Top 9 Things To Do In Dublin Plus Best Hotels & Restaurants

This in-depth travel guide covers the best things to do in Dublin including tips on where to eat and where to stay in Ireland's largest and most famous city.

Dublin, Ireland is a fantastic choice for travelers to visit due to its rich history, striking architecture, delicious food, lively music, and friendly people.

Ireland’s capital city is also an ideal location in which to begin (or close out) any additional Ireland road trips you may be planning while visiting the Emerald Isle. With its relatively flat terrain, Dublin is perfect for walking with most of the attractions and restaurants located near the major hotels.

As far as the people, Ireland is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries I’ve ever visited, and even though Dublin is Ireland’s largest city, it’s no exception to Ireland’s smiling charm.

Dublin ireland travel red pub cobblestone street

All of Ireland tends to be windy and cloudy, but the climate here stays fairly steady. The best seasons to visit are Spring, Summer, & Fall, but Winter isn’t too bad either since it’s rare that it snows or freezes.

The one item you’ll definitely need is an umbrella, preferably a small but strong one that you can easily carry with you since rain can pour at any moment.

River liffey dublin ireland
The River Liffey

Best Things to Do in Dublin

The Guinness Storehouse


The Guinness Storehouse, located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, is the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. It is renowned as the home of the “Black Stuff,” and a tour here is a memorable way to kick off your Irish adventure.

Your journey begins at the base of the largest pint glass in the world. You’ll work your way through seven floors weaving together interactive experiences about the making of Guinness and the rich history of Ireland.

At the top, you’ll be treated to a perfect pint in their world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar.

The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse

Due to the popularity of the Guinness Storehouse, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance online.

*Note: You can only enter the 7th-floor 360° observatory of Dublin Gravity Bar if you are partaking in the Guinness Storehouse tour. Your tour ticket gives you entry to the Gravity Bar where you will be able to enjoy an included drink, which can be a pint of Guinness, one of their other beers, Guinness 0.0 (over 18s only), or another non-alcoholic drink.

Due to the size of the facility, touring the Guinness Storehouse from start to finish can be truly overwhelming and even disorienting, which is why I recommend reserving the premium CONNOISSEUR EXPERIENCE. It’s well worth the extra cost.

The Private, Soundproof Room for the Connoisseur Experience

Not only do you learn (and practice) how to correctly pull the Guinness from a tap, but you can also count yourself a member among an elite few. Only 60 out of every 5000 visitors on average get to have this experience.

Learning to pour a guinness
Learning to Pour a Guinness: Connoisseur Experience

Plus, you get to taste the original formulation of Guinness, and the variations of Guinness distributed around the world.

Guinness tasting connoisseur experience
Guinness Tasting Connoisseur Experience

 Without this tour, I most likely would never have discovered Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, which is now my go-to favorite of the brand.

Guinness varieties around the world tasting
Guinness Varieties Around the World Tasting

While you’re tasting in the cozy quiet space, the guide tells the story of Guinness, delving deeper into its origins and how and why its taste has evolved through the years.

At the end of the 3-hour experience (which flies by), each participant is invited behind the bar to pour a proper Guinness. Once you pass, (and I’m fairly certain no one fails), you receive a certification declaring your Guinness pint-pouring proficiency.

But even if you don’t get to reserve the Connoisseur Experience or it’s a little too pricey, the Guinness Storehouse regular admission tour is a one-stop-shop for history, fun, and family-friendly interactive experiences, dining, and, of course, Guinness tasting.

The Jameson Bow Street Distillery

Things to do in dublin ireland
Jameson Bow Street Distillery
"Founded by John Jameson in 1780, today the former factory stands as a monument to Irish Whiskey. Visit Jameson Distillery Dublin for the World’s leading distillery tours, cocktail-making classes, premium whiskey tasting sessions or to learn how to blend your own whiskey. All topped off with a Jameson at our centrepiece bar, straight from the proverbial source."
Jameson distillery bow street dublin ireland
The Two-Story Atrium of Jameson Distillery in Dublin

Currently, Jameson Distillery in Dublin offers 7 different experiences. I chose the 90-minute “Whiskey Blending Class,” where you create your own whiskey blend to take home while also experiencing a cask draw and tasting in Dublin’s only live maturation house.

I really enjoyed this premium experience due to the smaller group size in a private bar area of the facility. Plus, it was creative and fun, sort of like an adult beverage chemistry class.

