How many days are enough to explore all of Dublin? Is the capital of Ireland even worth it? What spots should I not miss? All these questions will be answered.
I can imagine you have all these questions in your head when you are considering or planning to go to Ireland. For me, Dublin was quite unknown place until 3 months ago. It was just that the plane tickets were pretty cheap (60 euros) that I realized I should travel there. I got to spend 2.5 days there and loved every second of it! So stay tuned for all my tips.
What to expect in this article:
Trinity College (Book of Kells)
After waking up early on day 1, we started off at Trinity College. This is a University with the book of Kells and a majestic library.
When we arrived at the College, we got to know that you have to book tickets beforehand online (not offline), so we could make a reservation online for an hour later.
Not a problem at all! After an hour of exploring the area, we could finally enter this famous place.
The Book of Kells is stored in the Trinity College. This is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. In the museum, you get an audio link so you can hear about the history on your phone. Pretty smart especially now with Corona. You even get to see the original book behind glass.
Trinity College (Library)
Once you have visited this, you will enter one of my favorite things about Dublin, the library!
Immense, beautiful, interesting… I loved visiting this place. We tried to take so many pictures and the staff even told us a couple of fun facts. Apparently, it is still possible for the students of this college to read one of the old books in the library, but only by making an appointment and telling beforehand which book you would like to see for a period of time.
The upper floor was created later, which meant that they had to lift the ceiling. This floor is also still reachable by stairs and there are several doors between the bookshelves. A lady told us this and even showed a picture of those doors and man, I would have loved to be able to see this with my own eyes!
The last thing I want to mention is the statues (one of them you can see in the photo). You can see all the famous scientists like Newton, Aristoteles, Darwin, etc.
If there is one thing you need to see in Dublin, the library is definitely one of them.
Umbrella street +pretty doors everywhere!
After Trinity College, you can walk around the area. The architecture is just so gorgeous all over Dublin. Not only the architecture, but I am also a sucker for cute and colorful doors, so if you like that just as much as I do, you are in door heaven 😉
I also recommend visiting Dawson street, a very lively street, as I got a lot of good vibes walking in this street. On one of the side streets you can also find the ‘umbrella street’, which is a street filled with umbrellas hanging in the air. I do admit that it’s not the prettiest street, but it is always fun to visit it.
Lastly, if you walk through Dawson street you will reach the center. This is a place you shouldn’t miss, as there is a lot of life and street performers. The moment we walked here, there was a tap dancer, which I have never seen with my own eyes and totally loved his dance moves.
Next to that, you can find these flower stands all over the street, which makes it so cute to walk here.
Also, I noticed that there were a lot of Spanish architectural vibes and Spanish tourists. I could practice my Spanish in Dublin, doesn’t that sound funny? Coming back to the architecture, I am mostly talking about architecture from Sevilla, with 3 bows. But to be honest, Sevilla has a lot of Moroccan vibes, but why would there be so many Spanish/Moroccan vibes?
Temple Bar Area
Whenever I was doing my research about Dublin, I came across the Temple Bar and was curious why it is so special. The area is indeed very cool and cozy, but also overhyped and expensive in my opinion. We did not enter the bar as it was overcrowded, but I can imagine doing it to experience the hype. I did love the Christmas tree on top! Besides that, bars and going out is something that is Dublin known for and we could definitely notice this during our trip.
I was so hungry when we reached this bar, but did not want to spend a fortune, so we went to Dollard & Co. Food Market. This place is super fun as there are multiple cuisines based in 1 building. I tried a delicious chicken curry and my friend a really nice pizza, so I definitely recommend this place!
Another place I can recommend is Proof Pizza. After trying their pizza with Buffalocheese I was in love. There’s a reason I went to this particular pizzeria every week when I was studying in Sevilla.
I was not the biggest fan of their Nutella (yes chocolate) pizza as a dessert, but I could have expected that. It is not as bad as you think 😉 And yes, I did feel criminal eating it.
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St. Stephens Green Park
Time to flee the city center and enjoy St. Stephens Green Park. As soon as we entered the arch, a kind gentleman approaches us and started telling us about the park, he could even speak Dutch!
