No trip to Europe is complete without a visit to the Emerald Isle. Of course, you’re Emerald Isle road trip must start or end in Dublin. Now, there are more things you must do in Dublin other than drink…. but not much more! When in Ireland do as the Irish do, right? So, make sure you grab a pint or two a day.
From history, traditional culture, pubs and parks, there are plenty of things to see and do in Dublin. Rain, hail or shine (who I am kidding, there’s not much shine!) you are bound to have a fantastic time in Dublin.
Please note: This post should be read in an Irish accent
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Here are the things you must do in Dublin…..
Visit Molly Malone
Molly Malone was a resident of Dublin, and worked as a fish monger and working girl. She died during one of the frequent Cholera outbreaks that used to sweep the streets of Dublin.
These days, not only does Molly Malone have a song “Cockles and Mussels” which is Dublin’s unofficial anthem, but there is also a statue dedicated to her on Suffolk Street.
The statue of Molly and her barrow have become one of the most famous symbols in Dublin.
Not only is Temple Bar a….bar in Dublin, it is also a neighbourhood. Dating back to the fourteenth century where weary travellers would drop by for a pint or dram.
No matter the time of day, you can walk down the cobblestone streets and hear live traditional music streaming out of the pubs, see brightly coloured flowers and flags, and watch the revilers dancing in the doorways.
If you are looking for a place to have a typical night out in Dublin, Temple Bar is the place to be. With more pubs than you need for an all night pub crawl and a never ending flow of drinks, you’ll be set for a night of good craic.
Christ Church Cathedral
Catholicism plays a large part in Irish life so it is no surprise that there are many grand Cathedral’s around Dublin’s city centre, and Christ Church Cathedral has to be one of the finest.
Built in 1030 it is one of Dublin’s oldest buildings but the great grey stones, bell tower and bridge have stood the test of time in this ever evolving city. I mean who doesn’t love a Cathedral that has a dungeon?
Christ Church Cathedral is also home to the largest crypt in the UK and Ireland. If you are particularly interested in history there is a guided tour and regular events where you can indulge in Dublin’s past.
If you are passing through town on a Sunday be sure to listen out for the chime of bells that echo through Dublin.
Pour a pint at the Guinness Storehouse
One of the top things you must do in Dublin is visit the Guinness Storehouse. Now I hear ya, you don’t like Guinness. Neither do I and we still had a fab time at the Storehouse.
As a Science nerd, I loved learning how the Guinness is made and the chemistry involved, the history behind it and of course, seeing all of the advertisements that Guinness has rolled out over the years.
From learning how to drink Guinness like an Irish man to becoming certified in crafting the perfect pint of Guinness (it’s legit, you get a certificate!) there’s something for all the family to enjoy! Well, if all the family is over 18 of course.
For some strange reason – it was the nicest pint of Guinness I have ever had!
Make sure you purchase your tickets online in advance to secure your entrance time – we booked the day before.
Beware of the gift shop after a few pints – trust me the novelty socks won’t seem as funny the next morning!
If you’re ever struggling to believe in yourself take a lesson from Arthur Guinness, he was so sure of himself and his beer that he signed a 9,000 year lease at James St Gate – the home of Guinness. I suppose he did alright!!
Wander around Dublin Castle
I’m not sure why, but I was super surprised to learn that Dublin has a castle! The castle is over 800 years old and spreads over 11 acres in the middle of Dublin City. From 1204 until 1922 it was the seat of the English, and later the British rule in Ireland.
Today, the castle is home to the Garda and Revenue Museums, the Royal Chapel and the Chester Beatty Library. You can purchase tickets online for a self guided tour of the castle – allow for plenty of time in the Chester Beatty Library.
Cross the Ha’penny bridge
The Ha’penny bridge was the first bridge to allow people to cross the River Liffey and today is one of the most famous sites in Dublin.
The bridge was opened in 1816 and pedestrians were charged half a penny to cross the bridge – hence it’s name. Since 1816 many travellers have journeyed across the bridge.
The Ha’penny bridge is another one of the things you must do in Dublin, not only because it is famous, (it is a gorgeous bridge) but it also offers fantastic views of the River Laffey.
Stroll around St Stephen’s Green
No matter the weather, a stroll around St Stephen’s Green is a thing you must do in Dublin.
The lake and the greenery make it the perfect Oasis to hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. St Stephen’s Green has a real Victorian feel to it, so you could almost imagine what it would have been like back in the good ol’ days.
It rained for our whole visit to Dublin (surprise, surprise) and it was still lovely to wander around St Stephen’s Green, so grab an umbrella and take a stroll.
Read a book at Marsh’s Library
If you would like to take a real step back in time, take a visit to Marsh’s Library and walk the aisles that Bram Stoker walked. Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, borrowed many books from Marsh’s Library. In fact, you can still see the library records from back then and the books that he borrowed.
While you can’t touch the book (or take photos) it is a lovely space to catch your breathe and admire the old leather bound books.
You’ll need to pay 5€ at the door to enter.
Grab a pint at the oldest pub
We stumbled (quite literally as we were on the way back from the Guinness storehouse) across the Brazen Head and decided to stop by for another drink.
Dating back to 1198, this pub started our quest for the “oldest” pub in every city we visited on our four month trip around Europe.
It is the perfect place to grab a traditional Irish stew and take in the atmosphere. It does get very busy but the outdoor heating makes sitting in the courtyard pleasant no matter the time of year.
Pay your respects at the Famine Memorial
Although this is located a little further away than many of the other places on this list, it is hard to complain about the walk knowing the lives these people lived.
This memorial pays tribute to the lives that were lost during the Great Famine of the mid 19th century. During the famine approximately 1 million lives were lost and many more emigrated from Ireland, causing the population of the time to fall by 20 – 25%.
The famine was thought to have been caused by the potato blight during the 1840s. Whilst this ravaged much of Europe, one third of Ireland’s population relied entirely on potatoes for food.
If you are planning a road trip around Ireland, you can visit some of the Famine cottages on the West Coast of Ireland along the Dingle Peninsula.
Sip on a dram at Jameson’s distillery
To round out the list of things you must do in Dublin is, you guessed it, another drinking hole, this time Whiskey.
Founded in 1780 by John Jameson, the distillery remains as a tribute to Irish Whiskey.
You can visit the distillery to simply grab a dram, or you can take a tour of the distillery, participate in a cocktail making class, complete a premium whiskey tasting or learn how to blend your own whiskey.
There are some fantastic experiences on offer in Dublin, included in some of those experiences are tours. Why not check out a tour and see Dublin from a different point of view.
Often a great way to see a city are the hop-on hop-off bus tours, these allow you to discover the best a city has to offer with all of the background information and history from the comfort of a bus, or maybe Ghost tours are more your thing, you can do that in Dublin too.
If you are planning on visiting a lot of attractions in Dublin you might want to check out the Dublin Pass. Do some research before you purchase it, go online and check out entrance prices etc. to make sure it is going to be worth your money.
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Have you visited Dublin? What do you think are the top things you must do in Dublin? Comment below
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