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Hi!

I’m Alexandra. An American girl living in Dublin, Ireland. I honestly document my adventures in travel, food, beauty, and expat life on a budget.

Dublin City Guide

Dublin City Guide

I moved to Dublin from America over 3 years ago after only visiting here one time. I fell in love with the city and without knowing anyone here I moved to Dublin hoping I would love it still, and I did! These are my top recommendations of where to stay/eat/drink and what to do for someone coming to Dublin for a few days. It was hard to narrow it down but for a quick trip these are my must do’s! P.S. these are all relatively inexpensive options! 

STAY

Isaac’s Hostel – Isaac’s Hostel is the most affordable option on this list. People from all over the world stay here so you are bound to meet some new and exciting people. Isaac’s is also only a few minutes’ walk to Dublin city centre. Do keep in mind though this is located along a train line so if the noise will bother you, you may want to look elsewhere.

Generator Smithfield – Generator Smithfield is another budget-friendly option. They are definitely a more upscale hostel and I have even heard amazing things about the food offered here. Smithfield is a central location to city centre, with a lot to offer in itself as well. Prices here are more than a deal for an otherwise expensive Dublin. 

Central Hotel – Central Hotel is located, well, centrally. The hotel is within walking distance to a plethora of pubs, restaurants and shopping. As per the warning on their website, if you are looking for a quiet trip this is not the place to stay. Central Hotel is in a vibrant part of town that sees a lot of activity so if the noise of this will bother you, maybe look somewhere else. But if you’re only in Dublin for a few days I say enjoy the city and all the fun (or as the Irish say, craic!) that comes with it!

The Abbey Hotel – The Abbey Hotel is only a stone’s throw away from O’Connell Street. From here you can pretty much walk anywhere you might be looking to get to. If not, buses run from O’Connell Street and the red line Luas has a stop on Abbey Street. A lot of reviews also mention how quiet the rooms are. So, if you are looking for a quiet option this is the one for you! 

O'Neills in Dublin, Ireland

EAT

O’Neill’sIf you are in Dublin for even only a day please do yourself a favor and get carvery at O’Neill’s. Carvery is basically Thanksgiving dinner, but you can get it all year. I have tried a lot of carvery in Dublin and O’Neill’s is my favorite. It can be a bit of a tourist trap but it is so worth it. 

Bunsen - Bunsen is an easy concept – hamburger or cheeseburger and 3 different selection of chips. The menu is printed on a business card because is actually that simple. I tend to consider Bunsen a fancier version of McDonald’s, but this is easily the best burger I have ever had.

Eatyard – Eatyard is an eclectic mix of Irish street food. This is a unique outdoor dining experience with options ranging from Asian to veggie to American. Eatyard is open Thursday- Sunday from 12pm, next to the pub the Bernard Shaw (check that out too while you’re around!). Do note that most of the vendors here are cash only. 

Da Mimmo - Do not let appearances fool you here. Yes, I am recommending a restaurant that is located in not the nicest area of town but Da Mimmo is so worth it. Tino, the owner is the nicest guy and always remembers his regular customers but is just as welcoming to new ones too. The restaurant is small, even after moving into their ‘bigger’ space. You actually can’t go wrong with anything you order here. Pasta, pizza, wine….it is all good, and extremely reasonably priced.

Murphy’s Ice Cream – You’re going to need some dessert after eating your way around Dublin. Murphy’s is a family owned business from Dingle. The ice cream has proven to be so popular they have 4 more locations throughout Ireland and thankfully one of them is in Dublin! In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of ice cream but the flavors here intrigued me enough to try it. My recommendation is definitely the Dingle Gin.

Cobblestone in Smithfield Square

DRINK

Cobblestone –Cobblestone is an absolute essential pub to have a pint in when visiting Dublin. Enjoy the live traditional Irish music with a pint of Guinness, or maybe something else if you can’t stomach the dark stuff well (uh, me!). It can be difficult to get a seat in here sometimes but the atmosphere is so good you won't mind standing. The staff here are always unbelievably friendly, living up to the reputation of Irish charm. If you end up staying at Generator Smithfield, Cobblestone will be right on your front door step!

Strawberry Beds – If you are feeling a bit adventurous and have the money for the taxi fare or have hired a car, you have to check out Strawberry Beds. It is a bit out of the way but it is a small pub with an eclectic mix of people that is worth the journey. This is the perfect lazy summer evening drinking spot with seats available indoors and outdoors. Don’t make the same mistake I did though and not bring cash. Long story short I ended up walking down a country road to another pub for cash back…just bring cash to avoid any hassle! From the city centre the taxi fare (dependent on traffic) is around €15. Worth it if you have it.

The Brazen Head – Officially Ireland’s oldest pub, this is not one to be missed. The charms of the past can still be felt here with a worn interior and photos of famous patrons of the past. Everyone from Irish literary heroes to revolutionaries have visited here. If you like history and a drink make sure to check The Brazen Head out.

The Hairy Lemon - The Hairy Lemon is an authentic Irish pub experience. The selection of drink seems endless and I hear the coddle (a must-eat hearty and traditional Dublin meal) here is amazing. Find a cozy seat and maybe you’ll get lucky and your table will have a Hairy Lemon postcard for you to use to write back home.

O’Donoghue’s – If you are looking for live music in the heart of Dublin, O’Donoghue’s is your place. They have live music every night of the week with musicians from all over Ireland coming to play. This is a favorite for Dubliners and tourists alike. The music, drink, and company keep the patrons coming back. The past and present of Ireland’s traditional music merge here and it is truly a unique experience to definitely check out when in Dublin.

The Long Hall – A classic Dublin pub not to miss. The interior has beautiful polished dark wood and plenty of traditional snugs. You will find locals and tourists drinking in here. If you’re lucky you might even see Bruce Springsteen in here! 

The Temple Bar in Dublin, Ireland

DO

Guinness StorehouseObviously when in Dublin you have to do the Guinness Storehouse. And take it from me, someone who has done it five times. The storehouse is well thought out and provides a look at Guinness beyond it being the choice of drink for the Irish. The last time I was there they had an interesting exhibit on past marketing campaigns. While you’re there make sure you learn to pour the perfect pint and take it up to the Gravity Bar for the most stunning views of Dublin you’re going to find in the city.

Kilmainham Gaol – Kilmainham is a former prison that is now run by The Office of Public Works. The prison held all sorts of criminals, from minors being held for petty crime to those responsible for the 1916 Rising. If you are interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of Ireland’s journey to independence, a visit to Kilmainham is essential. That being said, you need to book in advance because the hour and a half tour is extremely popular.

Viking Splash Tour – The Viking Splash Tour is a more light-hearted way to learn some of Dublin’s history. If you will be traveling with children (or even if you aren’t!) this is a good option to see the major sites, by land and water! Tours depart from St. Stephen’s Green for most of the working day. Like Kilmainham, this is something you will need to pre-book.

EPIC – This is one you will definitely want to set aside some time for. The exhibition does a great job of including many aspects of Irish culture and how the Irish diaspora has been vital in areas such as sport, innovation, storytelling, and more. The museum is an interactive self-guided tour that takes you through twenty themed galleries. Don’t forget to stamp the passport you’re given in each gallery as you travel along the way. Once you are done make sure to check out the gift shop and one of the plenty of restaurants in the area.

Temple Bar – When I say Temple Bar I don’t necessarily mean the pub, but the area. Go for the tourist experience and the amazing photo ops, but, do not drink here! It is insanely priced because the pubs know they can get the tourists to pay! There are street merchants and buskers in the square that are much more interesting and better value than a €10 pint of Heineken. 

I would love to hear from you! If you have any specific questions about anything Dublin, please feel free to reach out. You can leave me a comment below, send me a DM on Instagram, message me on Facebook or send me a tweet on Twitter. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’ too!

*all images original to Candid Alexandra

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