Dip into the delights of Ireland’s fair city in 48 hours
The moment you walk into Dublin, its fascinating past and friendly vibe is there at your feet. And being a relatively compact city, you should find two days is long enough to appreciate its main attractions. So, from waking up to a fresh Irish breakfast at your boutique hotel , to winding down in a traditional pub, here’s a penny whistle-stop tour of what to enjoy in 48 hours…
Day 1: Meet your cultural heroes
AM: Begin your Dublin story by exploring the various landmarks dedicated to Ireland’s literary stars. The Writers Museum, in a fittingly splendid Georgian mansion, is devoted to famous Irish wordsmiths. Browse your way through the poems, manuscripts and personal ephemera of Swift, Shaw, Sheridan, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett.
Joyce fans are particularly in for a treat. Five minutes away from the museum is the James Joyce Centre. Belvedere College displays a copy of Joyce’s death mask and furniture from the house he lived in while working on Finnegan’s Wake. And pop into the charming Victorian emporium, Sweny’s Pharmacy. As well as performing readings from the author’s books, they sell the same lemon soap here that Joyce mentioned in Ulysses.
PM: Sit down for lunch in a nearby gastro pub such as, Davy Byrnes – the regular watering hole of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses. Then walk off your meal with a leisurely stroll through Merrion Square Park near Oscar Wilde’s home. Further on are the cobbled streets of Trinity College Dublin. Its Old Library building is where you’ll find the 800-year-old Book of Kells. Revered as Ireland’s finest national treasure, this early Latin Bible features the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts you’re ever likely to see.
While away the rest of the afternoon in the Dublin Castle where the Rivers Liffey and Poddle meet. Its name comes from 'Dubh Linn', the Gaelic for ‘the Black Pool’ which used to be a lake in the present-day Castle garden. After a spot of refreshment in the Dubh Linn Castle Tearooms, make your way to the Medieval Undercroft, Chapel Royal and the State Apartments where magnificent presidential functions regularly take place.
A half hour drive out of Dublin will take you to the 12th century Malahide Castle. Guides will tell you all about the castle’s many secrets, scandals, lavishly furnished rooms and botanical gardens.
While there’s no underground system in Dublin, you can easily get in and around the city centre using the trams (LUAS), trains (DART) or taking the city buses.
Day 2: Raise a glass to history
AM: Have little ones in tow? They’ll love meeting the animals at Dublin Zoo, or feeding the ducks in Stephen's Green. Now could also be a good time to hit the shops. If ubiquitous ‘big brand’ high streets aren’t your bag, soak up the joyful muddle of traders and independent, global shops lining Moore Street.
PM: Discover more about Ireland’s turbulent history – on water. Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands lets you climb aboard a replica of the Jeanie Johnston. This remarkable wooden tall ship took thousands of 19th century Irish emigrants to their new lives in North America.
Another ‘must-do’ is Ireland’s Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate. After being taken through the fascinating history of ‘the black stuff’, a complimentary pint of Guinness will be waiting for you in the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor. Irish Whiskey aficionados should book a private tour of the Old Jameson Distillery on the banks of the Liffey. From malting to maturing, you’ll be introduced to the whole whiskey making process, and take home an official whiskey taster qualification.
The perfect way to end the day (and your trip) would be in Dublin’s officially oldest pub, the Brazen Head. Much of this 11th century coach house is still intact. Historical revolutionaries like Michael Collins and music legends Van Morrison have drunk, eaten and played here. Today, it’s considered one of Dublin’s best and most authentic Irish music venues.
Did you know…
The moment you walk into the Old Jameson Distillery you catch the scent of the ‘angel’s share’ – the portion of whiskey which escapes into the air from the barrels.
Make your luxury base Brooks Hotel in Dublin’s renowned creative quarter.