I first visited Dublin over a decade ago, and have returned a few times since. I without a doubt love this city, and had a lot of fun times here. It is lively, friendly, full of culture, and history. There are museums, beautiful parks, places to party, delicious restaurants, and historical landmarks- something for everyone, really.
For those who are looking for fun and interesting things to do in Dublin, look no further. This is my personal list of recommendations that I have visited, and things that I have done over the years while doing Dublin.
🔎 Be sure to search on my page for additional Ireland blog posts!
🍴 If you follow my blog or know anything about me, I am also a food blogger, so I have included links to my multiple Ireland food blogs on this post.
Céad Míle Fáilte! – “One hundred thousand welcomes”
The Temple Bar district, which is located on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, has been promoted as the ‘cultural quarter’ of the city. It has also been known as a tourist trap! Here is where you will find traditional Irish pubs, souvenir shops, multi-ethnic restaurants, as well as several cultural institutions.
At night, Temple Bar is the main hub for the city’s nightlife and party scene. The evenings are definitely lively in Temple Bar with all its mayhem and the tourist-focused nightclubs, restaurants, and pubs.
The River Liffey in Dublin runs through the center of the city to its mouth within Dublin Bay. Walking along the Liffey’s Quays with its interesting bridges, is a great way to get a feel of the city’s pulse. Once you get a feel of either side of the river’s quays, it is easier to grasp the two cultural sides of the city- the northside and the southside.
The River was used for trade over the centuries, which includes the Vikings, and the early Norse settlements. Today it is used as 60% of Dublin’s drinking water and industry supply, as well as a tourist attraction with guided boats along the Liffey.
Samuel Beckett Bridge
Also known as the Harp Bridge, this magnificent bridge that crosses the River Liffey was designed after Ireland’s national emblem- the harp. The Bridge is stunning and unique, in its modern design of the classic harp. You can walk across the bridge using the pedestrian lanes to see the architecture in detail.
The Bridge was constructed between 2007 – 2009, and is named after a Dublin native and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Samuel Beckett.
The Clarence Hotel
Being a U2 fan and having seen many of their live shows, how could I not stay at The Clarence Hotel? This Temple Bar contemporary boutique hotel is owned by Bono and lead guitarist, The Edge, since the 1990s. It is simple in its furnishings, and is a very convenient and comfortable stay.
For hotel information and reservations, please visit – The Clarence Hotel
The Octagon Bar
Located inside The Clarence Hotel, the Octagon Bar is a must for those who are looking for a swanky, yet casual atmosphere with a drink in hand. There is also a delicious food menu for those who need a bit of bite with their drink.
The octagon bar is an octagon, with its eight sided shaped dome above its central bar. It is a lovely watering hole that offers a wonderful setting for a glass of wine, or a fine whiskey drink with friends or simply by yourself.
Ha’Penny or literally “half penny” was the original toll to cross this cast iron bridge across the River Liffey. In fact, the bridge is officially the “Liffey Bridge”, but has also been referred to as the Penny Ha’Penny Bridge.
The white iron bridge is one of Dublin’s most recognizable sights, with its light post topped pointed arches that light the bridge’s way . The Ha’Penny was the first pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey River, when it opened in 1816. It had remained the only footbridge in the city of Dublin until 1999, with the opening of the Millennial Bridge.
Dublin Hop on Hop off bus
Call it touristy but Hop on Hop off buses have been one of my many sources of transportation when visiting a city. I find that if you rethink these huge double decker buses full with tourists, as a means of transportation to important locations in a city, these busses can become very convenient when figuring out a city.
On my visits to Dublin, I have either put on a pair of very comfortable shoes and walked it, or taken a Hop on Hop off buses to long distances, and then walked it. You can really maximize your time and energy if you plan your day around the various stops throughout the city.
For routes, schedule and ticketing- Dublin Hop on Hop off
Trinity college and the Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an ancient 9th century manuscript of ornate Latin text and stunning intricate illuminations. It is one of the world’s most significant medieval manuscripts, and you can view pages of it inside the Old Library of Trinity College in Dublin.
Also, a visit to the Long Room in Trinity College is an absolute must. It is one of the world’s most stunning libraries, and is home to 250,000 of the college’s most ancient books.
Kilmainham Gaol Prison
Kilmainham Gaol is a piece of Dublin’s dark past as the city’s former prison, which was first built in 1796. There was no segregation of the prisoners and men, women, and children were incarcerated in one tiny cell. There were up to five prisoners, with only a candle for heat and light.
Children were often arrested for petty theft, with the youngest prisoner being only seven years old. There were public hangings that took place in front of the prison, although later a small hanging cell was built in 1891.
The prison is now a museum and National Monument, it is an intriguing place to visit to learn more about old Dublin and the struggle of Ireland’s independence.
For visitor information and tours- Kilmainham Gaol
I have spent quite some time on O’Connell Street, considering it is one of Dublin’s main thoroughfares. I have shopped, dined, and caught day trip busses from O’Connell Street. This street is where you will find everything from pharmacies, basic groceries, takeaways, souvenir shops, and tour companies.
O’Connell is a very significant street in Dublin that contains several important landmarks including The Spire, Parnell Monument, Daniel O’Connell Monument, and the historic General Post Office.
St. Michan’s Mummies
This was one of the oddest and macabre things I have done in Dublin- I touched a mummy in the cellar of a church. True story! At the time of my visiting, I was not allowed to take photos of the mummies, but they are down the hatch (photo) underneath St. Michan church.
