Dublin Travel Guide
What Boston girl doesn't dream of a cross-Atlantic getaway to Ireland! Like Boston, Dublin is a small city with rich history - and its all very doable within 3-4 days. Here are our tips for the must-sees on a quick trip to Dublin.
WHERE TO STAY
Since Dublin emerged as a tech hub about a decade ago, the city has seen a building boom, meaning there is no shortage of new, chic hotels. Prices definitely vary, so make sure to do a little research before committing, but Dublin is a great walking city, so we definitely suggest staying somewhere in or close to downtown.
Our hotel of choice is The Spencer, which is located right along the River Liffey which runs through the center of town. The Spencer is walking distance from all of Dublin's major hotspots - or if a train ride is required, it will be affordable and brief. The vibe of the hotel is clean and modern and there is a trendy bar scene downstairs where plenty of locals go for after work drinks or to catch up over a game of foosball. Our fav thing about staying The Spencer was the included continental breakfast with all of the classic Irish favorites and some extras like freshly made smoothies, a waffle bar, and an assortment of pastries and bagels.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
No trip to Ireland is complete without a meat pie with a side of potatoes and Guinness. So we suggest you head to John Gogarty's in the Trinity Bar area for the full experience. There are a lot of tourist traps around Trinity Bar, and even though Gogarty's has all the over-done Irish pub decor, their food is top notch and they have excellent live music during lunch and dinner.
If you're not feeling the whole corned beef and cabbage thing, head over to Pitt Bros for the Irish take on Southern BBQ. Though you might not think of Ireland for baby back ribs and mac n' cheese, let me tell you, Pitt Bros gets it right. The best part is that it is super affordable and you'll probably be toting home leftovers (the Irish are trying to live up to what they've heard about American portions).
No Name Bar
To enjoy beers and cocktails like the locals do, skip the pub scene and head to No Name Bar. Just around the corner from Trinity, No Name Bar is where you'll find Irish millennials doing what they do best, drinking, joking, and having fun. It is a pretty cool scene, the bar is actually an old apartment, so there are different rooms with tables and furniture as if you're at a huge house party. Be warned though, this bar can be tricky to find, as it has ....no name.
WHAT TO DO
Hop on and off Bus
OK, we know city tour buses are quintessential cheesiness, but they really are the best way to see and learn about everything in Dublin in a short period of time. If the weather is good, sit on the top of one of the double-deckers and make sure to get an enthusiastic tour guide (some of them get lazy and play a recording of the tour, so make sure you get a live-person talking). The tour is also a great way to learn little bit while you're heading to the spots you were planning to go to anyway like the Guinness Brewery, Phoenix Park, Grafton Street and more.
The Guinness Brewery is crowded and expensive, so instead, we suggest you head to Jameson! Make sure to buy tickets before you get there, because the tours do fill up fast, especially on the weekends. The facility is really well done and the tour is informative and comes with a free drink and a comparison tasting between Jameson, scotch, and bourbon - fun! (Oh and the hop on and off tour bus stops here).
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Get a serious dose of history at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Here you'll learn how important Dublin has been in European history from the time of the Vikings, all the way through the world wars and to today. The cathedral is simply beautiful, but there is a lot to see, so speak to the people at the at the information desk - they are incredibly kind and helpful. The cathedral lawn is also a gorgeous spot for a picnic lunch or a leisurely stroll.
Trinity College and Grafton Street
Trinity College and Grafton Street makeup the the cultural heart of Dublin. It is where a bulk of the city's restaurants and shops are located. Grafton Street is lined both with designer shops and local boutiques so everyone can find what they're looking for. Trinity College is home to The Book of Kells (which you might remember from your art history class) and the college is surrounded by fun, noisy pubs.
Day Trip to Howth
If you want to get out of the city, Howth is the perfect day trip. Just a half hour train ride outside of the city, Howth has great coastal hiking trails, a cute fishing village, and some amazing markets. Pack a can of cider and hike to the top of the cliffs, enjoy a the view with a beverage, and then head back to town for a fresh seafood dinner. Howth is an absolute gem and should not be missed!