Irish City Breaks: Dublin
You may have heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin, fresh from the factory, but what you may not have known is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. Here are just some of the fantastic attractions, places to eat and venues that Dublin has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a family break, a couples’ retreat or a dose of culture, Dublin has it all. If you’re looking to rent a car in Ireland then doing so through easyCar before you even arrive is the best bet.
Top 5 things to do
- Guinness Storehouse
Forgive the cliché, but no trip to Dublin would be complete without visiting its bountiful source of Guinness. Located in the heart of the St James’ Gate Brewery, home to the black stuff since 1759, The Guinness Storehouse’s seven-storey building has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint glass. For €18, you get the full tour plus a free pint at the Gravity Bar with a spectacular, panoramic view of the Dublin skyline. The brewery’s history ties in with that of the city, so, there are layered reasons as to why this is an essential stop on all visitors’ lists.
- Patrick’s Day Parade (17th March)
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin every March to watch some of Europe’s finest street performers in a four-day gala of world-class entertainment. It won’t take long to understand its global recognition, so head down for the parade, food and drink, music and “craic”. For many just one visit is not enough, and returning year after year is quite common.
- Wicklow Mountains National Park
After a couple of days, having soaked up the culture, history and Guinness of the city, a change of scenery can be a welcoming contrast to the bustling city life. Drive the scenic route through Wicklow Mountains National Park and bathe in icy cold lakes, as the early monks of the nation did, or climb the side of an ancient volcano. To get there you need to head southwards out of the city through the suburb of Rathfarnam, take Military Road (R115) and follow the route southwards through the heart of the mountains and valleys. The views from your window, we promise, will be breathtaking.
- The National Gallery of Ireland
Today, The National Gallery of Ireland’s collection includes over 2,500 paintings and some 10,000 other works in alternative media including drawings, sculptures, watercolours and prints. While it houses a renowned collection of Irish paintings, every major European school of art is extensively represented; the gallery’s highlights include works by Monet, Van Gogh, Vermeer, Picasso and Caravaggio. This is certainly not one to miss for those who appreciate the culture and history of a city.
- Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo
Just as a heads up, here are some of the thing’s you can’t do in Phoenix Park: litter, light fires, act “contrary to public morality”, “annoy or otherwise interfere” with other park users and go any faster than 50km per hour on the park’s roads. On a warm, sunny day, Phoenix Park is truly stunning for those who enjoy a breath of fresh air and a long walk.
Measuring in at more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park, it’s no surprise that there’s a zoo in the middle! You can wander through the African Savannah to gaze at giraffes, zebras and ostrich before heading to the Kaziranga Forest and admiring the magnificent herd of Asian elephants that call this park “home”. With tigers, hippos, gorillas, bats and red pandas on offer, to name but a few, this is certainly one for all the family to enjoy.
Where to eat and where to go out
Seafood: Cavistons and Aqua
Cavistons, one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in the Dublin area, is also a fantastic spot to rest your limbs after a bracing walk along the Dún Laoghaire seafront. The Caviston family has run the fish shop in Glasthule since the 1940s and the restaurant has been trading next door for the last 20 years. Fish is king in this establishment, so no meat or veggie options have made the final menu cut, not that this matters at all when the food is this exceptional and when you can pick up some of your own fresh produce just next door!
Given the coastal location of Aqua, fish is the order of the day here, too; alongside gorgeous sea views, a warm, uncluttered dining room and a fantastic Sunday lunch soften its distinctly urban appearance. From Dover sole on the bone and baked sea bass, to pan-fried halibut and slow-cooked organic salmon, there’s something for everyone to try.
Music Venues: O’Donoghue’s and Andrew’s Lane
As O’Donoghue’s launched the career of “The Dubliners,” Ireland’s seminal folk and ballad group, it is fitting that this made O’Donoghue’s the seminal pub for folk fans visiting Dublin. The venue can get a little crowded during tourist season, but the live music which features on numerous band tours will always draw a steady influx of visitors.
Formerly one of the few playhouses on Dublin’s south side, Andrew’s Lane Theatre has now been re-opened and re-branded as a music venue. While theatre lovers may miss its previous function, it has already developed a strong reputation on the city’s music scene and is certainly worth a visit should you wish to mingle.
With so much to see not only in the city itself but in the surrounding countryside , make sure to rent a car in advance with easyCar to make the most of your time on the Emerald Isle.