Dublin City Guide
Dublin is the capital and the largest city in Ireland. The city has produced great writers like James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw and was originally founded as a Viking settlement which then went on to evolve into the Kingdom of Dublin. The city became the island’s premier city after the Norman Invasion in the 12th century.
Dublin remained a part of the British Empire until the early 20th century and became the capital of Ireland after the partition of Ireland in 1922. Today the city of Dublin is located along the River Liffey and is a vibrant city and a choice vacation destination that offers an array of charming Victorian sights along with great shopping, dining and entertainment options. The city is also famously associated with Guinness Stout, which was invented in the city in the early 18th century at Arthur Guinness’s brewery in Dublin.
Where to stay in Dublin
Temple Bar & Trinity College Area Hotels
Temple Bar doesn’t refer to any particular public house or bar but is the old Viking name for a lively street located in central Dublin. This area, which is located just south of the River Liffey, is one of the most animated areas of the city that offers a plethora of sight-seeing and nightlife options like the Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College and Dublin castle.
St Stephen’s Green Hotels
The Stephen’s Green area is located just 10 minutes away from the Temple Bar and Trinity college area and it is a lush green area, which is definitely quieter and calmer than the popular nightlife area of Dublin.
Fitzwilliam Square/Merrion Square Area Hotels
To the west of St Stephen’s Green is the Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square area, known for its Georgian town houses and small parks. The hotels located here are rather delightful and definitely less expensive than those located in the heart of the city.
O'Connell Street Area Hotels North of the Liffey River
O’Connell Street is located on the northern bank of the Liffey River and has in recent years become a popular accommodation option in Dublin. This City center North area is a convenient option as it affords easy access to major sights and stores and also offers good multicultural restaurants and bars in the area around Parnell Street. Hotel rooms in the area are definitely priced lower than those on the south side of the river.
Ballsbridge & the Southern Suburb Hotels
Upscale Ballsbridge is one of the most prestigious suburbs in Dublin and is known for its tree-lined streets, historic buildings and high-end restaurants and hotels. If you choose to stay here you should be prepared to undertake a 20-30 minute walk or use public transport to access most of the sights and shops of Dublin.
International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) Hotels
The eastern end of River Liffey’s north bank near the renovated Docklands area hosts Dublin’s famous IFSC centre that is home to more than 400 financial firms including some of the biggest banks in the world. The area today has developed a lot and hosts many offices, residential buildings, restaurants and shopping centers along with business-oriented hotels. This area is a favored accommodation option for business travelers.
Places to see in Dublin
Trinity College and Library
The Trinity College and Library is undoubtedly Dublin’s star attraction. This institution was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and hosts a vast number of books and priceless manuscripts including the famous ‘Book of Kells’ which dates back to 800 AD and is considered to be the most beautifully illustrated book ever. Yet another attraction at the college is the Long Room that hosts 200,000 ancient books and the marble busts of the world’s greatest thinkers.
The Dublin Castle is an original Viking Fortress, which has been renovated and remodeled down the ages so much so that it today displays a mish-mash of styles. In spite of this, the castle is a popular attraction in Dublin that hosts state functions. Additionally the opulent State Apartments at the castle are open for public viewing.
The Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral was founded in the 11th century by Dúnán, the first bishop of Dublin, and Sitriuc a Viking king of Dublin. It was rebuilt in the 12th century by the Norman ruler Strongbow, today however only parts of the Cathedral remain. The interior of the Cathedral offers sights like medieval stone carvings, Romanesque arches, a 15th century brass medieval lectern and more. The Cathedral also hosts an exhibit called Dublinia, which offers an insight into medieval Dublin by way of a scale model that shows the development of the city from Viking times until now.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the world’s most famous and majestic cathedrals. The site that hosts the church has much historic significance for it is believed that it is here that St Patrick baptized Christians in the fifth century. The famous writer Jonathon Swift served as the dean of the church from 1713 to 1745 and is buried here as well. The church hosts some of Ireland’s largest church bells and its largest organ. The St Patrick’s choir was the first to perform Handel’s "Messiah" in 1742. You should try and take in a service at the church on your vacation in Dublin in order to experience the beauty of the proceedings for yourself.
If you are a beer aficionado on a visit to Dublin, then a visit to the home of Ireland’s famous export, the brewery that produces the Guinness Stout is highly recommended. The museum at brewery offers interactive exhibits that illustrate how the beer is made and how it became famous throughout the world. The brewery also hosts a bar where visitors can partake of a free pint.
