Some thoughts on Dublin... We absolutely loved it there! (Loved all of Ireland, but have known some people to say to skip Dublin or don’t spend a lot of time.) This may be a long post full of advice on Dublin from MY perspective/experience and from our mistakes...keep scrolling if you’re not interested. 😜
Dublin is indeed a city, albeit a safe one, it does have its issues, so expect that (homelessness, traffic, crowds, litter...)
If you’re planning ahead...
***We stayed at the Jury’s Inn on Parnell. It’s as far North as we would want to go. Near all of the bussing services including HOHO, city links & airport transport on O’Connell. Had we known ahead of time we would’ve booked the other one in Temple Bar BUT that would’ve been a mistake. We like to walk, it’s more expensive and we had easy access to bussing with luggage where we stayed. (We got lucky)🍀🍀🍀
***Book on line Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) as soon as you have your days laid out. If possible, go to the GPO first for the historical reference, then the jail. Plan for transportation time to get there. We got closed out and were so disappointed (reason to return). Be sure to remember the month and days on line are switched sometimes. Pay close attention to this.
***Book the viewing of the Book of Kells early in the day if you can. It’s fairly easy/quick to go through and the library is magnificent.
***We purchased the Dublin pass ahead of time and it was very easy to use and worth it FOR US. Some scoff at it saying it’s just a tourist thing. We thought, well...we’re tourists! For $95 per person for three days, we took the HOHO bus (BigBus is the company to look for; stop 1 is on the east side of O’Connell), and received admission to MANY sites using it. We definitely would’ve spent more going into all those that we did (Guinness, whiskey locations, several churches and museums). I still think it’s worth it if you’re not into the alcohol related sites. You will have more time to do many of the other sites that are not alcohol related.
Now for no planning needed perspectives:
The EPIC museum to me is a must see! We almost skipped it and we’re so glad we didn’t.
The Chester Beatty Library is actually a museum (currently showing Religious artifacts). It was interesting. Just not a library per se.
The Dublin Castle was very cool to walk through the living quarters.
The Customs House is a working building (gorgeous) but not open to the public. The City Hall was closed for a wedding! 👰🏼 💍 🤵🏼
At night, obviously, there’s no shortage of partying happening.
***Yes, Temple Bar (the area) is a tourist attraction. We LOVED going early (3pm) & walking in to Lundy Foots for music and Irish dancers (I got to join in!). Had no interest being in the area late at night having to walk far back to the hotel.
*** Brazen Head is Dublin’s oldest pub. We had a great time there. Can get crowded. Somehow (patience) grabbed a seat at the bar in the original bar room (little bar/back bar). Very interesting and Old!
***We wanted to give our livers a break from the , Guinness, whiskey tastings and night time partying 🤣 and chose to do the Leprechaun Museum Dark Land tour. 1. It’s not a museum (I knew this going in), it’s an experience. 2. The “tour guide” Emily was an amazing story teller (seanchai). It was good and I recommend it for people who can walk/stand for an hour or more and who don’t get squeamish about stories of gorie details. Definitely for adults. Not something I would do twice. One and done.
***Again, taking a liver break, we took the Ghostbus Tour. This was interesting and gave us access to two places that most of the tourists don’t know or have access to. It’s was cool. Nick, our guide, was fantastic.
***We went into a few pubs outside of Temple Bar. GO IN to the ones that you may hear music and aren’t too crowded. We’re so glad we did (like Madigan’s on O’Connell...there are 5 locations). This is another opportunity to interact with the locals!!! We had nothing but kind and friendly interactions with all we met!
***There are plenty of vegan choices.
***Plan on hearty meat and potatoes meals or fish. We loved sampling all of the traditional meals. Even found pub that my husband could eat the fish and chips! Quays in Temple Bar doesn’t have any other shellfish that’s fried! (Shared fryers are a no-no for his shellfish allergy).
***Most restaurant kitchens close at 9 or 9:30 (when the real partying begins). There are a couple on O’Connell that have late kitchens (we went to Flanagan’s one night).
I could go on and on but will leave you with this, if you like the city life, history or interacting with people, there’s PLENTY to do in Dublin. We loved it!