Destination Ireland: Why Not Choose… Dublin?
"The only things one never regrets are one's mistakes". These words from Oscar Wilde perfectly capture the qualities of a holiday in the Irish capital where he was born. Cosmopolitan, lively, full to the brim with cultural activities: Dublin will win you over with its open mind and its breathtaking landscapes.
If you want to party, get back to nature, discover the heritage or just wander… we take a closer look at this open-air museum which has reinvented itself to become one of Europe's most beautiful capitals.
Dublin's artistic streak…
Fancy being submerged in culture? Dublin has something for everyone. The city is the birthplace of famous writers and poets such as Oscar Wilde, W.B Yeats and James Joyce…Youcan even find sculptures in their honour as you explore the city.
The visual arts aren't neglected either, with many museums such as the IMMA, dedicated to contemporary arts, but also the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Archaeology Museum, the National Decorative Arts & History Museum, and the Natural History Museum.
Don't forget to check out the Dublin Pass, a City Pass giving reduced rate entry to the city's main attractions: City Hall, Trinity College, St. Werburgh's Church, etc.
When nature lives in the city
Dublin makes ample room for nature, much to the delight of its visitors… Its many parks and gardens provide opportunities for a breath of fresh air during your holiday…
The must-see? Phoenix Park, one of the world's largest city parks, right in the heart of Dublin. To make the most of it, you can rent bikes on site to explore the park. Bringing your children on holiday with you? Take them to Dublin Zoo,in Phoenix Park, which is home to almost 600 species. You can also admire other beautiful parks, with several tranquil havens in and around the city: Saint Stephen's Green, Dodder Valley Park, Marlay Park or Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Shopping and night-life
Temple Bar is THE place to be! Located between Dame Street and the River Liffey, this pedestrianised zone with its pretty cobbled alleys is full of famous Irish pubs, restaurants and boutiques! Love Irish music? You're sure to enjoy lively nights out every evening of the week! The Temple Bar Pub, Mulligan’s, or the Long Hall will make your night go with a bang. Take the chance to taste some typical beers: Guinness, Harp, Beamish, Smithwicks, Murphy’s… with its thick head, Guinness is most popular!
When it comes to shopping, you'll be spoilt for choice! Here are the essential streets to find some gems…
Temple Bar is full of shops, including the famous Urban Outfitters. Don't miss the fashion market every weekend to grab some bargains.
If you love your big brands, O'Connell Street is one of Dublin's main streets, sometimes known as the Irish Champs Elysées! Finally, to go shopping in a beautiful Georgian building, head for the Powerscourt Centre!
Top 10 places to visit in Dublin
The Guinness Storehouse: a museum devoted to the Guinness empire! In the shape of a giant pint, it is easy to spot, within the city at St. James' Gate… the tour retraces the history of the brand and ends with a tasting at the top, where you can marvel at a magnificent panorama of the city.
Temple Bar: the capital's trendy cultural quarter! It is overflowing with Irish pubs, restaurants and shops. It's unmissable if you want to enjoy the city's festive atmosphere, especially in the evenings and at weekends, when the party is in full swing.
The Spire: This cone-shaped sculpture on O’Connell Street is Dublin's answer to the Eiffel Tower. 120 metres high, it pierces the sky and serves as a landmark for Dubliners across the city.
Phoenix Park: With its 710 hectares, this is the largest urban park in Europe. It has many treasures to offer: a zoo, a castle, sports grounds, a lake...
Trinity College: the only university in Dublin to open its doors to visitors, unveiling Victorian style buildings, and an old library containing the famous historical treasure, the Book of Kells.
The Jameson Distillery: find out how Jameson Whiskey is made, and while you're there, visit the Jameson Chimney, the distillery's old chimney, which is now a lift tower. Head to the top for stunning views!
The National Museum of Dublin: an imposing Museum presenting Dublin's historical, artistic and cultural past!
The Four Courts: home to the Republic of Ireland's Supreme Court. A symbolic site containing 4 neo-classical courts, crowned by an imposing green dome.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral: With its Gothic architecture and its superb central nave, it is considered an architectural wonder of the 18th-century… it is located in the southern area of old Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol : this is considered to be one of the harshest prisons Europe has known in recent centuries! Now converted into a museum, it offers thought-provoking insights into the conditions of detention for prisoners at the time.
A taste of Ireland
Although Ireland is famous for its beers, whiskeys and Irish coffee, its traditional cuisine also holds many secrets. The star products? Local produce such as meat, fish, vegetables, cheese and other delicacies…
Here are some key dishes to try during your stay:
Irish Stew: Ireland's flagship dish, this lamb ragout with potatoes and carrots can be found in most pubs and restaurants.
Fish & Chips, fresh fish in crispy batter… Cheap and filling!
Guinness ice-cream: sounds strange? Vanilla ice cream is dipped into Guinness, so that it takes on its caramelised flavour.
Irish smoked salmon: Don't miss out on the opportunity to taste Irish wild salmon. Its tender, flavoursome flesh goes perfectly with a pint of beer.
Porridge: Don't let appearances fool you, because this breakfast made of oats and milk (or water) is much tastier than it looks! Very common in Ireland, it is a great, balanced start to the day.
January: Temple Bar TradFest, Dublin's biggest traditional music festival.
March: Saint-Patrick's Day (huge popular festival in the streets and Irish pubs).
May: International Gay Theatre Festival in Dublin, Dance Festival (Contemporary Dance).
June: Bloom (Garden Festival in Phoenix Park), Taste Festival (Food Festival with shows).
August: Horse Show, international horse riding show.
September: Fringe Festival (performing arts, dance, concerts, street performances, visual arts and comedy).
October / November: Dublin Marathon, Samhain / Halloween.
December: Christmas markets, Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
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