Dublin is a lively city with different cuisine and activity options. If you like traditional Irish foods, there are many choices for that. Likewise, if you are a history buff, you will find a wealth of options to fulfill this obsession as well! In our next installment for this series, we have outlined several of our favorite sites in Dublin!
Where to Eat:
J. W. Sweetman – 1-2 Burgh Quay, D2 –
We arrived too early to check into our hostel so we headed out for some exploring and food. We happened to come upon JW Sweetman and it was exactly what we needed! We all had their traditional Irish stew and Irish brown bread. Their prices are good, especially for the portion sizes. As this was where we had our first meal in Dublin, on our last light in Dublin we chose to eat here for our final dinner in town too! Highly recommend this place!
Art Cafe – 1 Frenchman’s Lane – This adorable and cozy cafe totally hit the spot for a traditional Irish breakfast on a drizzly morning! A little out of the main city center but an easy walk! The service is friendly, the food is delicious and the atmosphere feels like sitting in your own breakfast nook at home!
Pa Pa Pizzeria – 104 Talbot St, North City, Dublin, Ireland – You can’t beat 5 Euro for a big slice of pizza and a drink. We actually happened upon this little take out shop with just a row of bar stools on the one wall and a wide selection of authentic pizza reminiscent of the NYC style slice. They are open late and near a Tesco Express for snacks after hours!
Supermac’s – All over Dublin! – Like a McD’s but somehow better. Affordable and open late in some locations! Affordable, open late, good quality food and some big burger option.
The Cobblestone Pub – 77 King St N, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 TP22, Ireland – Traditional Irish Pub with free traditional music and great atmosphere! This is a do not miss pub!
Peader Kearney’s Pub – 64 Dame Street Dublin 2 – This traditional pub is named or a local musician who lived in the building that now houses the pub, it was Peadar Kearney who wrote Abhrán na BhFiann, the Irish National Anthem. Traditional music can be caught here, along with a perfectly pulled pint!
Bruxelle’s – 7 Harry Street Co. Dublin, Ireland – An extensive menu, any time of the day. Three bars in one building make up Bruxelle’s! Service is great, the food is amazing and the atmosphere is eclectic, you can’t beat all that is happening here!
What to do:
The experience of a lifetime to not only get to see this Illuminated Manuscript, learn the history and be inches from it (you can’t take photos), but to then stand amid the truly awe inspiring arched alcoves of rare books as well as other artifacts. As writers, history buffs and artists this was one of our favorite experiences of our trip to Dublin. Discounts available for students, so bring your ID!
Kilmainham Gaol – Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland
A truly moving experience. One of the largest unoccupied jails (gaol) in Europe, this facility served from the 1780s to the 1920s. Housing the infamous leaders of the Easter uprising of 1916 as well as many other well known Irish Revolutionaries, the stories that these walls could tell are numerous. Discounts available for students!
Blarney Castle – Monacnapa, Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland
We chose to take a day tour (there are many companies to choose from) and we were very glad that we did. You can of course head to Blarney Castle on your own, figuring out the public transit or renting a car. We found that a day tour took a lot of the guess work and stress out of it. You will need several hours to explore the castle, hike up the winding stairs to hang over the edge (backwards) and kiss the stone, walk the grounds and gardens and head over to the gift shops across the street! While you are there, grab a cappuccino! (It was my first Latte Art!)
Rock of Cashel – Moor, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland – This was also on our tour to Blarney Castle. Once the seat of the kings of Munster, this site was donated to the church in 1101. The round tower is the oldest and tallest section of the building and dates to around 1100. The cemetery that surrounds the cathedral is peaceful and many of the markers are so old that the weather has worn off all markings. Certainly a stop you shouldn’t miss!
Cork City – Day Tour!
We only had a little over an hour in this wonderful city on our tour, but that hour was a bit of an adventure to find a place to eat, stamps and a quick souvenir. One of the cities that my Irish family is from, I know I’ll be back. A quick stop with a walk down the main road will certainly leave you wanting more! Take a quick train trip from Dublin to Cork and check out all this city has to offer! (Check out The Hatch for a Cork Boi)
Dublin Castle -Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2 – The seat of English, then British, rule in Ireland from 1204 until 1922, the site is steeped in history. Some sections are free to view and others can be toured for a fee. Below the castle, excavations have uncovered Viking Era artifacts!
Chester Beatty Library – Located on the grounds of Dublin Castle – Free admission and one of the best private collections of manuscripts, photography, furniture, paintings, prints and decorative arts. Take a break for some lunch in the cozy cafe, stop in the small gift shop and walk the garden walkway!
Christ’s Church – Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland – Founded in 1030 by the Norse King, Sitriuc Silkenbeard, the site has seen not only history happen around it, but has welcomed many key figures like King James in 1689, and King William III in 1690 (he gave thanks for his victory in the Battle of the Boyne) as well. A stunning piece of architecture inside and out.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral – St Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, DZ08 H6X3 – For over 800 years, St. Patrick’s has served the people of the city. Johnathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) is buried on the site as well as several other key historical figures. Saint Patrick’s Well was found on the site in 1901 as well as Celtic burial slabs. A Stunning cathedral with beautiful grounds to walk, spend some time soaking in the beauty, history and the peace that surrounds this beautiful cathedral. Light a candle, say a prayer and consider staying for mass. Entry is 6 Euro.
National Museum of Archaeology – Kildare St, Dublin 2, Ireland Another free thing to do in Dublin, you likely will need all day to see the entire museum. We had several hours and still didn’t see everything. From Bog Bodies, to incredible insect displays, ancient tools and religious artifacts, there are so many different pieces of Ireland’s rich history found here. Give yourself at least half the day, better yet head there early and take a break for some lunch, only to return to see the rest in the afternoon!
Dublinia – Dublinia is located at Christ Church, the crossroads of St. Michael’s Hill, Patrick Street, and High Street, in Dublin City Centre. Dublinia is connected to Christ Church Cathedral by a Neo-Gothic archway. – Immerse yourself in Dublin’s Viking and Medieval history! Hands-on experiences mixed with recreations and real artifacts, this museum meets interactive exhibit is educational and fun! Well worth the 9.50 (8.50 for students) entry fee!
Dublin Writer’s Museum – 18 Parnell Square – Housed in an 18th century mansion, here you can find a collection honoring the works of Swift, Sheridan, Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett through books, letters, portraits and personal items.
This is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to things to see and do in Dublin (and the vicinity). Remember to double check opening hours as some places may be closed during your visit!
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often, for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee