Over eight million tourists visit Dublin city every year, either passing through or staying for a while. All of them most likely have guide books and will hit the major tourist attractions, but we decided to put together a list of some of our (the locals) favorite spots in Dublin.
To see a show, sit back and watch the world go by, get back to nature or find that unique souvenir, here is our list of Dubliner’s favorite spots:
Red Rock, Sutton, Dublin
Just 25 minutes outside the city center and you will find yourself in Sutton village on the north coast of Dublin. The Red Rock walk is one of our favorite walks in Dublin, due to its easy access from the city and also because of the feeling of remoteness you get standing up on top of the cliffs looking out to sea.
The whole walk takes about three hours and stretches from the magnificent Martello Tower, in Sutton, all the way to Howth Harbour on the other side of the peninsula.
The area is named for the home of the Jameson Irish Whiskey family, Red Rock, which was then renamed the Sutton House Hotel and is now private residences. The red building can be seen above the cliffs. Along the walk you’ll also pass the Bailey Lighthouse which was once the home of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries.
Dublin Flea Market, Newmarket, Dublin 8
The Dublin Flea Market is a great afternoon trip for many reasons. The market itself, of course, the people watching, and the area that you walk through to get to the market.
The flea market is all about innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration and it’s one of Dublin’s best loved markets. At the market you’ll find a mix of DJs and live bands, furniture, jewelry, vintage clothes, and a great selection of food.
Just minutes away by foot is the fabulous St. Patrick’s Cathedral and also Francis Street, which boasts of a wonderful collection of small galleries and antique shops with some of the best finds in Dublin.
Olympia Theatre, Dame Street
This beautiful theater, right smack bang wallop in the middle of the city, was built in 1879. This theater plays home to some great acts from popular bands, to plays, magicians, and pantomimes.
Back in the 1970s it was closed due to structural damage, but it was returned to its former glory and city councilors eventually place a preservation order on the building. In 2004 a truck crashed into the beautiful glass canopy and it was replicated and replaced.
With great shows, the wonderful old world charm and its surrounding area which includes some of the best pubs and restaurants in Dublin, it’s an ideal spot for a night out.
The Church, Mary Street
The Church is one of the more recent arrivals on the bar scene in Dublin, but it has quickly won a place in the north-side locals' hearts. Located just a five minutes walk from the Ha’ Penny Bridge the converted Saint Mary’s Church is a great spot to grab a drink, some food and do some serious people watching in their huge beer garden.
The church lay derelict from 1964 to 1997 when it was bought by John Keating. After years of restoration and excavation it was reopened in 2005.
Not only is it a great pub, but it’s also filled with history. Arthur Guinness, the founder of the Guinness Brewery was married there in 1761. Playwright Sean O’Casey was baptized there, as was Theobald Wolf Tone. And many notable figures in Dublin’s history attended service at the church.
Grand Canal Theatre [Bord Gáis Energy Theatre]
Located on the Grand Canal Dock this theater is in a great location, right by the beautiful dock and surrounded by some really excellent bars and restaurants. Away from the busy streets of the city center it’s a great spot to come to for a calmer, more civilized evening.
The theater, which was designed by world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, is something to behold, looking something like a folded piece of tissue and built at the end of the most unusual red carpet of red lit-up sticks. The theater plays host to national and international theater, musicals, operas, ballet, family shows, and classical concerts.
Grogan’s, South Williams Street
This pub is an institution in Dublin. A favorite of generations of Dubliners it has been dubbed “the best local in Dublin.” True, it’s interior probably hasn’t changed since the 1960s, but it’s who’s there and the great atmosphere that matters and is what we love.
This pub attracts a fantastic mixture of writers, artists, students, professionals, and everything else in between, all there for the same reason – a drink and, of course, a toastie (ham and cheese, toasted sandwich, which incidentally is the only thing on the menu). This pub is also an art gallery with ever-changing art from local artists which is sold with no commission by the bar.
Just a couple of miles from Dublin city, on the DART line, is Dalkey village. This picturesque village is historically interesting, as well as being perfectly located for scenic walks and filled with great bars and restaurants.
Dalkey, which means “Thorn Island,” was founded as a settlement by the Vikings. It became an important port in the Middle Ages and is believed to be one of the points through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century.
In the present day it has become known as an affluent suburb community. It was the hometown of novelist Maeve Binchy and playwright Hugh Leonard. Still living in the area are U2 members Bono and The Edge, Enya, the reclusive Celtic music artist, Chris de Burgh, Van Morrison, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Damon Hill, and Eddie Irvine, to name but a few.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit)
This might seem obvious, but the DART is a great way to see the city. Not only does the train travel the length of Dublin’s coast, from Malahide on the north-side to Greystones on the south, but it also has some of the best views of the coastline, especially if you are going south. From Booterstown station all the way to Greystones you will have a perfect view of the beaches, marinas and villages along the coast. Although Dubliners use the DART everyday I guarantee you they still get a kick out of this beautiful view.
Library Bar, Central Hotel, Wicklow Street
This one really is a secret and perhaps one that we should not divulge. There are people all around Dublin who fight to keep this bar a secret.
The bar is truly an oasis of elegance, charm and a bygone era. Sink into the leather seats in the library and relax into the 1900s glamor.
The hotel was built in 1887. It was designed by Richard Millar and William Symens who also designed the Houses of Parliament building, which is now the Bank of Ireland building on College Green.
The bar is located on the first floor and over looks George’s Street and up to the Arcade market. It’s a popular place for business meeting, morning coffees, pre-dinner drinks, or a night-cap.
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