My grandmother came from Dublin, and some of our favourite family holidays have been spent in the Irish capital. In fact, we’re planning a holiday there this summer. If you’re planning a break there, then Hotel Direct have some fab hotels in Dublin to suit all budgets (including some of the best hotels in the city). Meanwhile, here are my top 10 things to do in Dublin – feel free to add your own suggestions:
1. Have a walk along the banks of the River Liffey.
This will give you a real feeling for the city and you’ll find lots of little shops and cafes along the way, plus the Ha’penny Bridge, which was built in 1816 and gives you wonderful views of the city.
2. Call at the Guinness Storehouse.
Well of course no visit to Dublin would be complete without going to the Guinness Museum, a sort of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory only dedicated to stout, where even the atrium is designed to look like a giant pint glass; and of course you can have a pint of the black stuff (you can even pour your own).
3. Stroll around Trinity College.
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, this stunning college, part of the University of Dublin, is where Irish literary luminaries including Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett were educated; it’s also where you’ll find the beautifully illustrated Book of Kells, which dates back to 800 AD and was written by Irish monks.
4. Go shopping on Grafton Street.
The fifth most expensive main shopping street in the world, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of places to browse; it’s home to one of my favourite department stores, Brown Thomas, and it also has a great atmosphere, with buskers and street artists, so lots to look at.
5. Have a coffee in Bewley’s.
With its stained glass windows Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street is an absolutely stunning building, opened in 1927, and boasts that it serves the best coffee in town; it’s definitely worth visiting.
6. Visit the National Museum of Ireland.
Kids in particular will love this brilliant museum, where you can time travel back to prehistoric Ireland and the time of the Vikings.
7. Go for a drink in Temple Bar.
On the very cool south bank of the River Liffey, this is where you’ll find a lot of touristy bars but it’s still worth visiting, not least because it’s known as Dublin’s cultural quarter and has some excellent little galleries. Plus it’s home to the Olympia, which is considered THE place to hear live music in Dublin. On a Saturday there’s a brilliant Farmer’s Market where you can pick up Irish delicacies such as fresh oysters (nom), freshly-baked soda bread (delicious and addictive) and sausages. Definitely worth a visit.
8. Take a train ride to Howth.
Just half an hour away by train Howth is a wonderful seaside town and harbour, the perfect place to have lunch and get some sea air. This is where I play fantasy homes by the sea.
9. Visit the General Post Office.
This was the site of the Easter Rising in 1916 and it remains a potent symbol of Irish independence. It’s free to go in and well worth it.
10. Watch the world go by in St Stephen’s Green.
This delightful Georgian square has places for kids to run around in the summer, plus the Yeats memorial garden; when the sun’s out, it’s great for sitting and people-watching.