The church was first built in 1095 and then rebuilt in 1686, with an ancient crypt below. The micro-climate within the crypt was favorable for mummifications, and there are four mummies preserved in the cellar. They are referred to as the Crusader, the Unknown, the Thief and the Nun; all named for no particular reason as there is not much known of the four. The mummy that I was able to touch was the Crusader, I was allowed to touch his finger which was very leathery and creepy!
St. Stephen’s Green
Located in the center of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green is a historical park and garden. It is a great place to retreat and relax from the bustling city, it has been my place of calmness while visiting Dublin.
The park has four centuries of history, and contains several historical monuments dedicated to Ireland’s past. There are also several species of birds in the park, including a lovely pond with ducks and swans.
Phoenix is a large private park within the city of Dublin, that was created in 1662. The park features the Dublin Zoo, the Papal Cross, several monuments, Ashtown Castle, the People’s Gardens, as well as a herd of wild fallow deer.
Interestingly enough, the Irish Government has been lobbying UNESCO to have Phoenix Park designated as a world heritage site. This would mean if it does become a UNESCO site, all parking amenities for pedestrians would be removed, and replaced them cycle lanes. The park would also cordon off the main roads and access points for cars and traffic.
Guinness is Ireland’s iconic beer, and Dublin is the heart and soul of this national drink. The Guinness Storehouse is a great experience, whether or not you are a beer drinker. I am definitely not a beer drinker but I do appreciate the history of beer in cultures.
The Guinness Storehouse is set in a seven floor original warehouse. The guided tour is an impressive look at the history of Guinness beer, and its connection with Dublin, Ireland and the world.
At the end of the tour, you are given a pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar at the top of the building, with 360 views of Dublin.
For visitors information and ticketing- Guinness Storehouse Dublin
Jameson Distillery – Bow St
A terrific place to visit to learn about the Irish whiskey culture are the Jameson Distilleries. The Jameson Distillery Bow St is one of two in Ireland. The second one is in Midleton in Cork County, which I have visited as well.
The difference is the Bow St location in Dublin, is the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was distilled from 1780 until 1971. The Midleton Jameson is a much larger location, and where their whiskey is actually produced. My advice in visiting is to check out both.
Although it is tourist attraction, it is very informative about commercial whiskey production in Ireland. Plus, if you book the ‘Secret Tasting’, you will enjoy a couple of tastes that are only available at the distillery- Cheers!
More information ➡ Jameson Distillery – Bow St | Whiskey Tasting in Dublin, Ireland
The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
For us literary nerds, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is a definite must do. Having a pint, a fine whiskey, or a glass of wine while crawling the historic pubs, and listening to stories and quotes of famous Irish authors and poets, made for a great and fun evening.
From the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl website “Since 1988 the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl has been rambling the streets of the capital and bringing the literary history of Dublin to life. Professional actors tell you the story of the gin palace, the long hall and the spirit grocer, while quoting live from the works of Joyce, Behan, Wilde and many more. The tour is a form of street theatre, allowing the audience to stand right beside the actors and experience the language live on the streets of the city where it was born. No props, no make-up. Just the actor within prompting distance of the spectator. “
For more information and tickets- Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
St Patrick’s Cathedral
The historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral is currently the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland, and was founded in 1191. The cathedral is magnificent in its Gothic architecture with vaulted ceilings, the beautiful choir, and its colorful tiled floor, which was my favorite feature.
Inside the cathedral is a grand organ, which is one of the largest in Ireland. The bells of St. Patrick are massive and considered the 10th heaviest in the world. There are also about 500 individuals buried in the cathedral, as well as the surrounding grounds; including notables, archbishops, and writers.
For visiting information- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin Castle is located in the center of the city off of Dame Street, was first constructed in 1204. If you have a love and interest in European castles, a visit to the Dublin castle would be a great addition to your city’s visit. As with many castles in Europe, this castle has played numerous roles in history. It was originally built for the Norman city of Dublin as a defensive fortification. Then evolving into an official residence for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of the Monarch.
Currently, Dublin Castle is a major Irish government complex, a conference center, and tourist attraction of historical importance.
The architecture is interesting and honestly did not make sense to me, since it has seen a series of construction, and renovation over the centuries. Historian, John Cornforth, had described Dublin castle as “not even a work of architecture” but “a piece of English make-do and mend”. It is though a significant part of Dublin’s history that should not be overlooked while visiting the city.
For visitor information, please visit – Dublin Castle
Butlers Chocolate Café
One thing I do love about Ireland is Butlers gourmet chocolate, and they have several cafés in Dublin. I have come in on many mornings to grab a cup of their amazing hot chocolate, and a few pieces of chocolate. I have also purchased several of their variety chocolate boxes to bring home, so to have a taste of Irish chocolate back in the states.
The very first Butlers Chocolate was opened in Dublin on the corner of Wicklow Street, but there are several around the city. My favorite location has been at 117 Grafton Street, where I would grab a hot chocolate in the morning before walking the streets of Dublin.
For store information and locations- Butlers Chocolate Café
Ireland Food Blogs – Reviews and Recommendations
For over a decade I have eaten and drank my way through Ireland, and not just Dublin. If you are interested in food as much as I am, feel free to check out my Ireland food blogs, with photos and restaurant recommendations, all listed below.
Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler…
🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!
📸 All photos are taken by me (unless noted) and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre