Dublin is a picturesque and historic city. With this year being the centennial of the birth of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is filled with festivities commemorating the 1916 Revolution. With great food, interesting museums, and fun nightlife, Dublin is perfect for a short escape from the Bubble. The bustling crowds of locals, tourists, students and business people, give life to the compact yet complex culture mecca that is Dublin.
Tour Trinity College
Start off your Dublin experience with Trinity College, which is a beautiful and historic university.
Here you can go on a guided tour led by one of the students at the University. Be sure not to miss visiting the Book of Kells and Trinity College Library. Even though there is an admission fee, it is worth the money. Seeing the Long Room of the Old Library is in itself an awe-inspiring experience.
See Dublin Castle
Although not a free museum, this spot is definitely worth the money (and they do offer student discounts). Tour the historic state rooms, which also served as a hospital (and prison) during the first world war and 1916 Revolution. The Dublin Castle has a free app, so download it to learn more about the beautiful building.
Tea at Queen of Tarts
If you are in need of a (sweet) bite to eat and don’t want to travel too far, head over to Queen of Tarts. Famous for its cakes and (quite obviously) tarts, the cafe also serves up a wonderful breakfast or lunch. The apple and blackberry crumble and the Victoria sponge are exceptional. A cozy and inviting dining experience, Queen of Tarts is the perfect place to catch your breath and share a pot of tea with a friend.
Tour Dublin Storehouse
The Dublin Storehouse is described as the top tourist destination in Europe, and it certainly lives up to the name. This is probably helped along by the fact that a pint of Guinness is included in your ticket price. The museum itself is beautiful and informative; it is innovatively designed to be the shape of a giant pint glass. The tasting room is one not to skip, along with the Gravity Bar (which has the best views of Dublin). If you’re hungry, there are numerous restaurants inside the storehouse. I would also recommend checking out the gift shop for some Storehouse-exclusive buys!
Dinner at O’Neills
A true Dublin hidden jem, O’Neills Pub & Kitchen serves delicious food. Found at the intersection of Suffolk Street, Church Lane, and St Andrew’s Street, O’Neills is a frequent local hangout, popular for watching football matches, sharing a pint with friends, and devouring gourmet pub food. The shepherd’s pie comes highly recommended, complete with sprigs of rosemary and a bacon rosette served on top.
Molly Malone Statue
Before the sun sets on your first day in Dublin, be sure to get a photo with the famous Molly Malone Statue, situated directly across the street from O’Neills. ‘Molly Malone’ is an iconic Dublin figure from the unofficial city anthem of the same name. Embrace your inner cheesy tourist, and take some Instagram-worthy photos with the ‘Tart with the Cart.’
Explore Grafton Street
Live music can often be heard on Grafton Street. The evening is an ideal time to explore the street, as it is a lively place even after the shops have closed. Grab a late-night gelato (or pint, whichever suits you) and listen to melodies of local music to cap off your evening.
Head to Bed
Located 500 metres East of O’Connell Street, Abrahams Hostel is affordable and safe accommodation near the heart of Dublin. The rooms are clean and spacious, and breakfast is included. With a kitchen, cozy common room, and computer lab (complete with a printer), Abrahams Hostel is perfect for the on-the-go traveller looking to meet people from around the world. Hostels are admittedly not for everyone so if you’re looking for more upscale sleeping quarters, be sure to check out the Westin Dublin on Westmoreland Street.
Explore O’Connell Street
After having breakfast at Abrahams Hostel, be sure to head west to O’Connell Street where you can grab a morning coffee. Friends and family back home would be touched if they received a postcard, and where else better to write one than in a cafe on a historic Dublin street?
As you walk south towards the city centre, be sure not to miss the landmarks surrounding you. O’Connell Street played a significant role in the 1916 Revolution, so take a second to remember the historical events that took place in the very spot you are standing in 100 years ago. Right before the bridge, the Daniel O’Connell monument sits in the centre of the road. You can still see where it was hit by stray bullets in 1916. James Joyce mentions specific landmarks of Dublin in his famous novel, Ulysses and all around the city, plaques signify the sites, complete with a quote from the book. Make sure not to miss the one on O’Connell Bridge as you pass by.
Before heading into the Chester Beatty Library, explore the adjacent park, Dubhlinn Garden. If you arrive before the museum opens, have a cup of tea or coffee at the Dubh Linn Tea Rooms. Connected to the garden by a stone staircase, it offers a nice view of the park (the original site of the Vikings’ landing in Dublin).
Chester Beatty Library
A fascinating (and free) museum, the Chester Beatty Library is ranked as one of the best museums in all of Europe. Containing manuscripts from nearly every corner of the world, there are in depth exhibits on European, Asian, and Middle-Eastern writing and culture. The Library has an impressive 260 Qur’ans, one of the largest collections in the world. Once you have finished exploring the museum, have lunch at the Silk Road Cafe. The Middle-Eastern menu has many wonderful options and is surprisingly inexpensive.
Tips for Travelling:
Dublin is a student-friendly city, with many free museums and affordable places to stay and eat. Most tourist destinations, like the Dublin Storehouse, offer student discounts. Be sure to bring your student ID with you to save as much as possible!
Getting Around Dublin
Most of Dublin’s historic sites and hostels are reachable on foot from the city centre, but to visit key sites outside of the main hub, a bus tour is never a bad idea. While they can be somewhat expensive (City Sightseeing is €17 with your student ID), hop-on-hop-off bus tours take you to all of the best tourist spots, complete with an audio tour. Plus, vouchers and coupons for certain vendors along the route are included with your bus ticket. If you are keen on visiting the Guinness Storehouse or Kilmainham Gaol, tour buses are the best way to do so.