How to spend a weekend in Dublin?
When planning a weekend break, especially a city break it can be easy to feel pressure. This pressure comes from the feeling of too much to do in so little time. While I try to ‘do it all’, I am going to be completely honest and say that I just cannot do it all, and research is key.
Before I touched down in the city, I had preconceived ideas of where I wanted to visit and what I wanted to photograph. However, as soon as I made my way in I began to reduce my mental checklist, relaxed and enjoyed the vibe.
Dublin is compact, and the main spots are in quite close proximity. It makes walking to and from easy in comparison to some other cities – Paris for example. If you are testing the waters with travelling, make Dublin top on your list, it feels like a home away from home. Cosmopolitan, yet historic. Energetic, yet laid back. Cold (in January especially), yet warm and inviting.
The Guinness Storehouse.
Ireland is renowned for its whiskey production. However, I’m not a fan of whiskey and the Guinness Storehouse was on the top of Sam’s list.
Situated in St James Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse is home to Guinness production. The brewery itself is designed to replicate a pint glass, and continues up through seven floors of interactive experience – learning about Guinness production and Guinness’ famous marketing conquests.
With your admission ticket, you get a complimentary pint of Guinness in the Gravity bar. Situated on the seventh floor, Gravity bar has panoramic views of the city.
Cool extras include the connoisseur experience (you get to learn the art of pouring the perfect pint) and the ‘Stoutie’ – your face printed onto the top of a pint.
My tip: book ahead, and book an early tour. It is quiet, you get more attention from the guides and you may get lucky and be offered a few additional complimentary pints – we certainly did.
I love the architecture of castles and could not resist a visit to Dublin castle. It is situated between the main Temple Bar area and the Guinness Storehouse, it was an easy detour to break up our day drinking. Built in the thirteenth century, Dublin castle has been used as headquarter for the British in Ireland. Following independence in 1922, the castle was handed back to the Irish government. It is now a tourist attraction, and used for conference and events.
You can purchase tickets for a guided tour to learn more about Dublin’s history.
My tip: Dublin Castle is a great spot for a light lunch or picnic in the warmer months. Wander the grounds and use the tranquillity of the area to take a moment to relax.
The Irish Pub.
I wish we could run pubs like they run pubs in Dublin. They have a real homely feeling, and the live music is great! Your evening starts here.
My tip: when you are visiting Dublin, you have to see Temple Bar with your own eyes. But don’t discount other pubs outside of the Temple Bar area. Temple Bar is busy, expensive and not as authentic as other pubs. There are plenty more to explore.
Book a bus tour.
From Hop On Hop Off, City Sightseeing to Do Dublin there is a good choice of bus tours. Personally, I’m a fan of these because I find all the walking exhausting and I like to see as many sights as possible. Why should I compromise because I cannot walk everywhere?
On this tour you can get driven past all the major spots and you can chose when and where to explore. My top stops include:
- Trinity College and the Book of Kells
- Phoenix Park
- St Stephens Green
My tip: book online and in advance to get the best deals.
Shopping and more sightseeing.
Stop off at Grafton Street to do some shopping.
If you are not a fan of shopping and want to explore more, I would recommend visiting the EPIC museum. Here you can learn more about Irish history and it’s emigration to other countries.
The Kilmainham Goal, a former prison turned museum gives you a look into the darker history of Ireland.
My tip: visit the Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street. Molly Malone is the star of an Irish folk song.
Walk the River Liffey.
Take time to digest your weekend, from here you can pop by any sights you want to see for a second time. This is your time to relax and enjoy your free time.
My tip: you can snap some great photographs of the city from the river. Photos are the best type of souvenirs in my eyes.
Here are some of my favorite photos taken in Dublin: