Live an adventurous life of work + travel

12 essential activities for a weekend in Dublin

12 essential activities for a weekend in Dublin

I really love alcohol, especially when I travel.

I don’t mean that I get blackout drunk and spend a few days of my trip hungover in a hotel bed. No, no, no. I actually hate getting drunk, and I reaaaaally hate being hungover. It ruins an entire day that could have been spent exploring my current destination.

But I always enjoy a few drinks. I love tasting a craft beer from a nearby microbrewery. I love having a glass of local wine (especially if it’s a dry white!). I love sampling a regional spirit, like Mexican Mezcal or Russian Vodka.

These alcoholic experiences are some of my favourite parts of travel, and there’s no better place to explore alcoholic culture than Dublin.

The Irish are famed for their drinking habits, and that stereotype is prevalent all over the city. I don’t think I’ve ever written a city guide with so many alcohol-related recommendations.

If you aren’t a big drinker, don’t worry – I also have some sober suggestions for you! Here are 12 essential activities for a weekend in Dublin.


Dublin, Ireland

1. Drink at an Irish Pub

Dublin literally seems to have an Irish Pub on every corner. You’ll find a lot of pubs in Temple Bar, but the area is extremely touristy so if you prefer somewhere quieter, head southeast to the area between Temple Bar and St Stephen’s Green. The narrow streets have plenty of historic bars and restaurants that don’t charge a tourist tax.

My personal favourite was drinking outside the Dame Tavern. This divey pub had a few empty Guinness barrels lined up outside to use as tables, from which we were perfectly positioned to hear the live music drifting over from the Stag’s Head across the road.

Another place to check out is the The Brazen Head, which is the oldest pub in Ireland. This 800 year old venue has multiple rooms, an outdoor seating area, and plenty of old-timey charm to soak in while you drink.

Guinness, Dublin

2. have a pint of GUINNESS

While Ireland has many local beers, Guinness definitely takes the title of the most well-known. Guinness is sold at nearly every venue in Dublin, so take your pick of pub and grab a pint.

One of the main activities for visitors to Dublin is visiting the Guinness Storehouse. To be honest, we didn’t think much of this place (Rob described it as “the factory farming of brewery tours”), but if you don’t mind overpriced tourist attractions then you might like it. If you do decide to go, make sure you book a few days ahead to get discounts on your entrance ticket.

Dublin, Ireland

3. Sample Irish Whiskey

Sampling some Irish Whiskey in Dublin is a must. Jameson runs hourly tours of their Bow Street Distillery for 18 Euro, which includes a 40 minute tour, a whiskey tasting, and 1 drink of Jameson straight or with ginger ale at the bar after the tour. They also sell whiskey chocolates in the gift shop (so delicious!).

If you’re debating whether to do this or the Guinness Storehouse, I would definitely recommend the Jameson Distillery! It’s by far the superior choice.

Dublin Castle, Ireland

4. Visit Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is almost completely hidden from view by the buildings surrounding it, but it’s definitely worth seeking out. You’ll find the pedestrian entrance next to the City Hall building.

The castle’s elaborate staterooms can be explored on a self-guided tour and entry costs 7 Euro. You can also do a guided tour for 10 Euro, which allows you to see the Viking Excavation and the Chapel Royal as well as the staterooms.

St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

5. VISIT St Patrick’s CATHEDRAL

St Patrick’s is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The building dates back to 1220 and is kept in a superb condition for tourists (which is funded by the 6.50 Euro entry fee).

I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals in Europe, and this one is just as lovely and impressive as many of the others. Definitely worth visiting if you’re into religious sites and historic buildings.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

6. Visit Christ Church Cathedral

Most European cities will boast one cathedral for visitors to check out, but Dublin actually has two!

Christ Church Cathedral is close to the city and dates back to 1028. While the interior is not quite as large and grand as St Patrick’s, the cathedral is arguably more interesting. You can walk down into the crypts beneath the floor, and see a mummified cat and rat. Entry is also 6.50 Euro

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

7. walk through the Trinity College library

A long while ago I saw a beautiful photo of Trinity College Library on Pinterest, and I’ve wanted to visit ever since. I’m so glad that I got to tick​ this one off my travel list! The Long Room in the library is absolutely gorgeous, with towering wooden shelves of ancient books.

To get access to the library, you have to purchase a 13 Euro entrance ticket to the Book of Kells exhibition which has original copies of the gospel books. I didn’t find the exhibition to be all that interesting except for the displays on Celtic calligraphy and book-binding. Still, it’s worth a look!

River Liffey, Dublin, Ireland

8. wander along the River Liffey

The River Liffey is one of Dublin’s best features. It winds right through the center of the city and has some adorable bridges that you can use to cross it. The most famous is Ha’penny Bridge, which is named as it used to cost half a penny for pedestrians to cross.

Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland

9. TOUR KILMAINHAM GAOL

This activity is not in the city center, but it’s absolutely worth the short journey out of the city (we caught a bus there in under 15 minutes). If you’re interested in learning a little about Ireland’s history from the late 1700s to early 1900s, this is the perfect place to find out about it.

Kilmainham Gaol has housed political prisoners from Ireland’s uprising and civil war, and the guides will happily tell stories of the gaol’s inhabitants. To get inside, you must do a guided tour which you can book online. The tour lasts 1 hour and costs 8.50 Euro.

Vegetarian Food, Dublin, Ireland

10. eat carb-heavy irish food

Boy, the Irish can eat! Every meal we had was an enormous portion of carb-heavy foods. One of the main dishes to try is a full Irish Breakfast, which consists of bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, and toast.

For vegetarians like myself, Ireland can be a tricky as most of the dishes are rather meaty. I found a few great places for veggie food in Dublin, my favourite being the The Pieman Cafe which had a sweet potato and feta pie served with mash.

Some other vegetarian places are Umi Falafel (healthy veggie falafel), Jo’Burger (which has veggie burgers on the menu), and Cornucopia (a vegetarian bistro).

Irish Coffee, Dublin, Ireland

11. Get an Irish coffee

I don’t think I’d ever had an Irish coffee before coming to Dublin. This drink is made with Irish whiskey and coffee, and is topped with cream. I did some research on the best places to get Irish coffee in Dublin, and landed on the Stage Door Cafe. Can confirm: the Irish coffee was extremely tasty!

Dublin, Ireland

12. Listen to Irish music

There are many pubs where you can listen to live music in Dublin, but only some of them play traditional Irish tunes. We found some local music at O’Shea’s, The Cobblestone, and The Brazen Head. Drinking a pint while listening to ballads about the Irish countryside is a great way to spend an evening.


Dublin, Ireland

Where I stayed:

Some websites will suggest staying in the Temple Bar area in Dublin. Don’t take that advice! Temple Bar is very touristy and full of drunk Brits having bachelor parties. I’d suggest staying south or west of Temple Bar as it’s quieter but just as easy to get around.

We ended up staying in the Staycity Apartments Saint Augustine Street. I loved everything about it (big room with separate lounge and kitchen, super friendly staff, excellent location) except I wish our room was on a higher level. I think we got the only room in the place that sits at street level so we had people constantly walking by our window! If you book it, put in a request for a room on a higher floor.

Are you planning a trip to Dublin sometime soon? Which activity are you most excited to do? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


You might also like:

Ashlea Wheeler

This post was written by Ashlea, a colourfully clothed and excitable vegetarian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

12 Responses to “12 essential activities for a weekend in Dublin”

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It’s great that you got the chance to visit Dublin, Juliette! You’ll definitely have to go back and see some more of it 😉

      Reply
  1. Alexis Towle

    I love history but Dublin is an expensive for a Canadian traveller. One day tjough.

    Alexis||https://lidsandtricks.com/

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Dublin was definitely not the cheapest place to visit! I can understand that the city would be too pricey for some travellers, but I’m sure it will be just as good if you visit it a few years down the track 🙂

      Reply
  2. Tammy C

    Love this list and we hit most of them on our visit. I am not a beer drinker, mostly Jameson, but we loved the food at the cafeteria for the Guinness tour. The food is the reason to take the tour and the recipes are on their website. Guinness stew, brown bread, and chocolate cake!!! I wouldn’t recommend the food at the Jameson factory, but agree it was the better tour.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh that’s interesting, Tammy – I didn’t know about the cafeteria food made with Guinness! We ended up eating at the burger place just outside the entrance Jameson Distillery, which had some great food 🙂

      Reply
  3. Diana Southern at North to South

    We were in Dublin two weeks ago, and (fun fact) we actually discovered what would become our wedding band right outside The Stag’s Head in your photo at the top here.

    …and The Pieman Cafe! Yasssss!!!

    I had that pie and it was delicious. I felt like we found the best kept secret in town for food because it was way more affordable than the tourist-trap style pub dinners all around!

    P.S. The Guinness totally tastes better in Dublin. 🙂

    P.P.S. In response to the affordability comment above, I actually think now is a good time to visit Dublin, coming from the U.S. or Canada. The exchange rate for Americans/Canadian is way more favorable now for the euro than it was a few years ago (when we first began considering going). Yes, still not cheap, but more attainable than it was!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh wow! So glad you agree about the Pieman Cafe – that place was so good, and totally affordable even though it was right by Temple Bar!

      I agree, Dublin is expensive but definitely not as expensive for Americans as it has been in the past. Now is a great time to visit Ireland and take advantage of that exchange rate!!

      Reply
  4. Natalia

    I love how laidback these all are. Dublin is such a chilled city, especially compared to London and Paris! None of the sights I saw were rammed with tourists which made a nice changed!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS