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Long Weekend in Dublin: Tips Requested

by on February 24, 2012 · 39 comments

in Delta, Starwood, Trip Reports, Westin

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In October I wrote about cheap flights to Dublin and since I’m Irish and all, I ended up booking a small group trip with some family and friends since we were able to get roundtrip tickets for $370 total on Delta. Since I am Diamond Medallion (at least for the next week or so), we all got Economy Comfort seats for free so stay tuned for my review on that experience.

We are also staying at the Westin Dublin on a reasonable “Taste of Dublin” rate that includes breakfast daily – and as SPG Platinum we got some sweet upgrades. I’ll be filming this Sunday’s reader question response from the hotel, so stay tuned for some video and a dedicated review of the hotel.

As always, feel free to share any tips on Dublin - we purposefully didn’t plan much this weekend, so I’m open to any and all suggestions!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Scott

    As someone who visits Ireland regularly for both business and family reasons I can say that certain things are not to be missed in Dublin, such as the Temple Bar area, and my fav. place down there is Gogarty’s which has incredible Trad(traditional) music that just makes you drink and dance all night. Also dont pass up the opportunity to take the Guinness Brewery tour which concludes with a pint at the top of the Gravity Bar with its 360 deg. views of Dublin. There are so many other things to do in Dublin but these are two two the best.

  • James

    Take the LUAS west to Kilmainham Gaol. It’s a pivotal piece of Irish history and utterly fascinating to learn about. Make sure to walk up O’Connell Street (one of my favorite streets in the world) and see the Book of Kells at Trinity College

  • Matthew

    If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a quick fish and chip meal try Leo Burdocks by the Christ Church Cathedral. It’s takeaway only but given it’s centralized location you can just about finish your meal by the time you stumble back to the temple bar area. They were open late but I cant be sure exactly how late.

    Skip the Jameson tour.

    Also, it’s a bit more touristy but the literary bar crawl was one of my favorite activities, especially for someone’s first trip to the city. Last I looked, it’s number one on TripAdvisor and one of the few things Rick Steves has ever gotten right, enjoy your trip.

  • Gavinmac

    I recommend the Historical Walking Tour of Dublin. The one that meets and departs from the Trinity College front gate.

  • Clay

    I second the Literary Pub Crawl. Fun quick way to find the pubs you like and learn a bit on the way.

  • http://twitter.com/tomschouteden Tom Schouteden

    Italian: Carluccio’s on the corner of Dawson St. and Duke St.
    Spanish tapa’s: The Port House (64a South William Street)
    Thai & Cocktails: Saba (26-28 Clarendon Street)

    My favorite bar is: The bar with no name (3 Fade St) If it’s too busy, try the Market Bar across the street.

  • Raffles

    It’s a dump. Really, it is. I have been a few times, most recently for a wedding last year, and I simply cannot find one thing to recommend about it. (The menswear dept in Brown Thomas, perhaps.) Weather is likely to be appalling and very wet, as it is probably 300 days a year. The Westin is a very nice hotel, though! And the new terminal at the airport is lovely. Shame they forgot to build a train to it, of course, but this does at least let you get the bus and take a magical mystery tour through abandoned building sites and empty office blocks.

  • Neel

    I’ll third the literary bar crawl and second the historical walking tour of Dublin. Both were excellent and a good way to interact with the locals.

  • Keith

    The Guinness is always good; drink it in great quantities. Exception: if you’re in county Cork, switch to Murphy’s
    When you’re hungover after aforementioned “rake” of pints, a full Irish breakfast is the cure
    The pubs I normally recommend in Dublin:
    -The Brazen Head – oldest in Ireland, at nearly 1,000 years, and always putting on a good show for tourists (along the River Liffey just before the Guinness Brewery)
    -Toner’s – my local – a real pub for Dubliners (Baggot St, near St Stephen’s Green)
    -Keogh’s – upstairs has my other favourite “local” Dublin bar (South Anne St, just off Grafton St)
    Important historical sights within easy driving distance of Dublin are Glendalough (south 30mins, near where I grew up) & Newgrange (north 1 hour, older than the pyramids), but pretty much everything in Dublin is older than any building in North America, so…

