Dublin, the capital of the emerald isles that just oozes charm. I’ve been lucky to visit Dublin many times due to my father being born there, but never had chance to see all the main tourist attractions because as you can imagine, my dad had already seen it all hundreds of times and didn’t want to be a tourist in his own city. On an off chance in November I managed to blag some return flights to Dublin with Ryanair for £4 in total. Yes you heard right…four whole British pounds! So me and my friend packed our bags and headed to the airport, and this time I was determined to see ALL that Dublin had to offer.
1. The Guinness Storehouse
A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Guinness storehouse located at St. James Gate. A visit here will teach you everything you need to know about Guinness, from the history of it, to the fermentation process. The tour begins at the bottom of the worlds largest pint glass and continues up through its 7 floors which are full interactive experiences. Upon reaching the top floor you enter the Gravity Bar, where you receive a complementary pint of Guinness to enjoy the panoramic 360 degree views of Dublin City. With adult ticket prices starting at €14 this is not one to miss!
2. Temple Bar
This thriving cultural hub is the area in Dublin which is most popular with tourists. Temple Bar is a maze of cobbled streets that are full of life and vibrancy. You can find anything here, with many traditional pubs, clubs, art galleries, and restaurants; not to forget a fair share of quirky shops. If you want to expand your cultural horizon, or just have a good old drink then this is the place to go.
3. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History and Archeology
If your on a budget then look no further! Located not far from each other are two museums run by the National Museum of Ireland; the natural history museum and the archeology museum. The archeology museum hosts an array of treasures from Ireland’s prehistoric times, with Celtic, Gaelic, and Viking artefacts on display. The most popular exhibition is the famous ‘bog bodies’, which are mummified bodies from the Bronze Age which were found preserved in bogs; definitely not for the faint hearted! In contrast the natural history museum is almost like a dead zoo. The attraction is filled with 10,000 specimens of species from Ireland and all over the world. Admission is free to both of these attractions so are worth a visit.
4. Phoenix Park
Although Dublin is relatively small for a capital city, it hosts Europe’s largest urban park at 1750 acres. The park is a short bus journey from Dublin City centre and hosts Dublin zoo, the official residency of the president of Ireland, the residency of the US ambassador but best of all a large herd of deer which are tame enough to come up to you if you have food! If walking isn’t your think, bikes can be hired from the main entrance to Phoenix park which is located on Parkgate street which allows you to enjoy the 14km of cycle paths found within the park.
5. Ha’penny Bridge
When I think of Dublin I think of the Ha’penny bridge. Built as a pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey, this bridge has become one of the most iconic spots in Dublin. An average of 30,000 people cross it each day, so why not pop down as well and get your perfect tourist shot for Instagram.
6. The Gravedigger Ghost Bus
Why not hop onto the worlds first ghost bus? This hair raising tour takes you around Dublin’s ghostly past, from the chilling Kilmainham Jail, to the passage tomb known as the hellfire club, where Satan himself is said to have appeared. The tour costs €25 and lasts around 2 hours that are packed full of laughs, frights and interesting stories. The live actors definitely make sure you’ve screamed at least once by the end of this tour, and you even get a free drink included at one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, The Gravediggers pub!
7. Trinity College
Located in the heart of the city, Trinity College is the oldest and most prestige university in Ireland. The university hosts over 40 acres of rich architecture and green open space, with notable alumni including Courtney Love, Niall Horan, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. The university often hosts exhibitions, including the science gallery and the Book of Kels. The 9th century illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kels is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest treasures and can be seen inside the university for a small entrance fee.
8. St. Michans Mummies
This is one of the lesser known tourist attractions in Dublin but is still worth a visit. Underneath this 1095 Protestant church lies vaults which contain many mummified remains, that have been uniquely preserved by the dry, limestone conditions within the vaults. As you walk down the eerie cobweb lined stairs you will be greeted by a passageway with several rooms off it, all containing coffins and mummified remains. The tour guide gives you information on the people who are found there, as well as letting you get up close and personal with the mummified body of ‘the crusader’ inviting you to touch it! This is definitely not one for the screamish.
9. Grafton Street
No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting the renowned shopping strips. Just a short walk from Trinity College, Grafton street is usually the first choice for shopping due to its vast array of shops and a multitude of street performers. The famous Brown Thomas department store is located here and is definitely worth a visit; it is often frequented by celebrities so you never know who you’ll bump into! St Stephens green park is located at the top of Grafton Street allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city for some peace and tranquility. In addition Henry street is another principle location where you will find a great choice of shops including Arnotts, the oldest department store in Dublin.
10. Have a drink at one of the 751 pubs in Dublin
You’re never far from a pub when you’re in Dublin, with the city hosting over 751 pubs! You’ll find everything from the old traditional pubs, to swanky cocktail bars, but in my opinion you can’t experience Dublin fully if you don’t try and soak up some of the culture, so leave those cocktails bars for now and get yourself through the doors of those little old pubs, for a good pint of Guinness and some Irish music.
Have you been to any great places in Dublin that I didn’t manage to visit?