Dublin in detail

Itineraries

Day One

  • Grafton Street & St Stephen's Green

Start with a stroll through the grounds of Trinity College, visiting the Long Room and the Book of Kells before ambling up Grafton St to St Stephen’s Green. For more beautiful books and artefacts, drop into the Chester Beatty Library. On your way, you can do a spot of retailing in Powerscourt Townhouse shopping centre or the many boutiques west of Grafton St.

  • Lunch The lunch bento at Sisu Izakaya is both great value and delicious.
  • Merrion Square & Georgian Dublin

Pick your heavyweight institution, or visit all three: the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (if only for the Ardagh Chalice and Tara Brooch), the National Gallery (be sure to check out the Jack B Yeats room) and the Museum of Natural History, which the kids will surely enjoy.

  • Dinner Etto is one of the best Italian restaurants in town.
  • Temple Bar

Dublin’s one-time party zone still likes to have a good time, and is definitely at its most animated in the evenings, where you have the choice of a traditional-music session, some decent clubbing at Mother (Saturdays only) or just straight up drinking at any of the district’s many pubs.

Day Two

  • Kilmainham & the Liberties

Begin with a little penance at either (or both) of Dublin’s medieval cathedrals, St Patrick’s and Christ Church, before pursuing pleasure at Dublin’s most popular tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse. Along the way, you have your choice of distillery experiences, but Teeling is at least now selling whiskey produced on its own premises.

  • Lunch Fumbally has great soups, sandwiches and coffee.
  • Kilmainham & the Liberties

Go further west to Kilmainham, visiting first the fine collection at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (don’t forget to visit the gardens too) before going out the back entrance and stepping into Kilmainham Gaol, the tour of which offers one of the most illuminating and interesting insights into Ireland’s struggle for independence. If the weather is good, a stroll in the War Memorial Gardens is also recommended.

  • Dinner Super seafood at Fish Shop, in Stoneybatter.
  • North of the Liffey

Walshs of Stoneybatter is a superb traditional bar, full of interesting locals and hipster blow-ins looking for a ‘real’ Dublin experience. Alternatively, you could take in a play at either the Gate Theatre or Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey. Use the Luas to get you from Stoneybatter (get on at the Museum stop) to Abbey St.

Day Three

  • North of the Liffey

After walking the length of O’Connell St, and pausing to inspect the bullet holes in the General Post Office, explore the collection of the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, including Francis Bacon’s reconstructed studio. At 14 Henrietta St you'll discover the story of a Georgian townhouse; at Jameson Distillery Bow Street you can uncover the secrets of Irish whiskey.

  • Lunch Get a fine sandwich or healthy salad at the wonderful Fegan's 1924.
  • North of the Liffey

The collection of the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History is excellent, but you’ll be distracted by the stunning 18th-century barracks that is its home. The nearby Arbour Hill Cemetery is where the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising are buried, while further west again is the broad expanse of Phoenix Park, Europe's largest city park.

  • Dinner Chapter One is ideal for a special occasion. Book ahead.
  • Grafton Street & St Stephen's Green

The biggest choice of nightlife is in the streets around Grafton St: there are traditional pubs, trendy new bars and music venues. You can drink, chat and dance the night away, or see a show at the Gaiety Theatre. Whatever you choose, everything is easily reached in what is a pretty compact district.

Day Four

  • North of the Liffey

You’ll get a particularly interesting insight into the vagaries of Irish history with a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery, the final resting place of so many Irish notables – be sure to take the brilliant tour. The National Botanic Gardens are just around the corner, and well worth an amble. Sporting fans will enjoy the tour of Croke Park, Ireland’s biggest stadium and the HQ of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

  • Lunch Oxmantown in Stoneybatter has a great range of lunch options.
  • Howth

Hop on a DART and head northwards to Howth, a nice fishing village at the foot of a bulbous headland overlooking Dublin Bay. There are great walks around the headland itself, but if you prefer something a little more sedate, there’s a fine selection of pubs in the village and some excellent seafood restaurants along the pier. There’s also a terrific farmers market at weekends.

  • Dinner Mr Fox, back on Parnell Sq, is one of the best restaurants in town for Irish cuisine.
  • Merrion Square & Georgian Dublin

A visit to O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row is guaranteed to be memorable. This beautiful traditional bar is always full of revellers, and there’s a good chance there’ll be a trad-music session on.