  • Katie

    If you’re going to the Guinness Brewery Tour, buy tickets online. They’re discounted & you get to skip any entrance line. The literary pub crawl is a little more interesting than a straight up pub crawl. Book of Kells is not worth the price – you can see more online – but do walk around Trinity College a bit on your way to or from Grafton Street (pedestrian street, buskers, shopping, etc.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/eheinz Erik Heinz

    Before going to Kilmainham Gaol, you could watch the original The Italian Job with Michael Caine and/or In The Name of the Father with Daniel Day Lewis. Both filmed in the jail.

    Eat lunch or dinner at O’Neill’s. Seriously. Good carvery and sandwiches. I’d also consider skipping breakfast at the hotel one day and try to have a full Irish breakfast at Bewley’s on Grafton Street.

    Temple Bar – eh. Overdone, tourist trap. €6 for a pint? You’d have to be mad. It’s €3 to €4 outside of the area.

    Guinness Brewery Tour – worst brewery tour in the world. It’s effectively a free pint of Guinness for €16. The views from the Gravity Bar are ok but I’d rather go have a pint at the oldest pub in Dublin – The Brazen Head, mentioned already. You will walk right past it on the way to or from the Guinness Brewery. Skip the brewery. (Best brewery tours: Boag’s in Launceston, Tasmania or Speight’s in Dunedin, New Zealand)

  • hobo13

    What weekend, Brian? We’ll be there next. Similarly, we jumped on the United deal. We’re planning to leave Dublin though — more interested in the countryside.

  • Anonymous

    If you are interested in craft beer (or as one pub manager put it to me “Irish beer brewed by Irish breweries”) I would go to the Porterhouse Temple Bar (on Parliment) and L. Mulligan Grocer on Stoneybatter. Some pictures at http://www.HaveBeerWillTravel.com

  • Anonymous

    To Erik you listen.

    The Guinness Storehouse tour was alright, but not enough to recommend.

    O’Neill’s was yummy, but I preferred the fish and chips (and irish stew) at O’Shea’s. My favorite pint was the Plain Porter at the Porterhouse pub.

    We did a walking tour (free!) that departed from the Generator Hostel in Smithfield that was absolutely phenomenal. Great tour guide, great pace (we had four kids with us), beautiful way to see the city. Trinity College is gorgeous, and we would have definitely seen the Book of Kells (if we weren’t there on a bank holiday). (If you do decide to see the Book of Kells, rent and watch “The Secret of Kells” first. It’s a delightful animated movie that talks a little about the mysticism behind the book.)

    Now, about Dublin being a “dump”… it *is* pretty depressed. And as a result, it might take a little while for the city to really open up to you—it’s not like going to the West End in London and being deluged with everything you might ever want. We warmed up to it quite a bit, though, and plan to return. Enjoy!

  • JMSL

    Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world. I keep going back even though there are a zillion other cities I’ve never been to that I really want to see. Make sure you get out of the Temple Bar area. It’s definitely fun and worth a night out but can be a little over-the-top as far as kitch and touristy-ness.

    As for sights: If you’ve been to Dublin before I take it you’ve done the usual “greatest hits”… Trinity College/Book of Kells, Guinness Factory, Grafton Street shopping, Dublin Castle, Jameson Factory, etc. Those are all good (although the Jameson tour is kind of lame). As for other sights, I second the Kilmainham Gaol, and the Writers Museum is good too.

    The pub scene is by far my favorite thing about Dublin. There are tons of organized pub crawls, some “themed” and some not, but I find it easier, cheaper and more fun to just do a DIY pub crawl. Some great old ones to check out: The Long Hall, The International Bar (great improv comedy upstairs on Monday nights), Doyle’s, The Long Stone (these last two right near the Westin). For music, if you are there on a Sunday night, definitely go to Bowes on Fleet Street (also near the Westin)… amazingly friendly and talented folks there, and not crowded. Another good music spot is the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn (throughout the week).

  • James

    Dublin is not a dump. Walking along the Liffey alone, or up O’Connell should convince anyone of that

  • Nick E

    My wife and I really enjoye both the Jameson and Guiness tours, but everyone is different. We actually bought the “Dublin Pass” before we went so we were able to get in with discounts. However, the zoo there is terrible. We simply went because it was part of the pass, but definitely skip it.

  • Michael

    Go to the horse races and step back a century or two.

  • Jackie

    I recommend taking the musical pub tour one evening… it sounds touristy, but it is kind of authentic in that you will be hosted by a couple of local musicians (always changing) who walk around Dublin with you, taking you to 3 different pubs while telling stories and playing music. I did this with my sister when we were in Dublin 2 years ago and it was fun! I loved staying at the Westin Dublin; it was well-located and very charming. It’s good that you got breakfast included because it’s a wonderful breakfast, but high-priced if you’re paying separately. You are just around the corner from Trinity College so go see the grounds and The Book of Kells. Also, Kilmainham Gaol, as others have stated, is a must. It is outside of the city center, though…. so you might want to take a Hop-On/Hop-Off bus for a day or so, and use that as your transportation to the jail… We did. We also loved the food and the ambience at Church, a restaurant which, as it’s name implies, used to be a church. It is across the Liffey from the Temple Bar area and the Westin, but a nice walk.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002539773497 Johnny Bench

    It appears you’ve been alerted to all the usual tourist connect-the-dots sites but if you want to avoid the tourist crowds and experience a little of what an average Dubliner might want to do on a nice weekend, I say catch a bus (45 or 7?) or the DART and head down to Dun Laoghaire or Dalkey, just a few miles south, and stroll the village main streets and then climb to the top of Dalkey/Killiney Hill. Best views of the Dublin area you’ll find, especially if it’s a nice day. On a really clear day you may even catch a glimpse of some mountains of Wales across the Irish Sea. Regardless, you won’t regret a visit here. You’ll probably have the hill all to yourself and a few other locals. An experience and photo-ops your average tourist won’t find, but fortunately for them, they won’t know what they missed.

  • Greggo

    Definitely hit up the Stag’s Head Pub. Easily the coolest pub in all of Dublin

  • http://twitter.com/amcgb amcgb

    How did the $370 fare come about? I always seem to miss the fare ‘steals’! Although flying from SEA, even via somewhere would always be more $$ I suppose. Enjoy Dublin.

  • http://paddyinba.blogspot.com/ Quickroute

    Good advice about the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) to Dalkey/Killiney. Continue on the Dart all the way to Greystones on a fine day for majestic coastline views. DART to Howth (North Dublin) has fantastic cliff walks / views also

  • points to fly

    I went to London/Dublin around Thanksgiving time with my wife using Continental saver points to fly Biz class (Thanks to TPG!) as well as visit my father-in-law who contracts for a large American company which has a large plant right outside of Dublin.
    As we were there for an extended weekend, we took the hop-on hop-off bus tour and walked around, I can not reccomend much as we spent half the day on the Guiness and Jameson tours. Saturday Night we did a “Musical Pub Crawl” where 2 irish musicians sang and taught about Irish history. I thought it was good but it’s really upto one’s taste.

  • Anuj

    Youve already gotten suggestions for what to do in Dublin.
    On one of those days take a day trip- would reccomend getting up early and catching the train ride to Howth: theres a picturesque seaside and you can even see some seriously big growling sea lions.
    Visit the Old Abbey and then take a tea break. You can get some supplies at a local tea-house for an outdoor picnic lunch later; theres a relatively easy 25 min hike along the sea-side cliffs just outside the city where you can pick a spot with great views for your picnic.

