At the bottom of this page you will find a copy of our full 3 day itinerary (or as I like to call it, “Idea Guide”) for Dublin. I also included a free printable attachment for you to create your own.
Dublin is a small piece of the treasurous (not quite a word, but almost) bounties that is Ireland.
When it comes to Dublin you should not avoid what some label as “touristy”. These locations are tourist hotspots (otherwise known as Pinterest must do’s) for a good reason – they’re worth the hype.
This is especially true for locations such as St. Patricks Cathedral, Trinity College, and Guinness Storehouse. Among these quintessential locations are a few other gems I am sharing with you today.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “religious person” – surely not in the traditional sense and specifically not Catholic. So it is no wonder that my original list of “Things To Do” (located at the bottom of the page) does not include the Cathedral.
Why am I telling you this? To prove that you don’t have to be quote-on-quote religious to appreciate St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
One of the most iconic buildings of Ireland St. Patrick’s Cathedral is reminiscent of the Medieval period.
Once inside you will be captivated by Gothic architecture, house sigils of times passed, and elegant stain glass windows telling the story of St. Patrick’s life in 39 images. The Cathedral is also the resting place of Jonathon Swift, writer of Gulliver’s Travels. Is that cool? or?
To receive the very most out of your visit I highly recommend the guided tour. We received far more information from the guided tour than was expected.
For example, did you know that in the 19th century the Guinness family restored the Cathedral essentially saving it from complete ruin? I didn’t.
If you are like me, unaware of the Cathedrals history, and are planning a trip to Dublin you have two options:
You could do extensive research (ya know, aside from what you’re getting here) prior to your trip and learn the fascinating, rich history of the Cathedral from online resources (snooze fest)
or (the better option) you can truly experience these historical tales for yourself with the tour.
One of my favorite elements within the Cathedral is a newer (and not so talked about) addition, The Tree of Remembrance.
Crafted in 2014 The Tree of Remembrance, is a commemoration to the 100th anniversary of World War One. It is a representation of the severe destruction and loss that war brings. Visitors are invited to leave messages at the base of the tree for loved ones who have been affected by conflict.
KEY NOTE: If you allow yourself to fully embrace your surroundings St. Patrick’s Cathedral will undoubtably be one of your most treasured experiences from Dublin.
The Temple Bar
Did you even go to Ireland if you don’t have a photo of The Temple Bar?
Yes, the bar is iconic. Yes, the bar is pretty cool in person. Yes, they serve Guinness (obviously).
There are numerous blog posts that will tell you what a phenomenal time you will have here…
However. I won’t lie to you. The Temple Bar was jam packed with people and while you do get a certain Irish-pub vibe, it was so crowded that the place was difficult to appreciate. The bar did have live music (always enjoyable) – and if you’re looking for high-levels of social interaction, you will love it.
Bottom line, I’m glad we went because I can say that I did. Would I go again? Probably not.
Why? Because there were plenty of really amazing – goose bump inducing – “holly Sh*t I’m in Ireland” type pubs in other parts of the country. I will be sharing those with you in future posts.
Trinity College & The Book of Kells
QUICK NOTE: If you are a person who would travel to Paris, France just to avoid Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa then you can skip this section because you and I are not the same.
Did we wait in line to see an old book? Yes. Would I do it again? 100% yes. Why?
The Book of Kells is regarded as one of Irelands greatest treasures and the most famous medieval manuscript in the world. No photos are allowed of the book itself – this makes for the perfect opportunity to disconnect.
The Book of Kells isn’t the only thing to be admired when exploring Trinity College. The campus itself, located in the heart of Dublin, is a peaceful stroll through Classical architecture encompassing more than four-hundred-years worth of history.
If you would like to learn more about the campus you can reserve a tour for €15.00 per person. The price includes entry to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition.
The Old Library Exhibition includes the Long Room which is arguably one of the most magnificent library exhibits in the world – and undoubtably one of the most common images on your Ireland Pinterest feed.
