The Best of Dublin

CULTURE

1 ABBEY THEATRE • The Irish love criticizing the National Theatre. The tyranny of nostalgia has us pining for the good old days of WB Yeats and Lady Gregory – but the Abbey is still a cultural powerhouse. Don’t leave Dublin without seeing a play here.
26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Phone: 8787222

2 CHESTER BEATTY LIBRARY • Alfred Chester Beatty was an Irish-American mining magnate who collected 3,000 rare printed books and over 26,000 prints and drawings.  From Biblical Papyri to Japanese painted scrolls, he was quite the hoarder. If the sun is shining, check out the roof garden.
Dame Street. Dublin 2. Phone: 4070750

3 CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL • This gothic masterpiece is officially claimed as the seat of the Church of Ireland and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin. It allegedly inspired the Transylvanian castle in Dracula. Worth a look.
Christchurch Place, Dublin. Phone: 6778099

4 DUBLIN CITY GALLERY THE HUGH LANE • Never mind the cumbersome name. This handsome art gallery boasts work by Renoir, Manet and Pissarro, as well as Francis Bacon’s studio. Bacon left Dublin as a teenager, vowing never to return; at last he gets the attention he deserves in his hometown.
Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1. Phone: 2225564

5 THE GATE THEATRE • A wily impresario called Michael Colgan gets well-heeled southsiders to cross the Liffey, with a mixture of heritage theatre (Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde) and modern Irish masters (Brian Friel, Sam Beckett). Arguably the best theatre in Ireland.
Cavendish Row, Dublin 1. Phone: 874 4045

6 GUINNESS STOREHOUSE  • Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction attracts more than a million people every year. Have a pint of the black stuff on the top-floor Gravity Bar, with its 360 degree views of this dirty old town.
St James Gate, Dublin 8. Phone: 4084800

7 THE LONG ROOM  • Since 1801 this library in Trinity College has had the right to claim a free copy of every book published in these islands. But the main event remains the Book of Kells. A must for bibliophiles, the Long Room is also popular with interior decorators, architects and anyone who likes a good open-mouthed gawk.
Trinity College Dublin, Fellows Square, Dublin 2. Phone: 8963174

8 MARSH’S LIBRARY •  Unchanged for three centuries, this perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment, with its original oak bookcases, houses more than 25,000 rare books.  Don’t go to St Patrick’s Cathedral without visiting this hidden gem just around the corner.
St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8. Phone: 4543511

9 NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND • Caravaggio, Picasso and Goya can all be found in this very grand gallery. And it’s free. Check out Jack B Yeats, brother of the poet WB (they didn’t get on). His Liffey Swim is perhaps the definitive Dublin painting. Nice café too.
5 South Leinster Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6619877
 
10 THE LITTLE MUSEUM OF DUBLIN • Okay, we're biased, but still: there's a reason this is the number one museum in Ireland on Tripadvisor. Our famous guided tour starts on the hour every hour. If you want to discover the story of Dublin visit the little museum today.
15 Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 6611000

 
 

11 NATIONAL MUSEUM • Well over 100 years old, the National Museum is free, huge, seriously impressive and typically overlooked by visitors seduced by flash entreaties. Ignore them. If you leave Dublin without seeing the Ardagh chalice you are a prize gobdaw.
Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6486457

 
 

12 NATIONAL LIBRARY • The WB Yeats exhibition is free – and fantastic. And we love the library itself, which features in Ulysses (but of course, you knew that, right?) and has hardly changed since 1877. Serenity and cultural smarts in a world gone Lady Gaga.
Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6030200

13 ROYAL HIBERNIAN ACADEMY • This stunning art gallery is where to see work by leading contemporary artists. Once headquartered on Lower Abbey Street, the RHA was burnt down during the Easter Rising and is now housed on Ely Place. Black poloneck not essential.
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2. Phone: 6612558

14 SCIENCE GALLERY • An exhibition space in which art and science are free, indeed encouraged, to make out together. Now they’re planning identikit branches all over the world. Clever, eh?
Pearse Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2. Phone: 8964091

15 ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL •  In Jonathan Swift’s time, Dublin was a colonial backwater. Swift is famous for Gulliver’s Travels, but we prefer the venom of his Modest Proposal. Pay homage in the Cathedral where he worked until his death in 1745.
St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8. Phone: 453 9472

