It’s one thing to say you’ve been to Dublin. Another to say you’ve done it. Sounds, songs, tunes and tastes – Dublin is a cosmopolitan European city with a very Irish heart. From traditional music to stunning urban parks, the city is all about giving things a go…and you’ve got 48 hours to crack it, so let’s start:
5PM – Order a pint, pull up a stool and get pally with the locals. The city centre is packed with traditional pubs boasting grand mahogany bars and stained glass windows. Cosy up with a local craft beer at The Stag’s Head, Kehoe’s, The Palace or try some trad music at The Cobblestone in Smithfield, where some of Ireland’s best musicians kick off nightly sessions.
6:30PM – For a Dublin-centric vibe with a side of Texan BBQ, hit up Bison Bar, the best of its kind in town with finger-licking slow-roast beef brisket, juicy sausages and pulled pork. Add a bit of old-school cool with one of their excellent whiskey cocktails.
Pints are poured, singing battles are fought and won and the silence of the audience reigns supreme.
8:30PM – There’s no time to stop. In Whelan’s, the night’s just getting started. This great music venue has excellent acoustics, which make it perfect for intimate gigs. There are DJs and a late bar every night, too.
11PM – As the evening winds down, make your way to the Vintage Cocktail Club and see the night out in style. Smack in the middle of Dublin’s bustling Temple Bar, VCC is all speakeasy-chic, with a cocktail list that transports you back to the 1920s. Top tip: book a table before you visit. Other notables for taking it later into the night are The Dice Bar in Smithfield, House in Leeson Street and Chelsea Drugstore on George’s Street.
10AM – After a breakfast of champions at the Fumbally Café, make your way to the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar. Hosting changing exhibitions, the gallery is on Meeting House Square, which comes alive with a busy food market on Saturdays.
11:30AM – It’s just a short walk from here to Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. Strolling the cobblestoned squares really gives you a sense of walking with the greats – the university counts Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Oliver Goldsmith among its alumni. Don’t miss the Book of Kells while you’re here.
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied by the best.
12:30PM – Wander up to The Little Museum of Dublin overlooking St Stephen’s Green. The museum is a treasure-trove of old posters, newspapers, photographs and Dublin memorabilia. Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Head to the top floor for a U2 exhibition.
1PM – As you leave the Georgian house, take three steps to the right. Any more and you’ll miss Hatch & Sons with modern-meets-traditional Irish food, a great little café that turns out Irish favourites like Waterford blaa bread rolls filled with crispy bacon.
2PM – After lunch, head to Dublin’s Creative Quarter, a network of streets around South William Street. Browse around hip interiors stores such as Industry and the Irish Design Shop; walk through Dublin’s oldest shopping centre – the Victorian George’s Street Arcade; and stop off for coffee at Kaph.
3PM – Cutting right through the city centre, the River Liffey defines the city’s sense of identity… be it north or south. See it from a different perspective with City Kayaking, who run kayaking trips up the river under Dublin’s famous bridges.
Craft beer may be the new thing, but a pint of “the black stuff” is still required drinking on any trip to Dublin.
6PM – With lovely views over the River Liffey, the foodie hub of The Woollen Mills is the place to grab a bowl of old-school Dublin fare such as Coddle (a bacon, sausage and potato stew) in a buzzy modern space over four floors.
730PM – Next stop? It’s got to be the theatre. The Woollen Mills is within striking distance of two great Dublin theatres: Smock Alley, which opened in 1662, and the Project Arts Centre, both of which offer multidisciplinary arts experiences.
10PM – Buzzing after the show? Keep it local and head to The Workman’s on the quays of the River Liffey. This multi-floor venue has seen everything from gigs by Kodaline to a DJ set by Cillian Murphy. Sorted.
10AM – Dublin’s coastline is incredible, and you’d be mad to miss it. Jump on the Dart and in about 25 minutes you’ll be at Sandycove, where you can plunge into the sea with the locals at the 40ft bathing area. Warm up with a coffee in 64 Food & Wine in Glasthule, before setting your sights on Killiney Hill, with great views Dublin Bay and Wicklow.
1PM – Get the Dart back into town and head for one of the best brunches in Dublin at Brother Hubbard on Capel Street. It’s got a friendly local atmosphere on a street that’s increasingly becoming a hub of the Dublin social scene.
From the Tart with the Cart (Molly Malone statue) and the Stiletto in the Ghetto (Spire of Light, O’Connell St)... in Dublin, public art collides with irreverent street humour like nowhere else.
230PM – Finish off the day with a visit to the Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks, and the chance to see 15,000 artefacts from the centenary celebration of Ireland 2016. There are also rooms featuring reconstructed Irish design, as well as an exhibition on Eileen Gray, one of Ireland’s most famous designers and a leading member of the international modern design movement..