He told us that until the fusiliers arch is dedicated to the men who fought and died in the Second Boer war. On the Fusilier arch, you can clearly see all these names. Besides that, he also said that until the 1770s most public hangings and executions took place in this park and that we should look out for a gallow that you can find near the toilets.
I did not feel this while walking the park, as everyone was chilling in the grass, even many pigeons. Unfortunately, we did not find the gallow, so that is up to you now! If you find the gallow let me know where you found it!
Drinks in a church
Ireland can get cold and as I forgot my gloves, it was a good excuse to visit Penney´s aka Primark, which was bloody huge! Yes, I did find gloves and I recommend if you get to visit Dublin after October be well prepared for the cold. For me it was cold, but I did see a lot of male locals and tourists in shorts. We could never!
As our first day was ending, we had to get out and have a drink in one of the bars. Eventually, we ended up in a church and had some tasty nachos. This was such a unique location and so the inside was gorgeous. My friend from Edinburgh told me this was her hangout spot when she was still living in Dublin. Super cool!
We actually had half a day left, which we spent in a town outside Dublin called Howth. The nature there is stunning! So if you have 5 hours left, you definitely have to go there. I will write a blog about that town very soon.
Castle… or palace? I wasn’t sure when I was walking through this spot, however I do have to say it is really pretty and the entree was free until the end of 2021.
Dublin Castle served for centuries (erected in the 13th century) as the headquarters of English, and later British, administration in Ireland.
We got to spend around 2 hours in this ‘castle’ and loved every second of it. It felt like it was our playground, so we were running and taking a lot of pictures everywhere! Every room is a piece of art and different from the other.
You can leave your stuff in a locker, which was super useful as we were packed.
I wish you a lot of fun in this photogenic castle which is actually a palace!
St. Patrick's & Christ Church Cathedral
The next destinations should be both churches which are in walking distance of each other (basically a 7 minutes walk).
Let’s start with the Christ Church. It is almost 1000 years old and was originally a Viking Church (cool!). It has a beautiful arch that leads to the other part of the cathedral.
Secondly, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is huge. It’s actually the biggest cathedral in Ireland. Part of the church was destroyed in a fire in 1370, including the nave and tower, and were both rebuilt. There is a big park in front of the cathedral, where you can hang out on benches and let your dogs out to play.
We did not enter both, as we found it a bit too expensive, plus we have seen a lot of churches. Yet they are very pretty to see from the outside, so next time I go to Ireland I won’t miss visiting these from the inside as well.
Samuel Beckett Bridge & Merrion Park
If you have time left, the Samuel Beckett Bridge might be nice to witness. It’s very modern compared to the churches and the Temple Bar area. The bridge itself is pretty and it’s nice to see the reflection of the surrounding buildings in the water.
I was even lucky enough to see people rowing! That reminded me of those people that trained for rowing championships in my favorite city, Sevilla, so it might be possible that the same thing is happening for Dublin.
If you walk 15/20 minutes, you can enjoy the colorful doors of Dublin again, including some time in Merrion Park. This is one of the finest and most intact examples of Georgian urban design, which I found pretty cool. I have not been to New York (yet), but I can imagine houses in NY might look the same. You can also see some statues again, just as in the library, but this time I wasn’t sure who those people were.
Lastly, can also see a large statue of Oscar Wilde, a famous Irish writer.
In 2 days you can see a lot, but unfortunately still not everything. So if you are luckier, these are a few more recommendations that were on my list for if we had more time.
- Phoenix Park: This is one of the largest enclosed parks in any capital city of Europe. I wanted to go there very badly because of the deers that wander around.
- Guinness Storehouse: The principal reason my friend and I did not visit the storehouse is that I don’t drink and my friend doesn’t like Guinness beer much. That is exactly what this storehouse is about, the history of the Guinness Beer.
- Kilmainham Gaol: A former prison, where many Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the orders of the UK Government. Not a very happy place, but for sure interesting.
I found 2 full days in Dublin enough and it was a nice start to get to know Ireland. I was surprised many times, by how pretty the library is, to how many Spanish tourists I have seen and how beautiful the architecture is. It’s a very cozy city where you can have a lot of fun in the pubs. I hope to return to Ireland to witness more of the beauty!
What is first on your list to visit in Dublin? Or if you have visited it, what did you like most?
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