublin. It is situated on a peninsula offering stunning coastal views, including “Ireland’s Eye”, and boasts amazing fresh seafood. The peninsula also has multiple lighthouses and towers you can visit, as well as Howth Castle.
Food and places to eat in Dublin
Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant
Located in Temple Bar, this bar and restaurant was lively and served great food. We recommend the Bangers & Mash or the Fish and Chips. We visited on a Friday night and there was live music playing and some surprise Irish dancing during our meal!
FX Buckley Temple Bar
Also located in Temple Bar, FX Buckley is the place to go for some delicious Irish grass-fed steak. We recommend the Chateaubrand dish, a fillet of Irish beef with a variety of sauces and multiple sides for two people to share. It has an intimate, cosy ambiance with a nice wine list if you need a break from all of that Guinness.
Deals and Passes for Dublin
Dublin pass: Depending on how much you plan to see and do in Dublin, definitely check out the Dublin Pass. It gets you into various sites around the city and access to the Hop On Hop Off bus. You could end up saving! For more information, visit dublinpass.com.