I travel to Dublin fairly often to visit our Google European Headquarters but seldom do I take the time to explore the city. It's a shame considering how much there is to see in this easy-to-navigate capitol. Thankfully, I finally managed to tack on a personal weekend to my last work trip and take some time to explore Dublin.
Visiting Ireland from London is a bit like traveling to Canada from the states for the first time. It's all a bit familiar yet oddly...different. I mean this in the best way possible, so no offense to the Irish and the Canadians! Perhaps it's because Dublin is such a friendly and welcoming city. With a diverse, young workforce (thanks to multi-national companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter) and a vibrant social scene, it's easy to feel right at home here.
Many of the city's top attractions are centrally located, so you can pack quite a lot into one weekend. Despite staying in the Docklands just east of city centre, we somehow managed to get through all 48 hours without taking a single taxicab or bus. Instead, we explored the entire city by foot. It may not be the fastest way to get around, but it's completely doable.
Below are a few of my personal "B" recommendations when visiting Dublin. Make sure to check out the interactive Google map below as well as the full photo gallery for more details!
Thanks to the works of famed Irishmen such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, Dublin has been recognized as a UNESCO City of Literature. There's no better place to soak in the smarts than at Trinity College. The university is home to 2 of the city's most famous attractions: the Old Library and the Book of Kells. The soaring, barrel-vaulted ceiling of the library's long hall is breathtaking, and the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript, has a fascinating backstory. Unfortunately, visitors can only peer into the underwhelming display and get a tiny glimpse of the book. One entry fee will get you admission to both exhibits, but be prepared for a long queue when purchasing tickets
The River Liffey flows right through the heart of Dublin and is the perfect reference point for those with no sense of direction. While the river itself isn't that eye-catching, the dozen or so bridges that criss-cross the water are the stars of the show. The castiron Ha'penny Bridge to the west and the uber-modern Samuel Beckett Bridge to the east perfectly contrast one another and signify Dublin's ongoing development. More importantly, the bridges make the city extremely navigable and pedestrian friendly.
Perhaps no brand is more synonymous with Ireland than Guinness. Yes, it's a total tourist trap, but the Guinness Storehouse is definitely worth a visit. You can learn all about the company's history and the beer brewing process across seven floors of exhibits. Cap off your visit with a pint and 360° unobstructed views of the city on the top floor GRAVITY Bar. If beers aren't your thing, head over to the Marker Hotel. The hotel is home to one of my favorite rooftop bars that looks out onto the regenerated Docklands.
This "B" is a bit of a stretch, but I wanted to recognize some of my favorite coffee shops in Dublin. The most renowned shop is the award winning 3FE. What they lack in decor and ambience, they more than make up for with their knowledgable staff and freshly in-house roasted coffee beans. Brother Hubbard north of the river is also a great pit stop. However, my favorite shop in town is Kaph. The coffee shop is cool yet intimate and located on one my favorite streets in the city: Drury Street.
For something a bit different, head over to the National Museum of Ireland. The museum's archaeology branch is home to a handful of extremely creepy but extremely cool bog bodies. These naturally mummified human cadavers have been discovered in bogs throughout the country. If human remains aren't your thing, you can check out the museum's extensive collections of gold jewelry and precious metals.