From its centuries-old pubs to its Georgian architecture to the stately Trinity College at its centre, the city of Dublin has a glorious sense of history and the ideal destination for a whirlwind trip that never feels too rushed.
Dublin city is so compact that it's possible to see all the main sights and get in a few sneaky pints in less than 24 hours so, skip the whirlwind, hop-on, hop-off tour bus, and check out our must-sees and dos in Dublin over 24 hours that mix food with music, history with literature and the touristy with the not-so-touristy.
Dublin Airport (DUB) is situated 10km north of the city. The Aircoach operates between the airport and the city centre 24 hours a day, and a journey to O'Connell Street will take about 25 minutes. Tickets can be bought for €7/€12 (adult single/return) at the Aircoach stop outside the door, but cheaper deals can be found online.
If budget is not problem (it’s just one night after all) the perfectly located 5 star Merrion Hotel (Upper Merrion St., Dublin 2) should be top of your list. This glorious hotel opens into a series of period drawing rooms fragranced by turf fires and adorned with Ireland's largest collection of private art. Spacious and light-filled Garden Wings to the rear enclose a meditative half-acre quadrangle of fountains and manicured greenery. The rooms are beautiful and on the stylish side of opulent and the hotel is also home to Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Ireland’s only two-star Michelin restaurant. Prices for double rooms vary from €328 a night to €1,450.
Dublin has a booming culinary scene and has a number of well-established fine dining venues such as Chapter One and Trocadero, but for atmosphere and authenticity, we opted for Winding Stair for dinner on Day 1 (breakfast was coffee and freshly made scones in the charming surrounds of The Pepper Pot in the bustling Powerscourt Centre). Formerly a famous bookshop, in 2006 Winding Chair reopened as a home for old-fashioned Irish cooking. Think cider braised pork cheeks, whiskey cured salmons, excellent cheeseboards, and a good range of craft beers and smart wine list. Brunch on Day 2 was in the buzzy surrounds of Coppinger Row which emphasises the flavours and colours of the Mediterranean. It's strong on vibrant, imaginative salads and fishy options such as a Black Pudding salad, and Dressed Crab and Crayfish. It also has a stellar list of gin cocktails to take you from brunch, through lunch and onto boarding time.
A pint of “the black stuff” is still required drinking on any trip to Dublin. The enormous Guinness Storehouse museum (admission, 18 euros), set amid the cobbled streets and imposing buildings of the St. James’s Gate brewery, explains how the stout is made and gives the history of the company. Don’t leave without enjoying a pint of the good stuff on the top floor Gravity Bar, where the 360-degree view of Dublin is worth lingering over. Tourist trip done, you can’t miss out on some traditional Irish music at The Brazen Head, Dublin's oldest pub, which opened in 1198! A band plays every night and their Sunday session (3.30pm – 6.30pm) gives you the opportunity to sing a tune yourself!
Few cities wear history on its sleeve like Dublin does. The Historical Walking Tour has been acclaimed as a must-do tour for any visitor to Dublin. In just over 2 hours the award-winning and entertaining walking tour, conducted by history graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Dublin, explores the main features of Irish history – Dublin’s development, the influence of the American and French Revolutions, the Potato Famine, the Great War and the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, the Northern conflict and Ireland today.
Get a ‘behind bars’ shot (without the conviction) at Kilmainham Gaol.
For more information, visit http://www.discoverireland.ie