In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I should write a post about sightseeing in Dublin, Ireland. Now, of course there is so much more to see in Ireland than just Dublin, in fact, some would argue that the true spirit of Ireland lies in the countryside and not in the city. But there are so many things to do in Dublin, you should definitely spend some time exploring this historic city!
For many of us traveling from the States, Dublin will likely be where you begin your journey. The city has a large international airport, and you can often find flight deals outside of the peak travel season. The airport is well outside the city center, but there are plenty of transportation options that will take you into the city, including bus service.
One item to look into is getting the Dublin Pass (http://www.dublinpass.ie/). Depending on the number of days you are visiting, you can purchase a pass to meet your needs. The pass includes airport transfer into the city (very convenient) as well as entry to many popular sites. Purchasing the pass provided us with savings on the sights we planned to see anyway, and it came with some useful maps and guidebooks for the city.
Typically if you are coming from the States, you will fly overnight and arrive in Dublin first thing in the morning. I recommend going directly to your hotel to drop off your luggage. Even if your room isn’t ready, most hotels will hold your luggage in a secure room free of charge. That way you can go right out and start exploring the city. As with most cities, I believe that when it comes to accommodations it is all about location. The last thing you want to do is have an inconvenient hotel that causes you to pay extra for transportation just to get in and out of the city.
In Dublin, there are a wide variety of accommodations right in the city center. From cozy bed and breakfasts, hostels, small boutique hotels, to large 5 star hotels. The choice is yours. Personally, I prefer to stay in smaller family run hotels, B&B’s or even a hostel. Dublin, as with most European cities, can get quite expensive – especially with an unfavorable exchange rate, so I prefer to save money on the hotel and spend it out enjoying the city!
As you begin your Dublin adventure, make a quick stop at the Dublin tourism office, located in the city center. This is one of the best tourism offices I’ve ever been to – and the most beautiful! When finished at the tourism office, be sure to stop off for some breakfast so that you can build your energy, and it gives you a chance to sit down and plan out your day while reviewing your maps. There are a number of options for quick breakfasts in town but we found a gem, Pacinos (http://pacinos.ie/), right around the corner from the tourism office – their eggs benedict tops my list of the best I’ve ever had, particularly because of the Irish bacon!
Trinity Colle & Book of Kells
Gravity Bar – Guinness Store House
The building itself is a masterpiece of architecture; combining history, industry, and modern elements such as glass. It is really quite an impressive space. Once you have explored all 7 floors you will make it to the top – which is where the Gravity Bar is located. This bar is surrounded 360 degrees by glass and provides the best views of Dublin. Included with your ticket is a free pint (or multiple, depending on the bartender’s mood) of Guinness – so grab a pint, sit back, relax and enjoy the views. After a pint or two, you will understand why this is the national beverage.
One of the best things about Dublin (and Ireland in general) is the pub scene and the music; and the Temple Bar district is a hot spot in the middle of town. While being somewhat touristy, it is centrally located and you are guaranteed to find a great place to hang out for the evening.
Another place to check out is the Brazen Head pub. Dating back to 1198, the Brazen Head is considered Ireland’s oldest pub http://www.brazenhead.com/index.php), and it’s within walking distance of the Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse in central Dublin. This pub offers great ambiance, traditional Irish music, drinks; and with an award-winning restaurant, you are sure to be satisfied after an evening here. However, there are many other amazing pubs to explore in Dublin, so be sure to ask a local for a recommendation.
So while the green Irish countryside provides your iconic imagery of the country, Dublin city is a must see. Come to Dublin to explore the history and understand where the country has come from and what it has been through. Get to know the culture, the food, the music, and dance in the streets. Soon you will enjoy having a pint of Guinness, just like the locals, and feel like you are one with the Irish – beyond anything you experience on March 17th.
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