Dublin, Ireland (credit: Thinkstock)
Known as one of the world’s friendliest cities, Dublin is also one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. But if you were to only have only 72 hours to see the capital city of Ireland, what should you include on your brief itinerary? Here are a few tips on what to see and do during your short stay, in addition to dining and lodging recommendations.
The capital of Ireland offers more than 500 hotels for travelers, ranging from budget hostels to five-star luxury properties. On the high end are several noteworthy hotels receiving high ratings from past guests. These include the Merrion, the Westbury, the Marker Hotel and the Fitzwilliam Hotel. On the more moderate level are an even larger collection of laudable properties, such as Number 31, Roxford Lodge Hotel, Drury Court and Buswells Hotel. For the budget minded traveler, Dublin features more than 30 hostels to choose from and among the best are Abigail’s Hostel, Generator Hostel, Isaacs Hostel and the Times Hostel.
Visitors have hundreds of dining choices from traditional, low cost pub fare to high-end Michelin-starred restaurants. The most celebrated restaurant in Dublin is Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland’s only Michelin two-starred restaurant. Other recommended high profile restaurants for fine dining include Chapter One, L’Ecrivain, The GreenHouse and Thornton’s Restaurant. For more affordable yet high quality dining, visitors have even more choices, with such outstanding places like the Sussex, Boxty House, the Quays, Bad Bobs and Leo Burdock. Lastly, no trip to Dublin would be complete without spending time at one or more of Dublin’s many famous pubs, nearly 700 in all. Among the best are the Stag’s Head, John Kavanagh, Temple Bar Pub, Cobblestone Pub, Mulligan’s and Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland, established in 1198.
Five Must Things To Do
Visit Medieval Quarter
As the name suggests, the Medieval Quarter is the oldest section of Dublin. One of the first neighborhoods in the city, the Medieval Quarter is home to many of the most important attractions, including Dublin Castle, Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. All of these important landmarks were built within a 200-year period, beginning with the completion of Christ Church, circa 1030, and the seat of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. Other notable attractions within the historic quarter include the Olympia Theatre, St. Patrick’s Park, Dublinia and City Hall. Although an organized walking tour isn’t necessary, some excellent tour operators are available, such as Historical Walking Tours of Dublin.
Less than half a mile from the Medieval Quarter is St. Stephen’s Green, the best known Victorian garden park in Ireland. At the northwestern border of this historic 22-acre park is Grafton Street, known as Ireland’s world-famous shopping street, filled with several leading retailers, restaurants, bars and an assortment of street entertainers known as buskers. Also located on or near this lively pedestrian mall are other notable landmarks, such as Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university, the Irish Houses of Parliament and the iconic statue of Molly Malone, named after a beloved fictional character in the unofficial anthem of Dublin. For visitors to Trinity College, the tour should include a visit to see the The Book of Kells, known as Ireland’s national treasure, inside the the magnificent Long Room in the main chamber of the Old Library.
Also located in the city center are several more must-see attractions in the Georgian Quarter for visitors on a short trip. Just minutes from the northwest border of St. Stephen’s Green are Dublin’s most popular museums, including the Archaeology and Natural History branches of the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland, as well as the National Library of Ireland, all with free admission. Also nearby and what may be of interest to some visitors is the childhood home of Oscar Wilde, the famed writer, playwright and poet, which is now part of American College Dublin.
For the past few years, the most popular attraction in Dublin has been the Guinness Storehouse at the historic St. James’ Gate Brewery. Located in the Dublin neighborhood of the same name, St. James Gate Brewery produces Guinness beer, the national beverage of Ireland, and which once stood as largest brewery in the world. First opened in 2000, the Guinness Storehouse features a museum with interactive exhibits on the history of brewing Guinness beer, in addition to three bars in which to enjoy the Black Stuff (stout beer), two restaurants and gift shops over seven levels. By purchasing tickets in advance, visitors are entitled to a discounted rate and a complimentary pint of Guinness beer with a valid ID or a complimentary soft drink to those under 18 years old.
Temple Bar is known as the city’s cultural center and a premier spot for nightlife. Located along the south banks of the River Liffey, the Temple Bar neighborhood hosts several popular pubs and bars, such as the Stag’s Head, Fitzsimons Temple Bar, the Old Storehouse, the Palace Bar and the legendary Temple Bar. While this neighborhood is the premier destination for nightlife in Dublin, visitors should know that the price of a Guinness is typically higher than in other parts of the city, such as on Sraid Fhearchair Street in St. Kevin’s or on Strand Street Grand near the north banks. But for those who have just 72 hours to visit Dublin, Temple Bar is the place to be in the evening hours.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com