Dublin Ireland city center

Is Dublin Worth Visiting In 2024?

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Are you wondering if Dublin is worth visiting? Truth be told, Dublin is a polarizing city. Visit any travelers’ forum, and you’ll hear anything from it’s a city that can’t be missed all the way to advice saying to stay as far away as possible. 

It can get confusing, to be fair. How do you know who to believe? After all, what is worthless to one man is another man’s treasure. 

But do you really want to listen to one tourist’s bad experience and take that as fact?

Better that you keep reading and come out of this an informed traveler.

Is Dublin Worth Visiting In 2024? 

I feel like you already know I’m going to tell you yes. 

Well, you’re right. 

I am telling you yes. Dublin’s got so much to offer as a destination. You won’t be disappointed.

And here’s what you need to see and do:

Best Things To Do In Dublin 

📍 Visit Trinity College

Trinity College Campus
The Long Room
Geology Building

Trinity College is located in the heart of the city. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Dublin and well worth a visit!

It’s also the oldest university in Ireland (founded in 1592!). Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett are just a few greats Trinity College can count among their alumni.

And it’s one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities. Those lucky enough to become students of this university have full access to any book in the Long Room (the main chamber of the library).

The Long Room is an incredible space about 200 feet in length with floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with about 200,000 of the library’s oldest books. It’s really amazing. For any book lover, it’s damn near paradise!

Each year about 2 million tourists from all over the world come to admire the classical architecture of the campus, visit the Long Room, and see the Book of Kells (an intricately illustrated manuscript of the New Testament Gospels the likes of which could only be mastered by monks in the medieval ages – check it out, it’s really gorgeous!) 

Pro Tip: Check out the geology building too. The interior hall is absolutely stunning. If you love architecture (or anything Harry Potter-esque), then this is a must-see.

👉 Click here for a Trinity College Tour

📍Explore a Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Cathedrals abound in Ireland. And Dublin has its fair share. 

Two big ones to check out are Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

Both are open to visitors all year round and there is a wide range of events and activities, such as concerts and guided tours, taking place.

It’s believed Christ Church dates back to about 1030 AD, and the first reference to a church at the site of St. Patrick’s Cathedral dates all the way back to 890 AD! The history itself is pretty incredible, but the architecture will floor you.

Guided tours will give you the history and breakdown of the churches. But, you’re also free to explore independently. Make sure to admire the stunning architecture, both inside and from the outside (a photographer’s paradise!)

**They are also both working churches. So if you wanted to attend a service, you are free to partake. Mass schedules can be found on each of their sites, respectively.

📍 Dive into Dublin’s Dark Past at Kilmainham Gaol

Courtesy Chris Hill

Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol is a popular tourist attraction, and it’s not hard to see why.

The imposing former prison was built in 1796. It’s a reminder of Dublin’s dark past and its role in Ireland’s struggle for independence.

Visitors can explore the cells and courtyards where prisoners were held, and learn about the jail’s role in some of the most important events in Irish history.

It was used as a prison for more than 100 years. During this time it held some of the most famous and infamous prisoners in Irish history including Robert Emmett, Henry McCracken, Edward Daly, and many others.

Kilmainham Gaol is now a museum that can only be visited by guided tour. The tour will last around 90 minutes, and it’s recommended to book online in advance.

📍 Go Seal Spotting

Courtesy Caroline O’Keeffe

When you’ve had your fill of historic buildings, it might be time to head outside and enjoy some of Dublin’s more natural attractions.

One of the best things to do in Dublin is to go seal spotting.

Yes that’s right, seals. You can find these friendly creatures just a short journey from the city center, in Dublin Bay.

The Harbour Seal and the Grey Seal are the two types of seals found in Dublin Bay. The seals are often seen close to shore, with some of the best places to see them being Bull Island and Dalkey Island.

Kayaking is a perfect way to see the seals up close, as you can quietly paddle around them without disturbing their natural habitat. There are several companies in Dublin that offer kayak tours, and they will provide all the equipment you need.

You can also take a boat tour with Dublin Bay Cruises.

📍 Get Spooked During a Ghost Tour

Courtesy Do Dublin

Dublin has its share of gruesome stories of murder, torture, cannibalism, grave robbing, unearthly worship and, supernatural phenomena.

If you’re looking for a truly spine-tingling experience, a ghost tour is a perfect way to explore the city’s dark side.

Most of the tours are walking tours, but you can also take the Ghost Bus Tour which even has professional actors to try and spook you. You’ll hear stories of hauntings, murders, and other eerie tales, and you might even see a ghost or two 😉 

👉 Click here for a Ghost Bus Tour in Dublin

📍 Have Afternoon Tea on a Vintage Bus

Here, there are plenty of places to enjoy afternoon tea. But if you’re looking for something a bit different, book a table on one of the Vintage Tea Trips buses.

You’ll be able to enjoy delicious afternoon tea delicacies and 1950s jazz as you ride along in a classic double-decker bus.

The buses are fully restored and fitted out with period furnishings. The interior is so adorable! This is a perfect activity for a girls’ trip with your besties or daughters, or a sweet couple’s day date. 

If you’re looking for an activity a bit more relaxed, then this is definitely an afternoon tea with a twist – and one that you won’t soon forget!

👉 Click here for a Vintage Tea Tour

📍 End the Day in an Irish pub

A Dublin pub is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring.

One of the most popular areas for pub-hopping is Temple Bar, which is famous for its many pubs.

