This past summer myself, B and my good friend Rachel visited Ireland. B was so excited – being from the East Coast and Irish himself, it was like heading to his homeland. Rach and I took the ferry from the UK to Dublin (it’s a long train ride + ferry from London!) and met B for six nights in Ireland. Unfortunately, I forgot to forward all of the necessary info to B for entering the country and he was detained at customs (and I had my data turned off, whoops!) but we all made it. Here are some suggestions for a memorable day out in Dublin in honour of St. Patrick’s Day!
First, Dublin is actually pretty expensive. I was a little bit surprised by the prices. BUT things like food do provide you pretty good value for your money. Pints are expensive in the downtown area – you’re looking around 6-8 euros for a pint, but we thought it was worth it!
Leave your hotel (we stayed at Paddy’s Palace and it was okay – we realized that we are too old for shared hostel accommodations as we are both light sleepers) and head out for some breakfast. Rach and I found the cutest little restaurant called The Woolen Mills on “Bachelor’s Walk” along the north end of River Liffey) that is worth a pop-in.
After breakfast, cross the river and head towards Trinity College. On your way, depending on the hour, pop into The Palace Bar for an Irish coffee.
While some of the buildings are quite modern, the library is old and beautiful and worth a peak. We unfortunately arrived too late at night to see in, but you can take a guided tour for around 13 euros. This library was actually the filming location for multiple scenes in the Harry Potter series!
Once you’ve had enough of the library, head south on Grafton Street and peak into some shops if you feel like it. Or you can just head down to St. Stephen’s Green – a beautiful park worth a wander through. Across the street lies The Little Museum of Dublin which houses multiple exhibits, specifically one solely dedicated to U2. Head back north and grab a snack at Sheridan’s Cheesemongers on Anne Street.
Wind your way west towards the Guinness Storehouse, making sure you stop to see the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, and Christchurch Cathedral.
Continue west on High Street (which turns into Thomas Street) and you’ll end up at the Guinness Storehouse. I suggest buying tickets online ahead of time to avoid lines (and get a discount!).The Storehouse is multiple levels and explains the whole history of Guinness. I highly recommend going into the “sensory” rooms AND learning how to pour the perfect Guinness at the Guinness Academy.
Included with your admission is a pint, so you might as well take the time to learn how to pour it correctly! Carry your perfect pour up to the Gravity Bar on the top level and enjoy the view. Be sure to take a picture at the infamous St. James Gate before you leave!
When you’re finished at the Storehouse (allow 1.5-2 hours here), head back towards downtown and stop at the Brazen Head Pub – Dublin’s oldest pub. We stopped here for food, but this isn’t my recommendation. Find a nook in the pub, have a pint and absorb the atmosphere. It has multiple different rooms and is covered in the most unique decor (and money!).
On the way back, you can linger near the Dublin Castle again or, if you have time, check out the medieval and viking museum Dublinia. Or, if you are museum-ed out, head into Temple Bar for some music.
One of our favorites was The Old Storehouse – they had music in the early afternoon and it was fantastic. It’s a cosy little pub with great food and music all evening (check here for the entertainment schedule). You could supper eat here, or head over to O’Neill’s for what is known as “carvery”. We learned that it’s almost like a buffet – you walk up, order and they pile a plate full of whatever you want. This sounds sketchy, like a cafeteria, but the portions are HUGE and the food is delicious. B and I shared one meal for about 15 euro and it was more than enough food for the both of us.
After finding a place to eat (like I said, I highly recommend O’Neill’s!), wander back into Temple Bar for some music. We loved Merchant’s Arch. If you happen to be listening to Sean O’Farrell, tell him his Canadian friends say hi!
There are are plenty of other pubs in Temple Bar, and you’re bound to come across some fiddlers playing in the street.
If you’re a U2 fan, you can head to the Clarence Hotel. The basement has a really cool bar with lots of nooks and low lighting. B is obsessed with U2, so of course we had to visit it. Drinks are expensive, but it was a cool experience (whether or not you are a U2 fan!).
One of our favorite spots was not far from Paddy’s Palace on the north side of the Liffey, a pub called The Celt. We only came upon it because it was recommended to us by numerous locals. It’s a tiny pub with delicious soup (if you’re still hungry or didn’t grab supper) and a cool outdoor patio. It was packed with locals and had music both nights that we went. We made friends and enjoyed great draft beer.
- The Brazen Head pub hosts an evening of “Food, Folklore and Fairies” that we unfortunately ran out of time for. According to reviews, it’s worth a view. Perhaps you could skip the Brazen Head visit earlier in the day and do this for dinner and entertainment instead!
- If you’re into whiskey over beer, the Old Jameson Distillery offers tours and tastings on the north side of the river.
- If you’re into books and love a cute bookstore, check out Winding Stair. Rachel and I went in, grabbed a glass of wine and browsed books. It was an amazing experience!