What are some of your favorite memories of Dublin?
Nights spent at The Temple Bar. I am a sucker for merry sing-alongs (especially when I know the words), and this place is what you imagine a fun pub scene to be in Ireland.
How would you spend 36 hours in Dublin?
I would start with the proper tourist spots: Trinity College, the Book of Kells, and Grafton St. From there I would grab an early dinner at O’Neill’s pub (near the Dublin Tourism Info Center). The pub is built of warm mahogany that gives the place a cozy and at-home feel. In the evening, you guessed it – I’d head straight to The Temple Bar for a pint and some live music. If possible, I’d book my accommodations in the surrounding areas to lessen the walk home. The next day I’d grab breakfast at the Queen of Tarts before heading to Dublin Castle and the Guinness Factory. On the way back I’d take a quick nap in St. Patrick’s Park before heading off again!
What kind of practical information should first-time visitors know about Dublin?
Dublin uses the euro, not the pound (like Northern Ireland). It’s definitely not cheap, and food can really cost you. During my trip I relied on inexpensive chains like Subway to offset the cost of proper dinners. To mitigate accommodation fees, try a hostel. There are plenty in Dublin, and in true Irish fashion, the warmth and hospitality is excellent. I’ve stayed at River House Hotel (a B&B), Oliver St. John Gogarty (a hostel), and Barnacles (a hostel). Barnacles is definitely my favorite!
In Dublin, everything is written in English. Most road signs and formal plaques will also have the Irish translations, as the language is undergoing post-colonial revival.
Overall, Dublin is a walk-able city. Bring the right shoes, and you should be able to get nearly everywhere on foot! There’s no real ‘metro’ in the city, so if you’re traveling long distances alone, take buses wherever possible. Otherwise taxis could run you a fortune! Of note, there are great (and cheap) buses that transport people to and from the airport. The local public bus is the best bet but lacks the comforts of the coach buses, which are also reasonably priced.
What are some precautions that people should take while exploring Dublin?
I’ve always felt very relaxed and at ease in Dublin. Like most cities, it’s best to go out in groups. And, given the heavy drinking, cooler heads should prevail!
Any other indispensable pieces of advice to share?
It rains in Dublin, almost a little bit everyday! I would always venture out with an umbrella, just in case. Also, there are internet cafes everywhere – so you’ll never be too far from your emails, if required!
If you’re keen to travel beyond the city, a network of buses is constantly traversing the country. Check out the Dublin Tourism Info Center for more information.
If you’re looking for fun in the city, look no further than The Temple Bar. Located in the heart of the Temple Bar District, this pub breaks into song every night with some incredible live music. Super-talented local artists take to the small stage with guitars, fiddles, and sometimes bagpipes, and belt out amazing folk and rock music. With pints in hand, the audience sings along to favorites like ‘Wild Rover’, ‘Country Roads’, and ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’.
Dublin Castle has huge historical significant for the city and country. Built under English rule, the castle was ultimately handed over to the Irish Provisional Government in 1922 following independence. (In many ways, it’s akin to the importance of Mumbai’s Gateway of India). You’ll be struck by the vastness of the central court when you first enter the castle, and be sure to catch a glimpse of the Record Tower, the castle’s only surviving tower. Today the castle is still used by the government for various ceremonial occasions.
Touristy, yes. But impressive, double yes! The storehouse is actually the former Guinness fermentation plant but was later transformed into an interactive museum-of-sorts that schools you on all things Guinness. From the stout-making process to the history of the Guinness family, this storehouse has it covered. Old machine parts still hang from the ceiling, and visitors are encouraged to interact with some of the exhibitions. By the time you’ve finished all seven floors of info and fun, you’ll be ready for your complimentary pint of Guinness, which awaits you at the top. Soak in the panoramic view of the city from the rooftop café while you sip it down.
This park is nestled to the southwest of the Temple Bar District and offers a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Sprawling greens offer plenty of space to lie in the grass and soak up the sweet sounds of the nearby church and choir. A playground on site hosts cute little kids or child-like adults who still want a go at the swing!