Save this ultimate Dublin travel guide if you’re visiting the city for the first time. It covers some of the best attractions, accommodation for all budgets, and favorite places to eat and drink.
Last updated: January 21, 2023
They say no route in Dublin goes without passing by a pub. I tried to question this saying and failed. Yet while proving myself wrong, I learned many other things about the city. These experiences gave me enough information to prepare this Dublin travel guide. In it, I’ve shared some of the top attractions the city is proud of along with the best places to eat and stay.
DUBLIN TRAVEL GUIDE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
In this Dublin travel guide you’ll find:
- A quick travel guide to Dublin location
- A beginner’s travel guide to Dublin culture
- Top tourist attractions in Dublin
- Where to stay when you travel to Dublin
- Best places to eat and drink in Dublin
- A quick travel guide to Dublin transportation
A Quick Travel Guide to Dublin: Location
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and the largest city in the country. In fact, it’s the only city in Ireland with population over one million. The Irish capital is located at the mouth of the River Liffey on the east coast within the province of Leister. On the south, Dublin neighbors the Dublin Mountains that belong to the Wicklow Mountains, the largest upland area in the country.
While at first glance the River Liffey doesn’t have anything in common with the name of the city, it’s a reason why Dublin got its name. In truth, two rivers were involved in this.
The River Poddle met the River Liffey to form a deep, very clean pool near Dublin Castle. When the Vikings invaded the city, they polluted the pool. The crystal clean water got so dirty that the place became known as dubh linn or “black pool” from the Gaelic.
A Beginner’s Travel Guide to Dublin Culture
Just as you’d predict, Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, is a hometown of many prominent Irish people. It introduced to the world such figures as William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
The list is in no way complete. Yet as part of this Dublin travel guide, it unveils rich cultural heritage of the city, a place that many travelers know only as a center of Irish pubs.
But written works are not the only form of art that travel from Dublin to the other parts of the world. Music is another popular topic in the city and country. In fact, traditional Irish tunes are as popular as Temple Bar itself, most popular neighborhood in central Dublin.
Furthermore, the city has expanded its international cultural influence thanks to such musical bands as The Dubliners, U2, The Script, and Westlife.
READ MORE: Irish Culture: Music, Pubs, Saint Patrick’s Day, and More
Top Tourist Attractions in Dublin
As it’s often the case, after learning a little bit of history and culture of the city, you want to find these elements on the streets of Dublin. The Guinness Storehouse is the right place to start.
Regarded as the most visited attraction in Ireland, the iconic brewery tells you everything from A to Z about Ireland’s famous stout. Get ready to learn tales, facts, and what it takes to make a perfect pint of Guinness when walking through every floor of the building. To top it off, beer tasting and a rooftop bar might help you digest new information quicker.
Temple Bar is an essential part of every Dublin travel guide and Dublin itinerary. Even if beer is not your first choice of drink, this busy riverside neighborhood will entice you with authentic Irish culture. We are talking about folk music, traditional Irish cuisine, brightly colored buildings, and of course the traditional pubs.
TIP: On the other hand, if you decide to have a drink or two, make sure not to get too tipsy. You still want to remember how much you pay for that pint of beer. As a matter of fact, so often tourists don’t realize that a single pint of beer in the famous Temple Bar neighborhood can cost as much as 18 euros.
Dublin is worldwide known for its academic and cultural heritage. At different point of time, the most popular Irish as well at city’s prominent citizens had called Trinity College their alma mater. One of the oldest universities in Western Europe, up to this day the College sets up some of the highest standards in the world.
You don’t have to be a student to explore Trinity College’s campus at your own pace or via a guided tour. After you finish your wanders through the 47-acre university grounds, make sure to visit the Library of Trinity College and the Books of Kells.
TIP: For those who plan to visit Trinity within the next few years, check out the status of the Books of Kells beforehand. During my recent visit, a replica of the Book replaced the original, which was sent for restoration.
Dublin Castle is one of the most important historical attractions in Dublin. Built in the early 13th century, it served as the headquarters of British administration in Ireland. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle became the seat of the new Irish government.
Today it’s a major Irish government complex and conference center. Guests of Dublin are also welcomed. Here they can learn more about the city and Irish history and admire splendid décor and artifacts.
Take a look at the following tours if you’re looking for a guide to help you see and learn more about Dublin.
Formerly a prison, Kilmainham Gaol is a museum in Kilmainham, Dublin. The building serves as a reminder of the traditions of militant from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-1923. Many revolutionaries were imprisoned here. Some of them were even executed in the prison.
Yet Kilmainham held not only the leaders of the rebellions. Thousand of ordinary Irish citizens were detained here for all kinds of crimes, including stealing food and petty offenses. Today only guided tours are allowed on the territory of Kilmainham Gaol.
TIP: If you’re interested, book your ticket in advance, as the groups are usually small.
Where to Stay when You Travel to Dublin
Like most Western European cities, Dublin is expensive. And while you can find good deals or even free entry to many of its attractions, accommodation can really take its toll on your budget.
On the other hand, Dublin offers different kinds of lodging that can suit backpackers and luxury travelers alike. We start our travel guide to Dublin’s accommodations with a budget-friendly hostel and hotel. Later you’ll find a couple of recommendations for luxury travelers.
If you’re equally concerned about money and location, Generator Dublin is a place for you. This hostel is located near the major attractions, such as the Jameson Distillery and Smithfield Chimney Viewing Tower. Dublin Castle and the Guinness Storehouse are just a ten-minute walk away. On top of that, the guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, a late night bar, free walking tours, along with shared and family rooms.
