Dublin – capital of Ireland, around 500,000 inhabitants and only 30k from my current home Maynooth. Living in Ireland for a year and that close to one of the biggest cities on this green island are only two reasons why I am in Dublin so often right now.
The last tour I did is only a few days ago when my German friend Hannah visited me and I showed her around – city center, all the common touristee places I’ve seen already and some spots that were even new to me. Well, to offer you a choice and give you an overview I will summarise the Dos and Don’ts here for you and include some (hopefully) helpful tips around where to go, what time and how to travel.
+++ Please excuse me for only writing in English in terms of the tour guide, I might add a German version later. Bitte entschuldigt, dass der Tourguide erstmal nur auf Englisch erscheint. Ich werden versuchen, alles noch zu übersetzen! +++
Here we go:
Main spots in the city centre (approx 1-2 hours; walking distance)
stops: Merrion Square – St Stephen’s Green – Grafton Street – Trinity College – Dublin Castle and Christchurch Cathedral – Temple Bar – Ha’penny Bridge – O’Connell Street (Spire, Old Post Office)
Those are the main spots you should have seen during a tour through Dublin city centre. Along side you will pass some interesting statues, many cute shops, little cafés and sometimes even some street musicians. If you do as an outside tour, just walking along and maybe reading a little bit on the signs and in a travel guide this tour takes you about one to two hours. It is a mix of the main tourist spots and some more locally known places, therefore it gives you a good impression on Dublin and offers a brief insight in typical Irish things.
The following gallery already shows some first views on the city.
As you might have noticed there are some more pictures than just the places I mentioned before already. If you would like to see more of the city and walk a little longer you can easily include some more spots. For example, the St Patrick’s Cathedral (around 15 minute walk from Temple Bar) or you can go to the Dublin Port (at least 20 minute walk in the opposite direction).
If you would like to enter the Cathedrals be aware of the entrance fee.
Visiting museums can be a welcome change of location (in terms of the Irish weather sometimes quite important). As Dublin has a huge variety of museums and most of them are free, it’s a good opportunity to spend a morning or afternoon learning about art, history, natural and unnatural phenomena.
The Chester Beatty Library is a nice little museum at Dublin Castle and has a permanent and a temporary exhibition. The main topic is the art of writing and story-telling. They especially focus on Asian techniques of calligraphy and painting on the first floor. The second floor is about the five different world religions and their most important paperworks. It’s free.
At the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield (15-20 minute walk from Temple Bar) you can have a look at the former Whiskey factory of Dublin. Your entrance fee includes a little tour through a rebuild factory line, a whiskey tasting and full glass of whiskey in the end. As they are not producing Whiskey there anymore and the tour is quite short but interesting it’s up to you if you think it’s worth the money or not (admission fee is up to 14€ each).
The Book of Kells and the Old Library at Trinity College are probably the best-known museums in Dublins. Therefore, I can highly recommend to start your Dublin tour early if you don’t want to spend lots of time waiting for your tickets. The exhibition is about how books were made in former times, you can see two different pages of the Book of Kells and walk through the Long Room. It’s quite impressive but really small. The entrance fee is up to 10 Euro and I think it is worth going there but only if you are really interested in it.
There are some more well-known museums which might be worth a visit. However, I haven’t been there yet. The Guiness Storehouse offers a similar tour and exhibition on the famous Irish beer as the Old Jameson Distillery does for the Jameson Whiskey. It’s located near St Patrick’s Cathedral which is 15 minute walk from Temple Bar. Furthermore there are lots of National museums on art and history, for example the National History Museum or the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Most of them are free and you can find them in different spots around the city.
Cafés and Restaurants
There are many places to eat in Dublin and I probably haven’t been to most of them. Just a few tipps: Don’t buy any food or drinks at Temple Bar if you want to save some money. It’s a nice atmosphere but very expensive there. In many restaurants, bars and cafés just outside of this area you will find good food for less money
Here are just some spots I found by now, even though I didn’t include the ones right in the city centre. There you can choose from a huge variety of different cuisines – the following places are some of my personal favourites and not to be found everyday.
Next to St Stephen’s Green I found a nice little café where you can get good cake. It’s called beanhive and there’s almost no space to sit in there. However, the food is good and getting it as take away and eating at St Stephen’s Green is always a good choice.
For a good Irish breakfast I’ve been to The White Moose Café which is located a little bit outside of the city centre. You have to take the bus to get there but the food is worth it.
Another place to get lunch or coffee and cake, fresh fruits and veggies are so called ‘Food Co-op’s. I visited one of them close to St Patrick’s Cathedral. They are usually inside and offer good, not too expensive local food. You can walk there but it’ll take you about 20 minutes from Temple Bar as well.
The most important stations are Connolly, Tara and Pearse Station for the train services. All of them are located in the city centre but depending on which area you want to see first you should choose the station carefully.
If you take the bus you can always ask the driver for the closest station to a specific place. Two of the main stops, however, are Westmoreland Street close to Trinity College and the Busaras at Connolly Station. Many buses leave there, so you can at least get a bus to most spots in the city.
Don’t forget to bring change to buy a bus ticket, most buses don’t give any change back. The fare is usually between 1,50 and 4 Euro and depends on the distance. In general, the buses are a little bit cheaper than the trains but it takes more time as well. There are ticket machines at every train station to get those tickets.
You might get day or week tickets but if you’re only in the centre and just take the train out once, it’s not necessarily worth it.
Outside the City
coastal walks in Howth or Bray.
Depending on weather and how long you would like to walk/ hike you can either take the Dart to Howth, Bray or several other nice little towns along the coast. In between the different places there are hiking paths which are signposted.
The little villages along the coast also provide nice cafés for lunch or drinks. In Howth there is also a castle and on weekends you can visit a little market where they sell handcrafted products and local food.
Here are some more pictures of Howth and Bray.
That’s it for today and I will update the tour guide from time to time and add some more tipps and pictures from my following trips.
Do you think this tour guide was helpful? What other places (I’ve seen already) would you like to have such a tour guide about? Any information missing? Let me know and write a little comment or email.
Looking forward to hear from you, all the best and safe travels,