There are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from historic pubs that date back centuries to more modern establishments. No matter your taste, you’re sure to find a pub in Dublin that you’ll love.

The Brazen Head is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland (the oldest in Dublin) and is said to date back to 1198. It’s also said that James Joyce used to drink here, making it a must-visit for literature lovers. 

The Norseman is another great pub with loads of history. It dates back to the 1690’s and the name itself is a nod to the city’s Viking history. (This one was one of my favs. Great cocktails, live music, and a great vibe overall).

If you’re looking for a more modern pub experience, there are plenty of options to choose from as well. Galway Bay Brewery has a pub in the Temple Bar District as well. It’s great for craft brew lovers.

So pull up a seat, order a pint, and enjoy the Irish hospitality at one of Dublin’s many wonderful pubs.

Pro Tip: Check out the Vintage Cocktail Club. It’s one of Dublin’s speakeasy style lounges and can only be accessed by knocking on a discreet door off of Crown Alley. Best to make reservations ahead of time for one of their seatings. It’s a small, intimate space. So you’re likely to be denied if you just show up (especially on the weekends). 

What Is Dublin Known For? 

Dublin is truly a cosmopolitan city! There is everything you can think of to do in a large, urban environment. And it has so much diversity as well. 

Sometimes you’ll hear people give advice to fly into Dublin and then get out as soon as possible. But I respectfully disagree! 

There is so much to see and do beyond having some pints at a lively pub (although that’s fun too!)

When Is The Best Time To Visit Dublin? 

Many tourists flock to Ireland in the summer months because of the fair weather. This however leads to big crowds. 

So, I tend to prefer shoulder season travel. Think, late spring/early fall. The weather is still decent enough and there will be less congestion and cheaper hotel rates as well.

Also, don’t discount going around Christmas time! It’s so beautifully decorated all throughout the city, and you’ll be treated to wonderful Christmas markets. (Also, depending on where you live in the states, it might even be warmer there as Ireland has a fairly temperate climate.)

Where To Stay In Dublin 

➡️ The Croke Park Hotel in Dublin – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Courtesy of Croke Park Hotel

The Croke Park Hotel is everything you want in a trendy, urban hotel. It’s chic and luxurious, and conveniently situated right next to Croke Park Stadium.

It’s only a short taxi ride to many attractions within the city. And it’s just an overall great place to stay.

I stayed there on a recent trip to Dublin and absolutely loved it. It was so comfortable, the staff were welcoming and helpful, and the cocktails were phenomenal.

➡️ (The Clarence) – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Clarence is super trendy and very conveniently located in the Temple Bar district. You’ll be right next to the River Liffey and within walking distance to so many attractions, restaurants, and pubs.

The rooms are updated and really comfortable. The lounge is chic and the cocktails are amazing. Definitely worth a stay!

Pro Tip: If you’re not a sound sleeper and you need peace and quiet late at night, don’t stay in the Temple Bar district. There’s a lot of late night partying, which is fun! But if you need your beauty rest, party there and pick a hotel a bit farther out.

Day Trips from Dublin

  • Howth – a seaside suburb that has excellent beach views and seafood. 
  • Malahide – another seaside suburb. Check out Malahide Castle.
  • Belfast – large city in Northern Ireland. So much to see and experience here. Don’t miss out!
  • Glendalough/Wicklow – gorgeous destination in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. 

Is Dublin Safe? 

Dublin, like the rest of Ireland, is a fairly safe place. You should always be aware of your surroundings wherever you travel (especially at night if you’re having a couple cocktails). But comparative to many large cities, the overall risk is low. Women, of course, should take the usual precautions.

Is Dublin a Pretty City?

Yes! It is very pretty. You won’t find skyscrapers. But the city is dotted with beautiful old architecture in the form of cathedrals, Georgian homes, and spectacular bridges (not to mention also that it seems like year round, buildings are lined with gorgeous flowers).

You can even take an all-encompassing city tour to really take in Dublin’s full grandeur. 

How Many Days Do You Need In Dublin?

If you just want to hit up a couple spots before you head on to greener pastures out west, then a day to two is perfect. 

To really get to know the city beyond the obvious, more like four days.

Should I Visit Dublin or Belfast? 

If you can only make time for one, then I say spend it in Dublin. Belfast is great too (the Titanic Belfast Experience is unmatched). But Dublin is quintessential. 

However, you can have your cake and eat it too in this situation: 

👉Stay in Dublin and take a day trip to Belfast

What is Dublin’s Famous Food? 

Fresh seafood abounds here! Definitely have some fish and chips. But don’t stop there. Try the mussels and oysters as well. Not a fan of seafood? Indulge in some Guinness beef stew.

Since Dublin is a diverse city, you’ll also find excellent dishes from other parts of the globe too. 

Tacos? Check. Ramen and sushi? You got it. Italian favorites? Sure thing!

This place is a foodie’s haven. Lean into it, and try as much as you can.

👉 Consider a Dublin walking tasting tour to get a true experience of all Dublin has to offer!

The Takeaway:

So! I think it’s safe to say that Dublin is 100% worth your time. 

There is so much to see and do here, you could honestly spend your whole trip to Ireland in Dublin and its surrounding area alone. (Trust me, I did just that for a long weekend in November, and I loved every minute of it 😅)

Although I wouldn’t recommend going that far for most people. You’ll definitely want to check out the west coast too. (Think about also staying in Killarney, make that your base, and take a few day trips to places like DIngle and Kinsale.) 

Whatever you decide, don’t discount Ireland’s capital. It’s truly worth your time!