Going Beyond Guinness: What to Do in Dublin

Explore the capital of the Emerald Isle, one of our Best Trips of 2018.

The largest city in Ireland, Dublin is considered the country’s center of commerce and seat of culture. Known for its friendly locals, burgeoning food scene, and beautiful architecture, the capital offers a complete sensory experience. Grab a whiskey in a cozy Irish pub, explore the city’s literary history at Trinity College, and discover the treasures of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Pedestrians walk through the busy Temple Bar district in Dublin.
Pedestrians walk through the busy Temple Bar district in Dublin.
Photograph by Kieran Dodds

Three City Walks

Morning Mosey: Scratch that selfie itch at Trinity College before walking west down Temple Bar from Anglesea Street. Skip the pubs here for independent stores such as the Gutter Bookshop, Siopaella, or Indigo & Cloth, following Essex Street all the way to Fishamble Street, where Handel’s Messiah was first performed in 1742. Loop back to cross Grattan Bridge onto Capel Street, opting for soup and contemporary art at Mish.Mash or brunch with a Middle Eastern twist at Brother Hubbard North.

Afternoon Amble: Grab a tour (and a taster) at Teeling Distillery, the craft whiskey hub in Newmarket. From there, it’s a 10-minute stroll to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where you’ll find timeworn tombs and treasures like Jonathan Swift’s death mask. Continue east toward Aungier Street, refueling with a takeout slice at Dublin Pizza Company or a doughnut at Aungier Danger.

Evening Stroll: Start with a pint of Guinness at the old-school Toner’s on Baggot Street. Take a deep dive into contemporary Irish food at the deceptively simple Etto, followed by a dash of classic Dublin glam at the Shelbourne Hotel’s Horseshoe Bar. Afterward, let your hair down on grungy Wexford Street, stopping in Against the Grain for Irish craft beers and Whelan’s for live music.

Where to Stay

The Dean: When it opened in 2014, the Dean gave Dublin’s boutique hotel scene a kick in the backside. Some amenities feel a bit gimmicky (we’re looking at you, mini-Smeg fridges), but bold splashes of contemporary Irish art and expansive views from Sophie’s rooftop bar are the real deal.

The Westbury: Run by the family-owned Doyle Collection, this grand dame near Grafton Street embellishes five-star opulence with local touches like an Irish afternoon tea, custom-woven wool carpets, and the urbane new brasserie Balfes.

Number 31: A hidden doorway on Leeson Close leads to one of Dublin’s best small hotels. The sunken lounge and communal breakfasts are highlights.

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Go With Nat Geo

Nat Geo Expeditions offers several itineraries to Ireland, including the new 10-day Tales and Treasures of the Emerald Isle, which visits some of Ireland’s most intriguing monuments.

Explore all of our picks for Best Trips 2018!

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