Ireland's best-loved destinations
...and best-kept secrets

Dublin, Gateway to Ireland

Ireland Travel Companion

Dublin is Ireland's largest city and is in many senses the gateway to The Emerald Isle: if you are travelling to Ireland by air, you are almost certain to land and begin your tour in the capital. But you should think of Dublin as much more than a waypoint or a stopover: this vibrant city has plenty of distractions to suit any visitor and easily merits a few days in itself. Of course, this isn't always possible and, for those who have a tight travel itinerary, our colleague Phil Teare has written a great blog piece on how to do Dublin in one day.

Dublin is home to a host of world-class museums, fantastic restaurants, and some truly unforgettable nightlife and music culture. At night the personality of the city really comes into its own, so visitors should allow time and budget to get and see the sights after dark. Dublin is one of Europe's most welcoming capitals so order a Guinness, pull up a bar stool and enjoy the 'craic' with the locals.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar is perhaps the most visited district of Dublin, with many tourists scarcely venturing beyond Dame Street and the Liffey which mark the upper and lower reaches of this cultural quarter. Tourists who enjoy Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral won't have far to go to enjoy the nearby Meeting House Square with its galleries, archives and weekly food market.

Dublin is Rich in Photo Opportunities

As well as the many man-made attractions within the city itself, Dublin has some really amazing views of Ireland's rich green landscape. Don't forget to pack your camera.

Dublin Tourist Centre

The Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Brewery at St James's Gate in Dublin is the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland.

Guinness is more than just a brand, indeed, more than just a beer. And that's not just for the Irish, but for the many millions of Guinness-drinkers worldwide. The site of the brewery itself is massive, at a staggering 26 hectares, but it will be the old grain storehouse which you visit. Shaped like a giant pint of the black stuff, this most popular of Dublin attractions towers over the surrounding neighbourhoods, with the top-floor Gravity Bar offering a delightful panorama across the Dublin cityscape which can only be enhanced by a well-earned pint.

The tour itself is interactive and engaging, with multimedia used extensively to tell the historic tale of this most heralded of beverages. Using public transport, head out from Fleet Street to St James's.

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Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is a popular attraction on the DUblin tourist trail Plan a Trip to Dublin

Visitors who set off in search of ramparts and turrets are likely to walk past Dublin Castle in search for something more medieval-looking. So, be warned that there won't be jousting and suits of armour. For 700 years the bastion of British rule in Ireland, the castle is really a Victorian architectural mish-mash, and wouldn't look out of place in London or Paris. This might not be the most exciting attraction you'll find set against Dublin's vibrant backdrop, and it's certainly not a day out for the kids, but the 45-minute tours are frequent and informative and will appeal to anyone who has a keen interest in Irish history.

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While you're there: Chester Beatty Library

The grounds of Dublin castle are home to the collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (b. 1875), who bequeathed these 20,000 manuscripts, books and other cultural artefacts to the Irish state upon his death in 1968.

National Museum of Ireland

A splendid neoclassical building designed by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and completed in 1890, the original building of the national museum is generally considered the most significant and most important for visitors to see. Among its most notable attractions are various Bronze and Iron Age attractions including The Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, the Broighter Gold Collar and the Loughnashade War Trumpet. Equally stunning is the Cross of Cong, which was crafted in 1123 A.D.

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Leinster House

The Irish Parliament at Leinster House. Plan your Dublin Vacation

Built between 1745 and 1748 as the city residence of the Duke of Leinster and Earl of Kildare, James Fitzgerald, this attraction is most notable for politically-minded visitors - it is home to the Houses of the Oireachtas, the seat of government in the Republic of Ireland. Watch politics in action as the laws of the land are made right here before you.

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Shopping in Dublin

Dublin provides plenty of opportunities for some retail therapy, and if you are looking to hit the shops during your time in the capital, it is Grafton Street that you will want to head for. This district of Dublin has all the high-street stores you could ask for, with British-owned chains being perhaps the best represented here. However, if you're looking for something a little more unique or boutique, then you won't have to wander very far. The side streets and alleys which intersect this main artery of Dublin centre have plenty to tempt you. So, be sure to pack your Euros. If you do, major credit cards are accepted in nearly all Irish stores.

Places to Stay in Dublin

Hotels in Dublin

My Ireland Travel Guide