It will amaze some of you that in my 20 years of life in Norn Iron, until recently, I had never been to Dublin. Well, that’s a lie, I’d stayed in the Fitzpatrick Hotel with my family and gone on a school trip to the zoo, but that was the full extent of my experience.
When my boyfriend visited in January, we decided to head down to the fair city and have a scout about. Since we were only there for a weekend, we had limited time to explore and wanted to make the most of what we had.
Today, for your entertainment and reference, I’m going to share with you all our route around the city. However, I will not be going into any detail about eating a drinking for a couple of reasons… but mainly because I think I might do that in a totally seperate post.
The route itself takes around an hour and a half to walk without stops, but it can easily fill a day, allowing you enough time at each stop without being bored by lunchtime.
The post will also be peppered with some photos courtesy of my boyfriend (he’s really rather good) to give you a better sense of the city itself.
Our day begins at Dublin Castle, an essential part of any tourist’s trip to the city. There are a few options here. If you’re short on time, you can take a self guided tour of the beautiful State Rooms, or you can book a guided tour which will give you access to the interior of the Chapel Royal and to the Viking Excavation. Personally, we went for the first option to save some time (and some money) but if I were back again, I’d definitely consider going the whole hog. On the other hand, you can skip any sort of tour and simply enjoy the courtyard and exterior view of the one remaining tower, it’s purely a matter of personal interest and, of course, time.
Obviously, the iconic Temple Bar has to make it onto this list. However, since it’s still pretty early in the morning, you might want to save the pint until later. Even if you don’t partake in the drink, the pub itself is charming and is surrounded my cute cobbled streets and other cafes and restaurants you may wish to check out, perfect for a mid monring snack.
One of the most iconic spaces in the city is Trinity College. It’s definitely worth a dander round, especially as it’s home to The Book of Kells and the Old Library. Imagine you’re Belle from Beauty and the Beast wandering through your dream library and you’ve essentially captured this amazing room.
The next stop is a personal favourite of mine as Wilde is one of my favourite authors of all time (and not just because he’s Irish). The Oscar Wilde Monument in Merrion Square is the perfect selfie for any literary snob and also allows the opportunity to wander around the rest of this beautiful garden.
If you have a little extra time on your hands, you’ll also find Wilde’s childhood home close by, which has been restored and transformed into a sort of Wilde museum. I haven’t checked it out myself, but it’s definitely on my bucket list next time I there.
Continuing with the garden theme, it’s time to saunter down towards St Stephen’s Green. This beautiful garden is another one to admire, remember to keep your eyes peeled for any famous heads.
Just outside of the garden you’ll also find the wonderful St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, the perfect place to window shop or just take a load off – you’ve had a busy morning after all.
This also plonks you right at the end of the famous Grafton Street, so have a wander once you’ve regained your strength. Make sure you check out the Disney Store as you walk by, it’s the biggest one in Europe!
Now it’s time to mix things up and have a look in the Creative Quarter, known for its quirky shops and cafes. (If you’re so inclined, you can check out the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre – a shopping centre built into an old Town House. However, anything you see there comes with a hefty pricetag, so you’ve been warned!) The Creative Quarter is also home to McDaids pub. Now might be the perfect time to grab yourself that pint, as this is one of the oldest and most authentic Irish pubs in the city. With it’s dark wood interior and old time charm, it’s the perfect place to sit and wait for your taxi.
Obviously, the taxi is optional, as it is within walking distance, but you may prefer to skip the 26 minute walk this late in the day. It’s well worth the few euros to see the Guinness Storehouse. Personally, I don’t drink Guinness, but even without partaking in the merriment it was still an interesting exhibition and a Dublin essential. It’ll probably take a couple of hours to do properly (taking into account queues and crowds) but it’s self-guided so you can 100% take it at your own pace.
I went at a bad time and managed to time my trip that the Jameson Distillery was undergoing renovations, but again, there’s always next time – it would be a great substitute if you prefer a spot of whiskey.
Our day finishes at St Patrick’s Cathedral (again, you may wish to taxi here from the Guiness Storehouse depending on how much your feet protest). This iconic cathedral is defintiely worth a look, but you’ll have to be careful of your timekeeping as it closes it’s doors to the public at 5pm (6pm on a Saturday between March & October).
And now you’re done, since the night is young you can eat, drink and enjoy the evening atmosphere (or, simply get some shut eye if you have an early flight tomorrow).
Enjoy your time in this beautiful city, I can’t wait to get back there myself!