Whether you’re planning a stag/hen do, culture-filled weekend or relaxing city break, Dublin has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday. There’s something about Dublin that makes everyone fall in love, so if you’re planning your next trip away, consider making the Republic of Ireland’s busy capital city your choice of destination.
No matter what you’re into, Dublin has something to offer! Below are some of my favourite things to do in the city:
Visit the General Post Office
Dublin is steeped in history, with one of the most famous historical periods being that of the Easter Rising 1916 – and where better to learn more about the Rising than in the GPO? After all, this is the place where Patrick Pearse actually read out the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
To learn more about the rebellion, consider visiting the General Post Office’s Witness History Exhibit; this was built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Rising and is available to visit for just € 14.
If you don’t want to visit the Witness History exhibit, it’s still worth popping your head inside. The General Post Office, which you’ll find on O’Connell Street Lower, is still in use today, and there are a few plaques inside detailing more information about the 1916 Rising. This area is free to enter.
Take a photo with the Molly Malone statue
Located near Dublin’s famous Grafton Street stands the bronze statue of Molly Malone, a fictional fishmonger and the star of the song ‘Cockles and Mussels’. While it’s not known whether Molly Malone was a real person or not, the statue has become a symbol of the city and a hotspot for tourists!
Wander through St Stephen’s Green
If the weather’s good, consider taking a stroll through St Stephen’s Green. A Victorian park with nine hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens to explore, St Stephen’s Green provides a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of Dublin’s city centre. It’s the ideal place to set up a picnic or read a book, with plenty of cafes nearby for grabbing a quick coffee beforehand.
Walk across the Ha’penny Bridge
The Ha’penny Bridge, which stretches across the River Liffey, is one of the most famous bridges in Ireland. Built in 1816, it’s also one of the city’s most iconic sights, and is certainly the most picturesque way to get from O’Connell Street to the Temple Bar region.
You can’t visit Dublin without crossing the Ha’penny Bridge and admiring this view!
Pour a pint at the Guinness Storehouse
Who doesn’t love a pint of Guinness?! The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s most famous tourist attractions, so don’t miss out on your chance to go! During a tour of the brewery you’ll learn all about Arthur Guinness (the brewery’s founder) and his family, including the contributions they’ve made to Dublin, and how Guinness is actually brewed.
With your tour ticket, you’ll also have the chance to learn how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness or to enjoy a drink in the storehouse’s Gravity bar. Personally I’d recommend option two; with a 360 degree view of Dublin and beyond, the Gravity bar is the ultimate rooftop drinking spot!
Adult tickets start from €19.50 but the total cost depends on the date and time slot you choose. For more information about tickets, click here.
Try a Butlers hot chocolate
No trip to Ireland would be quite complete without a visit to Butlers Chocolate Cafe! There are quite a few in Dublin, including on the main shopping streets (e.g. Grafton Street and Wicklow Street), so you’re sure to pass by on your travels. Make sure you pop in for a hot chocolate – not only are they delicious, but they’ve recently brought out a vegan one too!
Meander along the famous Grafton Street
Grafton Street is one of the biggest shopping streets in Dublin, so it’s worth having a wander and seeing what takes your fancy. This is also the chosen spot for many buskers and street performers, so there’s always something going on.
One of my favourite places on Grafton Street is Bewley’s, a gorgeous cafe with stained glass windows and a roaring fire. It also has a fantastic patisserie section with a selection of delectable cakes, including an incredible vegan chocolate mousse, and is the ideal place to stop for a snack and cup of coffee.
Take a guided tour through Kilmainham Gaol
Dublin has a fascinating and extremely important history, and where better to learn all about it than in Kilmainham Gaol? Many important revolutionaries were imprisoned here during the 1800-1900s, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, and their stories are told here at Kilmainham. Erin, our tour guide, was absolutely fantastic, and told us all about life at the prison and the executions which took place there.
Even if you’re only in Dublin for a few days, I’d highly recommend booking a tour. They’re roughly an hour long but you’ll have time to browse the museum afterwards if you’d like. Guided tours are popular so you’ll need to book in advance online.
Browse the shops at the Powerscourt Centre
My boyfriend and I stumbled upon the Powerscourt Centre by accident – and I’m so glad we did! An indoor market full of charming shops and cool eateries, the Powerscourt Centre is a great place to stop by for a spot of retail therapy or lunch. It also has a very Instagrammable interior if you’re looking for places to take photos!
Have a drink in the Temple Bar region
One of my favourite parts of Dublin, visiting the Temple Bar neighbourhood is a must! This part of the city is characterised by cobbled streets and lively pubs, and it’s impossible to walk down the street without hearing the sound of guitars and people singing along to trad music.
There are many great bars and pubs to pop your head into, but definitely don’t miss the Temple Bar itself. This corner-side pub is impossible to miss, with a pillar box-red exterior and beautiful hanging flower arrangements. Drink prices here are steep, but the atmosphere is second to none! Make sure you visit during the evening (preferably a Friday or Saturday night) to experience the Temple Bar in all its glory.
Try the chips at Leo Burdock’s
Time for a snack? Don’t head home without trying the chips at Leo Burdock’s! They’ve been serving fish and chips for over 100 years and are now Dublin’s oldest fish and chip shop.
I can’t say the chips are the best I’ve ever tasted, however there’s a certain novelty factor to eating at Leo Burdock’s and knowing you’ve joined a long list of celebrities and other famous icons in doing so. You can browse through their Hall of Fame here!
Marvel at the books of Trinity College’s Long Room
Book lovers, get yourselves to Trinity College’s Long Room. You’ll likely have spotted this beautifully ornate library room on Instagram (this must be one of the most photographed spots in Dublin), but nothing compares to seeing it for yourself! The Long Room houses over 200,000 books, and at 65-metres long, is certainly one of the most majestic libraries in the world.
At Trinity College you can also enjoy the famous Book of Kells Exhibition, which is included in your library ticket. Adult ticket prices range from €11 – 14 and you can purchase yours online.
There we have it – that’s my Dublin bucket list for first time visitors! Do you have any other recommendations to add?