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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Nicola Brady

Rich Medieval and literary history meet varied dining and a trendy social scene in the cool urban village that is Dublin.

Cobbled streets and castle walls hug Victorian and Georgian houses, complemented by dramatic modern architecture and artistic design.

Quick-witted, sociable characters fuel traditional Irish pubs as historic theatres showcase literary talent and local ‘musos’ rock live music venues. Prep your palette for a charming cocktail of clubs and culture, history and hospitality, and savour a taste of diverse, delightfully hip Dublin.

Orientation

The River Liffey separates Dublin into Northside and Southside neighbourhoods – the latter being more upmarket and expensive. Leafy banks hug the Grand and Royal Canals that run east and west.

Easy to navigate by foot, the city is dotted with Georgian squares and Victorian parks, such as Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park, one of the largest designed landscapes in a European city.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Dublin’s massive street parade aims showcase the talent and skills of Irish people of every age and background. The resulting green flotilla of floats, marching bands, street performers and dancers and more is a spellbinding spectacle, roared on by huge crowds.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free | 5 days

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Birthplace of Oscar Wilde, and originally built in 1592, Trinity College is Dublin’s hallowed seat of learning, and home to the world-famous Book of Kells.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is the birthplace of the legendary pint of Guinness – Ireland’s national drink. This fun and interactive museum tells the story…

Best for ages: 18+ | £15

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

A festive Brown Thomas department store entrance with All Aboard signage and clock
Experience

Brown Thomas

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Dublin’s equivalent of Fortnum & Mason, this elegant department store first opened its doors in 1849 and remains the city’s go-to place for designer brands.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >
The cathedral exterior on a sunny afternoon
Experience

Christchurch Cathedral

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Built by the Vikings in 1030, this grand Gothic structure features one of the largest medieval crypts in Britain and Ireland – and the earliest surviving structure in Dublin.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Day trip to Howth

Dublin 13, County Dublin, Ireland

Escape the city for the day and take the coastal railway to the pretty village of Howth on Dublin Bay, with great coastal walks and fresh seafood.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free

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Overview >

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

90 Minute Dublin Walking tour and Sightseeing tips

90 Minute Dublin Walking tour and Sightseeing tips

Dublin

Discover the real Dublin with this highly rated companies newest walking tour of Irelands capital. We take you on a journey through the cob...

€18 | Rating 4.82 / 5 [285 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Afternoon Tea Bus Tour in Dublin

Afternoon Tea Bus Tour in Dublin

Dublin

Enjoy gorgeous afternoon tea as we  take a trip through the city taking in the Phoenix Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, Wood Qu...

€56 | Rating 4.73 / 5 [1318 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Best of Dublin Highlights and Hidden Gems With Locals Private Tour

Best of Dublin Highlights and Hidden Gems With Locals Private Tour

Dublin

This is not just another city tour; this is the best of Dublin from a unique perspective! Get to know Dublin on a city tour that gives you t...

€122 | Rating 4.77 / 5 [76 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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City Sightseeing Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

City Sightseeing Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Dublin

Explore Dublin in your own time with a 24 or 48 hour unlimited hop-on hop-off bus tour! You’ll discover everything this wonderful city has t...

€28 | Rating 4.13 / 5 [2154 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Wilder Townhouse

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Set in a Georgian townhouse, this hotel is all about eclectic style in a blissfully peaceful corner of the city.

Official star rating:

The Mayson Dublin

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Right on the River Liffey, this boutique hotel blends sleek, modern style with a historical, industrial chic charm. Set in a former warehouse in the heart of the Dublin Docklands, and one of the few city hotels with a pool.

Official star rating:

Clontarf Castle Hotel

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

A medieval castle that oozes history and grandeur, boasting four-star service at reasonable rates. Just a ten-minute drive from the city centre.

Official star rating:

Shelbourne Hotel

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Taste old world glamour and socialise with Dublin’s glitterati at the city’s most iconic hotel.

Official star rating:

When to go

Dublin’s weather is temperamental but May to August offer the best weather (usually!), during which time outdoors activities are encouraged and locals are at their most sociable. Weekend markets, festivals and coastal villages spring to life during the summer months too.

The busiest weekend is St Patrick’s Festival in March, attracting crowds from around the world. Rugby is a popular sport and national rugby matches feature at weekends from October to March. Arts and cultural events, and Dublin’s hectic nightlife, pack a lively social schedule year-round.

Getting there and away

Regular buses run from the airport directly into Dublin, but metered taxi is the fastest (30 minutes) and easiest way to reach the city centre, taking routes that avoid traffic.

Getting around

Dublin is uniquely compact so the best way to get around and experience the city to the full is to walk. New bike lanes invite you to use a super-convenient Dublin bike scheme, providing cheap-to-rent bikes at 40 stations around the city. There’s also a light rail system, or LUAS, that is the fastest way to travel north and south of the centre. Avoid renting a car as traffic is heavy.

Where to stay

The most exclusive hotels and guest houses are typically located on the more exclusive south side of the River Liffey. Grafton Street, Merrion Row and Baggot Street are dotted with four- and five-star hotels and guest houses, all within walking distance of lively nightlife haunts. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or not, Dublin is such a compact city that these areas form good bases for a complete city experience. Groups congregate in the touristy Temple Bar area and while this is a bustling hub, it’s not where locals hang out.

Where to eat or drink

There are distinct areas for dining and partying. Temple Bar offers round-the-clock fun but it’s touristy, while the network of George’s, Wicklow, Exchequer and South William Streets are where locals prefer to hang out in trendy bars. Grafton and George’s Street and Merrion Row are lined with fine-dining restaurants while Wexford and Leeson Streets offer late-night pubs and clubs – all within walking distance of the city centre.

Where to shop

Grafton and Wicklow Streets are the jewels in Dublin’s shopping crown, lined with upmarket boutiques, cafés and department stores, including Brown Thomas, Westbury and Powerscourt Malls.

Alternative boutiques, vintage shopping and arcades line the side streets between Grafton and George’s Street.

Weekend markets showcase local fashion, crafts and produce in Temple Bar. St Stephen’s Green or Dundrum – a 15-minute LUAS (light rail) trip – both offer a high-street shopping mall experience.

Linen, tweed, Celtic jewellery and hand-made musical instruments are some of the top buys in Dublin.