Amanda is a 20-something, small-town Ohio girl with a journalism degree under her belt and an unquenchable lust for travel.After studying abroad in New Zealand, Amanda has decided she’d love to move there one day so she can wear jandals, eat hokey pokey ice cream, and continue pretending she understands the rules of rugby. ...Find out more!
The capital of Ireland and the country’s largest city, Dublin will likely make it into any Ireland travel plans – and for good reason; there’s a lot to do here.
With such a variety of things to choose from, it can make planning a visit to Dublin difficult. What should you see? What should you do?
Well here are 5 of the most popular things to do in Dublin:
Take a tour of the famous Guinness Storehouse, which is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. For 13.5 euros (11 euros for students), you can tour this 7-story beer fun house and learn about the history of the Guinness brew, how it’s produced, and how the brand has evolved over the years. Each floor is like a mini museum, highlighting everything from Guinness’ very special blend of barley, water and hops, to the unique ad campaigns the company has launched over the years. At the end of your tour, enjoy a free pint at the seventh-story Gravity Bar.
South of the River Liffey lies Dublin’s infamous Temple Bar district, where many tourists now head for pubs, nightlife, and live music. The locals tend to look down upon this boozy area, often criticizing it for being overpriced and kitschy. But it’s still worth seeing, just to say you did. Stroll down the cobbled streets and pop into a pub or two to see what kind of music is on offer. But be aware that Temple Bar, for all its garish charms, is not really the “real” Dublin.
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a healthy dose of Irish history. Get a little taste of this at Kilmainham Gaol (Jail), a former-prison-turned-museum right in the heart of the city. Built in 1796, Kilmainham was used as a prison until 1924 and played an important role in Irish history – many leaders of the Irish rebellions in the early 1900s were imprisoned (and sometimes executed) here by the British. Since 1980, the prison has been a government-run museum. But this is not your average history museum. The property is relatively authentic in that it hasn’t been refurbished much. For 6 euros, you can take a tour of the old, crumbling prison blocks and the yards of the Gaol where hangings used to take place behind high stone walls.
Up until 1922, Dublin Castle was the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland. Today, it’s still a major government complex, with parts of the castle and grounds open to the public. Curious visitors can tour the lavish State Apartments, stroll across wide cobbled courtyards, and even get up close and personal with a throne or two. Guided tours of the property (4.5 euros, or 3 euros for students) also include a visit to the Medieval Undercroft below the castle, which centuries ago was used as a Viking defense bank. There is no doubt that there is interesting history here.
And, of course, no visit to Dublin would be complete without a stop on Grafton Street, one of the city’s two main shopping strips. Grafton Street is lined with a variety of shops (ranging from affordable to outrageously expensive), plenty of pubs, and an array of talented buskers. The city’s well-known (and big-busted) Molly Malone statue is also located here, bringing to life the female fishmonger in the song “Molly Malone,” which is often said to be Dublin’s unofficial anthem.
There are, of course, plenty of other things to do in Dublin. But if it’s your first visit to the Irish capital, no doubt these 5 things should make it onto your “must-see” list.
Have you been to Dublin before? What else would you add to the list?