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Dublin Holidays

A cultural odyssey awaits

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Feel the buzz along streets broad and narrow

Dublin, Ireland’s compact capital, feels more like a collection of cool villages than a bustling metropolis. It’s equally famed for being the unofficial HQ of ‘the craic’ and for the high culture that seems to radiate from every street corner. First timers will likely gravitate towards the cultural attractions of cobblestoned Temple Bar, but there’s also grand Georgian squares and terraces, a revitalised docklands, artisanal whiskey distilleries and the fine coastal sweep of Dublin Bay. Either way you can discover a cosmopolitan city that’s forever busy reinventing itself.

Discover Dublin’s rich literary heritage at MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland, where the works of great writers are immortalised in a splendid Georgian townhouse. Tour former prison Kilmainham Gaol, where many prominent political figures were executed, then visit the nearby Irish Museum of Modern Art/IMMA, home to over 3,500 cutting-edge pieces. Meanwhile, the quirky, eclectic Little Museum of Dublin houses exhibits celebrating recent history such as Irish film censors, 20th Century fashion designers and rock legends U2.

Wander Phoenix Park with its meadows, woodland, ponds and deer and the atmospheric Glasnevin Cemetery where the likes of Michael Collins and Roger Casement are buried amid imposing Victorian-era statuary. Catch a bravura performance at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, which has witnessed some explosive dramas and even audience riots down the decades. Book your flights to Dublin today and start exploring.

Carefully selected Dublin hotels

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Best hotels in Dublin for all types of traveller

We have a great selection of quality hotels in Dublin to recommend. The Hilton Dublin is a city-centre hotel overlooking the leafy banks of the Grand Canal. Or choose Cassidy’s, a modern hotel with a Georgian facade, close to the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art. With its legendary 100-item breakfast buffet the Ashling Hotel Dublin is surrounded by some of Dublin’s premier attractions including the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, Jameson Distillery Bow Street and the National Museum of Ireland.

The four-star boutique Temple Bar Hotel Dublin, at the quieter end of buzzy Temple Bar, features contemporary design and is a perfect choice for couples on a city break. For something a little more luxurious the Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin offers a breakfast fit for a king and a 24-hour fitness centre. Or set on two garden acres in the affluent Ballsbridge neighbourhood, the Intercontinental Dublin is renowned for its elegant guestrooms, breathtaking views and an award-winning spa. There’s a heated 14-metre indoor pool and a 24-hour gym.

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Dublin fly-drive

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Make the most of your Dublin holiday

Trace the steps of the main characters in James Joyce’s epic Ulysses, taking in sights such as the James Joyce Centre, the O’Connell Bridge, indie booksellers Books Upstairs, Sandycove's Martello Tower and beauty spot Howth Head, and follow the trail of 14 brass pavement plaques engraved with quotations from the novel.

What are the best places to visit in Dublin?

If you’ve come to Dublin for ‘the craic’ then head to Temple Bar. By day, this historic quarter with its cobbled streets offers laidback pavement cafes, fantastic outdoor markets for foodies and excellent shopping options for fashionistas. By night, Temple Bar is a buzzing hub of nightlife, and you can sup a pint of Guinness while enjoying live music at a traditional pub. Or step up the pace and groove to cutting-edge sounds at cool clubs such as Club M.

For sports fans, Ballsbridge is the place to head to on Dublin city breaks. As well as offering a healthy selection of pubs and eateries, it boasts the Aviva Stadium, which hosts Six Nations and Heineken Cup rugby action, and RDS Arena, home to both Leinster Rugby and the Dublin Horse Show. Stay at the ideally situated Ballsbridge Hotel.

Possibly Ireland’s most famous park, St Stephen’s Green is a lush oasis that’s perfect for leisurely strolls. Wander the tree-lined pathways past flower beds overflowing with colour in spring and summer. Admire Henry Moore’s WB Yeats memorial and gaze at the waterfall cascading into the stunning ornamental lake. In summer, settle down with a picnic and enjoy a lunchtime concert. Stay at the nearby Clayton Hotel.

The Liberties, one of Dublin’s oldest districts, dates back to the 12th Century and has been a mercantile area, a prosperous centre of industrial wealth and a home to slum dwellings. Visit two stunning cathedrals, four craft distilleries and the Guinness Storehouse. Fossick about in Francis Street’s antiques shops and experience Viking and medieval Dublin at the fascinating Dublinia.

Dublin’s savviest hipsters hide out in bohemian, affluent Ranelagh. Expect cool pavement bars, yoga studios and third wave coffee roasters occupying handsome Georgian squares. Many of the city’s best bars, cafes and restaurants are here. It’s also home to several pleasant parks, including Ranelagh Gardens – where in 1785 Richard Crosbie launched one of the first hot air balloon rides. Tour the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Dublin's first new distillery in 125 years when it opened in 2015.

What are the best things to do in Dublin?

  1. Go shopping on O’Connell Street or among George’s Street Arcade’s eclectic array of shops and stalls or try Cow’s Lane Designer Mart for unique handmade gifts and bohemian fashions.
  2. Snoop around 800-year-old Dublin Castle, for centuries the locus of British rule in Ireland, in whose grounds you can happen across the site of the original ‘black pool’ after which Dublin is named.
  3. Discover the history of the ‘Black Stuff’ and learn about the journey from grain to glass over seven impressive floors at the Guinness Storehouse. See the 9,000-year lease signed by Arthur Guinness himself in 1759 and enjoy a pint in the Gravity Bar with 360-degree city views.
  4. Admire the beautifully illustrated 9th Century Gospel manuscript the Book of Kells. Skip the lengthy queues by buying tickets online, then take a guided tour of Trinity College’s handsome grounds. Take advantage of free entry at the National Museum of Ireland’s three sites, including the so-called ‘Dead Zoo’ (or Natural History museum), packed to the rafters with stuffed animals, and the Archaeology museum with its immaculately preserved Iron Age peat bog bodies.
  5. Refuel with fine Italian cuisine and a glass of excellent wine at Dunne & Crescenzi, treat yourself to a gourmet meal at the Merrion hotel’s award-winning Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, or lie on a comfy double bed and have tasty snacks delivered to you while watching a movie at the gorgeously revamped art deco Stella Cinema. Alternatively, spend an unforgettable evening at Dublin’s oldest pub, the Brazen Head, being entertained by musicians as you dine by candlelight.

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