No trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to Dublin, the country's capital and largest city. The friendly pubs, countless live music venues and welcoming people in Dublin make it a perfect spot for a few days or a few weeks of holiday. With ebookers, you can book flights, hotels and tours to destinations around the city.
Dublin offers a variety of attractions for travellers, from the sprawling campus of Trinity College to the world-famous Guinness Storehouse tour. The city is small and easy to walk around, so you can spend days exploring ancient churches and popping into local restaurants. In the evenings, enjoy the company of locals at Dublin's many pubs.
This majestic structure was built between 1191 and 1270, in honour of Ireland's patron saint. The largest church in Ireland, it is actually a Protestant (Anglican) place of worship but is also open—for a small fee—to visitors who wish to tour the towering Gothic interior. The church is filled with stained glass, religious icons, and monuments, including a bust commemorating author Jonathan Swift, who is buried here. More famous than the cathedral itself is its choir, which was founded 60 years before Columbus discovered America. In 1742, Handel's 'Messiah' was premiered to the world, performed by members of the choir, who still sing twice daily in the cathedral.
When your doors have been open to scholars for over 400 years, you're bound to produce some notable alumni. The old stone walls of Trinity, first erected under Queen Elizabeth in 1592, have seen young luminaries such as Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett pass through the cobbled courtyards. Tours of the historic complex take in The Old Library, which houses one of the country’s national treasures: The Book of Kells. Far from a dusty old tome, the pages of this 9th-century volume created by Celtic monks contain stunningly intricate artwork using rare and expensive dyes and shimmering gold paint.
Feel Ireland's troubled history come to life as you trace the bullet holes of the pockmarked General Post Office with your fingertips. This is one of the world's oldest post offices and was the headquarters of the violent Easter Rising, which brought the city to its knees in 1916. When the Irish republicans were defeated, the rebel leaders (some of them teenage boys) were taken to the courtyard of Kilmanham Jail and executed. The tour of one of Europe's most notorious prisons is morbid, but it paints a memorable picture of the 'Heroes of the Irish Resistance' who were martyred here.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
The weather in Ireland tends to be relatively cool year round. The best time to visit is August, the sunniest and warmest month of the year, when many days reach 17Â°C. Many of the city's most popular events happen in August, like the Tall Ships Races and National Heritage Week. If you're looking to visit when the crowds are thinner, travel to Dublin during the low-season winter months. Temperatures are cooler from November through January, often dropping to 7Â°C, but you won't have to stand in long lines to get into the city's attractions. Dublin experiences cloudy days and rain throughout the year, so don't forget to pack an umbrella and rain gear.
Head to a pub outside of the touristy Temple Bar area for an authentic Dublin cultural experience.
Visit the National Botanic Gardens during Christmas for a spectacular seasonal display of lights and music.
Visit Croke Park to watch hurling, an active and fast-paced outdoor sport that is a longtime Irish favourite.
Exercise your wallet in Dublin's best shopping area, which sits at the end of Grafton Street.
Escape the rain and the crowds, and spend a few hours browsing the art and books in this ancient library.
Spacious and modern, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is in the heart of Dublin, within walking distance of the most notable sights and attractions. A relatively new accommodation option, the Blu Royal prides itself on the warm hospitality of its staff coupled with a wonderfully quiet, calm area—despite the proximity to shopping, sights, and theatres—perfect for a restful sleep and peaceful breakfast.
For a charming choice with plenty of history, go for The Shelbourne Hotel, which was founded in 1824 and has been carefully restored to its original elegance. The high price tag is worth it for luxurious linens, afternoon tea in the parlour, a location right on St. Stephens green, and a concierge who caters to every whim.
For sleek, funky style, check in to The Gibson Hotel, which is in the perfect location if you're attending a concert in the O2 Stadium opposite. Try the excellent Continental breakfast, or upgrade to a junior suite for a real treat. Ask for a room overlooking the landscaped courtyard garden—a tranquil oasis near the heart of the city.
A Dublin landmark since 1817, The Gresham Hotel is one of the top four-star hotels in the city and is close to some important sights, the O2 concert venue, and Croke Park. The hotel's interior is pure Old World luxury, with crystal chandeliers, a huge marble staircase, and liveried doormen to politely welcome you.
You will land at Dublin Airport, about 10 km (6 mi) north of the city, where it couldn’t be easier to catch an airport shuttle into town. Services are offered by Dublin Bus and Aircoach, who run 24 hours and offer tickets both in the arrivals terminal and directly from the bus driver. These Dublin airport busses run every 10 minutes during the day, and the journey takes about 45 minutes. Taxis are a little faster and cost roughly €25, and car hire in Dublin is a practical alternative, though parking fees can be quite high.