RESTAURANTS

16 777 •  This Mexican joint isn’t as authentic as it pretends to be, but it’s still a lot of fun, and yes, they do serve killer margaritas. Food isn’t really the point, but since you ask, try the sobritas: confit tuna belly and crispy chicken skin with spicy tonnata dressing.
7 Castle House, South Great Georges St, Dublin. Phone: 4254052

17 CHAPTER ONE • Ross Lewis could talk for Ireland – and often does. The affable Corkman is passionate about seasonality, provenance, organic produce… things most Irish people don’t care about. His Michelin-starred restaurant is a culinary oasis in the desert of Dublin 1. 
18-19 Parnell Square North. Phone: 8732266

18 CLIFF TOWN HOUSE • This stylish hotel is one of the few places in town for decent seafood. We like sitting at the bar, nibbling at the fish pie. Other brunch treats include Eggs Benedict, posh fish and chips or a scrumptious rib eye steak.
22 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 6383939

19 CORNUCOPIA • There are many ways in which Ireland has yet to enter the 21st Century. (If you don’t believe me, just ask your waiter for the vegetarian option.) Cornucopia is all about hearty vegetarian cooking. Inexpensive, too, and usually full of thin, interesting types.
19-20 Wicklow St, Dublin 2. Phone: 6777583

20 ELEPHANT AND CASTLE • The king of diners. Their famous chicken wings have been widely imitated, but they still taste better (ie more decadent) here in Temple Bar. E&C don’t do reservations, so you’ll need to time your entrance carefully (noon). Beware: the portions are huge.
18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Phone: 6793121

21 ETTO • Everyone loves this vaguely Italian joint on Merrion Row. Despite its location on the chic Golden Mile, it’s not that pricey, and there’s none of the attitude you get for twice the price elsewhere. Sit at the bar, meet new friends and order the suppli.
18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2. Phone: 6788872

22 THE EXCHEQUER • What do rugby internationals do when they retire? Open pubs, of course. Only this place is called a gastropub. It’s one of the few places worthy of that title in a city where food in pubs usually means a bag of cheese and onion crisps.
3-5 Exchequer St, Dublin 2. Phone: 6706787

23 THORNTON'S •  Kevin Thornton was once asked to name his favourite restaurants in Dublin. He said, "I never eat out." Arrogant? Yes, but with good reason. Thornton is an artist and lunch here is one of the few culinary bargains to be found in the city.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel, 128 Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 4787008

24 FALLON & BYRNE • Ireland’s answer to Dean & Deluca, this great Dublin institution is full of local artisan treats and (expensive) imports. The restaurant upstairs is smart, but we prefer the casual wine bar in the basement, where young professionals come to flirt and drink in semi-darkness.
11-17 Exchequer St, Dublin 2. Phone: 472 1010

25 THE FUMBALLY • No, they don’t do anything as mundane as reservations, and yes, you will have to join that very long queue. But the food is truly fantastic: seasonal, organic, full of flavour. Not expensive, either. Probably the hippest scene in Dublin at this precise moment.
Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8. Phone: 529 8732

26 HATCH AND SONS • Domini Kemp and Hugo Arnold are food writers cum restaurateurs: not always a recipe for success. Their café beneath the Little Museum of Dublin boasts great Irish cooking, the best coffee in town, a bustling atmosphere and good value.
15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 661 0075

27 THE MERRION •  This is where the IMF stayed when they ran the Irish economy. Who can blame them? Not me. The Merrion is inarguably Dublin’s best hotel. This place has it all: superb service, good food, a warm atmosphere and an interior that doubles as the greatest hits of Irish art.
Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2. Phone: 603 0600

28 PATRICK GUILBAUD • Your serviette drops to the ground and the waiter is overcome with grief. In a moment he is back with a replacement. If that vignette pleases you, you will love this two-star Michelin. Probably the best haute cuisine experience in the country. Make sure someone else is paying.
21 Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2. Phone: 676 4192

29 PEARL • It’s right next door to Patrick Giblet, the country’s poshest dining room, but Pearl is no slouch. Indeed this French/Irish kitchen is regarded by many foodies as a hidden gem. Great service and wonderful cooking in a smart, discreet basement venue.
20 Merrion Street Upper, Dublin 2. Phone: 661 3572

30 PEPLOE’S • Dublin’s (rather parochial) answer to the Ivy, this basement bistro is full of lawyers. Don’t let that put you off. The food is unpretentious, the service is efficient and they have a great wine list. Not particularly expensive, given the ritzy neighbourhood.
16 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 6763144

