Dublin lures you in with it’s rich history and friendly people. It has been named Europe’s friendliest city twice by TripAdvisor, and it’s not hard to see why. Our family felt very welcome here, making it hard to leave. With beautiful buildings and pubs on every corner, this was our kind of place.
We spent three nights in this small capital with a huge reputaion and it did not disappoint. However, we recommend spending an extra night and getting out of the city to see that lush green countryside – something we did not do but would have enjoyed. I would suggest to dress in layers and keep a rain coat with you, the weather changes dramatically throughout the day!
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Amsterdam or our trip please shoot us an email!
We stayed in a VRBO condo on the North Side of the River Liffey. It had one bedroom, one bathroom, a small kitchen, a washer/dryer, and and a funky view of a bicycle lot.
We were within walking distance of the city center and many of Dublin’s main attractions. There were several grocery stores, shops, pubs, and restaurants all in close proximity which is always a bonus.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Ireland’s tallest and largest church will leave you awestruck, it is so beautiful! We bought our tickets on site, and arrived as it was opening on a Sunday. We highly recommend going early, we were some of the first people there and to have the place to ourselves was truly special.
Phoenix Park/Dublin Zoo – This park covers 1,750 acre and is said to be the largest enclosed city park in Europe. This park encompasses the official residency of the President of Ireland, lush gardens, a large herd of fallow deer (that allow you to get rather close), and the Dublin Zoo.
Our kiddos had been so patient with us taking them to pubs and museums that we decided it was their turn to pick an adventure, so off to the zoo we went! Be prepared for a lot of walking because the animals enclosures are large which is great, and what put it over the top was the landscaping between exhibits and the abundance of playgrounds for the kids to get their wiggles out.
Trinity College & Book of Kells – The day we visited Trinity college happened to be the first day of classes so there was a lot of activity on campus! Located in the center of Dublin, this college is gorgeous. A bit crowded in the exhibit before you got to the Book of Kells, but it was worth seeing. To us, the Old Library was the main attraction. When you walk in everything hits you at once – the smell, the feel, the view in front of you, it is so romatic and cozy at the same time. They have an elevator for those traveling with strollers, just ask someone working there to give you access.
Kilmainham Gaol – Buy your tickets to this ahead of time or you likely will not be able to visit – which is exactly what happened to us! Sadly, we did not get to go inside because they were sold out for the day, but they did have a free museum. It was a very interesting museum however a bit glum and boring for the little ones.
Dublin Castle – This was a great place to visit with our children. We opted for the self guided tour and loved it. It was great to be able to wander at our leisure and the girls loved playing princess in this beautiful castle. Be sure to go outside, looking back at the castle is the best view.
Christ Church Cathedral – One of Dublin’s oldest buildings, the Christ Church has magnificent architecture. It is quite amazing to look at, both inside and out. We visited on a Sunday while there was a service going on, which was a great experience. Be sure to go downstairs to the crypt – it is expansive with a lot of interesting treasure (and a mummified cat and rat!).
Guinness Storehouse -Whether or not you like beer – you have to visit the Guinness Storehouse. They have turned this old brewing location into a seven story museum that not only takes you through the brewing process but the history of a company that has thrived for centuries. The Guinness Family was so important to Dublin, as you will learn not only by visiting the Guinness location but by going to many other sites in the city. Several historical sites mention that during the famine in Ireland that the Guinness family stepped in to help repair and restore many buildings and landmarks that would have otherwise fallen into disrepair and been lost.
You could have spend all day here. With your entry ticket you have the option of one pint of Guinness’ beers or a three beer sampler. There were several places you could redeem your ticket, but whichever you choose be sure to check out the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor before leaving to see the great views of the city. There were also plenty of other opportunities to sample beer as well. They even had an Irish dance show while we were sampling. This was a great experience.
The Temple Bar – Had to stop here for a beer because, well, it’s the Temple Bar! This is a lively fun bar where everyone just lets their hair down and is very friendly. We went early (around 4pm) and there was live music and a good time had by all. Our daughters loved the decor here – don’t worry, no alcohol was consumed by children.
The Boxty House – We had heard such great things about this place, so we decided to dine in because they did not serve food to go. The atmosphere is cozy, but although they said they enjoyed children, they seemed a bit perturbed by our little ones even though they were well behaved. Good food, a bit overpriced.
The Boar’s Head – A very traditional old style pub on Capel Street. We LOVED this restaurant. Upon arrival our 3 year old was tired and our one year old wanted to crawl around, so what did they do? They brought us upstairs and blocked off an entire section of the restaurant so our daughter could play. They brought our kids stew so it was easy to chew and warming. They made our evening amazing! Patricia is the best – she let me daughter take orders with her and “work” behind the bar which was the highlight of our trip in her eyes. Stop by here for the friendliest people and traditional Irish food!
Yum Thai – This place was packed with locals so we stopped in for dinner to go. The pad thai noodles were delicious, but the soups were a bit flavorless.
Cloud Nine – If you are in the Temple Bar area and need something sweet – stop by Cloud Nine, it is an unexpected dessert gem! Their donuts were so delicious it is a good thing we only bought three, otherwise I would have eaten them all!
Porterhouse Temple Bar
We stopped here because it was the first bar that said Temple Bar. This is where we learned that Temple Bar was the name of an area and not one specific bar – OOPSE. We were so glad we stopped here though, as we thought it was some of the best beer in Dublin. They had a wide selection of their own beers and had a special cask with a hand pump so that no additional CO2 is added and you could taste the full beer, definitely a different experience.
The Church Bar
Europe is known for beautiful churches and fun bars – this was a chance to do both at once! This was a really unique church with all of the original tomb markers in the walls, an organ adorning one end, and an elaborate stained glass at the other end. Fun fact – it was where Arthur Guinness was married! In the center was the bar surrounded by seating. We sat and had a beer from a local brewery. While enjoying a beer we took the time to look around upstairs as well as downstairs which weren’t open at the time but still interesting to see. Highly recommend stopping here for a drink.