Pubs in Dublin bedecked with colourful flowers, flags and buntings to attract customers' attention. As the Irish do not often entertain at home pubs are the places where they hang out with their friends. Pub crawls are often organized for tourists.
The Temple Bar area is filled with numerous pubs where you can also eat (pub grubs) while listening to traditional Irish music. As you cross Ha'Penny Bridge from the Liffey Boardwalk, enter the arched entrance of the building in front of you and you will be at the heart of Temple Bar.
The Ha'Penny Bridge, officially known as Liffey Bridge, is the most eye-catching of several bridges that span the Liffey River. This pedestrian bridge leads to Temple Bar from the Boardwalk side of the river.
The legendary Molly Malone statue has now been relocated to St Andrew's Street. There is a popular song carrying her name (it's also known as Cockles And Mussels) sung by Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor here.
Dublin is one of those cities that will take your breath away. If it is your first visit you are likely to be pleasantly surprised. It is a vibrant city and there is something undefinable in the air (is it the gaiety and insouciance of the pub-frequenting crowd?) that you cannot find in highly touristy cities like Barcelona, Rome, Paris or Amsterdam. Everything here is done to make the tourist feel at home. In fact you will find tourist offices in all the major streets so it is unlikely that you will get lost.
You can find authentic fish and chips in Dublin. Two of the best are at Leo Burdock's, 2 Werburgh Street and Beshoff's right in the middle of O'Connell Street. The former is takeaway only while the latter has seating upstairs from where you can have a good view of the Spire of Dublin.
A visit to the Guinness Storehouse costs 18€ but the ticket entitles you to a pint of Guinness stout. You will have to walk quite a bit before you can find the Visitors' Entrance.
Can you imagine a jail becoming a tourists' attraction? Well, the Kilmainham Gaol is one such. For those who prefer luxury though, there is a Hilton Hotel just facing it!
Dublin's O'Connell Street can easily rival Paris's Champs Elysees. In fact most tourists spend much of their time at O'Connell Street, Grafton Street and Temple Bar.
Grafton Street and the neighbouring Nassau Street are always full of life with its department stores, souvenir shops and restaurants.
The Boardwalk along the River Liffey affords a quiet stroll safe from the heavy traffic of the adjoining street. The River Liffey runs through the middle of Dublin city.
The Famine Memorial along the Customs House Quay. The Great Famine, known also as the Irish Potato Famine, lasted from 1845 to 1852.
Believe it or not this imposing building in O'Connell Street is actually the GPO!
There are many options for transport from Dublin airport to the city centre. Bus 16 and Bus 41 are not the fastest but are the cheapest. The first will take you to the city centre where the Spire is while the second will take you to the nearby Lower Abbey Street. Remember to have the exact amount in coins as no notes will be accepted. To get round this problem buy a Leap Card, which is some sort of a credit card for public transport. You pay a deposit of 5€ and top it up with 5€ or more according to your needs.
Giraffes and zebras cohabit peacefully in the same enclosure at Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park.
A horse carriage waiting for passengers near the main entrance of St. Stephen's Green.
Unlike Northern Ireland, Dublin, which is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, does not use the pound sterling but uses the euro instead, which is a boon for EC travellers.
If you happen to be there on 17 March you will be in for an unforgettable experience of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin itself.
Interesting Places to Visit in Dublin
1. The Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse is much visited by tourists to Dublin - and not only by the drinkers of Guinness stout since the name has become world-famous. You can have a 360° panoramic view of Dublin city from the top of the building. It is interesting to note that apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the only other day in the year when it is closed to visitors is Good Friday (no use trying to find your Guinness elsewhere as all pubs will be closed on that day too!)
Be warned that you will have to put up with a lot of inconvenience if you should go there on your own using public transport (same applies to the neighbouring Kilmainham Gaol). Although much of Dublin city can be done on foot, these two top tourist attractions in Dublin (together with the Dublin Zoo) are best done with one of those "Hop On Hop Off" buses.
2. The Kilmainham Gaol
The Kilmainham Gaol can be visited either before or after Guinness Storehouse as it is in the same neighbourhood. You cannot wander around in the jail on your own but have to join a guided visit (there is one every half hour). Closed since 1924, it was a jail mostly for political prisoners (who were later considered as patriots) though convicts were also sent there. I heard from the guide (speaking with a very nice Irish accent, by the way) that even a 5-year-old boy was sent there for stealing an apple!
3. The Irish Museum of Modern Art
After visiting Kilmainham Gaol art-lovers will want to visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art which is just around the corner from Kilmainham Gaol.
4. Trinity College
Trinity College, Dublin's oldest university (it was founded in 1592) is another of the major tourist attractions in Dublin. There are guided tours of the university campus by university students. You can get full details here.
5. The National Library of Ireland
After Trinity College you might want to walk over to the neighbouring National Library of Ireland at 2/3 Kildare Street. There is a very good collection of Irish and Irish-related material here for reference. And if you should think there might be some Irish ancestry somewhere along the line they might be able to assist you as they have a Genealogy Advisory Service too.
After the visit, if your hunger for food is as much as your hunger for knowledge you will be glad to learn that there is a good cafeteria (The Joly Café) on the ground floor. The Creamy Leek and Potato soup served with two pieces of brown bread for 5.50€ is simply out of this world! Great service too. I asked for an extra piece of butter and was given three - and with a smile to boot!
6. Dublin Zoo
The 180-year-old Dublin Zoo is located in Phoenix Park. It is open from 9.30am daily until 4.00pm or 6pm (depending on the month). The best way to go there from Dublin city centre is to take bus No. 46A from near the Spire in O'Connell Street (with Phoenix Park as its destination). The terminus is at Infirmary Road and that is where you get down for the zoo (as well as for Phoenix Park). You will have to walk for another 5-10 minutes before you arrive at the zoo entrance. Single day ticket prices are: 16.50€ (adult) and 11.80€ (child between 3-16 years). Count three hours for a leisurely visit there. Picnic tables are available for those who bring their own food (there is a restaurant there though).
7. The Dublin Writers Museum
Ireland, and Dublin in particular, has produced so many great writers (James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, J.M. Synge, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney - the last four having won the Nobel Prize for Literature) that English literature enthusiasts will want to visit the Dublin Writers Museum at 18, Parnell Sq North.
8. If you have the time you might want to make day visits to:
(a) Howth (pronounced as both, for the cliffs)
(b) Skerries (for swimming) though nearer to Dublin city there are beaches at Bray and Rush.