There are a lot of very touristy things to do in Dublin, from the Long Room Library at Trinity College to Dublin Castle to the Guinness Storehouse.
On our trip there, the Brit and I were having none of that! I love to visit some nice historical and typical sites in a new country. However, the level of tourists and how much it costs will always influence us. Dublin was a hellhole of tourists in August. The construction works around the city weren’t helping. This meant we decided to skip a few ‘must-sees’ from the get go.
Since we were meeting with my good friend from back home and her boyfriend, who is from Dublin, they could advise us really well on what to see and what to skip.
Here is an alternate weekend itinerary through Dublin:
Itinerary day 1:
Instead of grabbing a quick sausage roll, start your stay in Dublin with a filling brunch at a unique restaurant that will make you taste the best of Ireland.
From there, burn all those calories and walk all the way to Trinity College Dublin. Walk around the crowded squares to see the energy of the campus. From there you can visit the Science Gallery and hopefully catch one of their free exhibition.
Grab a quick lunch and head over to a park, St Stephen’s Green or Merrion Square, to have a picnic if you’re lucky enough for it to be sunny.
Afterwards, instead of paying €20 to see the Long Room Library along with the rest of the tourists in Dublin, why not walk only a few minutes to the National Library of Ireland. They have a reading room that is absolutely exquisite to view. They also constantly have exhibition about Ireland’s most famous writers and poets.
In the theme of books, drop by Ireland’s oldest bookshop, Hodges Figgis (now owned by Waterstones). It has a whole section on Irish literature that is hard to pass by.
Finish the day in a pub in the south of the city, enjoying some Irish beer or whisky, far from the maddening crowd of Temple Bar. A local friend recommended the pub Against the Grain near St Stephen’s Green and it was relaxing, not too crowded and offered some local and international beers.
You can then walk home admire the city at night.
Itinerary day 2:
The best way to start the day is to walk along the River Liffey. It even has some little wooden walkways which is perfect for slower-paced, photo-taking tourists. That way you can catch some nice photos of iconic buildings like the Custom House, the Four Courts and even the Ha’penny Bridge.
From there, cross south of the River through South Bridge Street. That way you’ll come across The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub. It opens at 10.30am daily (except Sundays) if you’re adamant on grabbing a drink.
If you continue south, you’ll come across the Dublinia and Christ Church Cathedral. Don’t forget to look down Winetavern St to see the little bridge that links the two.
Continue your walk to arrive at Dublin Castle. The grounds are free to roam and explore and I recommend you simply walk around with a good guidebook. The building exteriors are beautiful, from the Bedford Tower to the Chapel Royal.
If you walk further behind the Castle, you’ll come across an interesting park, Dubhlinn Gardens. It’s the perfect place for another picnic. On a sunny day, it’s filled with people sitting on benches or directly on the grass.
The Chester Beatty Library, situated right off Dubhlinn Gardens, offers another alternative to many other attractions in the city. It holds an impressive collection of all kinds of manuscripts, paintings, drawings, etc.
If you love a good museum, there are also the National Gallery of Ireland, The National Museum of Ireland Archaeology, as well as the Natural History Museum. The Iron Age bog bodies are an absolute must-see!
Suggestion for a possible day 3:
If you have a long weekend and can spend a third day in Ireland, I would recommend doing a little day trip. The Cliffs of Moher and the west coast in general is quite a drive away, and probably worth its own trip, so I would recommend settling for a day trip near Dublin.
Howth is a lovely seaside town which has loads to offer for a day trip out of the city.
– Some museums, like the National Museums, are closed on Mondays so read the details before planning.
– Dublin is expensive, so plan early if you want to get some cheap accommodation.
– Regarding public transportation, it’s fairly easy around the city centre, especially with the trams. However, I would recommend simply walking if you’re staying close to the centre. It’s good exercise, saves you money and makes you see the city even more.
– The public parks close around dusk, so if you hear a bell, know that it’s time you leave.
– From the airport, it’s very easy to get to the city centre. There are airlinks, numbers 757 and 747, every 10 or 15 minutes and it’s only €6 for a single or €10 for a return.
What is your favourite thing to see in Dublin? What would you suggest?xx