The room is home to 200,000 books – an impressive library collection indeed.
Aligning the Long Room are notably spectacular marble busts of great writers and philosophers. The first of the collection being placed in 1743.
It’s really a marb-elous site. *wink, wink*
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublins most popular tourist attractions and there is good reason for that.
Is the Guinness better at the Storehouse? YES, yes, 100x yes.
I am not what you would call, “a Guinness drinker”. Aside from the occasional Guinness on St. Patricks Day I really avoid the stuff.
Also worth noting, and potentially blasphemous of me to say, but there was not one place (I visited) in Ireland that had better Guinness than what was served at the Guinness Storehouse.
Yeah, it’s that FREAKIN’ good.
The Guinness Storehouse is a well designed industrial themed museum with, of course, plenty of Guinness to go around.
The entrance ticket includes a free Guinness. Fellow bloggers recommend booking your slot in advance as to not miss your opportunity due to tickets being sold out – this was not our experience, though I definitely don’t think it hurts to purchase tickets in advance. Depending on the time slot you choose will depend on the price of tickets. I linked the Storehouse website in the title card above.
While inside you’ll experience multi-sensory tasting rooms, take a class on how to properly poor a Guinness; which includes a ‘poor master’ certificate proving you can poor the perfect pint of Guinness and… you guessed it, a Guinness!
There is also a breathtaking “Gravity Bar” on the top floor with floor-to-ceiling windows leaving you surrounded by towering views of Dublin.
If that isn’t enough to peak your fancy, get your face printed on Guinness foam. Now really, where else can you do that?
Our trip was a family affair – there were 5 of us. With 5 travelers it is difficult to accommodate everyones interest. We spent about 4 hours at the Guinness Storehouse and it was probably one of the most universally enjoyed experiences among the group.
Other Random Enjoyments
With a variety of pub choices in Dublin I’m sure finding a quality whiskey tasting spot won’t be too difficult.
For us, the Irish Whiskey Museum was the perfect stop after Trinity College with its location just steps away, on Grafton Street, you can’t go wrong.
Since opening in 2014, the Irish Whiskey Museum is quickly growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. The customer service was phenomenal and the in-house whiskey bar has a charming-quant feel. Made far more enjoyable by the window-seat views overlooking Trinity College – perfect for people watching.
The Museum offers a few different types of interactive tours from “classic” to a “blending experience” – plenty of options to fit your fancy.
Coffee n’ Snackin’
One of my favorite things to do on vacation is try out different coffee shops. I find it to be a relatively inexpensive way to experience a multitude of international flavors and take-in some local energy. Two of my favorite coffee shops in Dublin:
- Queen of Tarts
- Peacockgreen & Co.
Our Favorite Restaurant – Sova Vegan Butcher
One word, Delicious – the end.
Saint Stephen’s Green
From Central Park in New York to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, a walk in the park never fails to satisfy.
We sorta stumbled upon Saint Stephen’s Green and I’m so glad we did. Surrounded by Georgian townhouses with vibrant-colorful doors, the park is a lush green oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It’s no wonder Saint Stephen’s Green holds a special place within the heart of many Dubliners.
Grafton Street &
Some of the most fun we had was strolling the streets. There is plenty to explore. We enjoyed shops with local art displays, people watching, and grabbing snap-shots along the way.
Did I enjoy Dublin?
If you’d asked me that question a year ago my response would have been “the place has a certain every city feel” – now that I’m reflecting on the trip I can’t help but kick-myself for ever having that thought. Because Dublin isn’t an ‘every city‘; Dublin is Dublin. There is no other Dublin, Ireland. Just as New York City isn’t San Francisco, and San Francisco isn’t Chicago, and so on. Sure there may be similarities, but each place is made its own by people, history, and culture.
It is up to you, as a traveler, to find those uniquely special attributes.
Our Full 3 Day Itinerary & FREE Printable