Dublin is a compact city that buzzes with energy and life. Have a stroll, have a pint, have some fun.
Breakfast – Slatterys Bar, 129 Capel Street
Start the day with the Irish breakfast that was approved by Anthony Bourdain. Slatterys is a very traditional and authentic Dublin pub with a huge mahogany bar with empty whiskey bottles adorning the windowsills for decoration. They have newspaper cuttings and photos up on the walls of the late-great chef and TV personality. If you’re a fan, like me, it’s a must.
First stop after breakfast: the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland (Jervis Street). Do not let the name of this museum put you off. It’s about the history of Irish story-telling and mythology. It’s a guided tour through different rooms each with a different theme (over-sized furniture in one, stools around a camp fire in another, you walk under the rainbow at one point), it’s a fun and sweet exploration of traditional folklore. We had a great guide who really brought the stories, and the art of storytelling, to life.
From the museum, walk towards the River Liffey and see the Ha’penny bridge: famous because it was the first iron pedestrian bridge built in Ireland. Named so because it used to cost a ha’penny to cross. It is a pretty and ornate little bridge – cross here and make your way past the Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street, to Trinity College and the Book of Kells.
You can have a pleasant walk round the College campus but for book-lovers the Long Room and Old Library is a must. Book in advance, but still expect a queue – it’s popular!
From there walk to Dublin Castle (Dame Street). Don’t pay to go into the castle, just wander around outside and take in the information boards. Then come out and head to the gardens opposite to enjoy the colours and sculptures there.
Lunch – Sano Pizza, 1-2 Exchange Street Upper
So close to the Castle, Sano serves traditional Neapolitan pizza that is SO good.
After lunch, head to the Chester Beatty Library which houses rare and antique books, maps, scrolls and parchments, from around the world. It’s fascinating, colourful, and free.
Then spend the rest of the afternoon taking a leisurely stroll to the Guinness Storehouse. No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to the Storehouse. I know and yes it is touristy, but it’s also a huge part of Irish heritage and something they are proud of. The Storehouse is a bit of a walk from the city centre (you can get a bus there), but we enjoyed the walk as we saw some other parts of Dublin that felt a little more lived in.
The Storehouse lives up the hype. It’s huge, it’s full of information, fun and interactive to walk round. You start off walking through exhibits about the ingredients – where and how they are grown or sourced, the method in which they are prepared (you really get to appreciate the science that has gone into this drink). There is a tasting room which only takes around ten minutes but teaches you how to properly drink and taste a Guinness (who knew that there’s a specific way!).
There was also a great exhibit on how the barrels were made, including grainy black and white footage – what a tough process that looked to be! For me, the most fun part of the tour was the section on advertising – there are some classic Guinness adverts that they project onto a huge screen. But also, at regular interviews the Storehouse would fill up with the sound of live music, as a brass band would do regular circuits. When we got up to the bar there was Irish dancing and a DJ. It has some great views of the city (and there are other drinks on offer, not just Guinness). I think it was well worth a visit – be sure to book in advance because tickets do sell out.
Tea – Dollard Market
Dollard market has a variety of vendors all under one roof (so lots of options for the whole team, including burgers, pizza, Thai). It’s fun, it’s lively, it’s got a bar and encourages a social atmosphere.
Go there, make some friends and then head to Temple Bar, find pub you can squeeze into with some live music and dance. It’s legendary for a reason.
Have you been to Dublin? What do you recommend seeing?