Dublin is one of the cities I’ve wanted to visit because of the culture and medieval historical places. Even though the center of Dublin is rather small, there are plenty of attractions to visit in and outside the city. Ireland also has such a beautiful nature that is worth enjoying and I am definitely up for a new trip somewhere else than Dublin in the future too. The city itself holds some sort of uniqueness that is hard to describe yet it is there very much to feel. For such a relatively tiny city, it is packed with people with humor and a lively atmosphere. So enjoy the best that Dublin has to offer!
Ireland has a bit of a complex history which I personally wasn’t that familiar with, to be honest before visiting the island. Seeing some of the historical places shed a little light on what the country has been through. You can see the medieval gems in the city from the Dublin castle to Trinity College.
When to visit:
The weather in Dublin can be a bit chilly due to geographic factors. Ireland’s climate is influenced by the positioning of the island in the Atlantic Ocean. Thus the cooler temperatures throughout the whole year that rarely goes above +20 degrees Celsius. The rainiest months are August, October and December so if you want to avoid the rainy days it’s good to choose a month outside these. However, I visited Dublin in October and it didn’t rain every day – we even got a glimpse of the sun, hah! But for reals, to explore what the nature of Ireland has to offer and get the best experience without being soaking wet is go there is from April to July. Ireland has beaches that I will definitely want to explore in the future and the summer season is obviously best for that. For a weekend holiday in the city, a little rain doesn’t bother that much since there are places to escape the drizzle. At least it didn’t bother us; there are bars and museums basically in every corner.
Places to visit:
Dublin Castle is one of the major tourist attractions in the city and it is one of the most important buildings in Irish history. It’s a complex of museums, cafes, a library and venue halls and it’s open every day.
Trinity College Dublin is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1592 and it is also the best university in Ireland. It is famous for the architectural design and the fact that everything about it is just so impressive and historically important.
Kilmainham Gaol was one of the places we actually didn’t get to visit, despite our effort to do so. What we didn’t know was that they require a booking in advance with a guided tour to enter and that we had the wrong opening hours (oh, google). To avoid our mistake and lack of knowledge and do your research properly in advance. Book the tour and check the real opening hours from the Gaol’s own website, not from Google, heh. Kilmainham Gaol represents the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War that took place in 1922-23. Today, the Gaol has been turned into a museum where you can learn more about the history of Ireland.
There is also another Gaol in the county of Wicklow where we visited. It’s an interactive prison museum and the tour is similar to Alcatraz (prison in San Francisco) where you get headphones and walk through the cells and listen to the audio. This makes the experience a bit more intriguing as you can move on at your own pace. The Wicklow Gaol is said to be haunted so be prepared for encountering ghosts of former prisoners…
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is right in the historical center of Dublin and it’s the national Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. You can see over the architecture and beauty of this building that has lasted over 800 years, so be sure to have a visit here or at least admire it from outside.
The home of Guinness – that is the world-famous beer made in Ireland. If you are at least a bit of a beer person this is your place to visit. Even though I’m not much of a beer lover, this place was worth the visit and to see what all the hype is about. You don’t need to book anything in advance; you can buy the tickets from the counter as you enter. The tickets cost 25€ per person as an adult (slightly overpriced but that’s just my opinion, hey) but it includes one pint of beer at the view bar. Going around the whole building took us about 1,5 hours but that said we didn’t stay at the bar for long since it was packed. We just had the pint and left. Overall it was a good experience and worth visiting. Keep in mind that there are other distilleries too in Dublin, for example, the Jameson Distillery.
Countryside outside Dublin:
There are such lovely places to see also with a bit of a drive away from Dublin center. The best way to reach these places is with a car if you are not too hesitant to drive on the left-hand side of the road. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t trust my ability on this so we explored the country a bit with a bus. This was an experience of sorts. First, it takes a lot more time to go from a place to another and some planning. Second, you get to see more places in a car. We did a day trip on our own to Wicklow; a city located about 65 km south from Dublin. My recommendation is to either rent a car or book a guided tour with transports. This will save you some time and the hassle of finding out the right routes and timetables (that of which happened to us because the bus we were supposed to take never came.) If you love spending time in the outdoors, Ireland is the country to go to. And if you would like to read more about nature-related articles, I have a post about Switzerland here. So go on and the check other nature tips from that post too!
You one-day itinerary in Dublin:
The fun thing about Dublin is that it is quite a compact city; so most of the main attractions, with a few exceptions excluded, are within a walking distance. So, if you are up for the walk here is a suggested itinerary that you can use to cover all of the main attractions. So head into the old town and start your day in there.
Go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Depending on if you want to go inside or not, spend some time there or just admire the building itself.
Christ Church Cathedral. This is another Cathedral worth visiting since the cathedrals play a big part in the history and development of Ireland.
I hope you are hungry because now it’s time for the traditional fish & chips! Go to a place called Leo Burdock, it is the oldest chip shop in Dublin. It’s located right next to Christ Church Cathedral. The place opens every day at 11.30 and it is takeaway only. So go there, grab your favorite portion and enjoy it while sitting in the benches in the park in!
Dublin Castle. Dublin Castle is just nearby Christ Church Cathedral. Now, this is one of the places it might take a bit longer if you want to go through the whole building. We actually didn’t enter the castle itself, we just saw it from outside and walked inside the walls. There are options for self-guided and guided tours with a fee. If you have the Dublin Pass you’ll get discounts from some of the attractions, including the Dublin Castle.
Temple Bar. This is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey. Take your time strolling around and enjoying the lively atmosphere. Along the road, they have a variety of restaurants, small boutiques and pubs. You can sit down in one of them (or in the famous Temple Bar itself) and have a pint or glass of wine while watching the people pass by.
Molly Malone Statue. Continue walking along the river in Temple bar and then turn right, as you reach O’Connell Bridge (or even before that if you feel like exploring more of the inside streets.) The Molly Malone statue is just nearby the river, in the corner of Saint Andrew Street and Church Lane.
Trinity College. Continue along Suffolk Street to southeast from the statue. If you want to walk through the college park, keep on walking straight as you reach it, it will be on the left side of the road. This is a bit of a long way. The other option is to go directly to the entrance of the college. In this case, turn left to Church Lane from the statue and then right to College Green – you’ll be passing Bank of Ireland and the college will be right ahead of you. You can also visit the Trinity College and the Molly Malone statue in reversed order, depending on your preferences on which route to take.
Optional stop 8:
I do recommend visiting the Iveagh Gardens; however, it can be done on another day if you don’t have time after the other sites. It’s a peaceful hidden garden inside the city approximately 1,3 km away from Trinity College. You can also catch the bus there from the stop right opposite the Bank of Ireland. The gardens close at 6 pm but 30 minutes is more than enough to walk around it unless you want to just spend some more time there enjoying the surroundings.