Dublin, home to some of the world’s friendliest people, the best pubs, and a fascinating 1000-year history. It’s a place to go for a good time and a slice of the famous Irish craic. Being three quarters Irish, I’m somewhat biased, but I do think the Irish are some of the loveliest people you’ll meet.
- Where: Dublin, Ireland
- Month: December
- For: Weekend
- Suited to: Couples, Close Friends
- Expect: Guinness, Art, Great Food and Live Music
- Accommodations: 1
- Activities: 7
- Restaurant recommendations: 5
- Cost (accommodation): ~€120 pp + flights
- Spending: €60/day pp (meals & entrance fees)
Dublin is a small city so most of the main attractions can be reached on foot. We also took a few taxis, which with four of us were pretty reasonable (around 10 euro from the Guinness Factory to St.Stephens Green). Another option is to buy a pass for the hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which takes in lots of the major sights. The public bus network is also good and easy to navigate. To get out of the city, you can jump on the coastal train, the DART. The Leap visitor card (similar to an Oyster card) is a good way to save money on public transport if you’re in the city for a few days. And download the Transport for Ireland journey planner to find your way around.
These are some suggestions to get you started in the city – from things to do in Dublin to places to eat, drink and be merry. We’re both vegetarian so we’ve also included some of Dublin’s best vegetarian-friendly restaurants.
I still haven’t found my perfect place to stay in Dublin as I’ve tended to stay with family in the past, but I’ve heard great things about Generator Hostel if you’re looking for a budget stay in the city. I also always recommend checking our Airbnb for something a bit more personal.
What to do
Guinness Storehouse: Dublin’s number one attraction, the Guinness Storehouse isn’t your usual brewery – it’s actually a giant pint-shaped Disneyland for guinness lovers. From learning how to pull the perfect pint to exploring its iconic advertising history, there’s something to entertain everyone – even if you don’t like guinness.
I went there about ten years and wasn’t a convert, but this time I drank my first full pint of guinness and actually enjoyed it! Apparently it tastes its best at the source.
Irish Whiskey Museum: This little museum is a homage to Irish whiskey where you’ll be taken on an interactive guided tour through the history of Irish whiskey.
At the end, you get to do a tasting of three whiskeys, or you can upgrade to a VIP ticket to try some aged whiskey too.
Walk around Temple Bar: When I think of Dublin, the first image that comes to mind is the colourful streets of Temple Bar. It’s a gorgeous place to walk around and simply soak in the atmosphere and, if you’re like us, take a million photos.
It also has lots of pubs so is a fun place to go out at night.
Explore Georgian Dublin: The Georgian architecture in Dublin is gorgeous and can be found throughout the city.
Notable streets include Henrietta Street on the northside of the city, Fitzwilliam Square, and the area around Merrion Square.
Irish Museum of Modern Art: Home to Ireland’s national collection of modern and contemporary art, the gallery includes works by Goya, Rembrandt and more. It also hosts a diverse range of exhibitions featuring both Irish and international artists.
The Old Library and Book of Kells: Both times I’ve been to Dublin, this has been closed, but I’m including it as I’m desperate to see it and I know it’s a Dublin highlight for those who have visited. The 18th-Century library looks magnificent, in particular the Long Room, which houses 200,000 books. It also gives you the opportunity to see the beautiful Trinity College, Dublin’s main university. One day I will get there!
St Patrick’s Cathedral: We were lucky enough to go to St Patrick’s Cathedral for a TED-style event called Proclamation, which was part of the festival we went to at New Year.
It was an incredible setting for the night, and was a great way to see the cathedral in action. You can also do guided tours in the day time.
Other museums and attractions: Dublin is filled with plenty of museums and attractions aside from the ones listed here. Other points of interest that are often included in people’s “must see” lists, but that we didn’t go to include Kilmainham Gaol, Chester Beatty Library, National Museum of Ireland, and the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, as well as, of course, the Old Library. Next time!
Cornucopia: Dublin’s number one veggie stop. It’s a classic vegetarian restaurant featuring a pick and mix selection of hot and cold dishes, including stews, bakes, curries and salads. The food is hearty, the portions generous, and the restaurant itself has a cosy, friendly atmosphere. It costs around 10 euro for a main dish plus three salads.
The Winding Stair: For something a little more fancy, Winding Stair serves modern Irish cuisine and includes a good range of vegetarian options. Dublin’s not cheap at the best of times so something at this level will cost around 20 for a main course. The restaurant is housed above a charming little bookshop, which is also worth visiting in the day.
Elephant and Castle: Originally from New York, Elephant & Castle came to Dublin after one of the original restaurant’s Irish chefs was denied entry to the USA. Now it’s become a Dublin classic and is particularly popular for breakfast and brunch. Crucially, there are lots of vegetarian options.
The Counter: If you fancy a burger, Dublin has plenty of options including local chain Jo’Burger, which has great reviews. We opted for one closer to our hotel called The Counter, which has a dizzying array of options to build your own burger including toppings, patties and sauces. The veggie burger was delicious and didn’t feature beans or potatoes, which is always a bonus in my books.
The Brazen Head: Pub food is a stalwart of Dublin cuisine, especially Irish stew and oysters. Sadly, it tends to be a little thin on the veggie side and the only options tend to be soup, sandwiches or chips. Still, the lack of choice is worth it for the atmosphere. This is Dublin’s oldest pub, which is a lovely higgledly-piggledy jumble of rooms.
Ruby Sessions: If you’re in Dublin on a Tuesday night, check out the Ruby Sessions at Doyles Bar. It’s a weekly acoustic club renowned for hosting intimate gigs by new and established acts. People who have played there before include Mumford & Sons, and Rodrigo y Gabriella.
O’Donoghues: Popular spot to catch some traditional live music. The traditional pub hosts live music every day of the week and is also just a good place to hang out and have a guinness.
Peruke & Periwig: We found this cocktail bar on New Year’s Eve and celebrated with a well-made Old Fashioned. The vintage-style bar is a cosy place for a drink and a lovely place to spend the evening. When we went they were playing some great old-school music.