A foreigner in Dublin, Jo initially came to the city for a university exchange, not knowing anything in general about Ireland or Dublin in particular (to tell you the truth, she didn’t even know what Guinness was)! The programme was supposed to last eight months and that was six years ago, so you could probably say she integrated quite well into Irish culture.
A Dubliner at heart, she loves the city and vibe it carries, works by day and writes by night, all the while having finally mastered the ability to actually keep the plants that live on her balcony alive. She hopes you enjoy her writing and will be happy to tell you all about Dublin and Ireland.
Trinity College & The Book Of Kells
As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, the Old Trinity College Library and its exhibition of the Book of Kells are definitely a must-see in Dublin!
The College was established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 and on top of its amazing architecture and beautiful gardens, the exhibition inside is truly unbelievable. Going in, you will be faced with an incredibly well-preserved illuminated gospel book that dates back to 800 A.D. and a sixty-five-metre long wooden library gallery, topped by a vaulted ceiling and hundreds of thousands of books that will make you feel like you have just stepped into the Hogwarts Library. Every time I am lucky enough to go in, it just makes my jaw drop!
For this location, a bit of local advice I will give you is to book your tickets in advance to visit the site. To give you an idea, when I was there last July the queue was so long it went all around the building! If you do not want to waste your precious hours in Dublin standing in line (possibly under the rain), booking a fast-track ticket for a specific time slot is your best option! They are a couple of euros more expensive, but definitely worth it!
Once you are done with the Tour, you will exit the campus on College Green which is frankly as Central in Dublin as you possibly can be. If it’s time to eat (or drink) or if you want to do more things in the area, I can definitely recommend a couple of locations for you!
Lunch, Dinner or Drinks
If you don’t want to walk (at all), the Porterhouse is definitely your best bet! It’s quite touristy and can sometimes get a bit crowded, but they brew their own beer (the only pub in Dublin – to my knowledge – that doesn’t serve Guinness) and have a pretty decent menu of pub food, if you’re in the mood!
If you’re happy to walk ten minutes, Klaw, in Temple Bar, is probably my favourite restaurant in Dublin! It is quite literally located in a corridor on the ground floor of a building and is so small you’d probably miss it if you didn’t know it existed, but it serves the best sea food I have ever eaten! They have reasonable prices, decent beer, entire crabs to share, as well as squid, fish sandwiches, chowder, oysters, mussels and all of it delicious! Unfortunately, because it is so small the seating can be a bit limited but I would 100% recommend trying and stopping there whilst in Dublin!
On Saturday mornings, Cow’s Lane in Temple Bar hosts a little art market, with some amazing creators sometimes displaying their work. If you like art or are looking for something specific to hang on your wall to bring back from Dublin that is good quality and a bit unusual, I would definitely recommend you check it out!
Lastly, if you are looking to do more visiting in the area, I would definitely recommend walking down Grafton Street to St Stephen’s Green. This park, located on a square surrounded by Georgian buildings, is one of the best places in Dublin where you can spend a sunny day, laying on the grass or admiring the beautiful flowers growing in the area. However, the park’s whereabouts are also great if you want to stay inside.
If you like architecture, I would definitely suggest you step into St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. While the shops are generally what you would find anywhere (Benetton, Boots, etc.) the glass roof of the building and its beautiful archways truly allow the place to back in natural light, even on a gloomy day, which is quite worth seeing. Also, if you are in the area and in the mood for a museum, I would also highly recommend The Little Museum of Dublin. Housed in one of the Georgian buildings surrounding the park, the museum retraces the history of the city through a random mixture of historical artefacts and truly amazing gems collected throughout the years, offering some of the funniest tours I have ever seen! It is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Dublin and Irish culture.
Looking for more attractions to visit in Dublin?
Here are our local guides to The Guinness Storehouse and Kilmainham Gaol.
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