The city is wonderfully compact, and so walking to major sights from your hotel in Dublin shouldn't be a problem. If you're traveling farther than the centre, though, the local bus network offers a cheap and reliable service (fares run €1.15–2.20; you'll need exact change) while the light rail system (LUAS) runs between the two major train stations and close to Croke Park.
It goes without saying that St. Patrick's Day (17 March) is a calendar highlight in Ireland's capital, with a vibrant parade and lots of 'happy' locals spilling out onto the streets to spread the word about the saint's good deeds.
In October, the Samhain festival marks Halloween, Irish style, with a late-evening pagan parade and a huge fireworks display.
For equestrian enthusiasts, the Dublin Horse show in August presents impressive show jumping and dressage; though the highlight for many is the outrageous fashion, as women compete for the 'best dressed' prize on Ladies Day.
The whole city is electrified on the last Sunday in September, when the All-Ireland Football Finals sees thousands of Gaelic football fans flock to Dublin to support their country.
As for the weather, Ireland is not famous for having Indian summers—or much of a summer at all. What keeps the Emerald Isle so lusciously green is a near-constant supply of precipitation.
That's not to say that summer months can't be mild and that beautifully sunny stretches never happen, but many days are punctuated by a downpour. So pack an umbrella and smile!
Spring is a great time to see flowers blooming and lambs take their first wobbling steps, while summer is when outdoor events really kick off in the city (be prepared for crowds).
You could always be lucky and catch a mild autumn, in which case most tourists have gone home and you'll have cobbled streets, river walks, and cosy pub booths all to yourself.
If your idea of the perfect meal is bespoke cocktails, gourmet food, and an elegant, cosy setting, then book a table in Pearl Brasserie (20 Merrion Street Upper), one of Dublin's top-rated restaurants. The chef proves that Irish fare does not have to be old-fashioned—try the pigeon for something different, and finish with the raspberry trio for a delectable dessert.
For something more traditional, go for The Pig's Ear (4 Nassau Street), a hidden gem that's perfect for an affordable, filling lunch. Shepherd's Pie is a tasty classic, while the Organic Salmon is a delicious, healthy option (and if you've never sampled Irish black pudding, then this is the place to do it). The staff here is first class, and the upstairs location makes the place feel like a hidden gem.
For a snack on the go, Queen of Tarts (4 Cork Hill Dame Street) is one of the city's best-loved bakeries. Rustic apple pie is the star of the show, while brownies, crumbles, scones, and—yes—mouthwatering tarts are accompanied by the perfect pot of tea. A popular spot for brunch, they also do hearty sandwiches and savoury treats like quiche—all served up on delightfully mismatched china.
Let Cornucopia (19/20 Wicklow Street) give you a break from typical, meaty Irish fare. One of the city's most successful vegetarian restaurants, this spot also offers whole-food, yeast-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. Try the excellent breakfasts and go when you're hungry: portions are generous.
One of the largest parks in the world, (four times the size of London's Hyde Park and double New York's Central Park) Phoenix Park in Dublin is an urban oasis just 2 km west of the city centre. Stretching across almost 1,800 hectares, the land was originally a hunting ground for King Charles II, who had the park surrounded by a substantial wall to prevent his deer from escaping. The parkland is still home to a substantial population of deer, plus the president’s residence (open for tours at weekends), Dublin Zoo, and a medieval castle.
A trip to Dublin is incomplete without a sip of the black stuff. The best place to learn about Ireland's most recognized export is at the Guinness Brewery, where an informative exhibition explains how the famous stout is made. Understand why ten million glasses of Guinness are produced every day all over the world as you sip your complimentary pint in the Gravity Bar, with 360-degree panoramic views of the city. If the evening is still young, then head to the Temple Bar area, which is crowded with all kinds of bars, or make your way to The Brazen Head, which claims to be Ireland's oldest pub.
If you're lucky enough to be in town on the day of a Gaelic football match, then you should not miss this electric experience. Buy tickets online (www.gaa.ie/tickets) and take a seat to watch one of Ireland's two unique national sports—hurling or Gaelic football. Both are fast, fierce, and have the crowd leaping to their feet as the passion of rival county team fans is belted out in chants and cheers. Outside of match days, get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the stadium, players’ dressing rooms, tunnels, and the hallowed pitch itself. The on-site museum has a great section detailing how Gaelic sports have taken off in far-flung clubs worldwide. This is the most thrilling piece of Irish heritage you'll encounter in Dublin—don't miss it.
Petty crime is not unheard of in Dublin, though bag-snatching and pick-pocketing are more likely than any form of violence. Avoid Dublin's Northside and Inner City areas, where drugs and disadvantaged youth make streets unsafe, and be aware that when bars and clubs close, there can be drunken trouble on the streets in any part of the city.
There have been problems in recent years with ATM machines and identity theft—if you're withdrawing money, be sure to inspect for unusual devices and cover your hand when typing your PIN.