Tips for visiting Dublin:
- How to get to Dublin: the public transport system works pretty well in and around Dublin, and there are multiple buses that will take you from the airport to the downtown area. Uber doesn’t really work in Ireland, it will simply call a taxi for you. Locals use the MyTaxi app. Be warned: if you take a taxi, always ask if they take credit cards before you get in! I’ve been in awkward situations twice now where I just assumed they did… and they didn’t!
- Dublin is a buzzing city. There are so many shops, pubs, restaurants, banks… and people everywhere!
- Where to stay: this question is tricky because I’ve never really stayed in a hotel while in Dublin since my aunt lives in the suburbs and we stay with her. Here‘s a great article with nice hotel recommendations from the Telegraph. One of my colleagues also recommended the Radisson Blu St. Helens for a fun and lively atmosphere.
- Weather: expect rainy, cold, humid days and be grateful if it’s sunny and hot! I hear Irish summers are now happening in August and September, but I have yet to witness a HOT day in Dublin.
- Walk along the Liffey River on a sunny day (but don’t wait for a sunny day or you may never go out!) and you’ll almost feel like you’re in Venice or Copenhagen. I remember walking over the Millenium bridge, before 2000, and watching the numeric clock count down the seconds, minutes and hours till the new millennium.
- Walk up Grafton Streets to do some shopping, check out Stephen’s Green shopping center (unusual architecture) & walk around Stephen’s Green Park.
- Check out Trinity College campus.
- If you like Irish beer you should check out the interactive Guinness Storehouse museum for great views of the city and a good pint of Guinness. If you’re more into whiskey, there’s also the Jameson Distillery which I hear is worth the visit.
- If you’re looking to be submerged into nature, head over to Pheonix Park and try spotting the deer roaming freely around the vast park. According to Wikipedia, its 11 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres) of greenery; it is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. Have a cup of tea and some food at the Phoenix Café or a pint of Guinness in the very cozy Hole in the Wall pub (very cute during Christmas time). You could also check out the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. The Irish National War Memorial Gardens are also a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.
- Visit Powerscourt Townhouse: lots of independent Irish cute stores & restaurants.
- If you’re looking for a fun time, go see/listen to traditional music in Temple Bar.
- If it’s a nice day, take the train to Howth and do the cliff walk.
- Places to eat:
- Eatyard food market: Food market with multiple vendors
- Umi Falafel : amazing Arabic food, fast & cheap
- The Pepper Pot: brunch or lunch – it’s in the Powerscourt townhouse
- Bunsen – they only serve burgers and they’re the best
- Coffee shops:
- Coffeeangel: a mandatory coffee stop.
- The Fat Fox: reopening soon – great coffee and treats
- Ruin Bar – try one of their great cocktails
- Exchequer– recommended wine bar
- Neary’s – a local, old pub vibe and a delicious, perfectly poured pint of Guinness.
- Delahunt– there’s a secret bar above this restaurant
- Little Pig (reservation needed)/ The Blind Pig (in the basement and more relaxed) – Italian food and great cocktails, some of the best bartenders in the world work here. Highly recommended by Irish foodies and trendsetters.
Impressions of Dublin:
I’ve been to Dublin so many times now I’ve lost count. You should know that my mother is Irish (the real type, like all her brothers and sisters, live there and she was born there) so since I was a young toddler, we’ve been going back every few summers to visit family & friends. The first stop was always my aunt’s house, located in a quiet neighboorhood called Chapelizod. No matter why or where we stayed, the first stop after the airport was ALWAYS her house. Now my mouth salivates every time we land at Dublin airport because all I can think off is her fresh loaf of brown bread with a cup of tea.
You’ll typically start your day with porridge or a full Irish breakfast which consists of black and white pudding (black=pork meat, fat and blood mixed with barley, suet and oatmeal in an intensely flavoured sausage, white= same minus the blood), a slice of ham (which they call bacon), eggs, beans, half a baked tomato, sauteed mushrooms and toast. Throughout the day you’ll probably end up eating scones, brown/soda bread, bangers and mash (which is sausage & mashed potatoes), Irish Stew (made with beef, garlic, stock,Guinness, red wine, potatoes, carrots, and onion), Bacon and Cabbage, Fish & Chips, Blaas (an Irish sandwich) and if you’re feeling extra hungry, the Sunday Carvery (a buffet style roast dinner including a big hunk of roast meat, mash or roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy).
To the contrary of the Irish weather, the Irish people are very warm and welcoming! Whether you walk into someone’s house, a pub, a bed and breakfast, a hotel, a restaurant or a shop, you’ll probably be greeted with a lovely smile that radiates warmth, joy and happiness. Their accent can sometimes be a challenge to understand but once you get a hold of it, you’ll enjoy having a chat with the locals and getting all the crack (stories). The pubs are obviously the best places to hear the old Irish stories (expect some exaggeration, as the Irish saying goes: don’t let the truth ruin a good story).
One stereotype about Ireland is a 100% true (apart from the rainy weather): this country has so many shades of green. I’ve never seen any other countrysides boasts such a wide range of greenery. From pine green to shamrock green to lime green- you won’t be disappointed I promise!
The bottom line is this: everyone should go to Ireland once in their life. No matter if you’re single, have 5 kids, are going for a vacation or for work, I promise you won’t be disappointed and you’ll leave wanting more.
Dublin is a good first stop!