    If the weather isn’t good, still do the hike, but instead of a picnic stop at a local soup shop to warm up.
    After lunch catch the train to Malahide. Take another 15-minute hike through the forest to Malahide Castle. After this head to the town center to relax and explore etc
    Thats it – catch the train back to Dublin and hit the pubs/restuarants of choice again.

  • Eoin

    You seam to have been given all the main tourist spots. The guinness storehouse walking tours etc. I would recommend the Elephant and Castle for Hot Wings and Burgers. Highly reccomend getting out of the city to the south to Dun Laoghaire as mentioned below or North to Howth for some great Seafood.If your there this weekend the Rugby is on Ireland V Italy so get out and enjoy the atmosphere and try catch the game in a pub somewhere!

    Eoin

  • Eoin

    Oh and Id be interested to hear what you think of the new Terminal there. I think Delta fly out of it!

  • http://twitter.com/TheDealMommy The Deal Mommy

    Bewley’s Tea house on Grafton street is cliche, but I prefer the one in the Bewley’s hotel in Ballsbridge.

  • Dyoder

    Loved Howth! It’s a quick and cheap dart ride and there are lots of great restaurants there for lunch. Also there are locals who will offer to take you out on a boat ride to see the eye of Ireland Dublin is not a dump. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s like a big, small town. Temple Bar is touristy but it can be fun.

  • caravan70

    I would also recommend The Pig’s Ear, across from Trinity College – sort of a contemporary take on Irish cuisine. And I wouldn’t miss the Chester Beatty Library, near Dublin Castle – a wonderful museum inside.

  • Eric Hollins

    The gaol (jail) is pretty good as well as the Guinness brewery. Dublin isn’t very Irish and it is more diverse and European. Still a good time though.

  • Anonymous

    This is Jerry, was interesting running into you at the Westin in Dublin :)

  • Anonymous

    Went last night- amazing meal!

  • Race2thebigtree

    Surprised that people have missed easily the best pub for great live Irish folk music–O’Donoghue’s

    Other good pubs
    John Kehoe’s- (noted below)
    McDade’s
    Stag’s Head (noted below)

    Restaurants:

    Unicorn http://www.unicornrestaurant.com/
    Bang
    Peploe’s 16 St Stephen’s Green
    La Mer Zhou 22 St Stephen’s Green
    DIEP LE SHAKER – 55 PEMBROKE LANE, DUBLIN 2 – Thai http://www.diep.net/leshaker/

  • Grace

    I decided to reply for one plain reason, to say to go to Dun Laoghaire or Dalkey (lovely sunday peer walk, by the sea, fresh air and lovely lunch places too) and now i see others recommended also. i highly do. I am Irish, (form Cork – pitty you can;t go there – the REAL capital as it is knows as :-) but thats ok too. I lived in dublin for 51/2 years also. anyways, i am staying at the westin in 10 days -i regularly do. hopefully you got to experience some of the rugby buz today (go ireland!!) i am sure you already have but if not the Mint bar there is liovely and good for a chilled glass of wine or beer, and the courtyard is beautiful! hopefully you got one of the rooms with the balcony’s also. my fav!
    my best advice is not to have firm plans and breath in the atmosphere by walking around around and not having to be just going from a to b. you are so close to Grafton street that i would walking aorund there and all the nooks and cranny streets there. recommendation below on keohoes is a good one for a bar. try also Milanos for a really good thin base pizza – on the street paralell to Grafton st. called dawson. barely a 5 min walk from the Westin. great for dinner or lunch. i have to go there every time i am home!! so jealous you are there right niw, but makes me more excited for my trip too – which will also be for a 6 nations home rugby game!

  • XX

    take a happy pill!

  • George

    I’ve gotten great advise from Gogobot in the past. Here is the page for Dublin in case that helps.
    http://www.gogobot.com/dublin

  • http://www.frequentflyercollector.com/ freqflyercoll

    I just ran across this: http://interaction12.ixda.org/blog/the-foodies-guide-to-dublin/ …would’ve been nice to have seen that before last weekend :-P

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