Ireland’s capital city is known for its friendly atmosphere and superb scenery and attractions. The birthplace of Oscar Wilde and the home of Guinness, Dublin has something to offer everyone.
Dublin lies on the west coast of Ireland at the mouth of the River Liffey. Cross the river on any of its beautiful bridges to enjoy unique views of landmarks like Trinity College or the Customs House, or explore unspoiled beaches just a short distance from the city center.
Over a third of the population of Ireland call Dublin home. It’s the biggest city in the country and its outstanding colleges and universities attract students from all over the world. The city’s young-at-heart character and friendly locals make it the ideal choice for long vacations or short city breaks.
World-class shopping, dining, and entertainment in and around Grafton Street are just part of the city’s charm. Join in the "craic" at one of the city’s friendly bars and pubs or explore its history and culture in exceptional museums and galleries.
From nightlife to brewing and from shopping to sightseeing, there are lots of great reasons for a stay in Dublin.
You’ll get a warm welcome wherever you go, and you’ll soon be joining in with the "craic" in bars and restaurants like a local. The "craic" simply means friendly banter, news, gossip, and conversation. Expect to be greeted by that famous line, "What’s the craic?", meaning, "What’s happening with you?" or simply, "How are you?" but be warned, Dubliners have a wicked sense of humor.
Dublin is famous for its connections to some of the world’s most important writers and poets. James Joyce set his landmark novel, Ulysses, in the city and some of the heavyweights who have called Dublin home include Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Jonathon Swift. Take the famous Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, visit the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square, or nod to the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square Park.
No visit to Dublin is complete unless you sample the city’s most famous drink. Visit the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’ Gate for a tour that culminates in a taste of the famous brew in the Gravity Bar. Guinness is also served in every bar, pub, licensed restaurant, and hotel in the city.
Dublin is a fairly compact city on the banks of the River Liffey. The river can be crossed via a number of spectacular bridges including the Ha’Penny Bridge, the O’Connell Bridge, and the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Take a river cruise or wander among the trendy bars and restaurants of the renovated docklands and quayside.
17th-century Phoenix Park is one of the city’s most appealing spaces. As well as wide open grassland dotted with grazing fallow deer, you’ll find a perfectly proportioned Victorian garden and landmarks like Ashdown Castle and the Wellington Monument – Europe’s largest obelisk. The park is also home to Dublin Zoo
While Dublin really does have something for everyone, there are certain key attractions and highlights that you won’t want to miss.
Visit the famous bar for a pint of Guinness or a nip of Irish Whiskey. If the Temple Bar is a little too busy, there are dozens of other friendly pubs where you can enjoy the craic in the district of the same name.
The beautifully illustrated Book of Kells dates from 800 AD and is a fine example of an illuminated religious manuscript. See it at the impressive Old Library at Trinity College.
Dublin’s oldest building, Christ Church Cathedral, is said to date from the 11th century and it was extensively restored in the 19th century. The crypt is thought to pre-date the cathedral building itself and is well worth a visit.
In a city that boasts many of the "oldest" or "biggest", Dublin Zoo is another fine example. Ireland’s biggest zoo is home to dozens of species and is a leading center for conservation.
Dublin’s Kilmainham Jail was where many of the country’s revolutionaries were imprisoned or executed by the British. In more recent times, the prison has featured in films such as 'The Escapist' (2008) and 'The Italian Job' (1969). It also appeared in the music video for 'A Celebration' by U2 (1982).
Dublin has a maritime climate with fairly cool summers and mild winters. July and August temperatures of 66°F to 72°F and winter temperatures of 39°F to 46°F mean that it’s always pleasant. The peak tourist season is between May and September and the city is particularly busy from mid-July to mid-August - the traditional annual holiday period for Ireland and the UK. Major attractions can be busy during the summer season and hotel prices reflect the increased demand for accommodation. However, Dublin is a great choice at any time and breaks in Spring, from March to April, or Autumn, from September until late October, mean that you’ll benefit from less crowded streets and beautiful seasonal scenery. Or, why not visit for Christmas and New Year? There are events for all ages throughout the city and you may see Bono and Glen Hansard who often join Christmas Eve buskers on Grafton Street. Adventurous types can even work up an appetite by taking part in the Forty Foot Dip in the sea at Sandycove on Christmas Day.
Many overseas visitors arrive at Dublin Airport (IATA: DUB) which is 6 miles north of the city center. The airport is a hub for Irish national carrier, Aer Lingus and for the country’s second largest airline, Ryanair. Other airlines which fly to and from Dublin include Flybe, British Airways, and Air France. Several shuttle buses run from the airport to central Dublin including Aircoach (Route 700) and the Dublin Bus airport service (route 747). Taxis are available and it is also possible to rent a car close to the airport.
Dublin is served by two main rail stations. Heuston Station, to the west of the city centre, is the terminus for trains from cities in the south and west of Ireland including Limerick and Cork. Those traveling from Belfast or Sligo or other cities in the north or east will alight at Connolly Station which is to the north-east of the city center. Local buses stop nearby, and both stations are served by the city’s light rail tram system, LUAS. Passengers arriving at Connolly Station can take taxis from the taxi rank close to the station entrance.
