And how to make some truly magical memories to last a lifetime...
Sightseeing in Dublin is a truly magical experience. A city rich in history and culture, bustling with Irish warmth and charm. It’s no wonder that travellers from all over the globe feel welcome here.
Spending a week exploring the city and surrounding country side is very easy to do. If, however you have only a few days to spare, keep reading to find out how to get the most out of your short, yet very memorable stay.
Day 1 – Dublin Sightseeing by Foot
If there is one thing I’ve learnt during my seven and half years living abroad it’s that when it comes to exploring a new city, nothing beats walking. Something that cannot be truer for Dublin.
Now, there is a lot to see in Dublin – and a lot you’ll want to see too. Far more than is possible in just one day. But not to worry, the city centre has many of Dublin’s iconic sightseeing highlights well within walking distance of other.
More than just the infamous Temple Bar pub. The cobbled streets of Temple bar are the cultural home of Dublin. Perfect for night out or an afternoon drink. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find some remarkable street art, buskers, delicious smelling (and tasting 😉) food shops and much more. Temple bar is a must for any sightseer of Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral
Head west from Temple Bar to visit the Christ Church Cathedral. You won’t miss this medieval cathedral located in the heart of Dublin. Sitting amongst the city streets, the cathedral makes for an impressive sight to behold.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Continue following road R137 as it turns south and you’ll be treated to sights of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s stunning architecture and neighbouring gardens make it well worth the visit. It’s also the tallest and largest church in Ireland!
Winding your way back towards Temple Bar, your next stop is Dublin Castle. You can’t help but be humbled by its presence…
Molly Malone statue
Ah the statue of Ms. Molly Malone. She certainly draws in the passers-by. Said to bring good luck if you touch her, um, well I’m sure you can see the two slightly more polished areas. Hard to believe that she’s not a real person, but actually a fictional character from the song of the same name. A song so popular that it’s become the unofficial anthem of Dublin.
Trinity College Courtyard
No sightseeing tour of Dublin would be complete without a stop to the Trinity College courtyard. Just across from Molly, enjoy a stroll through the grounds of the most prestigious university in Ireland. A highlight of the courtyard is without a doubt the incredible 18th century Irish architecture of the Old Library.
Spire of Dublin
Finally, cross the O’Connell bridge to reach the Spire of Dublin – also named the Monument of Light. The 120m tall stainless-steel pin-like structure makes for a great photo.
Visiting all these sights won’t take you a full day. And you know what? That’s ok. As I said, walking is the best the way to explore a new city. So, take the opportunity to simply wander the streets to wherever your feet happen to take you. You’ll be amazed at what unexpected and pleasant surprises you’ll find!
You’ll even have time to find your accommodation too.
Day 2 – Sightseeing on Tour
Now I’m not talking a Dublin city sightseeing hop-on-hop-off tour. It’s time to take full advantage of the day by getting out and experiencing the beautiful Irish country side.
There are many day trips (and companies) to choose from. You could go see the Wild Connemara or get a combined Belfast and Titanic experience. For the GOT fans, there’s even a Giant Causeway and GOT locations day trip offered by Irish Day tours.
I however, eagerly selected the Cliffs of Moher day trip from Patty Wagon Tours. Boy, was I not disappointed.
The trip itself had several beautiful and very interesting stops both before and after reaching the famed Cliffs of Moher. Although gazing at the enchanting Irish landscape is more than enough to pass the time in between stops, our fun-loving tour guide kept us highly entertained. He also passed on some incredible and fascinating stories from the history books of the proud Irish people.
My favourite by far was why the headquarters of the Bank of Ireland (opposite Trinity College) has no windows. Basically, England decided to Tax the good people of Ireland for the ‘privilege’ of sunlight through their windows. This of course didn’t sit to well with the Irish. So, they simply bricked up the windows to avoid the tax. Brilliant!
It is a long day, but well worth it. And at only 40€, it’s an absolute bargain. To be honest, I would’ve happily payed double.
Day 3 – A final few (very special) places to visit before you leave
One of the two must sees’ before you leave is the Book of Kells, located in the Old Library exhibition. Once you overcome the sense of awe this 18th century building imposes on you, you’ll marvel at the sheer number of ancient texts this library possesses. So magical in fact that the long room even features in the Harry Potter movies!
Although it’s located in the Trinity College Courtyard, I recommend saving this for your third day so that you can get there early and avoid the queue and crowds. You can also take your time and have a good look around. Something not so possible when it’s full of people…
As a final farewell on your Dublin sightseeing tour, make you way out to the Jamerson Bow street Whiskey Distillery for the Bow Street Experience tour (must be 18 or over). Discover just how John Jamerson created the world famous Jamerson Whiskey, learn the secrets of good whiskey making and finally, taste the Jamerson difference for yourself.
Booking in advance via their website is highly recommend for any of the Jamerson tours. They get booked out very easily during peak times. If a tour is not your thing, then simply stop by for a drink at the magnificent and stylish front bar and soak up the lively Jamerson Bow Street atmosphere.
Farewell but not forgotten
It’s sad to say good bye knowing that you’ve only the scratched the surface of this incredible country. I’ve never met someone who’s visited that’s hasn’t come away from Dublin with similar feelings…
But if anything, leaving shouldn’t be a reason to be sad. It’s a reason to happy. Because Dublin, and Ireland as whole, is a place you’ll be looking forward to visiting again.