The Emerald Isle’s charming capital Dublin is affectionately dubbed the Fair City, with its colourful doorways, cobbled streets and stately Georgian squares. The centuries-old city breathes a rich history and is home to literary landmarks aplenty. Here’s how make the most of your 24 hours in Dublin.
Start the day by visiting the impressive St Patrick’s Cathedral, built in honour of Ireland’s celebrated patron saint. Founded in 1191, the cathedral is steeped in history and includes lauded satirist Jonathan Swift among its former deans. Then spend some time strolling through the cobbled courtyards of Trinity College, and marvel at the intricate detailing and gold-gilded edges of the Book of Kells found in its library.
Dublin is one of the most walkable cities in Europe, so spend some time watching energetic street performers as you amble along Grafton Street before heading up to the River liffey and crossing the iconic Ha’penny Bridge. If your legs are ready for a little rest, enjoy a few hours cruising the river on a canal tour or relax in the unofficial playground of Dublin, Phoenix Park.
For a locally-caught lunch, sample some Irish cockles and mussels made famous by the city’s anthem, Molly Malone, about Dublin’s favourite working girl.
It’s easy to build up a literary appetite after a day rambling around Dublin, so visit The Oscar Wilde House or make like W.B. Yeats and enjoy a quiet moment with a good book in the snug of his favourite pub Toner’s. The wonderful Writer’s Museum takes you through Ireland’s great literary tradition, but those in the know will tell you that the best way to experience James Joyce’s Dublin is by joining a seemingly never-ending reading of Ulysses at Sweny’s, the 19th-century chemist from the novel which is still open today as a literary curiosity shop.
Take a pit stop for a well-deserved pint of ‘the black stuff’ at the Guinness Storehouse. Here, you’ll learn the art of pulling the perfect pint (tip: it takes precisely 119.5 seconds) and take in some spectacular views of Dublin from its Gravity Bar. If Guinness isn’t your tipple of choice, there are also fascinating tasting tours at Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery.
In the evening, let the ‘craic’ continue in one of the Temple Bar area’s many pubs. Often decorated with Victorian stained glass and rich mahogany wood bars, a traditional Irish pub is a cosy place to enjoy warming dishes, such as a hearty shepherd’s pie or a big bowl of coddled pork in cider. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a live performance of some traditional Celtic music. Get ready for a long night, as performances tend to get lively and go on until the early hours.
To enjoy an enchanting 24 hours in Dublin soaking up its sights click here to discover a Trafalgar trip.