Dublin highlights: how to spend a weekend in the Irish capital
Dublin* has it all. A curious collection of historic monuments and museums? Check. Lots of outdoor space and green parks? Yep. Trendy bars and restaurants? Naturally. If you're after a city break with all of these and more, then Dublin is for you.
The Irish capital really is the king of cool when it comes to weekend escapes. Here, we share just some of Dublin's most tantalising attractions including museums, foodie spots and where to find that creamy pint of Guinness (and yes, it really does taste better in Dublin).
Getting to Dublin: search great value fares with Ireland's flag carrier Aer Lingus, which operates flights to Dublin from airports across the UK*.
Discover Dublin's story
Culture vultures could easily spend a week getting to know Dublin. The city is bursting with museums and galleries as well as nooks and crannies of interest.
From gardens and gates to detailed exhibitions and unrivalled architecture, there's plenty to see, learn, and discover in Dublin.
For a look deep into the past, The National Museum of Ireland - Archeology is just as impressive inside as it is outside.
The striking building houses the country's most precious artefacts dating from the 8th century, as well as the world's most comprehensive collection of Celtic metalwork.
Trinity College is a natural attraction for many keen to glimpse the enviable academic history of Dublin. Join a walking tour to get the most out of Trinity College; don't miss the distinctive Long Room, which looks almost like something out of Harry Potter.
You'd be forgiven for mistaking Dublin Castle for some sort of ornate palace. The site has been extended, amended and added to over the centuries, with only the distinctive medieval tower lending any real age to the property, dating from 1258.
That's not to say this site hasn't been of vital importance; it certainly has, notably as the seat of English, then British, rule for more than 700 years.
While still functioning as the city's General Post Office, the GPO also has a moving exhibition about the Easter Rising of 1916.
The GPO was quickly commandeered as the HQ for the uprising and today's exhibition explains what happened in sensitive detail, including an immersive cinematic experience, which really brings the events before, during and after those six days to life.
If you prefer your history lightly dusted, pop into the National Library of Ireland to see the elegant domed reading room or amble across the iconic Ha'Penny Bridge.
Officially the Liffey Bridge, it was built in 1816 to replace a retired ferry service and charged pedestrians the princely toll of its now-nickname to cross the river.
For more outdoor attractions, visit St Stephen's Green and its various statues, including Fusiliers' Arch and a memorial to W B Yeats, among others.
Over in Merrion Square, you'll come across the Oscar Wilde Statue, while any walk down O'Connell Street should include a pause at the Daniel O'Connell Statue to see if you can spot the shrapnel marks from the Easter Rising of 1916.
You can also head indoors and gaze at the works of Jack B Yeats and other Irish painters at The National Gallery.
Get to know your booze
Love or loathe the black stuff, a trip to the Guinness Storehouse is time well spent when visiting Dublin.
It's an award-winning attraction for good reason. Guinness has, and continues, to play a huge role in the city's industry, and the storehouse artfully charts its growth from 1759 to the present day.
Follow the exhibition route detailing The Guinness Story, which winds its way up to The Gravity Bar. Keep your ticket, as here you can sup a free pint of Guinness while taking in the 360° view.
The location of another of Ireland's finest exports can be explored at Jameson Distillery Bow St. Take the Bow St. Experience, a 45-minute tour of the distillery to see how Jameson's whiskey is produced. You could, of course, just head to JJ's Bar for your very own tasting session.
Fill your suitcase
Dublin is crammed with tempting outlets that will help you part with your cash. For something special, call by the impressive Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, a beautiful Georgian building filled with boutiques selling all things from posh candles to crafted jewellery. There's also a grand open food court, from which you can grab a coffee and admire the interior.
Vinyl lovers are also in for a treat with two great rummaging opportunities at Freebird Records (which also sells secondhand books at bargain prices) and Spindizzy Records. The latter can be found in George's Street Arcade along with many market stalls.
Art aficionados should sniff out DesignYard Gallery with its statement sculptures, while those after a little luxury might want to immerse themselves in Brown Thomas, Dublin's go-to department store with all the big hitters inside.
Across the river, on the north side of the Liffey, sits The Grand Social. A beloved music venue, it throws open its doors every Saturday to host the Ha'Penny Market from 12 pm to 6 pm.
This fair blends vintage clothes, accessories and crafts in a fun and friendly environment where it's completely acceptable to wander around the stalls with a giant G&T in hand - perfect!
Where to eat, drink & be very merry
Most visitors to Dublin are drawn to the lively atmosphere of Temple Bar - the somewhat notorious strip of pubs and bars, which attracts groups and tourists in droves.
If you fancy a flavour of this popular street then aim for a pint of the black stuff in The Temple Bar while listening to some folky favourites.
The Porterhouse, with its selection of cocktails and, more importantly, beers brewed in-house, is another good option.
For huge tasty portions, head to the diner-style institution that is Elephant & Castle, loved for its spicy chicken wings and homemade burgers.
While there are plenty of buzzing places to enjoy a drink in Temple Bar, the city has everything from super trendy restaurants to the classic old man's pub that offer alternative experiences in the Irish capital.
The area around South William Street offers an eclectic mix of places to eat and drink, many oozing such appeal that it makes deciding exactly where to go somewhat of a challenge.
For a hearty brunch, try the busy Metro Café, where you'll find everything from buttermilk pancakes to loaded cooked breakfasts, all served with a smile and no doubt a comical quip.
A mid-afternoon pint can be found in the traditional surroundings of Neary's.
Meanwhile, The Brazen Head will certainly pop up in any search for the best Dublin pubs, given its claim to be Ireland's oldest pub, dating back to 1198.
The various rooms are bursting with cosy character and dripping candle wax, while evenings are taken up with events such as storytelling and live music.
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