Dublin, for me, is a pretty underrated city. It’s a city that people often skip on their way around Europe. Maybe because it’s another flight away from London and not accessible by train? I don’t really know, but I know that it’s a mistake to skip it. Because on my first day here, I already fell in love.
To me, Dublin is a small London. It’s not as busy and it doesn’t have as many different areas you can only reach by tube. It’s an easily walk-able city. But it’s still cool, vibrant and full of wonderful people.
When I say easily walk-able, I only talk about the city itself. All the touristy places, like the Guiness Storehouse, Trinity College, St Patrick’s Cathedral – they can all be done by foot.
And then there’s all the suburbs. Places around Dublin, that are still part of the county Dublin and make the city so absolutely amazing to live in. Mountains to hike, the sea to relax at – county Dublin has it all. To visit those, you have to take a bus, the DART or the Luas. But let’s start with the city itself.
A Local’s Guide to Dublin
Where should tourists stay in Dublin?
The best area to stay in for travellers would probably be Temple Bar and around. It’s close enough to all the pubs and it’s still only in walking distance from everything else you might want to see. There are also a lot of hotels to be found in this area, and in my opinion it definitely is the best area to stay in. You can check rates, find great deals and book your Dublin hotel online here.
Where should you eat in Dublin?
That’s a tough question to answer. Dublin is full of wonderful restaurants and new ones pop up all the time.
Brunch is a big thing in Ireland, so let’s start with Brunch spots that shouldn’t be missed. Taco Taco is one of them (pictured below). It belongs to San Lorenzo’s on George’s Street, which is recommended in a lot of city guides, but for me Taco Taco might be even a little bit cooler. Their menu is a bit different than the typical Brunch menu but it still involves poached eggs and let’s face it – that’s all you really need to know.
Carluccio’s on Dawson Street is another spot that does great Brunch. Once you step in there, you feel like you beamed yourself to Italy. They have a good variety of breakfast and if you are looking for a little treat as dessert, you can definitely find it there.
And now to one of my favourite places: Bibi’s Café. This place is a bit of a walk from the city centre (around 15 minutes) passed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but it’s worth a visit. You might think you got lost on your way because it’s located in the middle of a residential area, but once you find it you know what I’m talking about. They don’t have a lot of options for breakfast, but the offers they have are delicious. And they have brownies. Really good brownies.
But because you need to eat more than once a day, here’s a list of places you can go to for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
- Queen of Tarts – small lunch menu and a lot of baked goodies.
- Musashi – one of my favourite sushi places.
- Yamamori – my second favourite sushi place. Try the brown rice sushi! (Pictured below).
- Skinflint – a little hidden pizza heaven.
- Kaph – their Matcha Latte is the best thing ever. And their coffee, too.
- Di Fontaines – they do great, huge Pizza slices to go. (Almost) all night long.
- Bunsen – A burger place you can find all over town (unfortunately no vegetarian options here).
Where should you go for drinks in Dublin?
Obviously Temple Bar should be visited by everyone coming to Dublin. Just because it’s so unique. But if you want to go for a few pints/drinks, I wouldn’t really stay there all night. It’s just too loud, touristy and busy. Here are my favourite places to have a good night out.
- Pygmalion – 2 for 1 cocktails get me every time.
- Hogan’s – a pretty typical Irish pub full of a mixture of cool people.
- Workman’s – it’s a bar/club for free, that has a great outside area and an always crowded dance floor.
- Pmacs – a pub where I simply want to take all the furniture home to my own apartment. So cozy!
- The Bernard Shaw – a great outdoor area including a pizza bus. What more do you need?
- The Pav – that’s actually the Trinity College Pub but if the weather’s great there’s not a lot of places that are cooler to hang out at.
- Dicey’s and Coppers – they are not really my favourite places to be, but if you want to dance all night long, they are the places to go. Both are around €10 to get in but drinks are fairly cheap.
What’s important to know about Dublin is, that most places have to close around 2am. The only two places open longer any night, are Dicey’s and Coppers, because they are located in hotels, so they have a liquor license til 4 am.
