Ireland is a top bucket-list destination. It is home to stunning sights, natural wonders, a dynamic cultural scene, historic lands, sporting opportunities, photo-ops and an important cultural mascot, Guinness! And somehow, no matter how much the Emerald Isle evolves, traces of Ireland’s mysterious ancient past are never out of sight.

WHERE TO STAY

If you've never been to Ireland before, many first timers begin their journey in the nation's capital city, Dublin. Dublin is incredibly picturesque. It's a medieval city that has some fascinating living history along its streets – ancient buildings, historical sites, street art, memorials and a different story at every turn. There are countless options for accommodations ranging from conveniently located apartments that can be rented through websites such as AirBNB to higher end luxury hotels. We love the charm of staying in a boutique hotel that gives guests a taste of local flair. The Westbury, Dylan, The Dean, The Wilder Townhouse, and The Alex are just a few of our favorite places to stay in Dublin.  

GETTING AROUND

Ireland's capital city is compact and easy to navigate on foot, which means that if you plan to stay in the city center, you might not ever need to take public transportation in Dublin. The central area is small enough that walking is usually the most efficient way to get around the city. But even though Dublin is fairly condensed, it still has a fantastic and easy-to-use public transportation system. Between the bus, LUAS, DART and train networks, there are so many ways to get around Dublin.

With extensive public transportation at the ready, there is really no reason to ever drive a rental car into Dublin as a tourist. Cars bring all sorts of additional problems with traffic jams, getting lost or caught in one-way systems even locals have problems with, and high rates for paid parking. In fact, instead of driving yourself, you are much better off using public transportation or taking a taxi in Dublin when walking just won’t do. However, given Ireland's petite size, renting a car to explore the entire Emerald Isle, including the Irish countryside and coastlines, is a popular attraction. It’s ideal to visit Ireland for a road trip in the summer months. 

TOURIST CHECKLIST

Ireland is home to world-class, contemporary cities with an abundance of unspoiled beauty. In Ireland, you never have to drive far to come across a still freshwater lake, grazing deer, rolling pastures or wandering livestock. There is something for every type of traveler, from hiking and outdoor adventures to historical sites and lively nightlife. Irish culture is electric; it is a small but proud country and cultural aspects from the native language to traditional trades, music to the arts, thrive in abundance today. Whether you’re looking for a cultural museum, live show, performance or experience, Irish culture is easily accessible. A big reason to visit Ireland is for the stunning natural wonders such as the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway, which both draw serious crowds to the Emerald Isle annually. Don’t forget to check out the stunning – although slightly less touristy – Wicklow Mountains, Ring of Kerry and Connemara Lakes, to name but a few. If you are sticking in and around the capital city of Dublin, below are some of our favorite attractions:

  • Dublin Walking Tour

  • Guinness Storehouse

  • National Museum

  • Dublin Castle

  • Trinity College

  • Kilkenny Castle 

  • Bru’ na Boinne Archeology Site 

  • Wicklow Way

  • Phoenix Park

  • Kilmainham Gaol Historic Jail Cells 

  • Museum of History and Archaeology 

  • Cliff Walk and Binge on Seafood in Howth

  • McGowans Pub

  • Croke Park Stadium

WINE + DINE

Dublin has long been a must-stop on any proper European trip. Dublin has always been a great place to drink, whether you’re grabbing a pint at a local pub or touring the Guinness Storehouse. But these days, Dublin is where you go to eat. Dublin has become a more vibrant food city over the last decade. The economic crash is partially to blame; as rents tumbled across the city, a new generation of chefs could suddenly afford to open their own restaurants. In everything from Michelin-starred dining rooms to crab shacks, chefs are serving beef raised on Ireland’s iconic Burren, wild Irish fish, and lobster hauled straight from Dublin Bay. Dublin dining has also extended beyond traditional Irish fare, with first-rate international food available as well.

  • L. Mulligan Grocer 

  • Oxmantown

  • Fish Shop

  • Da Mimmo

  • Chapter One

  • Mr. Fox

  • Rosa Madre

  • Chameleon

  • Klaw

  • The Pepper Pot Cafe

  • Richmond

  • Hatch & Sons Irish Kitchen

  • Taste at Rustic

  • Two Pups Coffee

  • Etto

  • Ely Wine Bar

  • Dax Restaurant

  • The Fumbally

PUB CULTURE

Irish pubs are a top attraction for tourists visiting Ireland. Irish pubs pride themselves on being relaxed and inviting. And of course, if you’re a tourist, you’ve probably been walking around all day taking in the sights so the chance to take the weight off your feet and relax in a friendly atmosphere is doubly welcome. When you’re in a new place, it’s always nice to strike up a conversation with the locals, to get a few inside tips on the best places to see, and to just get another perspective on life. Irish people are famously talkative, especially over a few drinks. Many local pubs are well known for having a great mix of characters. When you’re in a tourist area, you will usually be able to find several bars providing a stage for local singers and musicians. There’s nowhere better to hear Irish traditional music than in a bar with a lively but appreciative audience. Irish pubs are far more than just places to drink. Many offer food and are happy to cater for families. 

Pubs are an important centre for local life and are often decorated to match. Colorful decoration and even more colorful flowers often adorn even the tiniest pubs in the smallest of villages. Genuine Irish pubs come in all shapes and sizes, from modern gastro pubs serving the latest in international cuisine to tiny country outfits popular with locals.

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