Art, history, elevated food and friendly people all make visiting Dublin worth the trip. From gorgeous hotels to award-winning restaurants and wonderful museums, it’s easy to fill two days with enough local color to show you what makes the Irish capital city so glorious. But whatever you do, make sure to pack your sweaters, long pants and waterproof walking shoes; spending 48 culture-filled hours here can be as wet as they are invigorating.
Settle into the 18th-century-style surroundings that make up your stunning stay at The Merrion Hotel, a 142-room property in Dublin’s city center. Today is the day you start to explore this fantastic city, but it won’t do any good heading out into the world without sustenance. Remedy that by ordering room service. Try the classic Irish breakfast, a meal that involves a lot of grilled meats, roasted tomato and a pile of toast with the best butter you have ever had. With all that giving you energy, you won’t have any problem taking to the streets.
Go for a brisk 15-minute stroll around the city center — do grab your umbrella, though, as it rains roughly 15 days every month — and stop by Merrion Square to pay homage to the great Oscar Wilde by seeing his childhood home. From there, amble over to Trinity College, a historical institution founded in 1592 that still functions as a working school. On campus, you can delve into the famous Book of Kells at the library, see the Zoological Museum and the Science Gallery Dublin. As a bonus, this area proves ripe with chic stores that cater to all your Aran sweater needs and tweed desires.
Wander toward the Temple Bar neighborhood for lunch, a path that will take you to the arresting Irish Houses of Parliament, also known as the Bank of Ireland. Then, dip into the darling Gallagher’s Boxty House, owned by potato expert Pádraic Óg Gallagher. Order the specialty, the boxty — an Irish potato pancake laden with goodies such as Irish beef fillet with whiskey-mushroom cream sauce; local chicken with smoked bacon and leek sauce; and vegetarian chili with Irish cheddar.
After allowing the proper time to digest — and maybe snapping a photo or two of the famous Ha’penny Bridge nearby — plan on another 10-minute walk to Dublin Castle, a centuries-old complex that features Irish government offices and is the site of the 9th-century Viking landings as well as a history-filled art gallery.
At this point you’ll likely be tired, so heading back toward The Merrion Hotel for dinner should be your next move. Before you get there, grab a pint at O’Donoghue’s Pub, a classic Irish bar complete with old men, saucy ladies, blue-collar workers and tourists. The dive-y atmosphere is the perfect contrast to your dinner destination: Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, a highly lauded French restaurant. Aside from fantastic food and service, another boon of dining here is that it’s located in the hotel, so you merely have to walk upstairs to bed.
Chances are that after last night’s epic meal, you won’t want anything heavy for breakfast. That’s where the homey and simple fare at Balfes comes in. It’s just a 10-minute jaunt from the hotel, and once finished, you can head to the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland, which holds one of the largest collections of Irish Art.
Coincidentally, these neighboring establishments are located right across the street from The Merrion. And, if you feel like you need even more Irish art in your life, ask about a self-guided tour of the hotel’s vast private collection, which is displayed throughout the property.
It’s easy to get a car from the gallery to your next destination, the Guinness Storehouse. Here, the entire of history and process of the iconic stout is laid out in a multistory building meant to replicate a frothy pint of Guinness. A visit here is necessary, even if there are a lot of tourists.
Before you wander through the fascinating tale of the beverage, head upstairs to the 1837 Bar & Brasserie, a laid-back restaurant with a spectacular view and some of the best Irish beef and Guinness stew around. You will also want to order a plate of raw oysters to go with your pour; after all, that pairing is almost as old as the beer itself.
For theater lovers, a stop at the Bord Gáis Energy Theater by Grand Canal Square should be on your list of things to do as well. This modern structure hosts top theater and musical acts such as Billy Elliot, Ghost: The Musical, Swan Lake and Gilbert O’Sullivan. Before your show, get dinner at
Before your show, get dinner at The Brasserie, an upscale restaurant where chef Gareth Mullins creates farm-to-table meals highlighting the bounty of the Emerald Isle. The eatery is located in The Marker Hotel, another great option when deciding where to hole up for a night or two. Though, if you choose to spend another evening at The Merrion, it’s just short cab ride away.