Dublin

Historic and literary centre where the fun flows and locals banter

Overview

“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart”. So, apparently, said James Joyce, literary genius and son of Ireland’s fair city, but it in fact it turns out that so many people feel this way about the charming historical capital. Easily accessible from all over Europe, Dublin attracts couples, families and groups of friends looking for a cool weekender or fun getaway. Scratch below the surface though and you’ll find more than just Guinness and craic.

Beware the heaving summer months when the city is at this most popular, and although there is a lot to be said for visiting during the joyous St Patrick’s Day festival, it’s hardly the time to avoid the crowds! To get the most for your hard-earned euros, Low Season Traveller suggests a November, January or February sojourn. Surprisingly, the weather at this time compares favourably to other parts of northern Europe, with daytime highs of around 8°C and although you might well get rain, Dublin’s location in the driest part of the island mean fewer showers and even if the heavens do open, you can be sure that a cosy pub with a log fire won’t be very far away.

History Lessons Were Never This Fun

Forget classroom based learning, you can get your grades just wandering the city, discovering stunning 18th century architecture, award-winning museums and the spirit of rebellion, defiance and hope still palpable today in Dubliners. First stop is the General Post Office, beautiful Greek-revival edifice, and home to Ireland’s possibly most important moment. It was here during the 1916 Easter Rising that the Irish held their ground as the British stormed the stronghold leaving bullet holes still visible today. At EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, retrace the journeys made across the world as many risked it all to escape the 19th century Great Famine and find a better life. Climb aboard the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of the only famine ship not to suffer a single onboard death during the seven years it sailed to and from Canada. The 50 minute tour of this replica tall ship gives an idea of what life was like for those brave travellers. Cross the pretty cast iron Ha’penny Bridge, whose pedestrian tolls once paid for its construction, and visit the imposing Dublin Castle to the south, seat of British power for 700 years until Irish independence. Finish at magnificent St Patrick’s Cathedral with its intricately designed mosaics.

Wide Open Spaces

In vast Phoenix Park, twice the size of New York’s Central Park, you can lose yourself among the green lawns, woodlands, and flower gardens with surprises round each corner. Stroll the banks of the Liffey in the elegant National War Memorial Park, a smaller but no less beautiful area, dedicated to the fallen of the Great War. Or explore Merrion Square with its lounging Oscar Wilde statue, people-watch at St Stephen’s Green in the very heart of the city, or enjoy the popular National Botanic Garden. Further afield, climb Killiney Hill, take the stunning cliff walk at Howth or attempt the Bray to Greystones trail in Wicklow.


Low Season Saving

£50


Tourist:Local Ratio

Peak Season

Low Season

5:1


Flight Time from UK

2 Hours

Low Season Months

Jan
5°C
70mm
2hrs
Feb
5°C
60mm
3hrs
Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
11°C
80mm
3hrs
Nov
8°C
60mm
2hrs
Dec

Hotels

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Top Experiences

The Long Room, Trinity College Old Library

There’s something special about standing in the famed 300 year old library Long Room in quieter periods when the stunning 65 metre long chamber is magically still. Check out the historic Book of Kells, the college’s fine collection of marble busts, and a rare copy of 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.

The Guinness Storehouse

Spend hours learning all about the famed stout on this excellent self-guided brewery tour with seven floors of Guinness related exhibitions and enjoy a well-earned pint in the rooftop Gravity Bar. Expanded in 2020, it’s a glass sided cylindrical venue offering superb 360 degree views over Dublin’s cityscape.

Bike Hire in Phoenix Park

Cover more ground on two wheels than on two feet. At a vast 1750 acres, Phoenix is Europe’s biggest enclosed parkland. Cycle hire is located at the entrance and you can make a day of it, stopping off at cafes, picnic areas, market stalls and historic buildings. You may well come across the 500 semi-wild resident fallow deer.

Insider Tips

  • Bram Stoker, novelist of Gothic horror fame was born right here and in his name the city holds an annual festival, neatly coinciding with the Púca festival, celebrating Ireland’s claim to have invented Halloween, via the folklore of Samhain.
  • At the end of January, dance like crazy with over 200 free events at the Temple Bar Traditional Irish Music Festival, or TradFest, a great opportunity to see brilliant musicians without having to travel to the far reaches of the island.
  • Temple Bar Book Market is on each Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm at Temple Bar Square. Choose from second hand or new tomes with some rare items stashed among them. There is also a vinyl section for record collectors.

Good To Know

  • Do like the locals and get yourself a Leap Card. With flexible options you can save cash on the Luas trams, DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), buses even airport transfers, avoiding racking up huge taxi costs. Buy online before you travel.
  • Sweny’s Pharmacy, depicted in Joyce’s stream of consciousness epic, Ulysses, remains a time capsule of literary history. An un-missable stop for bookworms, swing by at 1pm weekdays and join dedicated locals for their Joycean reading circle.
  • Visit Bull Island for coastal walks, bird-watching, and wildlife. For some reason this treasure is missed by tourists who tend to stay in the city centre or venture out to Howth, but Bull Island is a beautiful option, adored by Dublin’s locals.

Food & Drink

Bewleys, Grafton Steet

£££

This 180 year old craft bakery kitchen café always offers delicious treats within a mahogany and stained glass interior. Packed in summertime, the low season allows quicker seating and service.

Darkey Kelly’s, Fishamble Street

£££

Once an 18th century brothel and home to a Irish female serial killer, whose victims lay beneath the floorboards, this institution is now better known for its great ambience, drink, food and nightly live music.

The Porterhouse on Temple Bar

£££

One of Ireland’s first craft beer pubs and quite historic for the revolution that it led. Try a sample tray to experience a range from their impressive beer menu. Also serves up food paired with beer suggestions.

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