A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane to Dublin for the weekend. The reason? A reunion with some of my friends from University. I still can’t believe it’s been over 5 years since we graduated! This was my second time visiting Ireland (my first time in Dublin) and I LOVED it. We were there from late Thursday night until Sunday evening, so had almost 3 full days to explore the city.
We crammed so much into such a short space of time, so I thought I’d put together my top 5 recommendations for anyone looking for things to do in Dublin during a weekend break.
On our first day we did a free walking tour of the South Side of the city, where we visited Trinity College, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This was probably my favourite part of the holiday, as we managed to see so much! If you’ve never been to Dublin before then I’d 100% recommend doing one of these tours if you’re interested in learning more about the city. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes! According to the fitness tracker on my phone I walked almost 25,000 steps in total that day.
You don’t pay anything upfront, just tip your guide at the end however much you think it was worth. Our guide was excellent (and even gave us a few lunch recommendations afterwards), so we felt €10 each was pretty fair for a 2½ hour long tour.
If you search “things to do in Dublin” on TripAdvisor, the Guinness Storehouse is top of the list, and it’s easy to see why. So much effort has gone into creating an interactive experience, whether you love Guinness or not (I definitely fall into the second category!)
We easily spent 2-3 hours exploring the various exhibits, which are spread out over several floors to resemble a pint of Guinness. My favourite part was the “World of Advertising“, where you could see the different Guinness marketing campaigns from the past. At the end of the tour you can enjoy a free pint of the black stuff in the Gravity Bar, which has fantastic 360-views of Dublin. Unfortunately I was too hungover to face a pint, but luckily they serve soft drinks.
If you do plan on visiting, it definitely works out cheaper to book your tickets online. Prices vary depending on whether you visit on a weekday/weekend and a morning/afternoon. As a guide, we paid €20 each for an 11am timeslot on a Saturday in January.
We didn’t originally plan to do the Jameson Whiskey tour, but I’m really glad we did. Unlike the Guinness Storehouse, this is a guided tour. A whiskey-tasting expert takes you on a journey through how Jameson is made, before demonstrating how to sip it like a pro.
Because we hadn’t booked in advance, we had to wait a while before they were able to book us onto the next available tour. Luckily there’s a lovely bar area when you first enter the distillery, where we were able to chill while we waited. You also get a free drink with your ticket (either straight Jameson, or a Jameson, ginger & lime cocktail which is delicious).
Tickets are priced at €20 per adult, and the tour lasts around an hour (you can spend as much time as you like in the bar before and after though!) Given the choice between the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse, I’d probably pick the Guinness Storehouse. They’re similar in price, but the Guinness Storehouse felt like better value for money as there’s so much more to see and do.
4. Temple Bar
Unpopular opinion: I wasn’t the biggest fan of Temple Bar. I thought it was overcrowded, overpriced and full of tourists. However everyone else in my group seemed to love it, so I felt like I had to add it to the list. I think it’s one of those places that you have to visit, although I think next time I’d probably go during the day, rather than on a Saturday night!
Just an FYI for anyone who’s never been to Dublin; Temple Bar is a popular pub right in the heart of Dublin, but it’s also the name of the neighbourhood where you can also find loads of other bars and restaurants. I got so confused when I was looking up hotels to stay in and kept seeing “Location: Temple Bar.” Like I actually thought the pub was also a B&B… (*face palm*) so don’t make the same mistake I did!
Another place we didn’t originally plan to visit (but I’m glad we did!) On our last day in Dublin we had a few hours to spare before we needed to catch the bus to the airport. We decided on the National Leprechaun Museum as it was within walking distance and sounded like it might be a laugh. It definitely wasn’t what we were expecting. I’d say it’s more of a “Storytelling Experience” rather than a museum. Our guide was HILARIOUS, and even offered me a cup of tea after I had a coughing fit during his introduction to the tour (#embarrassing).
Tickets cost €16 per person and the tour lasts around 45 minutes. Worth a visit if you’re looking for something a bit different to do in Dublin and have a dry sense of humour!
Have you ever been to Dublin?