Ireland is up there with my favourite destinations so far. There is just something magical about the Irish lilt, the awesome hospitality and the music that just makes you want to dance. Oh, and it has castles.. need I say more? We got told that Ireland is pretty expensive compared to the rest of Europe but it wasn't too dissimilar to Aussie prices, so it felt just like home! There are a combination of free activities and paid tours, but whichever way you go and whatever you choose to see, you'll be sure to experience the true Ireland here. Dublin is a popular place to pop into whilst touring the UK and Europe, so if you have only a couple of days in your busy schedule - here are the top things to do in Dublin in 48 hours.
Hit up Temple Bar
You cannot go to Dublin without visiting Temple Bar. To a foreigner, it sounds like Temple Bar is a single bar - but if you didn't know already, its actually an area where all the cool pubs and bars are. The live Irish music is incredible, you can try a pint of Guinness or cider and dance and sing the night away. We found the most incredible live singer by chance after dinner one night and were on the dance-floor with our arms around strangers, belting out songs until the wee hours of the morning... That's the effect Temple Bar will have on you. And you won't be mad about it.
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
Even if you aren't a fan of Guinness, or beer in general, you will still be astounded at the tour. The history and the making-of is so fascinating and the tour finishes up at the top of the factory with a killer view over Dublin... with a free pint of Guinness.
Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells
For a massive nerd and book-lover like me, libraries are one of my favourite places to see. The photos don't do it justice, but I was gobsmacked at the sheer number of books and the antiquity. The information leading to the book of Kells is pretty interesting, and there's lots to see on the tour. It's a €20 entry fee, but if you like books and history, it's a must-do when you're in Dublin.
Visit the Brazen Head
The oldest pub in Ireland was one of the coolest things I've seen. The layout, the furniture, the chairs and tables - everything is very rustic adorable. For me, coming from Australia, history is such a fascinating subject. Our oldest buildings are 100-200 years old, so to see things that have been around hundreds of years... it blows my mind. And the food was pretty good too!
Eat at an Irish Pub
There are heaps of places to eat out in Dublin, but it would be remiss of you not to sample some hearty Irish fare from a pub while you're in the capital whilst being serenaded by live musicians. O'Neills and The Stag's Head are popular places but you'll find no shortage of places to find a meal.
Visit a castle
So I'm a huge castle groupie! I'm obsessed with them. As I was saying before, I think it's because Australia is such a young country. But it could also be because I'm a book lover who is interested in history, and that these appeal to the fantasy lover in me. Dublin Castle is pretty cool to see, but there are a few castles not far from the city centre as well. We hopped on a train out to Malahide and visited the castle there. We had an amazing tour, which you just pay for when you arrive and got to see all of the rooms as well as hear the history of the castle and walk the grounds. You really can't go to Ireland without visiting a castle!
Walk around and shop.
Dublin isn't a huge city, so it's quite easy to see by foot. Which is awesome for the thrifty traveller as well as the fitness conscious one! But my favourite reason for walking, you get to see everything including the super cute houses. There are some great shops in Dublin other than the big chain stores and the souvenir shops. Grafton Street is the most popular shopping street in Dublin, with locals and tourists alike always flocking there and it's a beauty at Christmas time all lit up. But there are some great little shops to buy trinkets scattered throughout the city as well.
48 Hours is actually a pretty perfect amount of time to really capture the highlights of Dublin. If you want to see more of Ireland, I would recommend hiring a car and cruising around. There are some great places to visit that are only a few hours drive away like Cork, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant's Causeway.
What's your favourite part of Ireland?