Dublin, Ireland Visitor’s Guide

Dublin is such an amazing city with an amazing history.  With such an amazing and storied history, it may come as a surprise to you that Dublin actually has the youngest population in all of Europe.  In fact, over half of the population of Dublin is under the age of 25.  With this youthful undercurrent, Dublin can be an exciting place to visit and explore.  It is definitely one of my favorite destinations that I have visited.

Dublin-6288

Even though Dublin County is the country’s third smallest county in size, it hosts roughly a third of the country’s population, so like any other large city there are crowds to deal with.  It isn’t nearly as congested as New York City or London, both of which I have navigated with ease, so Dublin shouldn’t be too daunting (even for those who like to avoid crowds).

In this visitor’s guide, I am going to provide you with a wealth of information that you can use to make your visit to Dublin, Ireland a success.  I will cover the best ways to get to Dublin, and let you know when the best times of year are to plan a visit.  I will provide you with some options for booking hotel accommodations and fill you in on my top list of things to see in the city.

This is important because you will want to make sure you book your accommodations near what you want to see to minimize your transportation expenses.  Finally, I will provide you with some recommendations my favorite restaurant and some popular tours that you can take advantage of while visiting.  If you are reading and you have some favorite spots in the city that I don’t cover, please be sure to leave us a comment in the comments section.  I guarantee you that other readers will appreciate your feedback!

How to Get There

In case you aren’t familiar with where Ireland is geographically, it sits just West of England.  The island is divided between the Rupublic of Ireland, which is where Dublin resides, an independent state, and Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom).  Though they are divided politically, they all share an open border.  This means you are free to travel from Ireland to Northern Ireland (or vice versa) during your stay.

Ireland and UK Map - Dublin

The city of Dublin is located on the Eastern coast of the Republic of Ireland, at the mouth of the River Liffey.  To the South, Dublin is bordered by the Wicklow Mountains, which are incredibly beautiful and worth a visit if you have the time.

If you are traveling to Dublin from Northern Ireland, you will come in on highway M1 from the North.  A drive from Belfast, UK to Dublin, Ireland will take you roughly 2 hours.  If you are coming from the city of Galway in the West, you will take highway M6 and then highway M4 to Dublin.  This drive is a bit longer, but will still just take roughly 2.5 hours to complete.  Even a drive from the city of Cork in the South (which has one of my favorite golf courses in the world) will only take you roughly 3 hours to drive.

Ireland Map - Dublin.png

In addition to renting a car to drive yourself (which is what we did when we visited Dublin), the city also offers a host of other transportation services.   Between buses, trains, trams, and taxis, it isn’t too difficult to get around the city.

In the map below, I have put a box around the key tourism area for the city of Dublin.  All of the top places to see that I cover in this visitor’s guide are located within this small geographic area.  I absolutely suggest that you get out of this area and explore if you have the time, but if you are limited in time then I would strongly suggest that you focus your time in this area of the city.

When I reviewed some recommendations for accommodations later in this guide, I tried to concentrate my recommendations in this area as well so that you can limit your transportation expenses.

Dublin Area Map.png

When to Visit

Dublin Rain.jpg

There isn’t a whole lot of variation in the weather in Dublin (the temperatures are typically very moderate and it rains a lot throughout the year), but you will want to know what to expect from a weather standpoint regardless.

Temperature (°F)

It typically doesn’t get extremely cold in Dublin, even in the winters.  During the winter months of December thru February, you can expect to see high temperatures in the upper 40’s and low temperatures that fall into the 30’s.  Likewise, during the summer months it doesn’t typically get too hot.  You can expect to see high temperatures in the upper 60’s and lower 70’s during the months of June thru August, with lows in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s.

Dublin Average Temperatures.png

Precipitation

It is no secret that Dublin gets an awful lot of rain each year.  Throughout the year, Dublin sees rain between 10 and 13 days a month pretty consistently.  The rainiest period of the year is likely between December and January, with the lowest rainfall typically between April and May.  If you are trying to plan a lot of outdoor activities for your trip, you might want to shoot for those spring months.

Dublin Average Precipitation.png

Accommodations

One of the most important decisions you can make when planning any trip is your choice in accommodations.  Where you choose to stay can have a big impact on how easy it is for you to visit the places you want to visit and how much money you will spend on transportation.

In order to keep you close to the top attractions in Dublin, and save you some money on transportation costs, I have provided a number of different hostel and hotel recommendations that are all within the general vicinity of Dublin’s tourism center.

