Dublin Travel Guide
Like many modern cities, Dublin is a melting pot. Along with its traditional Irish culture, Dublin has been infiltrated by a host of glorious international influences. The city is the largest in Ireland, and its fast-growing immigrant population brings people from all over the world. The influence of these cultures is evident in the diverse and vibrant culinary scene that can be found here. That said, Dublin has held on to some of its classic ... continue» Read More
The best time to visit Dublin is in the summertime when temperatures are warm (for Ireland anyway) and festivals fill the streets. This also constitutes the most expensive time to visit, with high hotel rates and airfare prices. It's also the most crowded time of year. If you're looking for a deal and fewer tourists, come in the winter with your heaviest coat. Spring and fall make the happy medium — moderate temperatures (again, for Ireland), crowds and prices.Read More Best Times to Visit Dublin»
Dublin city has a population of a little more than half a million people, with the greater Dublin area housing about 1.2 million residents, about a quarter of Ireland's total population. The city center is relative compact, with most of the popular tourist sites located on the south side of the River Liffey, which splits Dublin in two and flows into the Irish Sea. The river is one of the nicest in Europe for walking, and you can wind your way from north to south to see some of the most famous Dublin attractions.
South of the Liffey
To the south of the Liffey you'll find the essential Dublin attractions. Starting southeast at Dublin's main transportation hub — Heuston Station — you can find the famous St. James Gate Brewery (now known as the Guinness Storehouse), the centuries-old home of Ireland's national beverage. Tours of the brew process and tastings of "the black stuff" are offered.
From there, head east along the river to the Temple Bar area. Known for the medieval design of its streets, the majority of which are only open to foot traffic, the area is home to several popular pubs and restaurants as well as many museums and art galleries like the Gallery of Photography and the Irish Film Institute.
A few blocks further east you can find the Houses of Parliament and Trinity College, the most prestigious university in Ireland. Here you'll find the famous "Book of Kells," an illuminated manuscript written by Irish monks in 800 A.D. Head a couple of blocks south of the university to browse the shops on Grafton Street, where you'll also find some of Dublin's finest street musicians.
For a taste of historic Dublin, wander south from Temple Bar to find Dublin's Old City. The area is known as home to some of Dublin's oldest structures, including two remaining segments of the Medieval City Walls and St. Patrick's Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland.
North of the Liffey
Across the river from Temple Bar on Dublin's north end, you'll find the main thoroughfare, O'Connell Street. The area is home to several historically significant buildings, including the Dublin General Post Office two blocks north of the river. The site was where the bloody 1916 Easter Uprising between the IRA and the British government took place. Adjacent you'll find the Spire of Dublin, a 390-foot free-standing structure, in the middle of the street. A few blocks west of O'Connell Street is home to the Old Jameson Distillery, which showcases one of Ireland's favorite beverages: whiskey.
North of the Liffey also houses the famous Phoenix Park, the largest public park in Europe, covering 1,752 acres. Families frequently visit the park to see the Rodrigues fruit bats or Moluccan Cockatoos of the Dublin Zoo. Dublin's northern half also contains some excellent Irish cultural centers, including the Dublin Writers Museum, which showcases the city's rich literary history.
Dublin's far-reaching outskirts also offer some fascinating sites, especially near the coast. About 12 miles northeast of Dublin city is Howth, a coastal town on a peninsula that offers great cliff-side views of the bay. Other great coastal sites can be found on Bull Island and St. Anne's Park in the neighborhood of Dollymount.
Dublin is relatively safe, especially the city center and surrounding attractions, even at the wee hours of the morning. Overall, visitors should take caution against petty crimes like pickpocketing and car break-ins. But visitors should note that the area around Temple Bar can get pretty raucous as all the drunken revelers exit the bars and clubs. There is also a drug problem within Dublin city, predominantly heroin, so visitors should be mindful of suspicious activity, street beggars and paraphernalia in alleyways. In the unlikely event that you are a victim of a crime, reach out to Irish Tourist Assistance Service, which offers free and confidential services to tourists.
The best way to get around Dublin is by foot. The city's compact size makes strolling to and from the top attractions a cinch. Plus, some brisk walking will help lessen the (caloric) effects of all those pints from the pub. If you're flying into Dublin Airport (DUB), you can take a taxi, bus or shuttle into the city center. Once inside, you can also try out the bus and tram systems, which have lines that cross-hatch the city. You'll find taxis lining up in ranks throughout Dublin. These are expensive, but recommended rather than driving a rental car.Getting Around Dublin»