Travel to Dublin

Ha'Penny Bridge

If you visit Ireland, you will likely travel to Dublin or at least through Dublin! It is the largest international airport, though there are four others. As the capital city, it is lively and full of sights to see. The live music scene is very active, and listening to Irish music is a great experience. I recommend either walking around the city, or taking a Hop-On Hop-Off bus. Most of the sights are quite central with the exception of the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmanhaim Gaol, Botanic Gardens and Zoo.

In addition, there are some nearby sights worth visiting such as Malahide Castle, Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains. Malahide can be reached using the public bus. For the Wicklow Mountains, you may want to try a day tour so you can enjoy more of the countryside. Also, nearby are several lovely coastal areas including Bray, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

Thanks to RyanAir, I have made many trips to Dublin, mostly to visit friends. We stayed and cooked with friends at home sometimes. Therefore, I have fewer photos to share of the city sights than for some other places. We did always make it a point to do a few touristy things and to walk around the beautiful city, split by the River Liffey.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral Dublin
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin
Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire
Ireland Government Headquarters
Ireland Government Headquarters

Highlights

Before you go

  • Dublin is the capital of Ireland and centre of the Irish government
  • Dublin is very tourist-friendly and there are some convenient Hop-On Hop-Off buses
  • The currency is the Euro
  • English and Irish are the official languages, but almost everyone speaks English
  • The weather can be variable so always be prepared with layers and an umbrella or waterproof jacket
  • Some of the words are not pronounced as they look in English. For example, Dun Laoghaire is pronounced dun LEER-ee. And the name Naimh is pronounced Neev
  • Whisky is spelled without an “e”
  • Temple Bar is a lively and fun area. If you book accommodation near there then be prepared for some noise
  • The electric plug is the same as in the United Kingdom, not the rest of Europe
Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol
The Spire, Dublin
The Spire, Dublin
Christ Church Cathedral Dublin
Christ Church Cathedral Dublin

Transport

  • Dublin airport is located about 30 minutes by bus from the city centre
  • From the airport there is an Express bus to multiple city centre stops
  • Within and near Dublin there is the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) and commuter rail services. These reach to the coastal areas and even to Wicklow
  • There are also local buses to get around the city
  • Some people also find it convenient to use the Hop-on-Hop-off buses. There are a few other companies with similar services

Accommodation

  • There are many levels of accommodation depending on your budget and expected level of comfort. I look on Booking.com or directly on GoogleMaps for prices and ratings
  • Hostels are popular and relatively cheap. There are dorms and sometimes private rooms. When I was younger, I had a good stay in the Barnacles Hostel in Temple Bar.
  • However, when we wanted to have more privacy we stayed in a B&B such as Marian Guesthouse
  • The Harcourt Hotel was comfortable and located near a nice square, but there is a nightclub below so it can be noisy
Marian B&B in Dublin
Marian B&B in Dublin
Francis Bacon's Studio in Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin
Francis Bacon’s Studio in Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin
Sea Lion in Howth
Sea Lion in Howth
Desserts at Queen of Tarts
Desserts at Queen of Tarts
Beef and Guinness Stew at Boxty House Dublin
Beef and Guinness Stew at Boxty House Dublin
Johnnie Fox's Pub just up a hill near Dublin
Johnnie Fox’s Pub just up a hill near Dublin

Food

In general, while in Ireland I tend to eat at a lot of pubs including the Stag’s Head. The food and atmosphere are usually great! One special place, Johnnie Fox’s is just outside Dublin up on a hill.

We found Boxty House in Temple Bar, which has delicious traditional food. The boxty is a potato pancake covered with sauce. Their beef and Guinness stew was also very satisfying.

I can recommend the smoked salmon from Wrights of Howth. Howth is by the sea and easily reached from Dublin.

There are fine dining restaurants, even more now than in the past. One classic favourite in Dublin is the Winding Stair, highly recommended by the locals.

My favourite bakery for desserts is Queen of Tarts, which has a variety of cakes and savoury foods. Butler’s chocolate, especially the dark hot chocolate from Butler’s cafe at Dublin airport, is not to be missed!

Of course, Ireland is also famous for some of its beverages including Guinness stout and Jameson Whisky. Both places have excellent tours that include tasting!

FAQs

Q: Do I need a tour guide?

A: No, it is easy to get around Ireland by train, bus, DART (Dublin area rapid transport), and walking

Q: Do people speak English?

A: Yes everyone speaks English and some may also speak Irish

Q: Is it a walkable city?

A: Yes it is but to get around the whole city you may want to use the public transport system

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