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Compact, cosmopolitan and convivial, Dublin is a small capital with great heart. Its rich heritage is visible all over the city from Viking remains to Georgian grandeur, historic churches to august colleges, and in leafy parks and along meandering canals.

Known for its traditional pubs, diverse literary connections and witty banter, it's a place to wander museums and galleries, brush up on Irish political history and enjoy a pint of the black stuff. Set between the Irish Sea and the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin also offers easy access to the great outdoors.

Youthful energy, a vibrant music scene, green spaces, a tumultuous yet proud history, burgeoning craft beers and dishes that break with Ireland’s ‘meat and potatoes’ stereotype: this is what makes me particularly fond of Dublin.

UK & Ireland specialist Marissa

Things to see and do in Dublin

St Patrick's Cathedral

St Patrick's CathedralSupposedly built on the site of a well used by Saint Patrick, this Anglican cathedral is the largest in Ireland. Although a church has stood on this spot since the 5th century, construction on the current building began in 1220. Over the next 700 years it suffered from fire, collapse and neglect at various times and has been remodeled on numerous occasions.

The structure remains largely Gothic, with a soaring nave, ornate decoration and a lavish Lady Chapel. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was dean here in the 18th century. The cathedral also has a distinguished choir, who perform here every day during the school term.

Ireland's oldest university was established in 1592 by Elizabeth I and sits right in the heart of the city. An assembly of stately Georgian buildings surrounds a series of tranquil squares and greens that have played a central role in Irish history. Many of the country's most famous politicians, entrepreneurs and writers, such as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, studied here.

Today, Trinity has more than 16,000 students and you can wander with them around the grounds, admiring the buildings and soaking up the atmosphere. It's also worth visiting the Long Room in the Old Library. A magnificent 65 m (213 ft) hall lined with towering bookshelves, it’s one of the city's most enchanting spaces and home to the university's oldest books, documents and instruments, including the Book of Kells.

Book of Kells

Trinity's greatest treasure, the wondrous Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript depicting the four gospels of the New Testament. It dates from about 800 AD, making it one of the oldest books in the world.

The incredibly intricate and vivid illustrations, on which many Irish souvenirs are based, were probably created by Irish monks at Saint Colmcille's Monastery on the remote island of Iona in Scotland. Fleeing attacks by marauding Vikings, they brought the book to Ireland in about 806 AD.

Although only two pages of the manuscript are on show at any one time, its setting in the Long Room and its near incomprehensible age make it a fascinating relic to seek out.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness storehouseOne of Ireland's biggest global brands is crafted at the St James's Gate Brewery by the banks of the River Liffey in central Dublin. A whopping 2.5 million pints of stout are produced here every day, and you can get an insight into the process at the Guinness Storehouse, a visitor attraction that has sophisticated interactive displays on the brewery's history and the processes involved in making the perfect pint.

The Guinness Storehouse is set over seven floors in a former fermentation plant and is topped by the lively Gravity Bar, where you can sip a pint of the black stuff while admiring the panoramic views down over the brewery and the city.

St Stephen's Green

Set in the heart of south central Dublin, St Stephen's Green is a large, leafy square surrounded by grand Georgian townhouses. In summer, its lawns, benches and playground are packed with lunching office workers and families, while dog walkers make the rounds of the fountains and ponds.

The main entrance is through the Fusiliers' Arch, which commemorates the 212 Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Boer War. Around the green are some of Dublin's finest properties, including the imposing Shelbourne Hotel, the Royal College of Surgeons, Newman House where you can see an example of Georgian style in the city, and the secluded neo-Byzantine Newman Chapel.

Georgian Dublin

In the 18th century, Dublin was still a very poor city, laid out on a medieval plan, full of slums and severely lacking in infrastructure. The wealthy Protestant professionals and clergy who were sent from Britain wanted to transform the city and set about widening roads, creating leafy squares and building stately, Palladian-style buildings. By the time they were finished, central Dublin was the finest outpost of the British Empire.

Across the city their legacy remains in the palatial townhouses of St Stephen's Green, and Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares, as well as in the monumental public buildings such as the Four Courts and the Custom House, both of which overlook the Liffey.

