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 way-point or a stopover on your vacation in Ireland: 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, we have written a piece detailing exactly how to do Dublin in one day.
If you know what you're looking for, you can use these quick links to find the Dublin attractions and destinations which interest you most.
Discover Dublin's most visited and well known attractions.
Temple Bar is perhaps the most visited district of Dublin. 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.
The price of a pint or a bite to eat in Temple Bar is higher, on average, than the rest of Dublin City. For this reason many people walk through the area to soak up the atmosphere rather than spend the night there.
Temple Bar is a favourite for stag and hen (bachelor/bachelorette) parties and can become very busy & crowded, especially during weekends and summer months.
Ireland's most prestigious university is arguably its most attractive too. Covering no less than 16 hectares, the college buildings and grounds are a poetic tribute to the best of Victorian architecture. Receiving its charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, Trinity remained exclusively protestant until 1793. Today, such prejudices and exclusions are long gone, and Trinity enjoys a global reputation as a leading institution for learning, teaching and research.
Shaped like a giant pint of the black stuff, this most popular of Dublin attractions towers over the surrounding neighbourhoods. The top-floor Gravity Bar offering a delightful panorama across the Dublin cityscape which can only be enhanced by a well-earned pint. The Guinness Storehouse is a favourite memory for a lot of people on their tour of Ireland.
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 streets that intersect this main artery of Dublin centre have plenty to tempt you. So, be sure to pack your Euro. If you don't, major credit cards are accepted in nearly all Irish stores.
Phoenix Park is one of Europe's largest open parks. The park is lined with running trails and has countless locations for picnics and other activities. The sprawling park is also home to roughly 500 wild deer. Photo opportunities with the deer, and the park in general, are endless. Phoenix park is the perfect location to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Christ Church Cathedral was founded by Viking King Sitric, almost 1000 years ago, in 1034. The cathedral crypt is one of the largest in the UK and Ireland, dating back to the 12th Century. Here in the crypt you can see the Mummified remains of the Cat and the Rat, which were found in the cathedral organ, and a rare 14th century copy of the Magna Carta.
You will also have a unique opportunity to visit the Belfry and ring the Cathedral bells.
Getting to the Belfry in Christ Church Cathedral involves climbing 86 stone steps in a medieval building and crossing the roof at the South transept – quite the experience!
Uncover some of the Dublin's lesser known hidden gems.
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. A visit to the castle will appeal to anyone who has a keen interest in Irish history.
A splendid neoclassical building designed by Sir Thomas Newenham Deane and completed in 1890. The original building is generally considered the most significant and most important for visitors to see on their Ireland tour.
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.
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.
The original Poolbeg Lighthouse was, allegedly, the first lighthouse in the world to run on candlepower when it was built in 1768. It changed to oil in 1786. The structure that survives today was built in 1820. Poolbeg Lighthouse stands on the Great South wall of the Port of Dublin, extending nearly 4 miles out into Dublin Bay.
Originally a hunting lodge built sometime around 1725 by William Conolly, an Irish politician. The building was known as Mount Pelier until it was taken over by the Irish Hell Fire Club in the 1730's. It is said that the Hell Fire Club was then used as a meeting place for occult and other sinful practices.
The original building was constructed on an ancient passage tomb. Its roof was blown off in a storm shortly after its completion, leading locals to believe that the building was haunted... by a giant black cat.
The tower, built in 1805, was originality used to guard Ireland from the possibility of an invasion by Napoleon. From 1825, the tower became a part of the Irish Coast Guard's anti-smuggling campaigns. In 1852, the tower was used as a terminal for the first telegraph connecting Ireland to Wales. The founding fathers of radio, Lee de Forest and Guglielmo Marconi (both who claimed they invented the radio as we know it today), also used the tower in their pioneering tests of radio technology.
After a refurbishment the tower was reopened in 2003 as Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio. Collections include early televisions, radios, gramophones, records and Morse-code systems.
Luas, meaning 'speed' in Irish is a tram/light rail system running through Dublin City. There are 2 main lines, Red & Green. The Red Line runs in an east-west direction. The Green Line runs in a north-south direction.
The Dublin Area Rapid Transit system, known as 'the Dart' is a railway network serving Dublin city centre and the Dublin coastline.
Find the attractions and destinations of the other regions of Ireland here.