Ohhhh Dublin. The City that has never disappointed me. The place that always shows me the best of times, and feels so familiar. Perhaps because of my Irish heritage? Or maybe as a result of the famous Irish charm and hospitality? It’s the City that always feels like its a huge place, but squished into a small village. It has something to offer for all. Everything is there, on your doorstep, ready to be enjoyed. I have spent many a weekend in Dublin with my girlfriends. If I told you that some of those weekends have involved star studded onesies, hotel corridor yoga and impersonating Ikea meatballs, you may well be thinking I had lost the plot…. Let us save those stories for if and when we ever meet….. For now, I thought I would give you some information if you are thinking of booking your own trip. Dublin breaks really are a perfect weekender.
Dublin Weekend Breaks
Although I have said weekend breaks, of course Dublin is a City that can be enjoyed at any time! It will never be a sleepy, quiet place. You will always, whatever the day, find fun. I have never been there and not heard the musical talents of many an Irish musician drifting along the cobbled streets on the wind. But, since it is only around an hours flight from the Uk to Dublin, it makes it the perfect weekend break! You could even leave after work Friday and return Sunday if work commitments are getting in the way. There are so many daily options for flights to Dublin, you are sure to find something suitable. Skyscanner have an abundance of options.
First time trips to Dublin – Where to Stay
Like any first time visit’s to a new City, it can be hard to know what area to stay in. It will of course also depend on what you are looking for from your Dublin breaks. I will give you a little run down of the most popular areas, hopefully that will help;
Temple Bar – If you are there to enjoy all that the City has to offer, then you cannot go wrong making base camp in the Temple Bar area. Temple bar is a riverside area of Dublin, spread across several cobbled streets. It is busy, and packed full of pubs, but a brilliant place to stay if city night life is on your agenda. I have stayed in this area the majority of the times I have been in Dublin.
City Centre – The heart of the City, this area has an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars. It is also the area that you will find Henry Street, the oldest and most famous shopping area of Dublin.
Trinity – This area, on the opposite of the river Liffey, is more budget friendly. It is still within easy reach of Temple Bar, but easier on the wallet. You will find the well known Trinity College and Molly Malone statue over in this area, as well as beautiful architecture. It also happens to have the best budget accommodation Dublin offers.
Phibsborough – If you are looking for somewhere a little more trendy and cool, this area in the North of the city is for you. Phibsborough has seen a rise in popularity the last few years. Many stylish cafe’s and boutiques have opened in recent years, and it has a rising street art scene.
Portobello – This area, in the South of the city, is often recommended to families visiting Dublin. It is around 10 minutes from the city centre. Still a vibrant part of the city, Portobello has managed to keep its more traditional, village type feel.
Dublin breaks – Things to do
Dublin is the perfect short break for just about anyone. It has culture, history and nightlife, in addition to a great food scene and retail therapy options. This section will give you some ideas to gove you just a taste of what you could do in this fabulous City
Walk the Ha’penny Bridge – The bridge, (officially called Liffey Bridge) is a pedestrain bridge crossing over the river. Built in the early 1800’s, you cannot come to Dublin without walking over the bridge. On one side you have Temple Bar, the other is well know O’Connell Street, where the famous monument, The Spire.
A Historical Walking Tour – These inexpensive tours, (around £10-£15) are a great way to get an introduction to the City. Led by your Trinity College history graduate tour guide, you will get an overview of Dublins rich history. The tour, lasting about 2 hours, will take you from Trinity College to Christchurch, with beautiful historical sites along the way.
Dublin Castle – Thirteenth century Dublin Castle sits on the site of a Viking settlement. Now a government building, tours of the castle can be taken daily. There is even part of the original viking wall below the castle, giving a glimpse of the Viking times defences of the City of Dublin. Prices start at €8 for an adult ticket.
Trinity College Library – A visit here is a must. The library itself, the largest vaulted library in Europe, is beautiful. However, most come to see the famous Book of Kells. Widely considered as Irelands most precious ancient treasure, the 9th century book was said to have been created and illustrated by monks. It is intricate in design, and said to be visually stunning. **from November 2019-March 2020 the book on display will be a copy. The original is in having work done on it.
Visit the Guiness Factory – It has to be done! I promise you, you will never taste guiness as good as what they serve in Ireland. Nuff said…
Visit the Leprechaun Museum – I know, I know, it feels bad to visit here right? But far from being just a mickey taking stereotype, the museum teaches interesting Irish Folklore and myth. You also get to sit on a huge, huge, HUGE chair…..
St Patricks Cathedral – One of Dublins most visited sites. This 800 year old cathedral is one of the only remaining buildings left from medieval Dublin. This visually stunning cathedral is such a major part of Dublin, and indeed Irelands history. It is beautiful and a must see.
There is so much more to see and do in Dublin. We would be here until next month if we discussed them all. There are also many day trips you can do away from the City, including visiting the Giants Causeway with a little Game of Thrones experience thrown in! I have literally given you a tiny snap shot.
If you fancy a day trip out of Dublin, my fellow travel buddy wrote a great post on a Day trip to Howth. Click the link to read it.
Night Life for your Dublin Weekend break
Ok, we have had a healthy dose of culture, lets get to experiencing the Irish hospitality…..
Where to drink
I am going to give you a quick run down of some of my favourites. I will admit to have a little bias here. I do love to go in a traditional Irish pub, with live music when I am in Dublin. I just find the atmosphere the best! There are also some great cocktail bars though, so let me tell you a few.
Vintage Cocktail Club – In the Temple Bar area, this 1920’s, speak easy style bar is probably sitting in my cocktail bar top spot. A strictly over 23’s bar, I just love it. Drinks start at around €13
The Liquor Rooms – Set a few minutes walk away from Temple Bar, this award winning cocktail bar is amazing. It has four rooms, and dancing is allowed….bring your best moves… Cocktails start at around €10
Peruke & Periwig – A speakeasy style bar, this one is fancy, but with a real comfortable, understated feel. Right near Grafton Street, the cocktails are inventive and delicious! Cocktails are around €12
For live Music
The Palace Bar – Another Temple Bar favourite of mine. One of the oldest pubs in the city, despite it being in the main tourist area, it still feels traditional. Serving Guinness, of course, but The Palace is also famous for its Irish craft ales. Always a great atmosphere here.
O’Donoghues Bar – Traditional pub with no pomp and ceremony. It can get very busy, but the music is amazing and it feels very authentic. Nothing posh about O’Donoghues, but you can guarantee a great night.
Darkey Kelly’s – If it’s a friendly, traditional bar you are after, with fantastic Irish music, I’v got you covered. Darkey Kelly’s is located just near Christ Church cathedral, near Temple Bar. A former brothel, “Darkey’s” has a dance floor where you can get your Irish jig on. Lots of fun, fabulous music. What more could you want!
Phew! We are there. A little whistle stop, snap shot of one of my favourite cities. If you fancy more close to home weekend inspiration, have a read of Four UK Mini Breaks to Consider.
If you are still here, well done! It was a long one! We didnt even get into the hotels and restaurants! Maybe I will cover them another time. I hope I have shown that Dublin breaks are far more than just pubs. I even love just walking around the city and listening to the talented buskers. The Irish can sing! It is a vibrant, wonderful city to visit and I would urge anyone to go. I promise you, that Irish charm is real and Dublin will hook you in, as it has me…
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