Dublin’s must-see and do things as well as those you can skip.
HIT ? Day Trip to Blarney Castle
Who hasn’t always wanted to kiss the blarney stone?! In my opinion, looking back on our trip to Ireland, Blarney Castle was the number one must-see.
I know the castle itself isn’t in Dublin but it is just a day trip away and definitely worth the trip! The Castle itself was really neat (and we were there in the spring so there wasn’t a line to get in but we did see signs for up to an hour and a half wait so be aware of that in peak season) and kissing the stone was kind of gimmicky but fun to say we’ve done.
The real gem though was the grounds around Blarney Castle. There are a few dozen acres of gardens that are beautifully maintained and wonderful to get lost and spend the day in. We took a day tour so we only had a couple of hours and we would have gladly doubled the time at Blarney and missed out on one of the other two sites. In my opinion, it is a definite must-see in Ireland.
We booked our tour through Viator and it was overall enjoyable but if you want the full experience of Blarney castle you’ll want to make your own day trip of it or just spend a night in Cork.
HIT ? Walk around Temple Bar
Fun place to wander around in the heart of Dublin. It is a very touristy spot admittedly but the cool buildings, tight streets, and lights hanging everywhere just give it a fun atmosphere that is especially fun in the evening when lots of the other sights and attractions in Dublin are closed.
MISS ? Eat anywhere in Temple Bar
While going into Temple Bar to have a look is well worth doing, do not eat there. This neighborhood is tourist destination number one and the food is outrageously priced almost everywhere.
Find a local during the day and get dinner recommendations from them. Irish people are some of the most friendly and opinionated people I’ve ever met and will gladly give their 2 cents on where to grab a bite to eat.
HIT ? Go on a tour at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was magnificent. We showed up about 10 minutes after a tour had started and just jumped in. Our tour guide was actually originally from New York City which was funny but was incredibly knowledgeable about the Cathedral. We got a lot of the history of the cathedral and surrounding area that we would have never been able to learn otherwise. It’s worth finding out when the tour times are so you can be there for the entire tour. Visit their website to get entrance tickets and call ahead or visit to find out tour times.
HIT ? Go visit Kilmainham Gaol
If you love history, this is the place for you! This prison (gaol is pronounced ‘jail’ just so you don’t make the same pronunciation mistake I did!) held some of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries and houses the place where they were executed. It was amazing to hear some of the rich history of the country and be in a spot where so many revered Irishmen and women once stood. Book a tour ahead of time online here to guarantee entry (and show up 15 minutes before the time you pick!)