Dublin Accommodations Map.png

View Larger Map

Isaacs Hostel Dublin ($)
My Place Dublin Hotel ($)
Generator Hostels ($)
Backpackers D1Hostel ($)
Fitzsimons Hotel Temple Bar ($$)
Charleville Lodge Hotel ($$)
Sandymount Hotel ($$)
Dublin Central Inn ($$)
The Mercantile Hotel ($$$)
The Norseman ($$$)
Castle Hotel ($$$)
Jurys Inn Parnell Street Dublin ($$$)
Holiday Inn Express Dublin City Centre ($$$$)
The Morgan ($$$$)
O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel ($$$$)
Temple Bar Hotel ($$$$)
The Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin ($$$$$)
Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin ($$$$$)
The Merrion Hotel Dublin ($$$$$)
The Westin Dublin ($$$$$)

Top 10 Must See Sites

Dublin-6642

Dublin is an amazing place with a lot of things to see and do.  I have included some additional resources at the end of this visitor’s guide to help you get the most out of your visit.  I have also listed my Top 10 Things to See in Dublin below for you to review.  All of these attractions are must see, and all of these attractions are located within the tourism center of the city of Dublin.

Dublin Tourism Map.png

View Larger Map

Ha’Penny Bridge
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin Castle
Temple Bar
Trinity College
Guiness Storehouse
Chester Beatty Library
St. Stephen’s Green
Grafton Street
Jameson Distillery
Dublin Zoo
Aviva Stadium
Dublin Port

Ha’Penny Bridge

Ha'Penny Bridge

The Ha’Penny Bridge, which was originally named the Wellington Bridge and is now officially named the Liffey Bridge, is a unique and beautiful bridge over the River Liffey in downtown Dublin, Ireland.  The bridge is made out of cast iron and its design sets it a part as one of the prettier foot bridges I have seen in my travels.

You may need to use the bridge if you are crossing from one side of the River Liffey to the other during your exploration of Dublin.  However, even if you don’t need to cross the river, I would suggest stopping by to check out this wonderful bridge.

Recommended Time To See:  15 minutes

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Dublin-6381

Built between 1191 and 1270, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Ireland’s largest church, and may just be one of Europe’s most beautiful.  It was built on the site of an earlier church, which stood on the grounds since the 5th Century, so there is a lot of history behind this church as well.   In fact, Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, was dean of the church from 1713 to 1745 and is buried on the church grounds.

You will be enthralled with the beauty of this amazing church and its neo-gothic design when you tour.  Being the only remaining building from medieval Ireland, touring the church really gives you a great sense of what Ireland was like at the time.  If you visit, be sure you take a tour of the inside of the church as it is even prettier than the gorgeous exterior.

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Dublin Castle

Dublin-6309

Located off Dame street in downtown Dublin, the Dublin Castle is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.  The castle has stood on the grounds since the days of King John of Ireland, but most of what you see today only dates back to the 18th Century.  The Dublin Castle has served as the seat of the English, British, and the Republic of Ireland’s government over its history, but is now primarily used for state receptions and other ceremonies (such as the inauguration of each president of Ireland).

If you visit, make sure you take a tour inside the castle.  It is mostly open to the public, except on occasions where it is being used for a state function.  The Castle is also the home of the famous Chester Beatty Library, which I discuss in more detail below.

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Temple Bar

Dublin-6662

Temple Bar isn’t actually an establishment, although there is a Temple Bar Pub, which is famous in its own right and is pictured above.  Temple Bar actually refers to an area of downtown Dublin, located on the South bank of the River Liffey, which serves as the unofficial cultural center of the city.  The area is home to some of the treasured cultural institutions of the city, such as the Photography Centre of the Dublin Institute of Photography, the National Photographic Archive, the Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, and the Irish Film Institute, among others.

The area has a great night life if you are looking for something to do at night, and has some really great pubs (The Palace Bar, The Temple Bar Pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, The Auld Dubliner, and Peadar Kearney’s) in the area.  The Temple Bar Pub is arguably the most famous of them all, and is a big attraction for tourists from around the world.

Recommended Time to See:  2 hours

Trinity College (Book of Kells)

Trinity College.jpg

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin.  It is widely considered to be the most prestigious and elite college in the Republic of Ireland.  Some notable graduates of this infamous college include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker (the author of Dracula).  The campus of the university is beautiful and absolutely filled with history.  You can get absolutely lost in marvel while touring its campus.

Housed within the beautiful library at Trinity College is the Book of Kells (also referred to as the Book of Columba), which is a Latin gospel book containing the four gospels of the New Testament.  It takes its name from the Abbey of Kells, which is where it was held for centuries before coming to the library at Trinity College.  It is referred to by many as the most famous medieval manuscript in the world.

