From culture and history to incredible outdoor experiences, Dublin is one of the best cities to visit! This place suits any taste, works with any budget, and is perfect food-wise for the wanderer in you! However, there will always be places that try to take advantage of unwary visitors. Dublin isn’t an exception. It has such tourist traps which lure tourists, are often hyped, and sometimes turn out to be a disappointment. So it can be difficult to tell the difference between the tourist traps that are often disappointing and the attractions that are worth visiting. But I’ve got you covered! Luckily, many of Dublin’s must-see attractions are within easy reach of the city center. And can even be explored on foot! From castles, parks, and iconic streets, here are 7 attractions in Dublin that are definitely worth a visit!

1. Temple Bar

First attraction in Dublin - Temple Bar

Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay 

One of the first places that a tourist heads to in the city is Temple Bar, which is more than just a pub. It’s a well-known historic neighbourhood with cobblestone alleys, multicuisine restaurants serving authentic Irish food, and street musicians that set a great atmosphere.

It’s home to several pubs like the Porterhouse, Buskers on the Ball, the Quays Bar, etc. The cobbled streets, lights, and river Liffey flowing by make for an ideal time to visit the Temple Bar. This is a perfect way to end your day in Dublin.

However, the overpriced pints and crowded pubs can often lead to disappointment. You can find better food, cheaper pints, and equally good music elsewhere.

Do: Visit Temple Bar during the day for its markets, bars, and cafés. The best non-touristy Temple Bar pubs are the Palace Bar, the Auld Dubliner, and the Foggy Dew.
Don’t: Fall into the trap of Temple Bar’s overpriced pubs at night.

2. Trinity and Book of Kells

Second attraction in Dublin: Ireland's most popular university

Image by Daniel Mennerich from Flickr 

Ireland’s most popular and oldest university, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I has long been a magnet of visitors.

Known for its remarkable library, it’s a place where bibliophiles would want to find themselves. The awe-inspiring 18th-century Long Room houses more than 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books. Ireland’s largest library also occurs to be the home to the Book of Kells – the 1000-year-old illuminated manuscript that has the four Gospels of the New Testament. Dubbed as the UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, Dublin’s written tradition stretches back to 800 CE with The Book of Kells, now on permanent exhibition at Trinity College.

3. St. Stephens Green

In the heart of Dublin is St. Stephens Green park located. The third attraction in Dublin

Image by Raúl Alejandro Rodríguez from Flickr

Located in the heart of Dublin, is this 22-acre park. St. Stephens Green is an oasis of calm, away from the hustle of the city life. If the weather permits, you can head to St. Stephens Green Park to sit, relax, and watch life go by.

There is an elaborate fountain at its centre, a bridge over swans and duck pond, a jogging track, and a playground. Incidentally, the park was the scene of a bitter combat and has witnessed many turbulent episodes of Irish history during the 1916 Easter rising. The Superintendent’s Lodge located just inside the southwest corner entrance was captured during Easter Week by rebels who positioned themselves in the upper bedrooms and fired at the troops. Evidence of fighting can be found on the Fusiliers’ Arch at the northwest entrance of the park. To this day, bullet holes can still be seen on the structure.

The main entrance sits right across from one of the main shopping streets in Dublin – Grafton Street. You can stretch out and relax on the grass, grab a pint or two, or enjoy a picnic lunch. The park enjoys perennial popularity among Dubliners and tourists alike. It’s indeed a great little spot with lots to do!

4. Guinness Storehouse

Gate from the well known Irish Guinness beer, also an attraction in Dublin

Photo by Andrew Meßner on Unsplash

Step into the world of Guinness and learn how 260 years ago, 5 ingredients (water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast) first came together, and an epic story was born. As you enter, you spot the 9000-year lease sealed in 1759 by Arthur Guinness himself.

As you move up the 7-story building, explore the history, culture, and advertising that tells the Guinness story. At the top of the building sits the Gravity bar, where you can take in the panoramic views of Dublin city while you enjoy your perfectly poured complimentary pint. The highlight of this visit would definitely be getting your ‘Pint to Remember’ with your picture printed on the head of the iconic black and white stout.

Do: Book the self-guided Guinness tour
Don’t: Don’t fall into the trap of the overpriced Guinness merchandise at the souvenir store. Keep an eye out for the sales section instead, to pick some souvenirs that would make for perfect gifts.

5. Malahide Castle

Attraction in Dublin number 5 - Malahide Castle

Photo by Kalle on Flickr

Ever wondered what the interiors of an 800-year-old medieval castle look like? Set on 250 acres of parkland in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, you find the Malahide Castle. Malahide Castle was a private family home of the Talbot Family for nearly 800 years. It became a tourist attraction from the 1980s.

The drawing room downstairs is distinguished by a distinct orange wall colour, that became known as Malahide Orange. The moving portrait featuring young Milo and Rose at the bottom of the stairs, that lead to the bedrooms, stands out the most. As you move around the room or up the stairs, the eyes of the children move with you, and never stop staring. This illusion by the artist is quite unique but sometimes can also be terrifying! The upper floor bedrooms of Malahide Castle are lavishly laid out with the windows looking out onto the front lush green parklands.

Popular attractions of Malahide Castle: Talbot botanic garden, playground, fairy trail, butterfly house, old abbey ruins, walking trails, the Avoca Store, cafe, and food market.

Do: Book the Malahide Castle Classic Tour
Don’t: Don’t fall into the trap of the hyped fairy trail tour. Because it has nothing much to offer apart from the long stretch of woodlands. The gift store offering quirky gifts, clothing and homeware can often be overpriced, so look out for special offers instead.

6. Ha’penny Bridge

Liffey Bridge, also called Ha'penny - attraction in Dublin

Photo by K.H.Reichert on Flickr

It’s the beautiful cast-iron pedestrian bridge over river Liffey which happens to be a top tourist attraction. Although ‘Liffey Bridge’ is the official name, the colloquial term ‘Ha’penny’ is derived from the reference of ‘half a penny toll’ that was charged back in the day to cross the bridge. Built in 1816, this is one of the 24 incredible bridges crossing river Liffey.

If you stick around for a while, you will get to experience plenty of live music played by popular Irish pubs in the energetic neighbourhood. Ha’penny Bridge is a true charmer for the kind of picturesque background that it creates especially when it’s lit in the myriad of colours at night. (Remember, the locals pronounce it as ‘Hey-penny’!)

7. Phoenix Park

A deer wandering in Phoenix park, which is also an attraction in Dublin

Photo by Jorge Giraldez on Flickr

Located at a stone’s throw from the Dublin city centre, this 1750 acres walled city park is Europe’s largest enclosed park and a wonderful nature retreat.

The urban park located to the north of River Liffey is a notable attraction due to the nature and wildlife. Spotting herds of deer, thriving in their natural habitat, is the quintessential part of coming here. It also offers a 12 km perimeter walk and cycle trails.

Popular attractions of Phoenix Park: Dublin Zoo, Wellington Monument, Áras an Uachtaráin – President’s House, Papal Cross.

Dublin at its best

This blog post only scratches the surface of what this charming island’s capital has to offer. What are some of your favourite attractions in Dublin that I didn’t mention? Dublin castle? Grafton Street? National Botanic gardens? Leave your comments below! Want to meet new people in Dublin? Become a buddy, and discover the benefits of being a buddy within SPEAK Dublin.

Author: Mohini Soman

Mohini is a marketing professional and a Co-Founder at SPEAK Dublin. Hailing from India, she now works in Dublin. Apart from being a language enthusiast, she is a trained Indian classical dancer and is also very fond of exploring different places, meeting new people and embracing diverse cultures.

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