At first sight Dublin was quite different from what I expected. I thought Dublin was kind of a miniature version of London or something like that. I mean, I know Ireland isn’t British, but somehow I imagined Dublin to be a bit British anyway.
But in fact it has very little in common with London. No scene from Harry Potter around and simply not the most beautiful city in the world – as the Dubliners themselves say. Nonetheless there are many really lovely places and pubs to find and you get a homely feeling very fast because the city is relatively small.
The first of all the lovely places I discovered was my airbnb. It was close to the city center and only a few minutes’ walk from the famous Temple Bar district. And since the prices for a room are THE one thing where you can compare Dublin to London we were really lucky: for only 80 bucks a night I had a neat, clean and really nice furnished with direct access to a beautiful green and quiet courtyard with barbecues.
Temple Bar – Dublin’s most famous city district
And I only had to cross the Liffey over Ha’penny bridge which took me like 2 minutes and we were in the middle of Temple Bar district. Temple Bar is mainly known for its many pubs with live music. The most popular and famous pub, from which the district has its name, is THE Temple Bar.
Getting a seat at one of the tables in there is almost impossible. But never mind, like most of the other guests just grab a Guinness and stand around somewhere. –By the way: for all of you who don’t like dark beer, recently Guinness also offers lager, the name is Hop House and I really enjoyed it.
Because I managed to be in Dublin just when it was a bank holiday, unfortunately the Temple Bar was so crowded that I wasn't in the mood to squeeze myself between all the drunken tourists and Irish people. But there are lots of other lovely pubs around that want to get rid of their beer.
Temple Bar district itself is actually quite small and it makes sense to come here for your evening entertainment and use the day for sightseeing in other parts of Dublin. What we really enjoyed was hanging around at Trinity College. A really renowned university in a building of an old monastery. On the campus is also the Old Library, a library from the 18th century and very famous with all the tourists.
Because I absolutely do love books I bought a ticket - for 14€! Just to take a look at the 300 years old room with meters high bookshelves filled with even older books.
The biggest treasure of the library is the Book of Kells. A book from sometime around 800 A.D. that contains the four gospels written and painted. Daily they turn one page so that you can see two new pages each day. The book and the library itself are really impressive, although 14€ might be a little bit pricey.
If you’re not that much into books, Trinity College is worth a visit anyway. You can relax on the perfect lawn, let the hours pass by and just enjoy yourself. Exactly what we did when we were studying 😉
After I spend midday at Trinity College moved on to “The Bank on College Green”, a bar in a pompous building and a former headquarter of a bank. A perfect scenery for a lunch break. I ordered a fantastic seafood chowder that came with bread and salted butter, an Irish classic.
The Best Fish n Chips in Dublin
What can I say, I love Fish n Chips and as my host recommended a couple of fish and chippers, I had to try some of them . The first restaurant is called the Beshoff Bros and the food there is just soooo good. You can chose between different kinds of fish and you pay 10-12€ for a generous portion of fish n chips.
As the price already indicates, Beshoff Bros is more like a fast food restaurant and especially popular by the locals – so not the location for a fancy dinner but just right for backpackers. –Much food for little money.
The best Fish and Chips though I had somewhere else - at Leo Burdocks. You can all kinds of fish here that –whoosh- are wrapped in paper, put in a bag and ready to take away. No bowl, no fork, no nothing. So you have to take them home or do it like I did: eat it straight out of the paper.
Leo Burdocks is a little out of the way in Werburgh Street and I passed by on my way back from the Guinness Storehouse. So I ordered one serving and thought I could easily eat it with my hands. Well, it wasn't easy but I somehow managed without letting anything fall on the ground.
The fish itself was delicious and by far the best ones I had in Dublin.
The Guinness Storehouse
A visit in the Guinness Storehouse, a museum about the manufacturing of Guinness in the old brewery building is one of the highlights for most people who are in Dublin. At least everyone says so. So I bought the ticket for 25€ per person for a tour through the Storehouse.
And I want to be honest with you, in my opinion the tour is more for real Guinness fans. You can’t really see how the beer is brewed, there are only shown tapes everywhere and old machinery is displayed. A true museum.
They really make an effort to show interesting stuff to the visitors, but it is simply way to expensive when you’re not that much into Guinness. And even the included pint of Guinness couldn’t change that feeling. Albeit we have to say that admissions for parks, castles, museums etc. are very high in general.
If you’re a shopaholic Dublin might not be your favorite city. Here and there are some smaller shops and there are two or three big stores as well but nothing you would expect in a capital. The Irish are just not that fashion-focused and seem not to spend that much of money on clothing. –Primark’s headquarters are in Dublin, I think that says something. –People here obviously prefer beer over Gucci, which makes a lot of sense to me after all.
If you want to do a little shopping tour anyway, you can try Kildare Village Outlet. They have some cool labels and the prices are quite good. It’s only 60km from Dublin and the best way to get there is by rental car or by bus.
I absolutely enjoyed my time in Dublin and you definitely should stay here for 2 or three days when you’re travelling Ireland. But I also have to admit that there are one or two cities in Ireland that I liked even more and that fitted the picture in our mind of this country than Dublin with beautiful old towns, contorted alleys and pub next to pubs without an end.
Of course, as I said, there are lots of Pubs in Dublin, too. But they are spread across the whole city and not in one place like in other Irish towns.