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Ultimate Dublin To Do List

by Roberto
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I’ve been living in Dublin for 5 years and the time has just FLOWN! In those 5 years, I’ve had visitors from home nearly every month! You could say that I am now an EXPERT tour guide.

If I could give a friend the ULTIMATE tour of Dublin, I’d make sure to hit ALL of these places!

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Guinness Storehouse

One of the best places to get a pint of the black stuff (in my personal opinion) is the Guinness Storehouse itself.  It’s a self guided tour where you learn about the history of Guinness and experience classic Guinness advertising, but you can even get certified in pouring the perfect pint!  You can also catch an Irish dancing performance or trad session (traditional music), and even grab a bit to eat at one of the many restaurants.  At the end of the exhibit, you end up on the top floor at the Gravity Bar with the best views of Dublin!!

Top Tip:

Get your tickets online before you go (even if it’s just a few hours before). They try to manage crowds by only releasing a certain number of tickets every 30 minutes, but it’s also up to 25% cheaper AND you get in a much shorter line.

The Guinness Storehouse has also recently opened tours of the St. James Gate Brewery and you can get one ticket for both.

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Jameson Distillery

Another must among tourists is the Jameson Distillery (especially if you are a big whiskey drinker)! While no longer a functioning distillery, it’s still a great spot to learn about the history of Ireland!

My personal favorite part of visiting Jameson is all of the choices in cocktails at the bar in the lobby! I’m not really a whiskey drinker, but I do love a good fancy cocktail and the ones at the Jameson bar are definitely up there!

The Spire

The Spire is probably one of the more bizarre landmarks in Europe. The Irish meant to erect the “Millennium Spire” in 2000, but in true Irish fashion, it was finished a bit late in 2003. At 150 meters high, it’s a great “north star” to use to get your bearings around the city and is often used as a gathering point for both locals and tour groups alike.

Many locals have also given the beloved landmark a few different (and unique) nicknames: The Stiffy by the Liffey, the Stilletto in the Ghetto, and even, the Erection at the Intersection.

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Christ Church Cathedral

Just off the busy streets of Temple Bar in Dublin you’ll take a step back in history as soon as you see Christ Church Cathedral. They deliver tours throughout the year where you’ll meet the famous Irish Tom and Jerry, the mummified cat and mouse found inside the organ pipes.

Grafton Street

Still one of my favorite places to visit in Dublin as a local is the famous Grafton Street. To Dubliners, Grafton Street is mainly known for its shopping. Once you finish shopping, there are some fantastic restaurants all nearby as well!

If you are not in the market for new clothing, then you’ll be there for the entertainment! Grafton Street is the main gathering spot of most of the street performers (or buskers) in Dublin. From soccer players to acoustic singers to full blown bands to even magicians and break dancers, a walk along Grafton Street is sure to be entertaining!

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Kilmainham Gaol

Gaol is the Irish Gaelic word for ‘Jail’, and that’s exactly what this is.  Kilmainham Gaol was the prison many of the leaders of the 1916 uprising were imprisoned and executed by the British.  The tour is arguably one of the best in Dublin and the stories told by the tour guides are both chilling and heartbreaking. 

Top Tip:

If you do want to do this tour, you do need to buy tickets online in advance (1-2 days in the winter, 5-6 days in the summer). The other option is to get there when they open and try to get one of the tickets released for the day!

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St. Stephen’s Green

There is nothing like the buzz of St. Stephen’s Green on a sunny day during the Irish summer. I say Irish summer, because even when sunny, the high is usually around 65 Fahrenheit. On a dry day above 60, you’ll find half the city sitting with friends, enjoying the company, and the sunshine… usually trying to get an Irish tan (cough… really sunburned).

Even on a rainy day, the park is beautiful and well kept up. You’ll find ponds full of gorgeous swans and hundreds of ducks as well as bright, blooming flowers. It’s the perfect escape from the city while smack dab in the middle of the city at the same time.

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Howth

Howth is easily one of the most beautiful Dublin suburbs and makes for a fantastic day trip out of the city on a sunny day. Just a short ride on the train from Dublin, you’ll get some of the best seafood right from Dublin Bay and might get lucky enough to see some of the Irish seals looking for fish scraps!

One of the most popular things to do in Howth is to take a fairly easy hike up to the Howth Cliff Walk to “dust off the cobwebs” as the Irish say. You can walk up to the cliff and head back to town, but if you have a bit more time (about 2 hours) you can walk all the way around the peninsula and take in the best views of Dublin Bay!

Malahide Castle

Castles… pretty much what everyone shows up in Ireland for. If you don’t have time to leave Dublin to see some of the famous castles like Ashford or Blarney Castle, I PROMISE you, Malahide Castle will give you your Irish castle fix. My first visit brought be to tears because, well…. I LIVE IN IRELAND.

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Have a Pint in THE Temple Bar

Many tourists don’t realize Temple Bar is a whole cultural area, as well as a world famous drinking hole… but that doesn’t make it any less amazing! It’s great “craic” as the Irish would say, but if you aren’t a fan of crowded places, go right after lunch, or during a weekday.

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Trinity College

One of the most famous universities in Europe is also one of the more popular tourist attractions in Dublin. Right upon entering, you’ll see the iconic bell tower, one of my favorite landmarks in Ireland!

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Book of Kells and the Long Room

I beautiful library makes me swoon and the Trinity College Long Room is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

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