At the heart of the Emerald Isle is Dublin, Ireland, a bustling city filled with all the charm, history and craic (the Irish word for fun) that the country is known for. First founded by the Vikings in the year 841, Dublin has changed much throughout its rich history, while remaining a must-visit destination for tourists around the world.
This picturesque destination has so much to offer beyond just its illustrious past. Discover the joy of kicking back in an Irish pub, the beauty of real-life castles and scenic natural features when you travel to Dublin, Ireland. And with so many things to see, taste and do, you may need more than just one visit.
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Discover the joy of kicking back in an Irish pub, the beauty of real-life castles and scenic natural features when you travel to Dublin, Ireland.
WHERE TO STAY
A charming, bright and luxurious hotel, The Merrion is undoubtedly one of Dublin’s finest hotels. Centrally located in the heart of Dublin, the hotel’s quaint gardens and courtyards provide a taste of countryside scenery without ever leaving the city.
The hotel’s Georgian-era design is sprinkled with art throughout–statues of Irish greats like James Joyce grace the garden. With fine dining, an indulgent spa and other luxury amenities on-site, you may need some convincing to leave the hotel property.
Just outside the city is an incredible gem that will transport you back in time to the era of lords and ladies. Luttrellstown Castle is a stunning property just a short 20 minute drive from the Dublin Ireland Airport or the city center. Situated on acres of pristinely-kept grounds, this castle, once owned by the Guinness family, served as the regal setting for the wedding of celebrity royal couple David and Victoria Beckham as well as the writer of this story. Twenty unique suites and everything else the castle has to offer can be yours if you decide to hire out the castle for your stay.
Nestled into the corner behind the bustling Grafton Street, this decadent hotel has all the amenities of a modern luxury resort. The Westbury’s decor is nothing short of glamorous with glittering chandeliers, plush lounges and extravagant florals decorating the premises. This is a top spot to spot celebrities, dignitaries, and the “who’s who” in Ireland, and its prime location and fabulous amenities make it one of the most sought-after accommodations in town.
A short distance from the heart of Dublin, Ireland, the Powerscourt Hotel is located in the charming town of Wicklow. This quaint area is home to the famous Wicklow mountains, which make for a great hike if you decide to do some exploring outside of the hotel.
The grandiose Palladian-style architecture and plethora of rooms available make this one of the largest and most impressive hotels around. Don’t miss the indulgent spa that feels like you’re immersed in the magical Irish woods.
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WHERE TO DINE
THE BRAZEN HEAD PUB
This ICONIC spot has a reputation for a reason–as the oldest pub in all of Ireland, it first opened its doors in 1198–a time when Ireland was under Norman rule and before the use of paper, mechanical clocks, and even Arabic numerals. Nevertheless, it still stands today, serving up traditional Irish food and pints to a variety of patrons who come from all over the world. Try an Irish classic–beef and Guinness stew, guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly day.
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE WESTBURY
The glamorous Dublin, Ireland Westbury Hotel’s not-so-best-kept-secret is its afternoon tea program, served in their lobby restaurant. The traditional multi-course tea experience features all of the favorites from finger sandwiches to scones and petit fours. Have your delectable bites with a variety of teas and even some bubbly if you like.
Photo by Carlye Klick
MV CILL AIRNE
This lesser-known gem is situated right on the River Liffey in an unexpected and romantic locale—a boat! This is one of the best spots for a romantic date or a night under the stars. With sparkling string lights along the perimeter of the vessel, there are actually three dining options on the MV Cill Airne. The primary restaurant specializes in seafood and has a seafood platter that isn’t to be missed. Pair with champagne for a delicious night out!
THE CHURCH BAR
A Dublin, Ireland spot that’s full of character and great times to be had is The Church. A beautiful 18th century church renovated and turned into a bar and restaurant, this architecturally-stunning spot is typically busy and lively with live music and even live Irish dancing if you stop by on a good day. A hidden secret? Go down the stairs under the main restaurant at night to find a cocktail bar and dance club.
On the Howth Harbour you’ll find a charming seafood restaurant in a rustic red building called King Sitric. This locale, situated overlooking the water, is home to some of the best seafood this writer has ever had. Our ICONIC recommendations? The Irish crab claws in garlic butter served with brown bread or the organic smoked salmon. Pair with a refreshing glass of Irish cider, like Stonewell, for the perfect post-hike meal.
WHAT TO DO
GRAFTON STREET/ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN
One of the busiest spots in Dublin, Ireland, Grafton Street is home to perhaps the best shopping in all of Ireland. Start at Brown Thomas, the Irish luxury department store with every designer brand from Aquazzura to Zimmerman. Walk down the rest of the street to find high-end shops, street food, flower stands, and live music buskers and street performers.
At the end, you’ll find the majestic gates leading to Dublin’s city park, St. Stephen’s Green. This beautiful park is full of winding paths, beautiful gardens and old oak trees. A respite from the hustle and bustle of Grafton, St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful spot to unwind and go for an afternoon stroll. Make sure to stop by Butler’s beforehand to grab a cookie hot chocolate to sip while you walk.
IRISH WHISKEY MUSEUM
Ireland is best known for its whiskey, and drinking culture is practically engrained in Irish history. While Jameson is the best-known whiskey made in the emerald isle, there are dozens of larger brands, and hundreds of lesser-known smaller whiskey brands throughout the country. Make sure to visit the Irish Whiskey Museum, located right in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. While appealing to out-of-town tourists, the Irish Whiskey Museum isn’t as crowded as the Jameson experience. Do a taste test and learn about the history of Ireland’s most famous liquor for an educational and fun experience.
HOWTH CLIFF WALK & MARKET
Just a short ride on the DART train, Howth is a quaint fishing village not far from the big city of Dublin, Ireland. A coastal peninsula overlooking the water, take a quick 20 minute train ride and go on the Howth Cliff Walk, a beautiful, blustery hike through wildflowers, hills, and untouched terrain with incredible seaside views. Exploring a taste of the Irish countryside without straying too far from the city, Howth is the perfect place to unwind and recharge. Climbing down the hills down to the harbor, you’ll find a farmer’s market on Sundays. Grab a cup of coffee or a homemade Irish souvenir before heading down to the pier.
A lesser-known scene in Dublin, Ireland is the music scene, with aspiring Irish musicians found busking on street corners, playing in pubs, or in any number of the city’s intimate music venues. A local favorite is Whelan’s, a larger pub and venue that has hosted so many famous artists. In some areas you’ll find traditional Irish music, in other’s you’ll find dance DJs or rock groups. Whatever kind of music you like, you’ll find something amazing to hear at Whelans, and be sure to follow along with those artists, because chances are you’ll be seeing them on a headliner tour sometime soon.
Go for a bike ride, head to the Dublin Zoo or grab your friends for a picnic in this historic, 1,750 acre green pasture outside of Dublin, Ireland. Phoenix Park is home to historical landmarks, including the stunning Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland, and The Magazine Fort, which was built in 1734 and is one of the several military sites you can visit. Enjoy some downtime with some tea at the world-famous Victorian Tea Rooms or The Phoenix Café.