31 RESTAURANT 41 • Graham Neville is a hugely talented chef. A modest chap, Neville can be found in Residence, a private member’s club, but you don’t have to be a member to make reservations. Expensive, refined, memorable.
41 St. Stephen’s Green. Phone: 6620000

32 SAN LORENZOS • The late Seamus Heaney (poet and gentleman) was a fan of this New York-Italian place in bustling George’s Street. Unisex toilets and rather uncomfortable seats are eclipsed by ambitious cooking. South Great George’s St, Dublin 2. Phone: 478 9383

33 THE SHELBOURNE • Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had one of their famous rows here. Alright, that’s not a fact, more of a supposition. They did stay in the Shelbourne. So, of course, did everyone else. It’s a Dublin institution. Go to the Horseshoe Bar and drink a toast to everlasting feuds.
27 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. Phone: 6634500

34 SUPER MISS SUE • This part of town was once home to fashion wholesalers, tarot card readers and, eh, massage parlours. Today it is full of restaurants, with nary a reference to its exotic past. Super Miss Sue is among the better arrivals, justly celebrated for her prosecco on tap, fine seafood and chips cooked in beef drippings. 
Units 2–3 Drury Street Car Park, Drury St, Dublin 2. Phone:  6799009

35 WHITEFRIAR GRILL • Oh look, it’s brunch o’clock – where shall we go? Probably too late for the Whitefriar Grill. This place is often booked out weeks in advance. If your charm does the trick, order the truffle egg toast.
16 Aungier St, Dublin 2.  4759003

36 THE WINDING STAIR • Title of a short book: ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Donald Trump.’ Title of an even shorter book: ‘A collection of Irish recipes.’ When it opened a few years ago, the Winding Stair was hailed as the city’s first proper Irish restaurant. It’s a delightful fiction. Go. Eat. Enjoy.
40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1. Phone: 8727320

PUBS

37 DOHENY & NESBITTS • In Dublin a secret is something you share with one person at a time. D&N is where political secrets are shared. If you ever find yourself intoxicated by proximity to power, you will get a buzz out of this place. Nice snug. 
5 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2. Phone: 6762945

38 GROGAN’S • Bono, Amy Schumer, Judd Apatow… if you think Grogan’s sounds starry, you’re right. But don’t expect any velvet ropes. This is an old-school Dublin pub, and all the better for it. Best experienced with a pint of plain and a toasted cheese sandwich on a rainy weekday afternoon.
15 South William Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6779320

39 KEHOE’S • Old Mr Kehoe is long dead now, but his spirit lingers in this classic Dublin pub. You’ll feel it on the way down to the toilets. (Mind those stairs.) Indeed this poky treasure is still much-the-same-as-it-ever-was. Thank God.
9 South Anne Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6778312

40 THE LONG HALL • From the Fenians to Phil Lynott, they’ve all paid homage to the Long Hall. The owners have hardly touched this pub since 1881 (hence those engravings of the last Tsar) and it is to their great credit. Friendly service and a good pint make this a sound bet day or night.
51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 4751590

41 NEARY’S • Okay, this isn’t the friendliest pub in Dublin. The barmen won’t be hugging you anytime soon, but that’s probably just as well. This is a proper, handsome old public house, designed for good conversation. Hence there is no television or piped muzak. You can hear yourself think.
1 Chatham St, Dublin. Phone: 6778596

42 O’DONOGHUE’S • Safe bet for traditional Irish music. It’s where the Dubliners formed in 1962, and more recently folk legends like Christy Moore have played here. If you have too much to drink – or a voice worth sharing – you’re always welcome to sing a song.
15 Merrion Row, Dublin 2. Phone: 6607194

43 THE PALACE • Legendary Irish Times editor Bertie Smyllie did most of his work in this fine old pub. Despite its location on the edge of Temple Bar – Europe’s largest sewer – this Victorian jewel remains popular with locals.
21 Fleet Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6717388

44 THE STAG’S HEAD • Hard to find but worth the effort, this much-loved institution has an elaborate Victorian interior that is comforting any time of day, but best avoided on Friday nights, when swamped by Trinity students.
1 Dame Court, Dublin 2. Phone: 6793687

