This ultimate backpacker’s guide to Dublin can help you wander the Liffey River and find the most amazing treats the Irish captial has up its sleeve.
Dublin comes at you with its stout beers and swinging pubs. A whiskey-doused bard of a city, it’s laced with literary history and steeped in character. Strut down the sides of the River Liffey to find museums dedicated to James Joyce, the great Irish emigrations of the 20th century, and even leprechauns – yes, museums dedicated to leprechauns! On top of those come rollicking Temple Bar, where cobbled lanes weave around hearty taverns that echo with fiddle music and chatter, and the grand outlines of Dublin Castle, complete with medieval towers and Georgian annexes.
This ultimate backpacker’s guide to Dublin aims to help you pinpoint the top draws of the Irish capital. From ale breweries to Viking exhibits, it’s sure to have something to capture the imagination. Oh, and it offers tips on some of the finest hostels the city has to offer…
The Dublin Bucket List
Layers of history combine with bumping pubs in lovable Dublin. There’s plenty to be getting on with:
Raise a pint at the Guinness Storehouse
A visit to the century-old Guinness Storehouse is nothing short of a rite of passage for first time visitors in the city. You don’t even have to enjoy the Irish tipple to enjoy the trip – the tour of the old depot is an amazing one. You’ll learn all about the history of beer, beer making, and even get a chance to try your hand at pouring the perfect pint.
Nighttime fun in the Temple Bar
Dublin’s wildest corner is Temple Bar. A compact little district of cobbled alleys and narrow lanes that’s just south of the River Liffey, it hosts some of the finest pubs in town. In Ireland, that’s saying a lot, too. Check out the iconic Auld Dubliner for lunches of lamb stew and foot-stomping live music until the early hours. Or, hit the Palace Bar for Victorian interiors where locals dance the jig.
See grand Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle has stood at the heart of the Irish capital since the days of the Normans – that’s the 12th century! It’s still one of the most important buildings in the country, hosting the official rooms of the Irish government. It’s also a real looker. The green lawns of the Dubh Linn Garden frame the outside, which extends from a beautiful Georgian edifice to a formidable medieval keep. The opulent interiors can be seen on regular guided tours.
Long, lost histories at Dublinia
To delve even deeper into the history of the city, there’s nowhere better than Dublinia. An immersive exhibit that takes visitors back to the 800s AD, it includes recreations of Viking homes and burial scenes. You’ll also be enraptured by swashbuckling Viking sagas and get an intro to Nordic runes and language.
The best places to eat in Dublin
Hearty and filling, the food of the Irish capital is perfect for cozy eating and cranking up the comfort. Expect plenty of stews, earthy veg, and – of course – some strong bitter beers to wash it all down with…
A staple on the menu of most of Dublin’s pubs and taverns (and there are over 1,000 of those here!) is the classic stew. It’s about as comforting as comfort food can get – think chopped veg and mutton, all slow-cooked with parsley and wild herbs. Veggies can usually get a meat-free option, because the central ingredient is potato – this is Ireland, after all!
The boxty is a filling food that draws on the best of Ireland’s famous potatoes. It’s a lot like the Swiss rosti, made from grated spuds that are fried in oil. They beauty here is that the finished product can be sweet or savory. Just pick your topping. Will it be butter and sugar? Will it be chopped cabbage and carrot?
Guinness and Whiskey
As far as drinks go, there’s only two you’ll really need to know about in Dublin: Guinness and whiskey. The first can be tasted in the aforementioned Guinness Storehouse, where the famous drink has been made since the early 1900s. For the latter, head to the Jameson Distillery Bow St. They call it the “birthplace of Irish whiskey,” and tastings are involved in the tours.
Our Hand-Picked Hostels in Dublin
There’s no doubt about it – Dublin has some dang fine hostels. Quaint and historic stays in the middle of the city mingle with modern pads where you’ll feel comfy and safe. Check out our UK Pass to explore the best UK has to offer and join our Europe Pass waitlist to be the first to know when its on sale!
If you’ve got anything to add to this ultimate backpacker’s guide to Dublin, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Anything from bars to big museums to day trips is welcome…