Jameson whiskey blending tour dublin ireland
Jameson Distillery Whiskey Blending Class

If you prefer to discover more about the history of Jameson and taste 4 premium Jameson blends (2 of which are only available at the Distillery, then the “Secret Whiskey Tasting” might be the one for you. If you don’t like the idea of sipping whiskey straight, then the “Whiskey Cocktail Making Class” should be a better fit.

There’s the regular tour of course, which covers the basics of how Jameson is made along with a comparative whiskey taste and a complimentary beverage in the bar at the end.

Jameson sour and irish coffee
Jameson Sour and Irish Coffee

*Note: If you reserve the “Whiskey Blending Class,” there’s no real need to also go on the regular “Distillery Tour” because much of the same information is covered.

To explore which tour is right for your time and tastes, click the link below:

St Patrick’s Cathedral

St patrick's cathedral dublin ireland

St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the 12th century on the site of a well that many believed to have been used by St Patrick himself. The original church was wooden, but the new structure was built using local limestone and stones imported from Bristol.

Like many European cathedrals built in the gothic style, St Patrick’s is constructed in the shape of a cross. The church has had many additions and restorations through the years, most notably funded by the Guinness family, making it the largest cathedral in Ireland and a place of worship for over 800 years.

If you’d like to visit the church, you can purchase a ticket that gives you a self-guided tour of the cathedral helping you better understand its history, symbolic significance, and architectural features.

Christ’s Church Cathedral

Christ's church cathedral
Christ’s Church Cathedral

Smaller than St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ’s Church Cathedral is actually older. Originally a Viking church, the cathedral has been presiding over the heart of Dublin for almost 1000 years.

Inside Christ’s Church Cathedral

The architecture is a mix of gothic arches and romanesque carvings, but one of its primary attractions is its 12th-century crypt, the largest in Ireland where several knights and bishops are laid to rest. The bell tower is also the oldest in all of Ireland, and the church is also home to a rare copy of the Magna Carta.

You can purchase a self-guided audio tour of the church, and some tickets include combo access to the Dublinia museum across the street which delves into Dublin’s origins and Viking connections.

Dublinia: Medieval & Viking Museum


Located across the street from Christ’s Church Cathedral, Dublinia is a fun, interactive museum with ever-changing exhibits featuring Dublin’s Viking origins and what culture and daily life were like in medieval Ireland.

Dublin has a rich history that dates back more than 1000 years, and you can learn all about it at Dublinia.

The first known settlement in the city center, called Áth Cliath, was built in the Cornmarket area in the fourth century. The name Áth Cliath translates to ‘Hurdled Fort’.

Over the centuries, Dublin has seen various settlers and undergone many changes. In the sixth century, a monastery named Duiblinn was established, which means ‘blackpool’ in Irish. The Vikings eventually arrived in Dublin in 841 and settled in the area.

At the end of your visit to Dublinia, if your legs aren’t too tired, climb the 96 steps up St. Michael’s Tower to take in the sweeping views of Dublin.

Trinity College

Trinity College

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, and it’s located in the heart of Dublin.

The campus is steeped in history, and even though you’re not a student, visitors can take in the history of the university by touring the Chapel and especially the “Long Room” of the Old Library.

Here you’ll find 200,000 of Trinity College’s most ancient books in a library that has been functioning since 1732.

The Old Library (Image Courtesy of

You can view The Book of Kells in the Old Library, a 1200-year-old illuminated manuscript considered one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures. Created by Celtic monks around 800 A.D., the book is one of the best examples of medieval art.

Dublin Castle


This 13th-century castle has served as the seat of power in Ireland for centuries. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and explore the beautiful grounds.

The tour takes you from the excavation site of Viking and medieval Dublin to the Gothic Chapel Royal and finally to the former viceregal State Apartments where many artifacts and historic furniture and decor are on display.

Things to do in Dublin

Dublin Shopping & Nightlife

Grafton Street


Known for being one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets, Grafton Street is entertaining whether or not you end up buying anything. There’s a little bit of everything offered on this pedestrianized street (no cars allowed) spanning the distance between Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green.

The shops range from designer to local arts and the street is also known for its buskers, street performers who sing or play an instrument. There are plenty of cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs to fit whatever mood you’re in as well.

Temple Bar

Dublin temple bar

Is it a district? Is it a pub? Temple Bar is actually both.

It’s one of Dublin’s liveliest and most entertaining streets with a fun mix of traditional and modern music buzzing from the pubs with the large, cherry-red Temple Bar Pub at its heart.

