I feel like it’s sometimes looked down on when people travel to someplace new, and they do all the cliche, touristy stuff. Going off the beaten track is always a good idea, as it’s great trying to find someplace untouched by tourists to get a real taste for the country. But in Dublin?
But in a city like Dublin, the touristy stuff gives you a lively introduction to the city and Irish culture. If you’re headed to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day (only 2 weeks to go!), and it’s your first time in the city, here are some tourist ‘must-dos’ for while you’re there.
There’s a part of me that thinks if you went to Dublin and didn’t go to the Storehouse, the Irish would be insulted. Experience wandering through the history of Guinness, starting with the bold beginnings of Arthur Guinness on the ground floor, where you can catch a glimpse of his original 9,000 year brewery lease.
As you head up from floor to floor, you’ll learn about the brewing processes, some famous Guinness advertising, and finally arrive at The Gravity Bar where you’re treated to a 360 view over Dublin city.
Somewhere on your way up, you’ll have the chance to become a pint-pouring connoisseur, as well as take part in the tasting experience.
Some advice: if you intend on making the most of the panoramic view at the end of your self-led tour, don’t arrive too late in the day. We started around 2pm so it was gone 6.30pm by the time we got to the top, meaning our view was pretty cloudy, rainy, and dark.
We stumbled across the National Leprechaun Museum’s site and decided to give it a go – thinking it might be a too-warm room filled with old folklore manuscripts.
It was the opposite of that. Your tour is led by a storyteller, who takes you deep into the world of ancient Irish folklore. The experience brings the world of the Leprechaun to life through all your senses, as you hear the sounds of the forest and the Giant’s Causeway, and touch the rainbow to find the elusive pot of gold.
It’s a fun afternoon running around the museum, being told stories and feeling like tiny Leprechauns as we clambered up onto the Giant’s armchairs. Definitely a top pick if you have kids. Head here for info on ticket prices and tour times.
A walk around Trinity College is a great idea if the weather holds out and you want to spend some time outdoors. The college was founded in 1592, and modelled after collegiate universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Trinity is the oldest university in Ireland, and one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland.
The campus architecture and Georgian buildings tell their own stories from centuries ago, making the grounds a beautiful walk on a sunny day in Dublin.
Grafton Street is Ireland’s Oxford Street. A world-famous shopping street, it’s beautiful to walk along and in-and-out of the smaller lanes even if you’re not looking to buy anything. It’s just along the road from Trinity College (see above), so it’s a natural detour to make on your walk through Dublin.
We found that in Dublin, it’s a lot about soaking up the atmosphere and personality within your surroundings. The bustle of Grafton Street is what makes it an experience, just the same as Trinity College, and so the perfect place to end your stroll is St. Stephen’s Green. The park is just adjacent to Grafton Street, the perfect place to wander around after you’ve escaped the crowded shops.
Obviously there are lots more typical ‘tourist traps’ to be found in Dublin, but these were just a few of our particular favourites that we experienced on our first visit to Ireland. All of the above are in comfy walking distance from O’Connell Street (Dublin’s main thoroughfare).
More snaps from our trip…
Have you been to Dublin before? What other classically tourist places did you visit? Do you like city breaks?
We hope this is helpful in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you’re heading for Dublin to celebrate. Next week we’re still in Ireland but taking a whole new view on it…