Dublin might be famous for its stout and whiskey but a quick conversation with local hosts in the city reveals that there’s so much more to do. We spoke to a handful of hosts in Dublin who shared their favourite local spots in the city. Below you’ll find everything from flea markets and weekend art installations, to the best place to enjoy an Irish breakfast or take in the sights.
Dublin is a city rich in history. Here are some local hosts’ favourite historic spots across the city:
Sonja suggests visiting The Garden of Remembrance, located in Dublin city centre. It’s a lovely memorial garden dedicated to all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom. A few steps away, you can also take in the Dublin Writers Museum, home to history and celebration of everything literary in Dublin.
Have you ever longed to see a working moat? If you answered yes, Drimnagh Castle should definitely find its way onto your list of must-sees. The moat is fed by the Bluebell, a nearby river which makes it Ireland’s last remaining castle surrounded by a moat. While there, Martha suggests seeing the garden which is fantastically sculptured in a traditional seventeenth-century layout.
Fans of books and maybe Ulysses in particular, should also visit James Joyce Tower in Sandycove. According to Christine, a local host, “the view from the roof is perfect and features panoramic views across Dublin Bay which are breathtaking at sunset.”
Grainne’s top historical recommendations include Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison which has since been converted into a museum. “It’s a great place for visitors to get an insight into Irish history. You’ll get an excellent tour and learn a great deal about Irish patriots,” Grainne says. But if you’re looking for something a little quieter, go see the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge. “You’ll be able to take in a historic site, enjoy a beautiful garden and lots of peace and tranquillity for absolutely free.”
While many guests visiting Dublin undoubtedly make a pitstop at the Guinness Storehouse, Farmleigh House used to be one of the Dublin homes of the Guinness family. It’s since become the official Irish State guest house, where visiting dignitaries stay. Sarah says, “despite being a working government building, admission is free of charge and you’ll be treated to a guided tour.”
In the shadow of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is Marsh’s Library. Nathaly says, “It’s my favourite hidden gem in Dublin. It was Ireland’s first public library and houses lots of interesting and rare books. There are lots of events to come see but wandering around the original oak bookcases is a marvelous experience.”
Food and Drink
Visiting Dublin, you won’t want for choices of places to eat or things to drink. We spoke to a few hosts to hear more about their favourite local eateries:
Nathaly’s recommendation is to visit the Teelings Whiskey Distillery. Nathaly says, “in the 19th century, Dublin was one of the biggest exporters of fine whiskey in the world. Over the years that changed but the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years and the only operational distillery in Dublin at the moment.” Those interested can book a fully guided tour and learn more about the whiskey making process, finished with a whiskey tasting.
Martha is torn between two of her recommendations: Green Kitchen, “a social enterprise that serves fresh produce and one of the best brunches in all of Dublin.” The Green Kitchen partners with WALK charity to support and train people with learning difficulties. Martha’s second recommendation is Pickles Deli, she notes, “it’s a tiny place in Kimmage but serves the best sandwiches in Dublin!”
Margherita’s top two recommendations for guests includes a stop at Paulie’s Pizza, “they serve two of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, and I’m Italian!” “The Press Cafe is one of my favourite precious hidden gems with an incredible brunch menu.” The cafe is tucked away inside the National Print Museum in Ballsbridge so if you stick around, you can learn about the role letterpress printing played before computers came along.
Want a proper Irish breakfast? Clodagh says Hatch and Sons on Dublin’s Southside is where you’ll want to stop in, she adds that “they’ve also got the best soda bread in town.”
The great debate on where to find the best pint in Dublin may rage on but in her opinion, Colly says, “any trip to Dublin is incomplete without a pint of Guinness in John Kavanagh more commonly known as The Gravediggers.”
Markets and more…
Are you a weekend warrior who prides themselves on finding that perfect vintage gift? Maybe you’re just looking for interesting ways to stay active while you’re out of town:
Colly notes, “Temple Bar Farmers Market for foodies is a must on Saturday mornings.” Temple Bar Farmers Market is held every Saturday in the heart of Dublin city centre and is an experience lovers of all manner of food will do well to see.
Merrion Square Art Market on Sundays is a must. “If you’re a fan of art or architecture, come along to see artists display their original works and buy directly from them if you choose,” is one of Tara’s top suggestions.
If you’re in Dublin on the last Sunday of the month, Ruairi suggests visiting The Dublin Flea Market. “It’s a really authentic market and features lots of independent traders.” It’s located in the co-op on Newmarket square where it has welcomed shoppers since 2008.
Fancy a stroll? Christine says Dun Laoghaire Pier “is a lovely walk on the Victorian pier with a lovely view over Dublin Bay and the Dublin Mountains.” For the more adventurous, Dun Laoghaire Pier also features a number of watersport activities from sailing to scuba diving.
Two activities Andrew recommends include The National Botanic Gardens where entry is free and Glasnevin Cemetery, where you should definitely go “if you’re curious about your ancestry and want to learn more about your family history there are tours of the cemetery and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.”
“How many cities have beaches on their doorstep 15 minutes from the city centre?” asks Tara who says guests visiting Dublin can’t leave town without taking a walk on Sandymount Strand. The beach offers a great view of Dublin Bay along the south harbour.