Ireland is one of the most beautiful and historic countries in the world. Its long and storied history dates to 10,500 B.C. – a date not quite fathomable to many. Because of its comparatively small size, it’s easy to see most of the country on one vacation. What’s more, because so many Irish immigrated to the United States, many Americans can trace their family history to Ireland. These factors combined make Ireland – and its popular capital, Dublin – an eternally beloved tourist destination.
Every trip to Dublin should begin with a visit to the Guinness Storehouse. (At least my trip began that way – and it was fabulous.) Here, you will learn all about the history and creation of “the black stuff” while touring the 1904 storehouse. Once your tour ends, head to top-level Gravity Bar for both a pint and panoramic views of Dublin.
The other great Irish libation is Jameson Irish Whiskey, of course. Within the gentrifying Smithfield area of Dublin, you can visit the Old Jameson Distillery. Take a tour or a masterclass in whiskey tasting, then head over to the nearby Cobblestone – my favorite bar in Dublin (or maybe all the world). Featuring live, traditional Irish music each night, the Cobblestone is the quintessential neighborhood Irish pub. You’ll also want to check out The Brazen Head, which dates to 1198. It’s officially Ireland’s oldest pub.
Other nightlight options can be found in the famous (infamous?) Temple Bar area. In addition to namesake Temple Bar pub, there are scores of other bars, restaurants, and shops in this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. For additional shopping and dining, check out the world-famous Grafton Street. Here, there is really something for everyone.
While eating, drinking, and shopping are certainly excellent pastimes while in Dublin, you’d be remiss not to explore some of its great history and culture as well. Standing on the grounds of an old Viking settlement is the ancient Dublin Castle. For over 700 years, it has been the hub of Ireland’s secular power. It is now used for state dinners, presidential inaugurations, and world summits.
Trinity College is Dublin’s premiere university and a great center of world learning. Stroll the beautiful grounds and be sure to visit its famous Old Library. This breathtaking building is home to Ireland’s largest collection of books – and the Book of Kells, a gorgeously illustrated Christian manuscript dating to the year 800.
Many of the world’s greatest writers have been Irish, and the Dublin Writer’s Museum celebrates this amazing literary tradition. Of all the Irish literati, James Joyce is perhaps the most internationally known. When you visit the James Joyce Centre, you will learn about the writer and his work, including his masterpiece, Ulysses.
While Joyce is Ireland’s most famous writer, my favorite is Oscar Wilde. Visit the house he lived in from 1855 to 1876, and then snap a selfie with the life-size Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square Park. Here you will also find a monument containing some of the best quotes from his writing, including my favorite: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Interested in touring Dublin and the rest of Ireland? Contact us.