45 THE SWAN LOUNGE • Sean Lynch played rugby for Leinster, Ireland and the Lions. The Swan features a mini-museum of the great prop, which is now owned by his son, Ronan. While it’s not in the least bit trendy, there’s something very likable about this great Dublin pub, founded in 1897.
58 York St, Dublin 2. Phone: 4752722

46 THE PORTERHOUSE • When Arthur Guinness started brewing back in 1759, there were hundreds of breweries in Dublin. The great man soon put most of his rivals out of business. The Porterhouse was one of the first of the growing number of independent breweries to be found in the city today. They also make very fine gin.
Parliament Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6798847

47 TONER’S • This is a museum where you are allowed to drink. Seriously. Toner’s received its licence first in 1818. Apparently W.B. Yeats liked to have a sherry in one of the snugs. It remains a civilised refuge from anything so vulgar as the present.
139 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2. Phone: 6763090

MISCELLANEOUS

48 APPASSIONATA • The only decent florist in Dublin? Not quite, but Appassionata is certainly the best. Beautiful bouquets every time. Plus, they care about the environment in a way that is all too rare, with sustainably cultivated flowers and plants.
29 Drury St, Dublin 2. Phone: 6729425

49 GEORGE’S STREET ARCADE • Students and other malcontents love this arcade, where you can buy everything from Russian propaganda to vintage fashions. Good for vintage tchotchkes – old coins, prints, records – it also houses Stokes Books, our favourite second-hand bookstore.
South Great George’s St, Dublin 2. Phone: 2836077

51 DUBLIN BIKES • While these free-ish bikes are not as user friendly as they might be for visitors to the city, there are stations dotted all over the city centre, and cycling is much the easiest way to get around Dublin. Phone: 1850 777070

 
 

50 DUBRAY • The Duke of Wellington went to school on Grafton Street, which has lately been colonised by Tommy Hilfiger and Massimo Dutti. This quirky bookstore is among the few Irish stores left. Lovely staff, and they will wrap your gifts for free.
24 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6775568

52 KILKENNY DESIGN • Is there such a thing as an authentic souvenir? Or is that an oxymoron? Don’t think too hard about this. Rather, take yourself down to the Kilkenny shop, where Irish Design is more than an aspiration. Not a bad spot for lunch either.
15 Nassau St, Dublin 2. Phone: 6777066

53 THE NATURAL CUT • Dublin’s most amusing hairdresser is a chap called Shane Boyd who will furnish you with society gossip as he trims your curls. His place of work is an oasis of calm in the city, more of a well-appointed drawing room than your average salon.
34 Wicklow St, Dublin 2. Phone: 6797130

54 OPTICA • There’s something very un-Dublin about opticians Donal and Deirdre McNally. This husband and wife team have fantastic style. Here you will buy a pair of spectacles that are like jewellery.
51C Dawson St, Dublin 2. Phone: 677 4705

55 POWERSCOURT TOWNHOUSE • Is it a house? No, it’s a Georgian mansion that thinks it’s a shopping centre. If only all temples to commerce were so elegantly housed. Think quirky shops, good-value restaurants and some of the best vintage jewellery shops in the capital.
59 South William Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 6794144

56 SHERIDANS • There’s a mad whiff off this cheesemongers. It’s run with a passion that is all too rare in today’s bland retail environment. Edam! They have a great selection! This is where to go for properly obscure Irish cheeses. If they stink, all the better.
11 South Anne Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 679 3143

57 TOURIST INFORMATION • The best person to ask about Dublin is your waiter at lunch today. Failing that, try Fáilte Ireland (no, it’s not pronounced ‘faulty island’) on Suffolk Street. Lots of slick interactive multimedia, and if that doesn’t appeal, they also have some gloriously lo-tech leaflets. 
25 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. 4100700

58 THE WALDORF • Well over 80 years old, the Waldorf remains the pre-eminent barber in town. Getting your hair done here is an experience you will not easily forget. The whole vibe is gloriously retro – apart, that is, from the prices. Heck, you need to treat yourself now and again. 
13 Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2 6778608 waldorfbarbers.com

HOTELS

There are many great places where you can stay while in Dublin.  We recommend the Merrion Hotel, the Shelbourne Hotel and the Fitzwilliam Hotel; for something different try PREMIER SUITES located in Leeson Street and Ballsbridge.  Alternatively, you can check HotelsCombined for a comprehensive list of hotels in Dublin.

Best of Dublin Map