There are pockets of the city that deserve the attention of discerning visitors, because they are different, or charming, or both different and charming.
It is possible to visit Dublin without being particularly impressed by the place or the people. The brands you see in London and New York have also made it to Ireland.
Some of the locals now speak in a curious hybrid of English and American. But there are pockets of the city that deserve the attention of discerning visitors, because they are different, or charming, or both different and charming. On this page you’ll find some of our favourite things to see and do.
By the way, it is arguable that the people of Dublin are the best thing about the place. It is not possible to name everyone who deserves your own good company, but wear a smile, speak your mind and you will soon discover that hospitality and good conversation are two of the things that make this city special. Welcome to Dublin.
For more great information go to Visitdublin.com, Dublin’s official tourism information website. It provides comprehensive, up-to-date information and trip planning advice for visitors to Ireland’s capital city.
If you want to see Dublin in a couple of hours, start by finding Grafton Street. It is the central shopping district in the city, full of handsome boutiques and department stores. But Grafton Street is also a great starting point for seeing the essential sights in Georgian Dublin: Trinity College, St Stephen’s Green and, of course, the Little Museum, which is in a landmark townhouse on the Green.
Grafton Street is a few minutes’ walk from Temple Bar, and this area is also where you’ll find many of the city’s best hotels and restaurants, in addition to some excellent cultural institutions, including our National Gallery and National Museums.
In short, if you want to discover Dublin on foot, make your way to Grafton Street, in the knowledge that most places of interest are within walking distance.
To see all the sights of Dublin, hop on a DoDublin Hop-on Hop-Off Tour right outside the Little Museum. Their knowledgeable and entertaining team will show you all around our great city!
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.
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 tours start on the hour, every hour. If you want to discover the story of Dublin, visit the Little Museum today.
15 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
The Irish love criticising 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
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
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 8
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
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
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
National Library of Ireland
The WB Yeats exhibition is free – and fantastic. Indeed there is much to recommend this cavernous building, 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
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
Well over a hundred 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
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 is not essential.
15 Ely Place, Dublin 2
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
In Jonathan Swift’s time, Dublin was a colonial backwater. Swift exposed the iniquities of the day in his famous Gulliver’s Travels, but we prefer the venom of his Modest Proposal. Pay homage to Dean Swift in the Cathedral where he worked until his death in 1745.
St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8
This Mexican joint isn’t half 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, S Great Georges St, Dublin
Ross Lewis could talk for Ireland – and he often does. The affable Corkman is passionate about seasonality, provenance, organic produce… things most Irish people don’t care about. His wonderful Michelin-starred restaurant is a culinary oasis in the desert of Dublin 1.
18-19 Parnell Square North
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. Most of the time you’ll receive no more than a weary sigh. Cornucopia is all about hearty vegetarian cooking. Inexpensive, too, and usually full of thin, interesting types.
19-20 Wicklow St, Dublin 2
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
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 make sure you order the suppli.
18 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
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
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
The name? We don’t know. We don’t care. But we like this French bistro. L’Gueuleton is not nearly as hip as it once was, but it’s still buzzy. No reservations. Just pop upstairs to the No Name Bar after you’ve put your name on the list, and come back for your table after a pint.
1 Fade St, Dublin 2
This is where the IMF stayed when they ran the Irish economy. Who can blame them? Not me. The Merrion is 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
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
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
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
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
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 many years ago, the Winding Stair was hailed as the city’s first proper Irish restaurant. Another delightful fiction! Go. Eat. Enjoy.
40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
Doheny & Nesbitt’s
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
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
Old Mr Kehoe is long dead now, but his spirit lingers. 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
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
The barmen won’t be hugging you anytime soon, but that’s probably just as well. This is a proper, handsome old Dublin pub, designed for good conversation. Hence there is no television or piped muzak. You can hear yourself think.
1 Chatham St, Dublin, Co. Dublin City
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
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
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 likeable about this great Dublin pub, founded in 1897.
58 York St, Dublin
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
Lemon on Sth William St
Meeting House Square *On a Saturday
South Anne Street
St Stephen’s Green
(odd bits of trivia around the edges)
Most pubs serve until 1am at the weekends.
Where the locals like to walk: Phoenix Park, the South Wall or Dun Laoghaire pier.
The Late Late Show (on Friday nights) is the world’s longest running TV chat show.
Samuel Beckett said Trinity College was for “the cream of Ireland – rich and thick.”
Want a classic Dublin experience? Go swimming any day of the year in the Forty Foot.