Our trip to Ireland was more of a whim, from an airfare sale that was $380. It took a bit of time before we finalized our itinerary, but we did it and we had a blast! To read more of our Ireland adventure, click the below articles:
- Our First Impressions of Ireland (Peter’s account of our trip)
- A Guide to the Irish Visa for Filipinos (based on my experience on getting an Irish visa with a Philippine passport)
- Ireland’s Ancient East Itinerary (for those who want to follow where we went on our one week trip)
Where to Go in Dublin Ireland
Most people say Dublin is good for a day, we say no. There’s plenty to see in Dublin, maybe even enough for four days. Our two full days is definitely not enough, especially if you factor in the time when we were jetlagged our first day but still trying to explore the city!
I’m a sucker for anything castles, palaces, chateaus, and the like. Hence Peter’s proposal in a castle, but that’s another story. Dublin Castle is literally across the street from our hotel so we decided to visit. There’s two types of tours: a self-guided one of just the State Apartments (10 EUR), and a guided one that includes the foundations of the original castle, and the Chapel Royal (7 EUR).
For 3 EUR more, we opted for the guided tour so we can at least hear about the history of the castle from the guide. The first stop will be the Viking settlement/foundations, which was interesting because it’s just your group and the guide going there. We found it interesting that there was a diverted river underneath Dublin and that Dublin itself was not as big when it was first settled!
Honestly, the front of the castle looks a bit inconspicuous as a castle. It looks more like an older building with one tower left intact than an actual impressive castle. You can walk around the courtyard for free if you don’t want to tour the rooms.
Chester Beatty Library
This was part of Peter’s wishlist. Luckily it was free and is located just behind Dublin Castle. Chester Beatty was a collector of books and other things, and his collection is now being showcased in this mini-museum. There’s books from all over the world, some are even really old! There’s also a cafeteria in the first floor as well as a small store.
This place is mostly for people who want to go shopping but seeing as I’m a big Boyzone fan, I know that they talked about this street a lot so why not? Well, it’s just a street filled with stores with buskers performing. Protect your wallets, or else you might end up spending more than you expect!
St Stephen’s Green
A big green park in the middle of bustling Dublin. It’s got a small pond/lake in the middle, with tons of birds, which I personally loved. It is one of the larger squares/greens in the world, and is a nice spot to soak the atmosphere.
Molly Malone Statue
This ahem well-endowed statue of a lady was in front of the visitor center (but apparently will be moved back to its original spot at the end of Grafton Street). She was a figure from a song in the 1700s, and became quite famous. Not sure if she was based on a real person, but she is a fish monger (hence the cart she’s carrying).
When they say Temple Bar, it is an area in Dublin as well as an actual bar. It is actually full of bars/pubs and is crowded with people in the evening. The most notable (and pricey) bar is called, you guessed it – Temple Bar! You won’t miss it – it’s quite a big space and the front is painted red. Naturally there are loads of people who stay in hotels near this area as the nightlife is good.
Book of Kells/Trinity College
Trinity College is right in the heart of Dublin, and the most famous tourist site inside it is the Book of Kells, a historic manuscript, written by hand by Catholic monks and portrays the gospel. We opted to skip this attraction because it was a tad bit expensive, but the grounds of the college, also called College Green, is free to walk around in.
Christ Church Cathedral
A huge cathedral just a few blocks away from the Temple Bar area, and is on the way to the Guinness Storehouse if you’re planning to walk. We didn’t manage to go inside because it was still closed at the time and we were rushing to get to the Guinness Storehouse for our tour. Beside it is another tourist attraction called Dublinia, which we also didn’t go inside in.
If you are a Guinness fan, this place is definitely a must-see. It is a museum and a hands on experience dedicated to Guinness, also known as the “dark stuff”. The first three floors are about how they make Guinness and a history, while the more interactive parts are the tasting (where you get a shot of Guinness), and the pouring (where they teach you how to pour the perfect Guinness from the tap. At the very top is a place to hang out, with floor to ceiling windows, which gives you a great view of Dublin.
At the 6th floor, you can eat at the cafeteria, which offers traditional Irish fare. They also had Guinness brownies and pastries available!
The gift shop at the bottom floor is great if you’re into the brand. They are a bit pricey but if you can’t resist, they have so many Guinness items for you to choose from.
Roughly translated as Kilmainham jail, this historic building now turned museum and tourist spot is a must see. You have to buy tickets in advance in order to get in the tour group. Otherwise, if you just show up and they don’t have any tickets left, you miss out on seeing the jail itself. I’ve always been fascinated with historic places such as these, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
A touristy street, where most of the tourists actually stay in hotels, hostels, and the like. This is a very busy street, and chances are, if you’re coming in by bus from the airport, you are going to pass by this street (with its traffic too).
The General Post Office can be seen on O’Connell Street, notable for being the headquarters of the Easter Rising movement. The Spire of Dublin is a tall pointy thing, and supposedly the tallest public art in the world. Of course there’s a monument to O’Connell as well, who was an influential politician in the 19th century.
O’Connell Street has some excellent shopping variety, if you are into that sort of thing. There’s plenty of department stores to go in and browse around, and plenty of buskers as well. Our favorite store is actually called Dealz, which is the equivalent of the Dollar Store here in the US (or Poundland in the UK), where everything is 1.5 EUR. I managed to get some British/Irish boyband CDs (yes, I know CDs are technically a dying platform, but paying 1.5EUR is way cheaper than paying per song, and no, I won’t pirate their songs because I like these bands and would support them)
That Concludes our Dublin Tour
And that concludes our Dublin tour. We only stayed there for two full days, and on our third day, we headed to the airport to pick up our rental car to go to Newgrange and Trim. You can see more of our itinerary on this post.
Hopefully this post helped you plan your trip to Dublin! We definitely missed out on a few things like Phoenix Park, but our philosophy is, if you can’t see everything, there’s more reason to come back!