I will start with this: I LOVED IRELAND.
The people were obnoxious in the best way, the food was tasty and the energy was so bright, even with the rainy/dreary weather.
You could easily spend a week in Ireland exploring the countryside and a little of what the city has to offer so here are some suggestions from myself and people I know who have been.
I will note, every Irish person I asked refused to give me recommendations because “I hate Dublin.” As an American tourist, I loved Dublin! Sooo, maybe take this all with a grain of salt I guess?? Here we go!
What to Do
St. Patrick & Christ Church Cathedral
What is essential for a trip abroad to Europe: old churches. I kid, but I think it is necessary to experience the architecture & history of a location in this way through each country you visit. Dublin’s cathedrals felt particularly ~celtic~ See for yourself:
This is a prison that stands as one of the most important historic monuments representing modern Irish independence. The majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were imprisoned there. It’s now the largest preserved Victorian jail in Europe. Scary, but everyone agrees it’s worth a visit if you’re a history buff.
Trinity College-Book of Kells Exhibition
I will probably go to Dublin for the fact alone that I missed out on this opportunity while I was there. The Book of Kells is a 9th century manuscript that documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ and it’s located in a gorgeous library in the heart of Dublin, that houses 250,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books. Dublin, I will be back.
Pro tip: make sure to reserve a ticket online or go EARLY. We were there by 10am and the line was about an hour long and we didn’t have enough time before our flight to wait.
My friend also suggested to get a to-go lunch and eat it as a picnic in Trinity College. Would probably be so cute to people watch!
Originally built as a fortification defense, it is not used in inauguration and other ceremonies of the Irish president.
Ha’ Penny Bridge
If you’re in Dublin for a day or two, there’s a solid chance you’ll pass this bridge naturally, but it is pretty quintessential for the Dublin experience.
Guinness Storehouse Tour
Obviously extremely touristy, so do with that info as you will. You can definitely get a better Guinness literally anywhere else, but it’s cute. It’s a significantly larger facility than I anticipated so dedicate at least an hour or two for this self-led tour. I got etched Guinness glasses for my Dad and sister who love it, so that alone was worth it to me.
Day Trip to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher
This is without a doubt a must-do.
Don’t hate me: The Cliffs, in my opinion, were slightly underwhelming. I don’t like to lie to you guys. BUT, I felt like it was totally and completely a necessary check mark on my bucket list! I recommend still going, just don’t expect the most incredible views of your entire life, but some really nice views.
If you have the time in your trip, dedicate an entire day to Galway. The most charming, colorful town. It’s flooded with tour groups (ahem…mine…) but it was somehow still so enchanting.
Some suggestions I got while I was in Galway were Quay Lane/Quay’s Pup, Cupan Tean, River Corrib, get a Claddagh ring at Claddagh Jewellers, Bars in Laten Quarter, Charlie Brynes Bookshop and we at at the The King’s Head it was lovely. Order a “Galway Hooker” to drink!
I had soooo many photos of the streets of Galway, so please enjoy that separate Photo Diary here.
St. Stephens Green & Shopping Centre
General Post Office
Go here to view the history of the revolution!
Try to Catch a Soccer/Football Game
Irish Rock and Roll History Tour
Listen to the Buskers on Gafton
Buskers are what the street performers are called! Walking down Gafton Street, which is in the heart of Dublin, you’re bound to hear a few. Be warned: they’re WILDLY talented.
Train to Dalkey
A friend of mine suggested to take a train to Dalkey and to stay at Fitzpatrick Castle. Bono has been known to be seen at Finnegan’s, a pub nearby.
Where to Eat
I’m sure there are so many fantastic options, but the real essential is to experience a true Irish Breakfast. I didn’t go, but I was suggested Beahive for a true Irish Breakfast and Leo Burdock for Fish & Chips.
One more must do, in my view is O’Neals. While you’re there, you can see the famous Molly Malone statue right outside.
What to Drink
Okay. I got so many recommendations! I’ll start with what I did and list the rest for next time:
This is the oldest pub in Ireland! Such a dynamic place with multiple rooms and great energy, I’d consider this a must. I was also CONVINCED it was haunted (friendly ghosts!) so be sure to have a pint for the ancestors.
John Kavanagh (The Gravedigger)
I got this suggestion many times by the locals. This no frills, family-owned pub is a little off the beaten path and it’s next to a cemetery. Apparently, it’s where the grave diggers who worked at the cemetery used to stop in for a drink and people claim it’s “the best Guinness in Ireland.”
Be sure to sign the guest book!
Temple Bar District
Temple Bar itself is very “touristy,” but it was worth it to stop in and listen to the live music. In the area, there are so many great options as well. A friend of mine suggested to go to Quays for great food and you can watch the Buskers from the window!
And then these are the suggestions of pubs I got from handsome locals and taxi drivers that we never got a chance to experience so I’m ready for my next trip:
- The Bernard Shaw
- The Ginger Man
- J. Grogan’s
- Sophie’s at the Dean
- The Bankers
- Mother Reilly’s
- The Dropping Well
- Davy Byrnes
- Ryan’s of Parkgate Street
- The Long Hall
- The Cobblestone
- Teelings Distillery
Thanks for reading and if you have any more suggestions/corrections, please leave them in the comments below. Happy traveling!
Don’t miss out on following along!
Apply for an International Visa– Where to next??