As mentioned before, I travel a lot for work and I’ve spent quite a few weeks in Dublin Ireland. There are far worse places to travel for work and I always am ready to use the weekend to explore the sites and sounds. The people are incredibly friendly and sociable, always be ready for a chat! There is so much to see in the small and beautiful country of Ireland that in this post, I’m going to keep to Dublin City Center and the Coast.
Where To Stay
Dublin has a wide range of hotel options with many in walking distance of sites. I recommend planning in advance as hotels seem to book up quickly due to the number of conferences and business visitors. I would avoid the International Financial area as after business hours it’s not the safest. My favorite hotels are near St. Stephens green and Grafton Street. My absolute favorite is the Westbury. The Westbury is very elegant and I loved returning from a long day at work to turn down service with classical music playing. Yes, it’s cheesy but after a long day at work it was nice to return to!
On occasions when I’m in Dublin for vacation only, I tend to rent apartments. It’s a great way to feel like a local but also save some money on food costs. Although I tend to eat out for most meals, it was nice to have the option to heat something up in the oven and fix my own breakfast. Renting apartments can be less expensive then a hotel but might not be in the center of town. I love apartment rentals because it helps me to feel like a local and get a glimpse to how the local live.
What to See
There are so many options of what to see in Dublin and the best way to figure out where you want to spend your time is a hop on hop off bus tour. If you are new to the city, it helps with navigation and you’ll learn pieces of history you might not otherwise know. There are several local companies and different busses with most offering 24-48 hour tickets. My suggestion is to ride through an entire route, then decide where you want to spend more time.
As my job is sometimes stressful, I look for the relaxing parts of Dublin. I start the day with a stroll through St. Stephens green. It’s a beautiful public park next to one of the main shopping streets (Grafton Street). There are plenty of benches and ponds to sit by or you can feed the ducks if you want to.
I admit I love to shop so after I relax on the green I stroll down Grafton street. There are plenty of stores that catch my eye but I also like to pause and listen to the street performers. Dublin has some talented musicians so you can hear some fantastic music from the beginning to the end of the street.
Dublin is only twenty minutes from the coast and beautiful ocean views. The easiest way to get there is the DART, a commuter train that leaves from Dublin City Center train stations. For less than five euros, you can leave the city behind and enjoy the beautiful coast line. Heading south of Dublin is the city of Dun Laoghrie, one of my favorite spots. The DART station is next to the pier so if the weather is nice I stroll from one end to the other. Opposite of the Pier is a road that leads to the town’s main street, although small it is fun to explore the tiny shops and cafe’s.
Heading back into the Dublin Center after a wonderful day by the coast, I tend to wander around the side streets of Grafton street for a bite to eat. It’s home to some of my favorite resturants including Salamancas for Spanish tapas and Carluccio’s for Italian. Yes, Carluccios is a chain but I love their menu and low key atmosphere.
I admit this post isn’t describing all the tourist sites that Dublin offers but here’s a list of my favorites!
*Kilmainham Gaol- A prison museum that held rebel fighters in the fight for independence in 1916. The tour is well done and provides a lot of insight into Ireland fight for freedom
*St. Patrick’s Cathedral- It’s a beautiful church of Ireland cathedral dating from 1220. Beautiful on the outside with lovely grounds to have a picnic and people watch.
*O’Connell Street- This is another shopping area but it’s fast pace and crowds are perfect for people watching and grabbing a bite to eat if you aren’t into shopping.
*The coast- I’ve already mentioned Dun Laoughrie but there are other towns that provide lovely sea views and glimpses of local culture. I recommend Howth and Bray along with Dun Laoghrie.
*Traditional Pubs- I admit I’m not much of a drinker, but Irish pubs are a fantastic place for socializing, food and enjoying traditional Irish dancing. You can always find fantastic live music as well. Avoid Temple Bar as it is definitely a tourist trap, but your concierge or tour guide can tell you the best places.
What are your favorite spots in Dublin? Please feel free to leave a comment below!