Maples House Hotel
For those who prefer to skip the hustle and bustle of the center of Dublin, The Maples House Hotel offers affordable standard and family rooms. The hotel is set in Glasnevin about a 30-minute walk from the major tourist attractions.
This family-run house-hotel strives to create a temporary home away from home for its guests. Therefore, you can count of their bistro-style restaurant for your breakfast and a traditional bar for your last drink of the day.
The Merchant House
Located in the heart of Dublin, The Merchant House is all you need for an unforgettable stay in Dublin. Built in 1720, and restored in 2005, this guesthouse offers luxurious suites just a few minutes away from the favorite restaurants, pubs, and historic landmarks. On top of free Wi-Fi, the guests are welcomed with chocolates and complimentary refreshments.
The Spencer Hotel
Yet if you long for a classic hotel-style accommodation, our Dublin travel guide got you covered. The Spencer Hotel is here at your service. Settled about 20 minutes away from the Temple Bar area, it offers luxurious rooms with coffee and tea making facilities. Apart from it, the guests can recover from jet lag at Spencer Health Club that includes a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, sauna, and Jacuzzi.
Best Places to Eat and Drink in Dublin
As the biggest city in the country, Dublin offers all kinds of cuisines. You can surely satisfy your cravings for Chinese, Indian, and Mediterranean food here. In this Dublin travel guide, though, we’ll focus on classic Irish restaurants and bistros.
O’Neill Pub and Kitchen
2 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, D02 KX03, Ireland
Locals confirm that O’Neill Pub and Kitchen is one of the best places to try traditional Irish cuisine. Even though your choices are limited during current reconstruction, you can still count on full Irish breakfast. A couple of main dishes and Irish stew with sandwiches are also too good to pass especially on a rainy day.
The Bank Bar and Restaurant on College Green
20-22 College Green, Dublin, D02 C868, Ireland
The Bank Bar and Restaurant on College Green, another popular place to eat in Dublin, is located a few minutes away from O’Neill Pub and Kitchen. This elegant bar with live music, and beautiful décor ensures that you don’t leave hungry or thirsty.
Make sure to try homemade soups and pies. Full Irish breakfast will satisfy even a champion. Moreover, the restaurant caters for its vegetarian guests and offers such specialties as homemade vegetable tagliatelle and roast root vegetable salad.
And before we go to the next place on our Dublin travel guide, it’s important to mention that the restaurant’s menu changes throughout the year. The Bank Bar and Restaurant on College Green uses local produce. So it strives to serve a seasonally changing, farm-to-table menu.
42 Drury St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Blazing Salads is a heaven for all vegans and vegetarians living in or visiting Dublin. A small vegetarian spot without a proper place to sit doesn’t look any special from outside. However, give it a chance and step inside. And this is all you need to become a loyal customer.
From its sweet potato shepherd pie to savory stews, and millet and sweet potato burgers, it knows exactly how to win you over. Moreover, you can learn its secrets by taking evening cooking classes.
Butlers Chocolate Café
51 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
When it comes to satisfying your sugar cravings, look no further than Butlers Chocolate Café. It’s by far the sweetest spot in this Dublin travel guide. Wouldn’t you agree after having a few of its chocolate brownies, caramel slices, muffins, and chocolate biscuits? And don’t let me start about its chocolates.
Although the sweets aren’t intended for vegan shoppers, the place overcomes this shortcoming with delicious vegan hot chocolate.
A Quick Travel Guide to Dublin’s Transportation
Getting around Dublin is easy. Due to the fact that the majority of its attractions are located in the center of the city, you can explore Dublin on foot. Bicycling is the second best alternative to see the city. However, if neither of these options seem reasonable because of heavy rain or simply they don’t suit you, Dublin has second, third, and even fourth alternative for you.
Buses are the most common means of transportation and take the first spot on this quick travel guide to Dublin’s transportation. With Dublin extensive network of public bus routes, they make it especially easy to get to your desired destination. Moreover, you can use this type of transportation to explore even suburbs.
Use Airlink Express to get to Dublin City from the Dublin Airport and back. These comfortable double-decker buses are the best and quickest options for your money. Two routes – 747 and 757 – run every ten minutes. Additionally, they provide free Wi-Fi and ample spaces for your luggage, so you don’t feel uncomfortable holding it.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) system is one of the fastest ways to travel in the city. It runs along the coast of Malahide and Howth in the north to Greystones in the south, making frequent stops in the center of Dublin.
Luas (the Irish word for “speed”) is the light rail system that connects the heart of Dublin with its suburbs. Trams run every five minutes at peak times and every 10-15 minutes at other times. Tickets for Luas are available at street vending machines.
Dublin is believed to have more taxis than New York City. The taxicabs are available almost on every corner of the city. You can use them to get to Dublin City from the Dublin Airport, explore the center of the city, and even the suburbs. Although flagging down a taxi is a normal practice in Dublin, you’re better off booking your ride in advance.
READ MORE: 7 Things to Learn from Taxi Drivers around the World
DoDublin Freedom Card
If you plan to spend at least three days in Dublin, get the DoDublin Freedom card. The card is your best investment when it comes to sightseeing and getting around the city. It ensures a worry-free use of Airlink Express and Hop-on-hop-off bus, including other means of Dublin’s public transportation. The price of the card depends on the services you choose. Typically it costs between 27 and 48 euros.