The last 20 years has seen the pint of plain rest easily beside a cappuccino as Dublin, Ireland, embraces an influx of different cultures and eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, and bars. The birth of Chinatown and launch of new festivals, such as the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival and Fusions Sundays, celebrating food and cultures from around the world are just some of the ways Dublin has advanced in the 21st century.
When to Go
June, July, and August are technically the summer months in Ireland, but the rain falls copiously year-round. (Visitors can expect the locals to comment on the weather frequently.) Fall can be pleasant, but the wind in Dublin usually sweeps away any colorful foliage quickly. Although December days are dark, the city is awash with hanging illuminations and Christmas decorations, and merriment abounds.
Running in the days leading up to June 16, the Bloomsday Festival is a rich experience for anyone with a love of literature and especially James Joyce's iconic Ulysses. Not to be confused with Bloomsday is Bloom, Ireland's largest garden festival. Showcasing the best in food and landscaping, this festival is held every June at Phoenix Park.
What to Eat
Dublin Bay prawns, with their unique flavour and texture, are used in hot and cold dishes. In Dublin, coddle, a stew of sausage and onions, was the food of the working classes during much of the 20th century and should be experienced more than savoured. A full Irish breakfast of rashers (thick bacon slices), sausages, and black pudding will set the most ardent traveler up for the day.
Souvenir to Take Home
A traditional flat cap woven by Irish weavers will rest well on any man’s head. For her, an Aran Snood or some Stephen Pearce pottery—the striking terra-cotta and white pieces will blend into most homes and won’t date. For jewelry with a modern twist, take a wander through the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Sustainable Travel Tip
Dublin Bikes stations are located all over the city, and with many streets offering bike lanes, it’s a convenient option. The first 30 minutes are free, and a four-hour rental costs 8.50 euros, making this an economic way to sight-see. A new cycle track following the DART and hugging the coast allows for cycling in lane from Dun Laoghaire in the south to Howth in the north.
A Georgian doorway, found in one of Dublin's many squares, will frame any pose. The Ha'penny Bridge traversing the River Liffey is another iconic setting, with wrought-iron work that screams quintessential Dublin. It's always busy, so consider standing at O’Connell Bridge and capturing it in the distance. Sunset is the ideal time, which in summertime will not come until after 10 p.m. Molly Malone, better known locally as the “Tart with the Cart,” is another popular choice—she resides at Suffolk Street.