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Audley Travel specialist Andea

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Dublin by contacting one of our Ireland specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Dublin

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Dublin, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Dublin

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Dublin

    Accommodation choices for Dublin

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Dublin. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • The Davenport

      The Davenport

      Medium

      Set in an impressive historic building in one of the most exclusive districts in Dublin, this hotel combines modern internal facilities with friendly, personal service. It is surrounded by grand Georgian architecture and close to many key sights.

    • Dylan Hotel, Dublin

      The Dylan

      First Class

      Nestled just south of the city’s central area, the Dylan’s quiet location is peaceful and the sleek hotel design is modern and comfortable.

    • Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge

      Cliff at Lyons

      Deluxe

      Located in a village style collection of old mill buildings just a short distance outside Dublin, Cliff at Lyons provides a relaxing retreat. Rooms are beautifully furnished and the dining options here are excellent.

    • Cliff Townhouse, Dublin

      Cliff Townhouse

      First Class

      This stylish Georgian townhouse overlooking St Stephen’s Green exudes comfort and warmth. Guest rooms are outfitted with an original marble fireplace, antiques, and a traditional, Donegal tweed blanket. The hotel also serves exquisite seafood cuisine in its chic restaurant.

    • Brooks Hotel, Dublin

      Brooks Hotel

      First Class

      Offering classic style and attentive service, along with a great location in the heart of a vibrant area, this hotel offers a glimpse of a unique area of Dublin that could easily remain undiscovered during a short visit to the city.

    • The Merrion, Dublin

      The Merrion Hotel

      Deluxe

      With the air of a tranquil but highly sophisticated private home, The Merrion is an extremely chic retreat from the city. Combined with its central location and fine dining it makes it one of the top accommodation options in Dublin.

    • The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin

      The Fitzwilliam Hotel

      First Class

      Effortlessly chic with a bold, contemporary interior, The Fitzwilliam Hotel has a superb location and offers excellent service and facilities. It is a great option for a stay in Dublin with everything on its doorstep.

    • Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin

      The Shelbourne

      First Class

      The grande dame of Dublin hotels, The Shelbourne has played a pivotal part in Irish history since its opening in 1824. It is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and offers classical elegance and a wide range of facilities.

    • Number 31, Dublin

      Number 31

      Medium

      Combining Georgian charm with sleek, modernist design and striking artwork, Number 31 is one of Dublin's most original places to stay. Its sophisticated style, intimate atmosphere and understated design make it a discerning base from which to explore the city.

    • The K Club, Celbridge

      The K Club

      Deluxe

      The ornate fireplaces, patterned wallpaper, tasteful artwork, and sparkling chandeliers provide The K Club with an old world charm that one would not expect from a modern resort. The main highlights include the state-of-the-art spa and two world-class golf courses.

    Ideas for experiencing Dublin

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Dublin, and which use the best local guides.

    • Temple Bar in Dublin

      Literary pub crawl around Dublin

      Dublin

      Explore Dublin's rich literary heritage on this highly entertaining and informative tour. Your guides are a team of enthusiastic actors who introduce you to the city's most famous writers and the pubs they gathered in to discuss their work.

    • Lady Justice, Dublin

      Rebellion walking trail

      Dublin

      Learn about the history of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland and the eventual formation of the Free State on this highly engaging and informative tour that brings the political, economic and social situation of the time to vivid life.

    • Dublin bakery

      Fabulous food trail

      Dublin

      A chance to enjoy incredible food and a lively cultural experience, this food trail through Dublin's streets takes you off the beaten track to meet artisan bakers, cheesemongers and chocolatiers on a quest to learn about the contemporary Irish food scene.

    • St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

      Behind-the-scenes tour of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

      Dublin

      Explore behind the scenes at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin's most celebrated church. Learn about the history and legends of this monumental structure, see where Jonathon Swift once preached and walk along the roof for sweeping views over the city.

    • Glendalough

      Hiking in Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains

      Dublin

      Explore the highly impressive monastic ruins of Glendalough and the glorious Wicklow mountains in which they are set on this full-day tour from Dublin which also includes a stop at the James Joyce Museum in Sandycove tower.

    • Newgrange

      Explore Newgrange & the Boyne Valley

      Dublin

      Join a full-day guided tour to explore the ancient history and rich heritage of the Boyne Valley, just north of Dublin. Visit the Neolithic passage grave at Newgrange, an early Christian church at Monasterboice, and the mythical Hill of Slane.