We have both been to Dublin on different occasions. Still, both of us saw very similar attractions to one another. Not because these are the most famous things to see and do in Dublin but because even when we are not travelling together we have such similar tastes that we gravitate to the same attractions, except for Josh trying to turn his blood black with Guinness more than Andrea.
We have tried to narrow down what things are a must-see in Dublin and cannot be missed, which was a lot harder than expected as so many attractions were worth it.
Dublin Prison-Kilmainham Gaol
When booking a flight to Dublin, I did not expect to find myself in prison, but once I found out that there is an old abandoned prison that allows you to view inside, I knew I must see it! Mainly because I read online that the room you go into to view is the same room in which the Italian Job was filmed(a British cult film).
Tickets are one of the most reasonable priced experienced in Dublin. They even did student discounts! Personally, when I arrived, I would have been just happy to see the room in which the movie was filmed and just take some pictures, but this was a 1 hour-long tour. To this day it was one of the best tours I’ve been on, and Andrea said the same thing, the guide was very passionate about the history of Dublin and the revolution which you will hear about a lot on tour, he will walk you up and down tight alleyways so you get a feel how tight and horrible it must have been to stay here and the courtyard where prisoners were hanged.
Top Tip: The prison is actually on the outskirts of Dublin, so account for extra time and a bus to get here; I chose to walk from the Guinness factory and almost missed the last entry because I underestimated how hard it was!
Ireland’s two most famous products around the world are Guinness and whiskey; Dublin used to be filled with whiskey distillers everywhere, from the likes of damsons and many more being made in Dublin but unfortunately with the world-changing and Dublin becoming one of the most expensive cities in Europe there is one only whiskey factory left that still makes its whiskey in Dublin. You can go view the old factory of Jameson but from what I heard from people it’s more of just a store and a small museum. Teeling, on the other hand, is still distilled here so you can walk around the factory and see the whole process of how hard it is to make this story spirit and at the end sit at a table with your tour guide who will teach you how to taste the whiskey and how a variety of them taste.
Top tip: Don’t worry if you are not a huge whiskey fan, as it does make hairs grow on your chest; especially after drinking 3 glasses, you can actually opt for a whiskey cocktail instead.
Dublin Castle is one of those rare sites where you see a variety of historical events played out in one place. At the castle, you have the option of doing a self-guided or guided tour. We would recommend doing the guided tour, as that option allows you to see more of the castle as well as getting lots of historical facts and stories from the guides.
The castle has been through a multitude of changes. From a royal palace to an infirmary for Irish rebels, that building has seen it all. I would recommend going to both of jail and the castle when you’re in Dublin, as that way you are guaranteed to learn so much more about the Irish Rebels and what eventually happened during their story.
Top Tip: In the guided tour you are taken underground, to parts of the castle that are now just ruins. So take this route if you are up for a great tour and some amazing peeks at history.
One of the most popular attractions In Dublin is Trinity College; this attraction holds one of the most amazing libraries globally and as a bonus, it’s still in use. Every book inside can actually be booked out by students of Trinity College. To be honest, I have no idea how the student even gets any work done. I would go into the room to feel inspired and write but end up just staring and thinking about how beautiful the room is.
Amazingly, this attraction is actually so popular because this is where the famous Ireland harp is held. Yes, the harp shown on the Guinness logo is real and one of the oldest in the world.
Top tip: Pre-book your tickets online. The queue can get crazy for this attraction, but it is a must-see, so book your tickets, and you will be inside within 10 mines, not after waiting 1 hour in line.
The Guinness Factory is one of the absolute must-sees of Dublin attractions! A completely self-guided tour, the factory is set up so you can learn about the beer itself, its advertising throughout the years, and even learn how to properly pour yourself a Guinness! Each guest gets one free Guinness with admission, which makes it all the more fun to learn about! While walking through the factory (which is very easy to do and to not miss anything- bonus!) I would recommend looking at the hops. These are plants that assist in making the Guinness what it is, and just seeing the size of those plants amazed me!
Near the end of the tour you are given the option to have a lesson on pouring Guinness (then drinking the one you poured) or waiting until the top floor and having a Guinness with a view. I elected to do this, and didn’t regret it! I love seeing the view of a city, and getting a Guinness with a view in Dublin was even better!
Top Tip: If you or someone you are with doesn’t like Guinness, or can’t have it for other reasons there are soft drinks and water available at the view point! Those are also free with your token received at the beginning.
After all the attractions start to close what is there to really do in Dublin? Well, this is when you head to a local Irish pub and listen to music! You can head to Temple Bar in the main street, which is the oldest bar in Dublin and has a great vibe of tourist having fun and music, but the music I heard in there was more just pop songs being done on guitar.
So head a couple streets away. You may find yourself in such a place as the Ruby Session, where my friend and I were the only tourists there. Man, everyone could tell we were not local even which my ginger hair; everyone knew each other and, well, was not drenched from the rain as local Irish seem to all know to be carrying an umbrella at all times.
In the Ruby Session I was greeted by hearing 4 amazing bands play, some with violins and some with just drums and singing. Everyone in there was so friendly and even brought me and my friend our first pint of hop house 13 as they seemed to actually like it more than Guinness, and so did I.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to go away from the tourist bars; you will save money and find a much more unique experience.
Andrea and I Loved Dublin; we have both said how our trips have made us want to experience more of Ireland; we love the idea of road trip Ireland one day when Covid restrictions have left. And see such sights as the giant’s causeway. We have only talked about a small number of the amazing attractions in Dublin, we are sure. There is an attraction for everyone in this city, and with flights from Gatwick only being £30 for a return ticket, it makes a fun weekend trip or start your European adventure if from USA or Canada.