This amazing campus and its history, including the fascinating Book of Kells, make Trinity College one of the most-see destinations for anyone visiting Dublin.  If you are planning a trip and would like a guided tour of the campus and to see the Book of Kells, you can arrange a tour with the university.   I highly recommend it.

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin-6590

Very few, if any, other beverages conjure up visions of Ireland more than Guinness beer. Over 10 million pints of this magic elixir are brewed in Dublin every day.  EVERY DAY!  For this reason, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is a huge tourist draw.  In fact, it is Ireland’s largest tourism draw.  Stationed in the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery, this has been the home of Guinness beer since all the way back in 1759.  I can’t think of many other breweries or distilleries that are as famous.

This is such a cool place to tour.  You can find out what goes into making Guinness beer so special, see the magic that happens behind the curtain, and browse thru the large souvenir shop for some keepsakes to take home.  This is an absolute must for anyone visiting Dublin, whether you like beer or not.

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Chester Beatty Library

Chester Beatty Library.jpg

Located within the Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library is a world renown library that holds over 20,000 rare manuscripts, rare book, paintings, and other historical artifacts.  It was established in 1950 to house the collections of mining magnate and collector Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.  It has been located in the Dublin Castle since 2000 and was named the European Museum of the Year as recently as 2002.  If you are into museums, this is a one-of-a-kind treasure worth exploring.

Recommended Time to See:  2 hours

St. Stephen’s Green

St. Stephen's Green.jpg

If you get tired of the hustle-and-bustle of the city, a temporary escape can be found in St. Stephen’s Green in downtown Dublin.  This beautiful city park is home to lots of walking paths, sculptures, an ornamental lake, and even a waterfall.  It’s a great place to take a stroll and escape the crowds of the city.  Best of all, it is located adjacent to Grafton Street, which is Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfare.  If you like beautiful parks, then a stop at St. Stephen’s Green will be worth your while.

Recommended Time to See:  2 hours

Grafton Street

Grafton Street

Grafton Street is one of the busier streets in downtown Dublin for good reason.  It is in what is considered one of the city’s main shopping districts (the other being Henry Street).  The street runs from St. Stephen’s Green in the South to College Green in the North, and includes many high-end stores and merchants.  In fact, the street was the fifth most expensive shopping street in the world in 2008 and thirteenth most expensive as recently as 2016.  Some of the shops you will find on Grafton Street include the following:

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery.jpg

Jameson Whiskey is about as Irish as things come, and the Jameson name is as infamous a name in the world of whiskey as you are likely to find.  Whether you are a whiskey connoisseur, or you are just interested in the history, a tour of the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street is a great experience that is more than worth your time.

The distillery offers three fully guided tours that are designed to meet your specific interests in touring the facility.  The Bow St. Experience, The Whiskey Makers, and The Whiskey Shakers are all tours that center around story telling about and taste testing of Jameson whiskey.  The distillery on Bow Street also offers classes on blending whiskey and making cocktails.  This is the perfect tours for groups that are looking for something fun to do together.

Book Tours

Recommended Time to See:  2-4 hours

Other Tourist Sites

In addition to the wonderful tourist attractions I listed above, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the city of Dublin.  Here are just a few of the other tourist sites in the city that I didn’t highlight in this guide.

Top Restaurant Recommendation

There are a lot of restaurants worth trying in Dublin, but nothing beats visiting one of the city’s local pubs for some good food and drink.  The city has more than 600 licensed pubs, so there is no shortage of options to choose from.  The oldest pub in the city, the Brazen Head, was established in 1198 AD as a coach house.

Peadar Kearney’s

Dublin-6291

My recommendation, and the favorite pub that we visited, was Peadar Kearney’s.  With good food and drink, and a fantastic atmosphere, Peadar Kerney’s is a fantastic choice for a lunch or dinner venue.

Trip Advisor Reviews

Top Tour Recommendations

Dublin-6570

If you are looking for some extra activities to fill out your visit to Dublin, there is no shortage of great tours and excursions to choose from.  The following are just some of the many great options you have to choose from.

More Dublin Excursion and Tour Recommendations from Viator

Other Resources

In order to make sure your visit is as memorable as possible, I have included some additional resources below that you can use to plan your trip.

Recommended Length of Visit

You could spend a week in Dublin and still feel like you really haven’t seen everything that this amazing city has to offer.  If you are planning a visit to Ireland, I would plan on spending at least two or three days in Dublin.  This is especially true if you want to take advantage of some tours and excursions that are available in the area.

Recommendation:  2-3 Days

Photo Gallery

Dublin is such a fun city to capture in images.  I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos and video in the city.  Below are just some of the pictures that I was able to capture during my stay in Dublin.

This entry was posted in English. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.