Temple bar statue dublin ireland
The Lone Unknown Drinker Inside the Temple Bar Pub

The Temple Bar area (and the pub) get really busy and since most places don’t accept reservations, it’s a first come first serve system.

However, there is one hidden gem in the heart of Temple Bar that does allow you to book in advance: The Vintage Cocktail Club.

Vintage cocktail club dublin

Located in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, the Vintage Cocktail Club is a secret bar that will transport you back in time to the glamorous era of speakeasies, movie stars, and aviation.

The bar offers an extensive selection of spirits, award-winning cocktails, and even a few snacks if you’re hungry. To experience the Vintage Cocktail Club, reservations are recommended.


In true speakeasy form, it is a little hard to find. Look for a black door marked only with the letters VCC. Once you find it, ring the doorbell, and you’re welcomed into the 3 story speakeasy complete with a rooftop terrace.

Gardens & Greens

St. Stephen’s Green

Fusilier's arch st stephen's green
Entrance to St. Stephen’s Green

If you’re tired of shopping and crowds, this beautiful park in the heart of Dublin offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With a lake, fountains, and plenty of green space, it’s an idyllic setting to relax and enjoy nature.

National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin


Located just over 3 miles from Dublin city center, the National Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin) are open every day of the year except Christmas Day.

Entry is free and you can enjoy the outdoor garden walks, or if the weather gets a little rainy (after all it is Ireland), there are 7 beautifully restored glasshouses.

Best Hotels in Dublin

The Fitzwilliam

Fitzwilliam hotel dublin ireland lobby

I didn’t stay very long at The Fitzwilliam, but I loved my brief time at this purple-themed boutique hotel.

It’s ideally located near Grafton Street within walking distance of Dublin’s cultural & historical attractions and there are loads of shops, pubs, and restaurants nearby.

Fitzwilliam hotel dublin ireland
The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel

The marker

If you enjoy a larger, more modern, and comprehensive hotel experience overlooking the rejuvenated river docks in the financial and tech sector of Dublin, book The Marker. 

It even has a coveted nightspot rooftop bar & restaurant. If you’re a guest, you get premium entry.

Anantara the marker dublin hotel rooftop bar
Rooftop Bar at The Marker Hotel

The Westbury


This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of Dublin’s shopping district, just a short walk from Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green.

The Westbury offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, and an award-winning restaurant.

The westbury dublin hotel afternoon tea

The Shelbourne


This iconic hotel has been welcoming guests since 1824 and is located in the heart of Dublin’s cultural quarter.

The Shelbourne offers luxurious rooms, a spa, and an excellent restaurant.

The Merrion


This five-star hotel is located in four restored Georgian townhouses and offers elegant rooms, a spa, and an award-winning restaurant.

The Merrion is also home to a stunning art collection, which is displayed throughout the hotel.

The Merrion Hotel Indoor Pool

Best Restaurants in Dublin

Chapter One


This Michelin-starred restaurant is located in the basement of the Dublin Writers Museum and offers an innovative tasting menu featuring locally sourced ingredients.

The food is on the artsy side with small portions, so if that’s not your thing, then you might want to skip it, but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.


Tortellini grano-dublin-ireland

Grano combines fresh natural ingredients, farmed using organic and biodynamic techniques, to create a contemporary cuisine that respects the roots and traditions of Italian cooking.

Grano sources its ingredients from small Italian food and wine producers with a mission to contribute to the preservation of local food cultures and the revival of ancient cultivation techniques.

The Winding Stair


The Winding Stair Bookshop & Cafe became a famous Dublin landmark in the 1970s and 1980s. Named after the Yeats poem, and in honor of its winding staircase, it is perfectly located, overlooking the river Liffey, with an iconic view of the arching Ha’penny Bridge.

As a popular meeting place for writers, musicians, and artists, it was a well-known hub for debate and creativity with many poems written, novels penned, and movies shot within its walls. The food is old-fashioned home cooking, with produce sourced from artisans within the island.

Gallagher’s Boxty House

Gallaghers boxty house dublin ireland

Located in the Temple Bar district, Gallagher’s Boxty House is a delicious and casual spot for lunch and dinner and of course, a place to try Ireland’s quintessential boxty: a pancake/crepe made with grated potatoes.

At Gallagher’s, they make 3 types of Boxty with my favorite being the one served with a variety of fillings. Gallagher’s also accepts reservations and is open for brunch as well.

