Dublin

All you need to know about travelling to Dublin and its glorious Georgian architecture.

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But this city also embraces the diversity of its current population. This combination of history and modern multiculturalism, sprinkled with some Irish craic, makes for an irresistible city break destination.

Itineraries

Half-day

Thanks to the compact size of its centre, it’s easy to see many of Dublin’s top sights in half a day. Take to the streets on foot and go right back to Dublin’s roots in the Old City. Start at the castle and take the self-guided audio tour of the State Apartments, where the city’s most important historical moments are charted from room to room. Don’t miss the remains of the original Viking defences in a chamber beneath the castle.

Leaving the castle and heading south on Bride Street, make your way towards 800-year-old St Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Ireland. Step inside the cathedral to admire its vaulted ceilings and the beautiful Lady Chapel, then make your way up to Trinity College via the pretty St Stephen’s Green.

At Trinity College, take in the Book of Kells and the dramatic Long Room library, where two-storey, dark wooden arches are lined with thousands of books. Duck into the Douglas Hyde Gallery to see its latest art exhibit, then wander over to Temple Bar.

Wander the cobblestone streets of the most famous area of Dublin before popping into one of the many traditional pubs for a pint of Guinness and some grub. The Temple Bar pub is one of the most popular, serving hearty Irish fare and a selection of local beers.

Weekend

Start your exploration of Dublin in the Old City, where you can take a guided tour of the castle’s State Apartment and see the remains of original Viking defences.

Next, visit both Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals. The former houses a mummified cat and rat, and the latter is one of the most important sites of Pilgrimage in Ireland.

Head over to Trinity College, where you’ll stand in awe at the rows upon rows of books in the Long Room after seeing the Book of Kells, one of the oldest Christian manuscripts in the world.

Take your pick of any of the excellent museums within the grounds – the Zoological Museum has some interesting taxidermy and the Douglas Hyde Gallery showcases modern art in its changing exhibitions.

From Trinity College, wander over to the famous Temple Bar area for lunch in a traditional Irish pub, then head north of the River Liffey. You could spend your afternoon taking in myth and legend in the interactive exhibits at the Leprechaun Museum. Or while away some time in the Writers Museum where you’ll learn about Dublin’s illustrious literary heritage.

Start the following day with a morning stroll or cycle in Phoenix Park. This huge green expanse is home to the Dublin Zoo, a herd of fallow deer and a number of interesting sights. See a prehistoric burial chamber, gorgeous landscaped gardens, an 18th-century magazine fort and the huge Papal Cross.

Once you’ve filled your lungs with fresh air, it’s time to fill your stomach. Take a detour via Stoneybatter’s Smithfield Square for lunch, and then cross the river to visit the Guinness Storehouse. Here you’ll discover the history behind Ireland’s favourite drink, which has been brewed in Dublin since 1759.

While you can’t visit the brewery itself, the Storehouse provides a fascinating interactive exhibition on all aspects of Guinness, from the man behind it to the careful brewing process. End your stay with a pint of the black stuff in the Gravity Bar, with 360-degree views over Dublin.

Full Week

Day one

Get to grips with Irish history in the Old City, where Dublin Castle and two cathedrals make for a fascinating introduction. Take in the pretty, landscaped St Stephen’s Green and spend an hour or two wandering through the museums in the area, including the National Gallery and Little Museum of Dublin.

Spend your afternoon exploring the grounds of Trinity College and stop in to admire the stunning Long Room library. Don’t miss the Book of Kells, one of the oldest Christian manuscripts in the world.

Day two

Enjoy a walk or cycle in Phoenix Park this morning, where you’ll meet a herd of fallow deer and be able to explore an 18th-century fort. Spot the Papal Cross, erected by Pope John Paul II in 1979, and visit the tiny Ashtown Castle.

Spend your afternoon at Kilmainham Gaol, where a compelling exhibition and tour tell stories of Ireland’s political past. Also in this area is the Irish National War Memorial Park, where you can pay tribute to the nearly 50,000 soldiers who died during WWI.

Day three

Today is all about the alcoholic heritage of Ireland’s capital. South of the river lies the Guinness Storehouse, where an exhibition tells the story of this famous drink from its beginnings in 1759. Enjoy views over the city at the Gravity bar before having lunch (and another pint) at a traditional pub in the famous Temple Bar area.

If you’re still thirsty, get to grips with the methods behind making Irish whiskey at the Jameson Distillery at Bow Street.

Day four

Escape the city and head into the mountains today. Take the hour-long drive south of the city, via the coastal road, to Wicklow Mountains National Park. Start on the south side of the park, where the blue waters of Glendalough make for a picturesque beginning. Explore the remains of a 6th-century monastic city by the water, then head into the mountains on foot along one of the many trails.

Day five

Get out on the water in Dublin Bay and visit Dalkey Island by kayak. This uninhabited isle is an important pilgrimage site for Christians, with the 7th-century St Begnet’s Church standing as the only structure on the island.

Stop by the nearby town of Dalkey on the mainland and pay a visit to historic Dalkey Castle.

Day six

Spend your morning by the ocean at Portrane, where Tower Bay looks out over the Irish Sea. The walk along the cliffs here is fantastic, with views out to Howth Head and Bull Island.

Before heading back to the city, stop off at Malahide Castle. This stately home has been owned by the Talbot family for almost 800 years and has pretty, landscaped gardens worth a stroll.

Day seven

Spend your final day in Dublin exploring Stoneybatter, the city’s hipster district. Galleries are housed within red-brick buildings and trendy restaurants and bars sit side-by-side with traditional pubs on Smithfield Square.