Dublin is currently experiencing a period of significant economic and cultural growth. The walkable and tourist-friendly city is a fascinating amalgamation of old and new, blending tradition with modernity. You could spend months simply exploring all the nooks and crannies of culture and entertainment that the city has to offer, but here is a crash course in case you only have a day.
Breakfast, 9 a.m.
Fumbally Lane, Merchants Quay
Right up the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Park, between central Dublin and Rathmines, is The Fumbally cafe: a farm-to-table, locally and sustainably sourced restaurant serving arguably the best breakfast and brunch in all of Dublin. The restaurant scrambles its eggs with olive oil, local cheese, garlic and tomato, and serves all of its dishes on fresh bread from local bakers. The cafe has amazing vegetarian and vegan options as well. In terms of pricing, meals at Fumbally are reasonable, with all breakfast dishes priced under 5 euros. The cafe also has an amazing selection of coffees and juices, along with fresh-made pastries and granola bars, in case you get hungry while waiting for your food to come out. The beautiful outdoor seating will satisfy all your people-watching needs.
St. Stephen’s Green, 10:30 a.m.
St. Stephen’s Green in the spring and summer rivals any of the royal gardens found in Europe. Situated in one of the busiest parts of Dublin, right off of Grafton Street, the park is insulated from the city noise and bustle by over 750 trees. In the center of the park are beautiful granite water fountains surrounded by neat paths with sitting benches, picnicking areas and colorful flowers. If it is nice out, take a stroll around the gardens and spend time learning about the significant role the park had in the 1916 uprising that led to Irish independence.
Little Museum of Dublin, 11:30 a.m.
This museum lives up to the name: Its entirety is encompassed within a historic townhouse, just across the street from St. Stephen’s Green. The museum features a collection created by public donation — all of the pieces were given to the museum by the citizens of Dublin. There is a vast and often overwhelming array of information in the museum, which features seasonal exhibits on Dublin’s history, ranging from revolution to present day, even hosting an exhibit on U2. Book your tour ahead of time, because it fills up quickly.
Lunch, 1 p.m.
Temple Bar Food Market
There is food for quite literally all tastes at this food market, which is ranked one of the best in Ireland. Fresh produce, local cheese and yogurt and fresh baked breads make the Temple Bar Food market a great place to stock up on food for the hotel room. There is also a plethora of hot food vendors on site, including a tent that serves amazing black bean soup if you find yourself missing Mexican food from the States. You will eat and buy way too much here, because everything looks, smells and tastes amazing, but you will not regret it.
Temple Bar Area, 2 p.m.
While you are in Temple Bar, be sure to check out the shopping area around Dame Street and Grafton Street, where you will find lots of local shops, including one where you can buy all the Irish woolen apparel of your dreams. Right off of Dame Street, explore Dublin Castle and the surrounding gardens, and, if you have time, buy a ticket and take a tour of the interior.
After walking around, pop into Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane and grab a scone and a pot of tea for a midafternoon snack. Stop into the Porterhouse for a pint with great views and a relaxed atmosphere.
Kilmainham Gaol, 4 p.m.
An old jail may seem to be a strange place to spend an afternoon while traveling in a vibrant city like Dublin, but Kilmainham is one of the most historically significant institutions in Dublin’s history. The jail was the holding and eventual dying place of many political prisoners throughout Ireland’s history, and it very much represented British imperialism for Irish citizens of the time. It was here, in 1916, that 14 of the leaders of the Easter Rising were executed. Make sure to book your tour here a few days in advance as spots fill up quickly.
Phoenix Park, 5 p.m.
Cross the River Liffey over to Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in the whole of Europe at nearly 1,800 acres. Rent a bike and cruise along the various roads and paths, gazing at the beautiful flowers and sculptures throughout the park.
You may even run into a herd of wild deer, which are known to roam the area. Bring a blanket and find a spot on one of the various open greens to watch the sunset.
Brazen Head, 8 p.m.
Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland and is high on most tourists’ must-visit lists in Dublin. The Brazen Head has been a pub since the mid-twelfth century, so it is safe to say it knows its brand. The food here is fantastic, and the pints are overflowing. This is the best place to get your traditional Irish meal in — whether it be bangers and mash, Irish stew or fish and chips. The restaurant even has contemporary, vegetarian-friendly options if that is more your style. Be sure to explore all of the rooms in the building, and bring along an extra dollar bill to sign and put on the wall as per tradition.
Cobblestone Pub, 10 p.m.
Spend the last few hours of your day in Dublin in Smithfield, on the north side of the River Liffey. There is no better place to get the best live traditional music, which plays here every single night until close. The prices here are also reasonable as it is in a part of town less frequented by tourists — you will be rubbing elbows with the locals here .
The Irish can talk your head off about everything. My advice is to let them; it is truly the best way to experience Dublin. Kick back, explore and have some good craic!
KATHERINE PIETRO is a senior in the College.
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