If you are vacationing in Dublin with your children in tow, you may want to include a visit to the Dublin zoo in your plans. The Dublin zoo extends over 30 acres and hosts 235 species of birds and animals. The Dublin zoo is believed to be the third largest zoo in the world and is housed in the midst of the city’s Phoenix Park. The zoo offers several interactive experiences including talks by the keepers and interactive animal feeding sessions.
Best time to visit Dublin
Dublin experiences a maritime climate that is characterized by cool summers and mild winters. The city experiences average summer temperatures of 67 °F(19.6C) while winter maximums are around 47 °F(8C). Additionally, the city also receives much rainfall throughout the year. These pleasant climes indicate that Dublin is an all-weather destination that can be visited at anytime of the year.
In fact Fare Buzz periodically announces attractive flight deals for Dublin and if you are connected with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter, chances are that you will receive advance information of these cheap air tickets to Dublin, which will then perhaps help you plan your vacation more effectively.
Getting around in Dublin
Dublin is served by its Dublin international airport, located 11 km north of the center of the city. The airport welcomes a whole host of low cost and full service carriers that make getting to Dublin from various points around the globe very easy.
Dublin is quite a compact city that can be easily explored on foot though the city has a well developed public transport system which is made up of buses, taxis, the DART(an electric rapid-transit train service) and trams. Most visitors who plan to spend most of their vacation within Dublin don’t usually choose to hire a car for their stay in the city. If you do wish to hire a car for the duration of your stay in Dublin, you should probably do so before you arrive in the city. Fare Buzz can be of help in this instance for it offers a good selection of affordable car rentals for Dublin that can be booked via its regular booking platforms.
However before you hit the road in Dublin, you should know that driving rules expect you to keep to the left side of the road. Further you should avoid driving in bus lanes at all costs and not stop at spots which are marked with double yellow lines. Street parking in Dublin during business hours is not free and has to be paid for at parking meters installed curbside.
Where to shop in Dublin
Eclectic markets, trendy boutiques, designer stores and shopping malls populate Dublin’s two main shopping districts. These shopping districts of Dublin consist of pedestrianized enclaves that lie on either side of the River Liffey. While upscale Grafton Street lines the south bank of the river, the more affordable Henry and Jervis streets are located along the north bank of the River Liffey.
Popular shopping haunts in Dublin include stores like Penney’s (affordable fashion finds north of the river), Browns Thomas (upmarket shopping and luxe labels on Grafton street), Georges Street Arcade (second-hand wares on Grafton Street), the Powercourt Shopping Center and the Westbury Shopping Mall (comprehensive shopping experiences on Grafton Street) and St Stephens Green (a glass-walled shopping center offering high street brands on Grafton street).
More upmarket shopping is available at the Dundrum Town Center, situated ten minutes outside the city center, easily accessible by public transport.
Weekend markets are a popular feature of Dublin’s shopping scene and you must try and pencil in a visit to any of these animated Dublin markets for a one of a kind experience. Dublin’s markets include the Loft Market (held every Friday to Sunday on second floor of Powerscourt Shopping Center), Designer Mart at Cow’s Land, the Temple Bar Food Market and the Point Village Market. Villages situated on the outskirts of Dublin, like Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Malahide like also host lively weekend markets and are ideal for a day trip of sightseeing and shopping.
Shopping hours in Dublin usually extend from 10 am to 6pm though the city offers extended shopping hours until 9pm on Thursdays.
Where to eat in Dublin
The Irish capital is equipped with wide range of restaurants that aim to cater to all tastes and budgets. Recommended restaurants in Dublin currently include eateries like Saba (Thai and Vietnamese), Ananda (Indian), the Saddle Room (International eats), La Banca (Italian), Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (Modern European), and The Excheque (a gastro pub).
Nightlife in Dublin
Dublin pretty much has it all in the way of nightlife. From raucous pubs and bars to comedy clubs, amazing live music venues and hot dance clubs, Dublin has them all so that folks looking for entertainment after dark have no shortage of options. Popular nightlife haunts in Dublin currently include pubs like the Long Hall, the Front Lounge, the Duke, Wheelans Live and nightclubs like Odeon, Mother, Copan, the George and the Sugar Club.