With less than two days in Dublin, I was in a hurry to see as much as possible. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit everything, but the Hop on, Hop off bus made it more possible than walking around. Here are some highlights from my time in Dublin.
If you want to dodge the rain, then ducking into a pub is a great option. Even though Ireland does not have many microbreweries outside of Guinness, it does have a plethora of places to enjoy a pint. Be prepared to find most bars boasting being a “Traditional Irish Bar.” Temple Bar is the most common drinking area, but it is also overpriced and filled with tourists. If you want to find something other than Guinness, head to JW Sweetman Craft Brewery with an old pub, local feel established in the 18th century.
My favorite pub was recommended by the owner of the B&B we were staying at just north of the city and is highly rated on Yelp for being local. John Kavanagh (Grave Diggers) has been passed down through seven generations of Kavanaghs. The name Grave Diggers comes its location, where many would stop to drink before or after burying loved ones in the nearby cemetery.
The Guinness Storehouse was one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Dublin. If you plan on buying Guinness while in Dublin, you might as well get a free one with your admission. The Gravity Bar provides excellent views of Dublin. Try to arrive early in the morning before the crowds start to pour in. A full review can be found here.
The Dublin Castle was nothing what I was expecting. With few typical castle towers and stone infrastructure remaining, I was impressed to learn it is 800 plus years old. Built and expanded from an old Viking Fortress, it was expanded in 1169. Within the courtyard of the castle, sand sculptures can be found. I found this to be a little unique and was not expecting these giant pieces of art to be on display. I was unable to join a tour because my timing was off, so we jumped into the tail end of a tour that was crossing the courtyard. It might have been one of the first times I have done this. I learned about the infrastructure of the castle, along with seeing the remaining sections of the underground moat.
After walking around the courtyard or taking a tour, make sure you wander the gardens. After walking past and through some hedges, the garden displays green patterns, along with flowers.
Trinity College, Dublin dates back to 1592. Walk through Parliament Square to see tourists and college students mingle through this historic college. The Trinity Library is the main attraction housing the Book of Kells, which is an illustrated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. Since it is costly to see the books, I decided to spend my money elsewhere on other tourist attractions.
National Museum – Collins Barracks
Free admission. Need I say more? Originally built in 1702 as a military barracks, the building now displays decorative art and history. One of my favorite exhibits was the history of Irish currency. It is amazing how it has progressed through the years. Along with the currency exhibit, the museum exhibits military history displaying a plane in the courtyard.
National Museum of Ireland – Natural History
Unless you have children with you, this museum is full of “stuffed” animals crammed in glass cases. It was a little overwhelming with how much they were able to display within the two floors. I honestly was hoping for more.
Formally the Carlisle Bridge, the bridge crosses the River Liffey and took three years to build (1791-1794) but was widen in the late 1870s to form the O’Connell bridge. The River Liffey divides Dublin into north and south quays with access to a river walking path. Walking any of the bridges or along the quays is a great way to view Dublin on a nice day.
View of Ha’Penny Bridge from O’Connell Bridge
I WISH WE HAD TIME TO SEE:
Irish Museum of Modern Art
This is one attraction we tried to see. However, after walking around in the pouring rain, we were not willing to wait until the museum opened. The museum was built in the 17th century and was the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The Royal Hospital was converted into the museum in the early 1990s. I enjoyed the clock tower of the building when walking around the grounds. Walking around the large buildings and tree-lined roads takes you back in time.
Who doesn’t love whiskey? And when in Ireland, Irish Whiskey? We stumbled upon the distillery when looking for places to eat lunch. I walked into the main entrance and saw a massive chandelier made out of Jameson bottles. If you love your whiskey and Irish Coffee, then this place is for you. The brick streets and rustic buildings are charming and located north of River Liffey hosting variety from the pubs of Temple Bar.
The Custom House only allows tourists into a small section of the massive government office building, so street views of the Custom House sufficed our interest. I found other Irish buildings to have the mint green dome roof as well. The Custom House became obsolete when the port moved downriver but remains a government building.
I am not a huge fan of touring zoos when traveling. However, this zoo opened in 1831 and focuses on research and conservation. I am sure this is a must see if traveling with children!
National Botanic Gardens
Being near the B&B, I really wanted to visit the gardens especially after seeing how green the landscapes are all over Ireland. My parents did walk through the garden before heading to the city center, which they really enjoyed. If you have time to get out of the city on a quick bus ride, it is highly recommended to see the gardens, which is close to the John Kavanagh pub mentioned above.
To be honest, Dublin was not my favorite Irish city. There are so many others that have more charm. However, to Dublin’s defense, it is one of the major cities within Ireland. I felt that my short time in Galway and Kilkenny had more of the tourist attractions and charm. I found Dublin to be modern for Ireland and overpriced. Dublin does have many more museums and attractions to spend a day or two in that were not mentioned in this post.
Which one would you choose to visit?
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More in this series:
- Planning for Ireland
- Accommodations for Ireland
- How to Save Money in Ireland
- An Ireland Road Trip Photo Essay
- Newgrange – A Prehistoric Site
- Walking through the Titanic Belfast
- Reasons to Stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Ireland
- Treated like a “President” at Solis Lough Eske Castle
- Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher
- Review of the Guinness Storehouse
- Meeting Irish Locals
- Glenveagh Castle
- Why I am Glad We Detoured to See Kilkenny