You can check out my Boxty recipe here.

Things to do in Dublin

Day Trips from Dublin

The Hill of Tara

Only a 35 – 40 minute drive from Dublin, the Hill of Tara is a quiet, peaceful place accessed by a narrow road. Parking is roadside, and there are stores and cafes there for visitors. 

To get to the Hill of Tara, walk the curving dirt path toward the old, white church that now serves as a visitor’s center. An attendant will then direct you up the graveyard path, through the gate, and onto the plush grass of the rolling hilltops. 

Stone of destiny hill of tara ireland
The Stone of Destiny at the Hill of Tara

According to legend, Tara was ruled by 142 Kings starting from the Neolithic Age. The “Stone of Destiny” or Lia Fail was the location where the coronation of a King took place. It was believed that if the rightful King of Ireland touched the stone, it would roar.

The site was also considered to be a dwelling place of the gods and a gateway to the otherworld, which was a land of eternal joy and immortality.

The Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb that dates back to around 3000 BCE, is the oldest monument at the site.

To get to the Stone of Destiny, you have to traverse the Ring Forts — there’s really no other way to do this than to half-trot down into the bottom of one ring, maintaining enough momentum to propel you to the top of the next. 

Ring forts hill of tara county meath ireland
The Ring Forts at the Hill of Tara

Keep up this pattern with each successive ring. If it helps, imagine climbing up and down the humps of a giant green camel, and you can kind of get the idea.

After you’ve finished your walking tour of the Hill of Tara if you need a snack or are in the mood to shop, retreat to the parking area where you can grab a coffee or lunch at Maguire’s Cafe and Giftshop or a book from Michael Slavin’s tiny bookstore. 


Newgrange county meath ireland passage tomb

NEWGRANGE. Older than the Pyramids…Older than Stonehenge…the Neolithic passage tomb constructed in 3200 B.C. offers a mind-altering experience, and it’s located only 45 minutes from Dublin.

I recommend visiting it; I also highly recommend not relying on Google Maps to get you there. You’ll get there, but you’ll be on a road that runs behind the monument, and even if you walk the path to what looks like the ticket lodge, you will not be allowed to enter.

The only way to gain access is to go directly to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center:  an artfully designed starting point with an informative film, a walk-through museum, a gift shop, and a (surprisingly) delicious cafe.

The tour bus loading point is about a 5-minute walk that takes you over a bridge with views of lush pastures dotted with Ireland’s quintessential sheep.

Newgrange sheep county meath river
The Path to Newgrange

It’s a quick bus ride to the main passage tomb, and your guide will lead you up the hill and discuss the history of the site while you wait to enter. 

Newgrange county meath ireland
Newgrange County Meath Ireland

If you have a large group, half will enter the passage first, giving you about 15 minutes to walk around the monument and the surrounding sites.

Newgrange entrance stone ireland
Newgrange Stone Entrance

When it’s your turn to enter, you will walk single file into the dim passageway and carefully make your way through the ever-narrowing path to the circular room deep in the heart of the tomb.

Walking the slightly rising path to the inner chamber of the tomb will give you chills (the good kind), but if you are severely claustrophobic, you might want to skip it.

Also, at one point, the guide turns off the lights in order to simulate the illuminating sunrise of the Winter Solstice through the “roof-box” at the opening of the passage. It doesn’t last long, but if you have children or are yourself afraid of dark and closed-in spaces, please be aware.

Newgrange passage tomb ireland
Additional Tomb Site at Newgrange

Things to do in Dublin

3 Final Tips for Visiting Ireland

  • Don’t forget an umbrella! Here’s the one I ordered to use while there and it was great. Easy to open and close, small enough to fit in a bag but large enough to give me ample coverage from the wind and rain. Still have it, use it, and love it.
  • Shoes: Think comfort first. The best way to see and experience Dublin is by walking it, but you won’t make it long with a pair of uncomfortable or slippery shoes. Go for shoes that are warm, relatively waterproof, and have rubber soles. The old cobblestones you’ll encounter on some streets get slick after a rain.

  • Pub Etiquette: In the less touristy pubs in Dublin, locals may offer to buy you another round of drinks if you strike up a conversation. This is a sign of goodwill and friendship. If this happens, offer to buy them the next round. Wait until someone offers before initiating the practice. Remember to reciprocate if someone does offer. You may never see that person again, but during those moments sharing stories in the pub, you’re friends.
The custom house dublin ireland
The Custom House

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