If you’re visiting Dublin for the first time, you’re in for a treat! There are plenty of things to see and do, so I guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time. My family and I had a wonderful time here last Christmas (every single person wears a tacky Christmas jumper. It’s great!). However, there are a few things you should know before you get there in order to plan ahead and have the best time possible. Let’s take a look:
The River Liffey
The River Liffey divides Dublin into the north and south sides. It’s a fairly compact city, so you should find it quite easy to navigate around on foot – you can walk from O’Connell street on the northside to Grafton Street on the southside in under 10 minutes. The best known bridges that cross the river are the Halfpenny Bridge and O’Connell Bridge, which is longer in length than it is in width. If you’re looking for landmarks, some of the best known north of the River Liffey are the Spire and Customs House, while on the south side you’ll find Dublin Castle and Christchurch Cathedral.
Getting Around Via Public Transport
There are 3 main forms of public transport in Dublin. There’s the Dublin bus which serves the majority of the city; the Dublin Area Rapid Transit which is a light rail network going through the city centre, and the LUAS, that is the newest mode of transport and stops outside the main train stations. If you don’t want to spend money on a taxi or rent a car, then the above modes of transport will get you to where you want to be. Luckily we have a friend who lives over there, and were able to get lifts wherever we went. I’m guessing things won’t be as convenient for you so make sure you research the different routes and the mode of transport you’ll need to take in order to get to your chosen attractions.
Tourist Attractions in Dublin
You’ve probably heard all about Dublin’s fantastic tourist attractions. We got quite a few of them in considering we were only there for a few days; shopping, The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo, and plenty of pubs! The most popular attraction is the Guinness Storehouse, found at St James’ Gate just outside of the centre of the city. It’s got everything there is to know about Guinness inside, so you’ll leave as a fully fledged expert! You even get to enjoy a pint or two of Guinness on your way around. Don’t worry if you think you won’t find it interesting – you will! I never had any interest in Guinness before I went on this tour, but I had a fantastic time. My favourite parts were receiving my ‘Perfect Pint’ certificate, and eating Guinness pie with Guinness bread for lunch. The Gravity Bar, found at the very top of the Storehouse overlooks the whole city, so you get a fantastic view as you enjoy your drink.
Obviously there’s much more to see than just the Guinness Storehouse. You can also see Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Parks, Trinity College, Dublin Zoo, and museums and galleries galore! Dublin’s national gallery on Merrion Square and the Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham are free, so you don’t even have to spend a lot of money to explore Dublin. It can be tiring though, so make sure you have somewhere cosy to go after a day of exploring. Citybase apartments can be found all over the city.
Great Writers and Musicians of Dublin
A lot of the world’s best known writers and musicians were born in Dublin. For example; James Joyce, Bram Stoker, U2, and other famous musicians and writers. Statues of famous writers can be found everywhere, but if you want to learn more, you can go to the Dublin Writer’s Museum on Parnell Square (found on the northside). It’s hard to believe that so many fantastic minds were born here, but they were!
The Suburbs are Worth a Visit
Dublin even has great suburbs you might like to pay a visit. There’s Howth, a fishing village with a great cliff walk. There’s Portmarnock, well known for its beach. Then there’s Malahide, which is full of great cafes and restaurants!
Shopping in Dublin
If you love shopping, then Dublin is absolutely perfect. Henry street on the northside of Dublin is well worth a visit. In fact, you could get lost for hours in all of the amazing shops selling vintage clothes, trinkets, jewellery, homewares, books, and more. You could easily leave Dublin with bags full of goodies! Your favourite clothes shops are all here too, as well as a huge Disney Store!
Eating Out in Dublin
There are plenty of places to eat out, but you can get a great deal if you watch out for the ‘early-bird’ specials where you can get a starter and main course for a very reasonable price. Some of the restaurants and cafes serve delicious sounding food that could almost be American; pancakes and crispy bacon was an option in one of the breakfast cafes I went to! Instead, I opted for a delicious breakfast sandwich. When it comes to the food, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Enjoying the Nightlife
Many people think Temple Bar is where you’ll find all of the nightlife. While it’s OK here, it can be really touristy. If you want a memorable Irish experience, visit Baggot Street, South William Street, and Wexford/Camden Street. Want a traditional Irish pub? Keogh’s on South Anne Street is perfect for you! It isn’t easy to have a ‘traditional’ Irish experience here as many of the pubs and eateries have catered especially for tourist and have tried too hard to make it ‘traditional’, although that doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time!
Now you can visit Dublin with all of the knowledge you need to have a fantastic time. I thoroughly recommend visiting the Guinness Storehouse and having your pint at the end – Guinness tastes totally different over here! Have fun and let us know how you got on in the comments.