The capital of Ireland is teeming with life and folk music played live in hundreds of atmospheric pubs.Its lively sounds set the rhythm of the city, which is famous for its colourful mythology, outstanding writers and delicious Guinness beer.It is worth coming there for the weekend to get inspired by Dublin’s passion for life and fun.
In the city divided by the River Liffey, pride in the past is intertwined with the joy that comes from celebrating each day. This place is a destination for fans of the works of Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and James Joyce, as well as lovers of painting and good music. For centuries, Dublin has been a magnet for artists, whiskey connoisseurs and tourists who today spend nice time together in Temple Bar – the legendary entertainment centre. However, this colourful place is only a foretaste of the attractions that can be found in the heart of the green island.
A trip to the past
It is worth starting your trip around Dublin from one of the most important monuments in the city, i.e. the castle, which was built on the site of a former Viking fortress. This somewhat inconspicuous, eclectic building was once a symbol of British domination over Ireland. Today, it is a place where state ceremonies are celebrated and the president is sworn in. After visiting the gold-dripping chambers, go to Christ Church Cathedral located nearby the west side of the castle. The history of this monumental Gothic church dates back to the 11th century. Originally, it was a wooden building, which gained a stone design in the 12th century, and gained its present appearance after a renovation in the 19th century. It also houses a medieval crypt, works of sacred art, and a showcase with mummified bodies of a cat and a rat. Rumour has it that the animals got stuck several hundred years ago behind church organs and stayed there. “Tom and Jerry” – as the guides called them – became an unexpected tourist attraction. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where the author of “Gulliver’s Travels” was buried, is also quite popular among tourists. During your stay in the cathedral, it is worth paying attention to the stained glass windows, some of which are a colourful record of the life of the patron saint of Ireland. According to legend, there was a well near the church, where St. Patrick baptized pagans.
The artistic face of Dublin
Start the next day of your trip in the central part of the city, walking along the picturesque St. Stephen’s Green Park. There, you can enjoy a respite from the hustle and bustle of the streets, but also find a few attractions, among others, James Joyce Monument and a lake that attracts a wide variety of birds. For tourists who cannot admire the beauty of the Dublin park, there is a special aroma garden where you can read information written in Braille. From the city park, go to Grafton Street, the most famous shopping street in Dublin. In addition to shopping and drinking Irish Coffee in one of the colourful cafés, you can also admire the performances of mimes and street musicians. A stroll along the promenade full of exclusive boutiques is the perfect introduction to an evening in the iconic Temple Bar district, whose northern part borders the River Liffey. On both sides of the cobbled streets, you will notice the strikingly painted facades of bars and cafés, which sparkle with colours in the atmospheric light of street lamps. Although Temple Bar emanates an aura of joy and fun, anyone who thinks that pubs are the main attraction of this district is wrong. There are also numerous art studios, cultural centres, galleries and workshops of local craftsmen. The Temple Bar Cultural Information Centre provides help and information on current artistic events, where you will find out what to see.
The trail of “Irish champagne” and whiskey
The last day of your stay in the capital of the green island is a good time to learn about the city’s history. To do this, let’s go to the much-appreciated Little Museum of Dublin. During the half-hour sightseeing tour, a guide will introduce you to the history of the city and related anecdotes in an accessible way. From there, it is only a 25-minute walk to other attractions, such as the famous the Guinness Storehouse. The seven-story museum topped with a glass bar, from which you can see the panorama of the whole Dublin, hides a lot of surprises, presented in an attractive, multimedia form. You will see there historical machines used to produce “Irish champagne”, learn about the secrets of its brewing and the art of pouring Guinness, which will allow you to get the full taste of beer. When your beer adventure is over, it is time to explore Jameson’s former distillery. Right after entering the museum, you can already learn about the curiosities related to the production of Irish whiskey, and compare its unique taste with Scotch whiskey and American bourbon. In the excitement of tasting, let’s not forget to make a toast to a successful stay in Dublin.
The National Leprechaun Museum
After entering the museum, you will be transported to the fairy-tale land of Irish folklore, where you can learn about fascinating legends featuring leprechauns. Interactive exhibitions allow visitors to feel like dwarfs - in a room with monstrously large objects, you learn what lies at the end of the rainbow, and find out a reliable way to catch a leprechaun with a pot of gold. A souvenir of the extraordinary adventure in the world of Irish fairy tales can be unique items made by local craftsmen, which are available in the museum shop.
The National Gallery of Ireland
A must see for art connoisseurs and everyone who would like to see the famous paintings of Monet, Picasso, Velazquez or Rubens with their own eyes. Established in 1854, the National Gallery of Ireland now displays over 16 000 works of art. In addition to the paintings of outstanding masters, you can also admire photographs, graphics, sculptures and a rich collection of bibliographic materials devoted to the artists. Visiting the main part of the exhibition is free of charge.
Simply take the DART suburban train and in less than half an hour, you will find yourself in a picturesque fishing hamlet with a beautiful view of the port and the coast with cliffs. A trip to the Howth peninsula is a great way to rest from the city noise, as well as a chance to discover the fascinating landscapes of the green island.
An exciting place teeming with vampires, ghosts and scary stories inspired by the iconic work of a native Dubliner - Bram Stoker. The tour is accompanied by chilling sounds and performances by actors, which make exploring the world of vampires unforgettable fun - not only for Dracula fans.
Good to know
People who want to actively explore Dublin and get to know as many interesting places as possible in a short time should consider purchasing the Dublin Pass. With it, you can access 30 of the most important local attractions without waiting in queues, get discounts in restaurants, and see the monuments from the windows of a double-decker bus. Depending on the planned length of stay, it is possible to purchase a card valid for 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days.
What and where to eat
The specialty of Dublin chefs is coddle - a traditional dish made of cooked pork sausages, bacon, potatoes and onions. Irish people also eagerly reach for goulash (country cork Irish stew) and black pudding, the equivalent of Polish kaszanka. Irish cuisine lovers also enjoy casseroles (especially pastoral and country dishes) and potato puree with boiled or stewed kale (colcannon). And after a filling meal, on autumn and winter evenings, Dubliners warm up by drinking the legendary Irish coffee, i.e. coffee with whiskey, whipped cream and cane sugar.
Recommended restaurants: Camden Kitchen, Glovers Alley, Darkey Kelly’s Bar & Restaurant
Where to sleep
Accommodation offer in Dublin is wide, but quite expensive. Instead of choosing a cheap, low-standard guesthouse in the very centre, consider renting a room in a highly rated hostel in a district away from the heart of the city. Especially when the property is close to bus stops or the train station. Before you go to Dublin, it is a good idea to pack a contact adapter in your backpack.