A beginner’s guide: Dublin

Famous for its culture, literary connections and its lively atmosphere, Dublin makes a fantastic city break for anyone looking for something new and exciting. Here are my top attractions not to be missed on a trip to Dublin’s fair city.

Dublin Liffey Ha'penny Bridge

Getting around
Getting around Dublin is easy, there’s the Luas tram system, an extensive public bus network and bicycle hire throughout the city. If you’re visiting for a few days it’ll be worth your while to get a green LEAP card at any of the tram or rail stations. These integrated travel cards are accepted on all city bus, tram and rail services.

Dublin is home to no less than three National Museums, and they’re all free to visit. Whether its archaeology, natural history, or the decorative arts you’re interested in, there’s a museum devoted to each, filled with treasures from prehistoric Ireland, fascinating animal skeletons and the story of interior design through the centuries. The exhibitions are always changing too, so it’s worth going back even if you’ve been before.

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is dedicated to the millions of Irish citizens who emigrated from a small island and went onto have a huge impact on the world. The museum brings the story to life by creating a fully interactive experience as you walk through it. You’ll even learn how Irish music has influenced genres from pop to rock.

Kilmainham Gaol, Museum

Kilmainham Gaol
An unmissable place on a visit to Dublin. There are countless tales in the walls of the former prison. The excellent guided tour will take you through electrifying episodes in Irish history. By the time it had closed in 1924, many of Ireland’s foremost political figures had passed through its cells, including Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, President Eamon de Valera, and the leaders of the 1916 Rising (14 of whom were executed in the stonecutter’s yard). I’d book in advance if you’re going, the tours fill up fast.

The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse
No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction. It’s a multi-storey interactive experience that will take you through every stage of how “the black stuff” is made. Sniff the roasting barley, learn how to pull the perfect pint and finish your tour with a drink in the Gravity bar and enjoy the 360-degree views of the city.

St Stephen's Green, Dublin

St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is a much-loved park in central Dublin. It’s the ideal place to take a break on a shady bench between sightseeing and shopping on Grafton Street. The Victorian park has a playground for younger visitors, as well as benches and a bandstand that fill with Dubliners enjoying picnic lunches whenever the sun comes out.

Long Room Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College
Take some time to explore one of Dublin’s most iconic spots – Trinity College. Walk along the cobbled squares of the campus, which dates back to 1592. Trinity’s impressive alumni list includes Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. Make your way into the spectacular college library. Visit the Book of Kells, the library’s oldest manuscript, and then head into the Long Room. The lengthy corridor with sweeping arches overhead houses over 200,000 books. The stunning space is open for visitors seven days a week.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time for your first visit to Dublin. Find great value flight deals.

Read next: 8 of the best hidden gem restaurants in Dublin.