Last month I got to hop over from London to Dublin for a work trip, and I was excited to explore the city a bit. It was a quick trip, but the warmth of Dubliners was apparent from the beginning. Case in point, when I was at customs, the officer asked if I was there for work or for play. I told him both, and he asked who I was working with. I said Google, and then he asked who I was playing with. I blurted out, “Um, myself?!” and we both busted up laughing. For like, a good five minutes. After that was over, he told me to “drink the whiskey, because it’s good.” Seriously the best customs experience I’ve ever had. The pub culture is strong here—it’s cold, wet, and rainy AF, so the art of boozing indoors is important. Here are some snaps from my trip (all shot on my Google Pixel phone! hashtag not sponsored), and some recs in case you’re planning a visit to The Dubs.
Where to Stay: Top Things to do in Dublin
I stayed at The Shelbourne, which is an absolutely beautiful hotel in Dublin. I didn’t realize this when I booked it, but it’s known for being a historic hotel there and the nicest in the city. It was gorgeous, and the service was wonderful.
I was in Dublin for a business trip, and it was fun to work out of Google’s European HQ in Dublin for the week. It’s a pretty large campus with several different buildings, and I got lost more times than I care to admit. But getting lost in a new Google office is how you find the funniest stuff, like a pub called “The Shaven Yak” and a conference room that looked like The Old Library from Trinity College.
What to See: Top Things to do in Dublin
Guinness Storehouse. Of course, if you’re in Dublin you have to do the Guinness Storehouse tour. I don’t even like beer but I found it really interesting. The tour is really well done and most of it is self-guided, except for one part where they lead you through a tasting. Don’t miss the level with all of the Guinness advertising—when I first heard there was a floor all about Guinness’ ads, I wondered why anyone would want to see that. But the marketing geek in me ended up loving it; I had no idea that Guinness’ ads were so progressive and ahead of their time. After the tour, enjoy a pint of Guinness (or take two sips and call it good, like I did) up at the top of the building with sweeping views of Dublin. If you like booze, the Old Jameson Distillery sounded really fun too but was closed for renovations while I was there.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick is a big deal in Ireland—they even get St. Patrick’s Day off as a holiday! Check out the beautiful cathedral and learn a bit about Ireland’s history here.
Marsh’s Library. This very old library is right nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and it’s only a couple of Euros to visit. When you step inside you’re greeted with the smell of old books, dating back to the 1500s, and many from The Enlightenment period. You’re not supposed to take photos in there but clearly I did because I just couldn’t help myself and I felt like Hermione was going to pop out at any second.
Kilmainham Gaol. Dublin’s old jail is a super interesting and equally depressing place to visit. They do guided tours and I learned a lot about Ireland’s history, as well as some very sad stories about the people who were executed there for political dissent. Also, for most of my trip, I was pronouncing it in my head like a soccer goal, but it’s actually “jail.” Gaelic is confusing.
Trinity College and The Old Library. Take a stroll through pretty Trinity College and visit The Old Library for a great photo opp. You can view the Book of Kells here, a famous medieval script from the 9th century. The details in the decorations and paintings in this book are incredible and mind-boggling, and I could have stared at them for hours.
Grafton Street. Cute shopping and boutiques.
Where to Eat: Top Things to do in Dublin
Paulie’s Pizza. Known for the best pizza in Dublin, and a popular spot among Googlers since it’s just around the corner from the office.
The Schoolhouse. Or really any other pub with good reviews on Yelp/Tripadvisor. My coworkers introduced me to the “Baby Guinness” here, which is a shot of Kahlua with Bailey’s on top. It really does look like a wee pint of Guinness, but in my opinion, it’s far tastier.
Tea at The Shelbourne. For a fancy afternoon, enjoy tea at The Shelbourne. When I was there their desserts were themed around Michael Flatley’s paintings. In case you’re blanking on who that is (like I was), he’s a famous Riverdancer, and he makes his paintings by dancing across a canvas.
That’s everything that I squeezed into my time in Dublin! If I had an extra weekend and didn’t do day trips, I would have loved to have gone outside of the city to visit Galway, The Cliffs of Moher, and Howth and the pretty lighthouse there.
If you are traveling and staying in Dublin Ireland for more than a day or two, I would recommend visiting the Christ Church Cathedral, the Dublin Castle, the National Museum of Ireland (located in Dublin Dublin), the Little Museum of Dublin, the Dublin Zoo, the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum and a tour of the River Liffey. If you are trying to have some fun with friends and meet super fun Irish people definitely go to a game at Croke Park and the Temple Bar area (it’s filled with pubs and live music).
Yes, you can most definitely see most of Dublin in a day. However, you won’t be able to see things in depth.
The best way to travel around Dublin is via public transportation or walking.
The best time of year to visit Dublin is in April or May when the spring weather arrives and the crowds are light.
Yes, it is easy to walk around Dublin since it is a smaller city and there isn’t a lot of traffic.