My husband and I were so excited to have Dublin, Ireland as the first stop on our European honeymoon this spring. We’ve both always wanted to visit Ireland (him for the beer and me for the landscapes), and it did NOT disappoint.
With only four days in the country, we felt like we barely scratched the surface and realized there was so, so much more to see. We’ll definitely have to go back to check out all the spots we missed. Here’s a travel guide based on our amazing time in Dublin!
WHERE TO STAY
The Dawson Hotel and Spa– I planned our whole two week trip myself and one of the things I love doing is researching to find good deals on awesome hotels. I found this 4-star hotel with an onsite spa for a great price and I’m so glad I decided to book it.
The location was hands-down the best part. We were right in the middle of the hustle and bustle and able to walk to pretty much every attraction we wanted to see. It was incredibly easy to get around, with lots of dining options nearby.
The rooms were lovely, and it felt so romantic to keep our window open at night, letting the cool breeze rush in and hearing the sounds of seagulls in the distance. I planned on getting a spa treatment done here but we ended up with too much to see in too little time. Next time, though!
WHAT TO DO
Trinity College– On our first day, we walked over to the Trinity College Campus, just a few minutes walk from The Dawson Hotel. This college, founded in 1592, was bustling with current students and tourists alike, and was stunning in its architecture. We leisurely strolled through the campus, taking in the sights of the old, regal buildings and the cherry blossom trees. We only spent about 15 minutes here, but it’s well worth the trip simply to soak in the history.
St. Stephen’s Green– Next, we headed over to St. Stephen’s Green, a large and beautiful park right in the middle of the city center. We were lucky with unusually warm and sunny weather so people were laying the grass, having picnics, and soaking up the sun. I’m glad we went in the spring so the flowers were blossoming like crazy. The tulips were absolutely incredible. You could easily spend a whole day frolicking around this park.
Glendalough and Wicklow– My favorite part of our whole time in Dublin was taking a guided day tour to the countryside. Both of us agreed that the Irish countryside we got to see on this tour was probably the most beautiful thing we’ve ever seen. It’s so stunning that it literally took my breath away.
We booked this tour with Paddywagon Tours and it was surprisingly only 25 euros, which seemed like such a great deal. Our Irish guide was lively and fascinating as he told us stories on the drive.
Once we arrived in Wicklow, we had free time to hike up to the lake. I can’t even describe how magical and romantic this was. You just have to do it yourself!
Kilkenny– After the hike in Wicklow, we headed down to the southern town of Kilkenny. This little town had narrow streets and colorful shops to explore. We chose to visit the Kilkenny castle which was fun to walk through. I can’t imagine being the people who actually lived there, it was massive!
Howth– Our last day in Dublin, we decided to hop on the DART for a 25-minute ride to visit Howth, a charming fishing village just outside of Dublin. Needless to say, their fish at lunch was amazing. Walking through the small town, we stopped to get hot tea and gelato before sitting down for a pint of beer. The scenery on the walkway by the water was well worth the trip and it was nice to see the Irish coast.
Temple Bar– Probably the most famous of all the Dublin stops is Temple Bar, an area of numerous pubs and restaurants known for its boisterous nightlife. Not being big partiers, we went to Temple Bar in the early evening for dinner and then stopped at a pub for a drink. While I definitely suggest going to see Temple Bar just for the experience and to say that you did, it wasn’t our scene. Everyone was a tourist just like us and we much prefer more of the local scene, so we made our way back to the pubs around our hotel where everyone had an Irish accent!
Grafton Street– Right by our hotel was the completely pedestrian and popular shopping district of Grafton Street. We didn’t do any shopping but we walked through here every night on our way back and loved seeing the live music and the gorgeous bouquets of flowers for sale. If you’re into shopping, definitely check it out!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
The Duke– We came to this pub numerous times throughout our stay because it was close to the hotel and they have the best damn potato wedges a potato-loving girl could ask for. They also have a lively atmosphere and the nicest bartenders/servers. It felt like our own personal “local spot” where we could hang.
The Quay’s Irish Restaurant– This is where we ate in Temple Bar. They serve traditional Irish dishes in a very Irish atmosphere. It was fun to see what traditional Irish meals are like, and they catered to my food allergies very well. I got the Traditional Irish Stew while my husband opted for the Slow Cooked Beef and Guinness Stew. Yum!
Kehoe’s– This had to be our favorite place to drink in Dublin. We stumbled upon it one evening while walking around and we saw how what seemed like hundreds of people were spilling out into the streets from this tiny bar. Apparently it was THE place to be. So we gave it try and had the best time. We stood outside in the boisterous atmosphere where we made friends with a few people and laughed a lot. I wish we could have stayed longer but we had an early wake up call!
The Barge– This place was suggested to us by one of the locals and it was such a cool experience. The weather was sunny that day so he told us to head down to the canals and to drink at this bar. Again, people were spilling into the street and sitting out by the canal. I loved getting to hang out in the beautiful weather as if I was a local.
Fire Restaurant and Lounge– Literally right across from the hotel, we chose this restaurant for our one “fancy” dinner in Dublin. It’s in a beautiful building with stunning landscaping. We had a nice time in the upscale atmosphere, getting waited on left and right.
Farm Restaurant– We loved this little place with locally sourced ingredients and plenty of options for vegan and gluten-free. The food was delicious and it’s where we learned “rocket” is another word for arugula. Who knew!
Have you ever been to Ireland? Where should we go when we go back? (Hoping we do!!!)
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