Where to stay: I’ve stayed in both a hostel and Airbnb room in Dublin, and far preferred Airbnb for this one. The hostel I stayed in was okay (Jacobs Inn), but certainly wasn’t anything to rave about. The location was decent, around a 5 minute walk from O’Connell St., which was convenient. There are a whole bunch of Airbnb listings in Dublin which are almost certain to provide a better experience. My favorite Airbnb stays have been in Ireland because I’ve always found my hosts to be extremely friendly and helpful, and staying in a quintessential Irish cottage is really just the best thing ever. There’s an extensive bus system in Dublin that’s easy to navigate, so where you stay doesn’t matter a whole lot. The Temple Bar area is likely where you’ll be going out at night, but staying near there will certainly be the most expensive option. My Airbnb was a short walk past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and so we could walk if we wanted, but we also had the option of a bus that came right down the street from the house.
Where to eat: Dublin is such a laid-back city when it comes to dining. There are a ton of great cafés throughout the city, as well as some awesome pubs. Eating in the Temple Bar area can get a bit touristy, as that’s really where all of the tourists are concentrated, but I had great luck at a brewery called The Porterhouse. Whether you’re looking for a beer or dinner, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for there. You’ll be seriously impressed by their list of beers, and they have ones from all over the world! If you’re looking for a place to get a cheap breakfast or lunch, try the Stage Door Café in Temple Bar. It has quite a unique atmosphere, and you won’t find friendlier staff anywhere in the city.
What to do: Like many capital cities, Dublin has a wealth of attractions and sites to see, so it’s all about deciding what’s most important to you. If you’re particularly interested in the beverage industry of Ireland, you won’t want to miss a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. This is an extremely well done interactive experience that shows you the history of the beer and brewing process. You’ll get the opportunity to pour the perfect Guinness pint, and you’ll have a pint in the Gravity Bar with spectacular views over the city. I don’t even like beer, and I really enjoyed visiting the Guinness Storehouse. I found the Jameson Factory to be fairly overrated, but if you’re interested in Irish whiskey it might be worth checking out. I’ve taken both a free walking tour and a historic walking tour (not free) of Dublin, and found both to be really great. Either way, you should definitely plan on taking one, as there is so much to see in Dublin and this will help you to figure out where to start! If you’re short on time, I would skip seeing Dublin Castle, as there isn’t very much to actually see there anyway (there’s no actual castle that you can tour). Trinity College is worth a stop, as the campus is really gorgeous, and you have the opportunity to visit the library that holds the Book of Kells. Even if seeing the Book of Kells doesn’t peak your interest, a trip to the library is still very much worth it just to see the library itself. If you’re spending a lot of time in Dublin and have the chance to leave the city, I would highly recommend a trip to Malahide Castle. Malahide is a beautiful little seaside town, and the castle and gardens are truly spectacular. If you have a nice day, it’s the perfect place to go to get out of the city!
Overall Opinion: I really love Dublin because of how friendly the people are and how comfortable the city is to visit. I do, however, prefer visiting the smaller towns in Ireland (like Malahide and those on the west coast) because I found it was much easier to meet local Irish people in those places. If you’re visiting Ireland, Dublin is certainly a not-to-be-missed city!