Ireland is a small country full of remarkable, breathtaking places. One trip to its capital, and it’s easy to see why Dublin is top of the list. Whatever misconception you have about Dublin, its expense, or its drinking culture, for example, should be noted as ill-formed. Dublin oozes culture and warmth, the perfect combination for welcoming visitors. I’ve visited some of the city’s popular restaurants and attractions to see what exactly is on offer. So here’s my list of places to visit in Dublin for all tastes.
Places To Visit In Dublin: The Guinness Storehouse
Presented with the outstanding award of Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction last year, it’s certainly no wonder it’s so popular. While I awaited my tour by Guinness’ beer specialists, I couldn’t help remark the vast number of people constantly flowing through the doors. The attraction can take in up to 5000 visitors on a good day.
I was slightly puzzled about what a ‘beer specialist’ would consist of. Still, when I met Darren, a very kind young man, he was a wealth of knowledge and worthy of the specialist title indeed. You could ask the beer specialists anything on the Guinness history or the city, and he knew it all. These guided tours are private, so I was blessed I had someone talk me through the history and facilities. The attraction itself is a building with eight floors held up by an ever-remaining steel structure and the world’s most giant pint, made of glass in the centre.
The most impressive feature of the Guinness Storehouse attraction has to be the Gravity Bar. The views from this final floor are simply astonishing. Take a look at all the architectural features of Dublin and the Wicklow mountains, where Guinness still imports its water from. I was fortunate I was there on a bright sunny day as it made the views furthermore stunning.
Places To Visit In Dublin: The National Wax Museum
We’ve all heard of Madame Tussaud’s abroad, displaying some iconic wax figures of well-known celebrities. Well, the Wax Museum is the Irish equivalent. You can spot famous Irish faces and those in the public eye, too, along with other fun things to do within.
Places To Visit In Dublin: St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The most beautiful building in the city and another I only recently visited for the first time. Also, Marsh’s Library is just down the street from it, which I highly recommend seeing.
Places To Visit In Dublin: The National Gallery of Ireland
Not to spoil it, you’ll evidently find an array of quite fabulous art in the NGI, which displays the talent on our shores.
Places To Visit In Dublin: Kilmainham Gaol
It’s an important and historic construction in that it’s the 100th anniversary of 1916 rising in Ireland. There’s so much history to this building and an architectural wonder in itself. Well worth visiting to get a glimpse into the Ireland that was.
Places To Visit In Dublin: Zoo at Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is host to Dublin Zoo, a fantastic asset. Ideally, you’d want to go in the summer for the weather, but pack a coat for winter visits, and you may see some mystical creatures too shy for warmer weather. Recently, Dublin Zoo has also welcomed babies from different animal species.
Phoenix Park is pretty unique; you can find deer roaming the green while the President holds office in Áras an Uachtaráin. Every so often, the President donates land to the Zoo so you can be at ease that the animals are well looked after insufficient space and surroundings.
More Interesting Places To Visit In Dublin
The National History Museum, the National Concert Hall, the Butler’s Chocolate Experience, Dublin Castle, City Hall, the National Botanical Gardens, Trinity College/Book of Kells and St. Stephen’s Green are also worthy of taking time out to gaze upon.
In addition, the city hosts the Christmas market at Christmas time, which brings about a fantastic atmosphere and festive cheer. Around Grafton Street/Stephen’s Green nearer to Christmas Day, you can find the likes of Bono or Glenn Hansard busking and celebrating the holiday whilst raising money for charity.
Visit Dawson Street’s Hodges Figgis book store or the Dublin Writer’s Museum on Parnell Street if literature is your area of interest.
Temple Bar is an excellent part of the city for music lovers as you’ll find traditional and other genres of live music in most establishments along the cultural cobblestones.
You haven’t a world of choice for fashion maniacs, but Brown Thomas and Arnotts are two department stores considered a must-see. In addition, Dundrum Town Centre, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre are well facilitated with plenty of amenities such as cinema, play centres and ice rinks, and general shopping outlets if that’s an interest for your weekend. Finally, you can take a train from Heuston Station to the Newbridge Museum of Style Icons if you really want to explore some fashion history.
Unsurprisingly, you can expect to pay higher rates on hotels in Dublin, but to counteract that, the service is like no other. As I mentioned above, Irish people are generally amiable, so adding that to top class service and amenities and you’ve got a winning combination. Even if you’re staying in a 3-star hotel in Dublin, they’re still pretty pleasing regarding ambience and service, so don’t be too disappointed if the 4/5 star hotels are out of your price range. The city itself is small compared to the likes of London so any hotel you choose to book will be within walking distance to the most popular shops and attractions.
Dining and Night Life in Dublin
The standard of quality restaurants and eateries in Dublin has climbed phenomenally in the last few years. I can honestly say I’ve never been a victim of a horrendous meal (except for fast food joints) which, in my opinion, says a lot. In fairness, dining options are abundant on almost every street with various offerings. In addition, the scene is quick on new trends, so you’ll never be stuck somewhere to cater to your needs.
Dublin has a fantastic nightlife. If that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed by any means, whatever your taste. Cocktail bars, burger joints and doughnut cafés are the in thing at the moment, so you’re sure to see a few on your travels. Dame Street is a great spot to find fantastic restaurants but wildly different patisseries etc. You’ll find the more you explore the city, the more you’ll come across streets like so. If you’re vegan, coeliac or otherwise, the majority of these restaurants will facilitate you with a decent alternative menu; Don’t be afraid to ask if not, and don’t be afraid to complain if you need to!
Dublin is compact, but it has that pre-conceived friendliness that’s difficult to find elsewhere. As a tourist, it makes all the difference when evaluating your stay. Everyone’s very proud to live there and proud of the city’s success, which is lovely to witness. Of course, you could spend a week or more in Dublin to grasp the Irish spirit, but you’ll travel home content even if you visit only for a weekend.