What are cool areas to explore in Dublin?
Apart from all the typical areas you’ll walk around anyways, you should stroll down George’s Street for a bit until you hit Camden Street (pictured below). There are a few cute bars, cafés and restaurants there and you can also find a lot of vintage and charity shops around. Make sure to stop at Aungier Danger for a doughnut or Cake Café for lunch!
A great place to spend a sunny day is the canal around Portobello. The Barge is a pub located right there and in the summer, you can find hundreds of people sipping on their pint enjoying the sun at the canal. But just a simple walk along there is also a beautiful way to spend a day.
Also, make your way down to the docks. Even though there’s not that much around there except for all the big companies, the walk along the Liffey is beautiful and really peaceful.
Where Should I Shop in Dublin?
This part might be more for the female than the male travellers, depending on what you want to do. But I thought I bring it in, because especially on a weekend trip, it’s nice to do some shopping every once in a while.
The obvious streets around are Grafton Street, O’Connell Street, Mary Street and Henry Street. Here you can find all the typical shops, such as H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and so on.
But Dublin is also a big vintage heaven. If you walk around you will find a lot of Charity Shops (e.g. Oxfam) and even though they might not be actual vintage, they are second hand clothes for very little money. And you can definitely find some treasures there. I won’t tell you all of them, you will find them wherever you are anyways.
Then there are the actual Vintage shops. One of my favourite ones is located in the George’s Street Arcades. A few others are Tola Vintage (Temple Bar), which is selling a lot of pimped up vintage pieces, Siopella (Temple Bar), a place where you can find beautiful designer pieces or Dublin Vintage Factory (Smithfield), where you pay €20 per kilo.
On top of that, there are a lot of flea markets around Dublin.
The Bernard Shaw Flea Market for example, takes place, as the name might suggest, at the Bernard Shaw pub every Saturday from 1pm to 6pm. It’s fairly small but you can always stay a bit longer for a pint or a warm tea if you’re not ready to go back home already.
Then there’s the Dublin Flea Market, which takes place every last Sunday of the month from 11am to 5pm at the Food Co-op which is close to St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Another one takes place every once in a while, without a set date, in Smithfield, with a lot of local traders and great food on offer.
On top of those markets, there are a lot of markets popping up every now and again, so if you are interested in that you might have to check events in Dublin before you go visit.
I could go on and on about great things to do and see in Dublin, because it literally never stops, but I guess I’ll wrap it up here.
Just a few practical things to know about this lovely city:
- It’s a bit pricey. Alcohol taxes are very high so be aware that you might have to pay a bit more for a glass of wine or a pint of beer than you are used to.
- Bring an umbrella. Because no matter what the weather forecast says, you can never trust it. And it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
- Check out day trips you can take. If you are only in the city for a weekend it might not be worth it but if you decide to stay for longer, definitely check out places like Bray, Dalkey or Howth (pictured below).
- There are buses and trams around town, which are around €3 one way. I try to avoid them because I think they are too expensive and I enjoy walking.
But most importantly: Just enjoy the city. Luckily, Dublin isn’t too big so you don’t have to rush around trains or buses to get to all the places you want to see. So have fun, stroll around and never forget to live like a local. Which means have a pint a day at least! ☺
Tell me: Have you been to Dublin? What did you enjoy most?
This guest post was written by Lisa Krüger-Franke. Lisa is 26 and has been blogging for a year now over at Anywhere’s Perfect. She currently lives in Dublin and is pursuing her Masters, but was born and raised in Munich, Germany. She was infected with the travelbug by her parents, who took her on trips to other countries and continents ever since she was little – and never stopped. Nowadays she mainly travels solo, visiting friends she has made all around the world! You can also follow Lisa on Facebook and Instagram.
Are you a blogger interested in participating in my A Local’s Guide series? Shoot me an email.
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The hotel link in this post is an affiliate link meaning that if you choose to book through it I earn a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support to keep this site up and running! CC photo credit for header image: The Custom House at sunset, Dublin, Ireland by Gluseppe Milo, and Pinterest image: Dublin by Xabier Zaldua.
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