This picturesque and multi-cultural city, that has its foundation all the way back in Viking times is the capital city of Ireland. During its history it was home and inspiration to great artists and writers like James Royce, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and in more recent times the great U2.
We started our 3 days trip by flying to Dublin airport (which is probably the best option for visiting Ireland in general). If you want to visit only Dublin, you can easily get to the centre by taking the “Airlink” bus (number 747 or 757). It is worth to buy a “leap card” which gives you a discount up to 30% on the public transportation. You can find their office in the terminal building.
Hotels in the very centre of Dublin can get quite expensive so if you want to save some money on the accommodation you have to look somewhere further, but keep in mind that then you have to take the bus to get to the centre. Once you arrive to the centre, you can just walk around the city as it’s quite small and distances can easily be covered on foot.
Now let’s get to the program, shall we?
THE TRINITY COLLEGE (adult ticket – 16 eur)
The Trinity College is the oldest and most prestigious college in Ireland. Many famous people like Jonathan Smith or Oscar Wilde studied and graduated there. The main reason why it’s on everyone’s Dublin itinerary is its beautiful Old Library. The famous “Long Room” is the main chamber, where books are stored in side shelves along this 65m long room with marble busts decorating it. The interesting fact is that this library is also a legal deposit, so all publishers in Ireland must store a copy of their books there. 200.000 books are kept and held sacred here, as they are some of the oldest books in the world, like “The Book of Kells” that is an hand decorated medieval manuscript from the paleochristian time, depicting the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. This library has also a stunning architecture, all made of oak wood. Apart from visiting the library you should have a walk around the college and see the Front Square and the Bell Tower, beautiful construction from 1853.
TEMPLE BAR NEIGHBOURHOOD
One of the oldest parts of Dublin is the Temple Bar neighbourhood. Especially famous for the night life in its historical pubs and live music. It is home to many famous Irish pubs such as the iconic Temple Bar or Porterhouse. U2’s lead singer Bono owns a few buildings in the area, including The Clarence Hotel. You should definitely make your way here also during the day to see its picturesque narrow streets and their vintage style. This neighbourhood is also a well known gathering point for street artists.
THE GUINNESS STOREHOUSE (adult online ticket – 15 eur)
The 250 years old brewery is arguably one of the biggest attractions in Dublin. This huge complex is built on several floors and shaped in the form of a pint of Guiness. They take you on a complete tour of the actual factory where they produce the beer and walk you through the whole process. In the tasting rooms, you are gonna learn how to properly drink a Guinness and learn some fun facts in the cinematic areas. You will end your tour at the very top floor’s “Gravity Bar”, having a complimentary pint of Guinness while enjoying the panoramic view of Dublin. Did you know that more than 10 millions pints of Guinness are sold per day all around the world?
OLD JAMESON DISTILLERY
If you think that you need something stronger than a beer, visit the old Jameson Distillery. It is located in the very original site where Jameson whiskey used to be manufactured and distilled. During your tour you will be shown the history and the process of the traditional whiskey production. You are also gonna take part in a tasting experience learning about the different kinds of whiskey and rewarding you with an official Whiskey Taster Certificate.
THE CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL and ST. PATRICKS CATHEDRAL
In Dublin you can find two very important churches. The Christ Church Cathedral, that was built at the site of a Viking temple and St. Patrick’s cathedral (the largest church in Ireland) that is the symbol of Irish Christianity because it’s the place where St. Patrick used to convert and baptise pagans. St. Patrick is also known as the saint protector of Dublin. A very interesting fact is that Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels was once Dean of the St. Patrick’s cathedral and he is also buried here. Both churches are opened to the public so you can have a look on their beautiful interiors.
HA’ PENNY BRIDGE
Officially the Liffey bridge is the first pedestrian bridge across the river Liffey. In the past, pedestrians had to pay a “halfpenny” to cross the bridge and that’s where the origin of its name comes from. Nowadays it is a very popular tourist attraction and a photo spot as the pictures of this bride are displayed on many postcards and tourist city guides.
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in Europe. In fact it is so big that it even includes the Dublin Zoo, the Presidential and US Ambassador’s residences, the Wellington monument and a sports field. It was originally a royal hunting park and that’s why to this day you can still see fallow deers living there. It is nice to rent a bike and get lost in the natural beauty of this park or have a nice afternoon picnic here.
Dublin castle is one of the most important buildings in Irish history. The Castle was originally developed as a medieval fortress (constructed on elevated ground once occupied by an earlier Viking settlement). In 1686 it was destroyed by a fire but parts of the medieval and Viking structures survived and are open to visitors. You can choose between self-guided or guided tour and visit many of the Castle’s beautiful rooms, gardens and museums.
You can have a nice walk along beautiful Grafton Street, one of the two principal shopping streets of Dublin full of vintage and high brand stores, restaurants and bars. It arrives to St. Stephens’ Green, a very romantic park surrounded by Georgian houses. A perfect way to escape from the chaos of the city centre and relax in the nature. The other principal shopping street is Henry street, where you can also find the Spire of Dublin (120m stainless steel monument).
The weather is oceanic (also in the internal regions) because the lack of mountains leaves all the land exposed to the strong winds. This means that you are always gonna find a pretty cold weather, therefore we suggest to wear multiple layers of clothes in order to adjust to the temperature.
-In the last 20 years, Dublin became a very important technology hub because of its low taxes. All the big companies such as Google, Facebook or Etsy have based their European headquarters in Dublin.
-If you are a fan of the series “Vikings”, it is probably good to mention that it has been partially filmed near Dublin in Wicklow County.
-Dublin is also typical for its colourful doors. As most of the buildings look alike and are attached to each other, they are using colourful doors to differentiate them.
-If you love sports, you can visit “Experience Gaelic Games” where you can take sports lessons of Hurling or Gaelic football.
–Brazen Head pub is the oldest pub in Ireland
-All the city’s national museums and galleries are free.
–O’Connell Street is the widest street (not Avenue) in Europe. It measures 49m in width and the O’Connell bridge is wider than it’s long which makes it the only bridge with this characteristic in Europe.
A DAY TRIP TO CLIFFS OF MOHER IS A MUST!
One of the most popular natural attraction in Ireland with more than 1,5 millions of visitors a year. 14 km long cliffs with the maximum height of 214 m over the Atlantic Ocean. This spectacular scenery was the highlight of our trip. You can either take a day trip bus tour from Dublin which costs around 50 eur/person or you can rent your own car and drive there. Personally we preferred renting a car and going by ourselves, as we were also a big group and it became even cheaper like this and we had more freedom. Bear in mind that is a 3h+ drive and you have to drive on the left side, so that can be a bit tricky if it’s the first time for you. We recommend to leave early in the morning so you have plenty of time to visit everything with calm and enjoy the experience as it’s something you don’t get to see every day. There is a big chance that the weather is gonna be bad (cold, windy and rainy) however it should not stop you from visiting. If you have some spare time, you should also visit Galway, as we heard it’s a great town. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do that but at least it makes us come back. We would like to do a road trip across the whole country including Northern Ireland 🙂
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a lovely time when visiting Ireland. For more pictures and videos check our story highlight (Dublin and Cliffs of Moher). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page 🙂 .