Overall, Dublin is the perfect city for a weekend getaway. You can cover all of the points of interest on foot and won’t run out of different food options to try.
Back in the spring a friend and I took a quick weekend-trip to Dublin to meet up with some friends, try the local cuisine, and explore the hometown of U2’s Bono.
Arriving at the Dublin Airport on a Friday afternoon, we were greeted by tons of bachelor and bachelorette parties celebrating with their first Guinness right outside the airport doors. Hopping on one of the Dublin Express coaches, you can get to the city centre for 7€ in less than an hour.
Pro Tip: If you are in Dublin for a few days only, save money on the return trip by buying a roundtrip ticket when you get to the airport. You can get the roundtrip ticket for 10€.
Staying at a friend’s place in a neighborhood dominated by antique shops, unique brunch spots, pubs, and bustling cafés, The Liberties was a perfect spot to stay for the quick trip – close to everything, lots to offer, but not right on the busy Temple Bar area streets.
Full-on embracing Irish culture, our first stop on Friday evening was the Guinness factory.
Pro Tip: Buy tickets in advance online to skip the line and avoid being disappointed if all tours are booked.
From learning about the beer’s history, about all of the different kinds offered globally to sampling some and learning how to pour the perfect Irish Stout the Guinness Storehouse should definitely be on every beer-enthusiast’s list.
After a day of traveling and learning, we decided to refuel and end the day riverside at the MV Cill Airne—the old tender ship is docked on the River Liffey, right near the harp-like Samuel Beckett Bridge.
The next day we started the day off by doing some more exploring, but not before stopping at Elephant & Castle for some of the most amazing French toast I’ve had in a long time. You’ll find Dubliners and tourists alike munching away here. It is located right in the middle of Temple Bar – the area to go for live music and your typical Irish pub.
Being in luck with the weather and the sun making an appearance, we decided to do some more exploring and ended up in St. Stephen’s Green. On a sunny day, you’ll find the city’s park filled with people soaking up the rays, relaxing, and (probably recovering from the amount of Guinness they had the previous night!)
Before it became one of the many city parks, witch burnings and executions used to happen at St. Stephen’s Green. There are different tour operators that offer walking tours and go into a lot of (sometimes gory) detail about this part of Dublin history.
Grabbing some hot chocolate to go (while sunny, it was still April in Dublin and temperatures were only around 12°C), we made our way to the historical Trinity College.
Established in 1592, the university is now home to over 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students across all the major disciplines in the arts and humanities, business, law, engineering, science, and health sciences.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday, like us, you can definitely tell the students by the annoyed looks on their faces as they try to make their way through the clusters of tourists on their campus.
Pro Tip: Bring your comfy shoes. Dublin is a super walkable city and if you’re staying anywhere near Temple Bar you will be walking. A lot.
From there we headed over to the Molly Malone statue in front of St Andrew’s church. The statue is based on Irish folklore and is said to haunt the streets of Dublin to this day.
Afterwards we stumbled up Grafton Street, which is one of the two busiest pedestrian shopping streets in Dublin. Henry Street being the other one. You’ll find anything here from chain stores to Irish craftsmanship. One thing to note, plan some extra time here, you’ll come across very talented buskers.
For an early dinner we made our way to Ireland’s oldest pub and one of the oldest in the world—The Brazen Head. With tons of beer and food options, you’ll definitely find something for everyone.
One of the required stops, according to our host, was a walk across the narrow Ha’penny Bridge. It was Dublin’s first toll bridge and was built in 1816 under the name Liffey Bridge. The toll to use it was a half penny and remained that way for 100 years until the toll was dropped in 1919.
We ended the night and our trip in one of the many bars at Temple Bar, listening to live music, dancing with the locals.