Drivers coming to Dublin from Belfast can take the A1 then the M1 and continue their journey on local road R131 and then the R801 and R105. The journey from Northern Ireland to Dublin includes an international border crossing and part of the trip may be by toll road. Those driving from Limerick can take the M7, while the M8 and M7 are ideal if you’re coming from Cork. US visitors who arrive in the country at Shannon Airport (IATA: SNN) can also take the M7 via Limerick.
Buses to Dublin run from several European countries thanks to carriers like National Express and Megabus. You’ll also find buses from major Irish cities run by local operators like Dublin Bus, while travelers from Belfast to Dublin can take Translink’s Goldline service. All Dublin bound buses terminate at the Busarus coach station in the city center. The station is adjacent to Connolly Station and local buses, trams and taxis can ferry you to any part of the city.
It’s worth bearing in mind that O’Connell Street is considered the city center and that Dublin is bisected by the River Liffey. The area that includes O’Connell Street is the ‘North Side’ while the part including Grafton Street is the ‘South Side’. Splash out on boutique hotels in the trendy and vibrant Temple Bar district or look for affordable family bed & breakfast accommodation a little further afield in Drumcondra or Clontarf. The city’s large student population means that there is lots of affordable hostel type accommodation for younger travelers near the Busarus station, while luxury 5-star hotels like the Jury’s Inn, Four Seasons Hotel Dublin, and the Hilton Dublin can be found on the South Side.
City Centre - generally agreed to be the area within about 1.5 miles of the O’Connell Bridge. This vibrant district is home to most of the city’s most famous historical and cultural attractions. You’ll also find glamorous nightlife and entertainment and the Grafton Street area is known for its abundance of friendly cafes and great shops.
Temple Bar – home to the world-famous bar of the same name, the Temple Bar area is widely known as the city’s "Cultural Quarter". Its quaint cobbled streets are a marked contrast to the wide streets of the city center and you’ll enjoy wandering through the clothing and jewellery stalls in Cows Lane before stopping for a break at one of the many restaurants and pubs.
Georgian Quarter – an elegant area in the southeast of Dublin around Merrion Square, Baggot Street, and Fitzwilliam Square. See the statue of Oscar Wilde and the beautiful 18th-century townhouses or simply enjoy the wide, grassy spaces, and laid back atmosphere of this stylish part of the city.
Dublin has a good local bus service run by Dublin Bus as well as its LUAS light rail tram system. The DART commuter rail line also covers the city center. All buses, trams, and local trains use a pre-paid card system. The refundable Leap Card can be obtained from all main stations, newsagents, and tourist information offices. It can be topped up as required and there is a flat maximum fare of 2.60 euros on bus and tram journeys.
Thanks to deregulation in 2001, Dublin now has more taxis than New York. That means that you can almost always find a taxi and that fairs are relatively cheap with an average city center trip costing from 6 to 10 euros.
Although traffic can be heavy at peak times, a car can prove an asset on any trip to Dublin. Remember to drive on the left and you will have no problem navigating the city streets. Car rental is available close to the airport and at several locations in the city. There is a pay and display parking system in the center of the city with a maximum stay of 3 hours. Car parking facilities can also be found close to main tourist spots.
Dublin is a great destination for shoppers and its famous retail streets are well laid out and attractive. Basic goods are more expensive than elsewhere in Europe but non-European visitors may be able to claim back VAT on purchases.
Grafton Street is one of the city’s best-known shopping areas - it’s also pedestrianized so you can browse clothes, electronics, jewelry, and homeware at your leisure. From Grafton Street, it’s just a short walk to the Powerscourt Centre where you’ll find everything from clothes and accessories to galleries and cafes in a beautiful 18th century townhouse setting. On the north side of the Liffey, O’Connell Street is home to all the top brands and designers while adjacent Henry Street is the busiest shopping street in Ireland.
Food and basic goods are relatively expensive in Ireland. However, with a choice of supermarket chains like Tesco, Super Valu, Dunnes Stores, and Superquinn to choose from you’re sure of finding all that you need for your holiday rental easily.
Dublin has lots of terrific restaurants and you can try everything from classic European food to Indian curries and traditional fish and chips. City Centre restaurants tend to be more expensive but there are lots of affordable cafes and small independent restaurants in Temple Bar and in the redeveloped docklands area.
Indian cuisine is extremely popular and some of the best restaurants can be found around South William Street. The street is parallel to Grafton Street and a three-course meal deal for early birds in the Khyber Tandoori on South William Street or Shalimar on South Great Georges Street costs about 15 euros. Vegetarians may enjoy the cheap but tasty Hare-Krishna food served at Govindas on Augnier Street or Surma on Camden Street. Fans of Chinese and Asian cuisine should make their way to Parnell Street while those who prefer more traditional fare can tuck into fish and chips at Leo Burdock Fish & Chips in Werburgh Street.