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Before boarding cruises from Dublin, you’ll find there is so much to see that you’ll want to spend at least a few days exploring this iconic city. Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and one of its top party towns. You can easily lose an entire evening to pub crawls downing Guinness on tap or local Irish whiskey. There’s the famous Temple Pub, one of Dublin’s oldest bars, or you can even tour the Guinness Storehouse or the Jameson Distillery to see where the magic happens.
Nearly two million friendly people live in Dublin, and you’ll feel right at home here among rich history, comforting Irish food, and a thriving local arts and culture scene. On your British Isles cruise, Dublin is not only the crown jewel of Ireland but also a gateway for travelers passing through to nearby Galway or the Killarney Lakes. When you take cruises from Dublin, stroll the historic cobblestone streets and experience this delightful city for yourself.
There’s plenty to do at Phoenix Park, whether you’re visiting the zoo here or the beautiful Victorian People’s Flower Gardens. Phoenix Park is also one of Dublin’s biggest and most popular green spaces. Dublin Zoo is a favorite for families and children, while the castles where the president of Ireland lives is another popular spot for tourists.
As soon as you arrive in Dublin, it’s a must to check out the city’s most famous bar. Look for the all-red exterior of Temple Bar, where you’ll feel welcomed as soon as you arrive. Order a pint and relax among both friends and strangers. There’s live music seven days a week, plus a romantic and lively beer garden in the back. The Temple Bar area is one of Dublin’s most famous drags for restaurants and pubs.
Ireland’s largest church is also one of its most stunning. A tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting on a Dublin cruise. The 800-year-old museum has been around since 1191 and tells the story of Dublin over the centuries. Admire the Gothic architecture, walk the grounds, or enjoy an informative guided tour. Each day, a school choir rehearses in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, too.
Many come to Ireland not knowing how rich and varied the history and art of Dublin and greater Ireland is, but the National Gallery of Ireland is the perfect fix. Lose track of time walking through the National Gallery of Ireland, where you’ll be surrounded by over 2,500 paintings from renowned Irish and European artists.
No trip to Dublin is complete with drinking a Guinness and touring its massive brewery facilities at the Guinness Storehouse. Drink a pint of beer at the end of the facility tour and enjoy the city views from the brewery. You’ll leave knowing pretty much everything there is to know about Guinness. Book a tour in advance, as this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dublin year-round.
Not a beer drinker? Check out how Irish whiskey is made at the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, the original distillery location where whiskey was distilled until 1971. On a tour, you’ll learn about the history of whiskey in Ireland and the science and chemistry behind the process, plus enjoy several tastings to develop your palate.
Leave a couple of hours to leisurely tour the incredible and stately Dublin Castle, where 60-70 minute guided tours will show you the top spots and best preserved parts of the castle as well as give insight into how the Irish government operates here in Dublin. It’s a must for history buffs interested in seeing hundreds of years of Irish history in one place.
It’s a Dublin rite of passage to take a trek across the Ha’Penny Bridge, which is one of the oldest iron bridges in the world. Built in 1816, Ha’Penny pedestrian bridge is crossed by nearly 30,000 people every single day.
Bad Ass Cafe
Address: 9-11 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
If you’re looking for live music most nights, Bad Ass Cafe offers a variety of acts each week. Their bread and butter are comfort foods like burgers, wings, pizza, and beer-battered fish and chips. If you’re craving the classics, Bad Ass Cafe is a no-frills, diner-like spot when you don’t feel like dressing up for dinner.
Address: Benburb St, Dublin, Dublin City, Ireland
Frequently dubbed the best fish and chips in Dublin, you’ll have to decide for yourself if Fish Shop lives up to the hype. Of course, that means the battered, flaky fish and chips is the go-to menu item here, but the menu changes regularly based on seasonality and availability. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy, kicking the fish and chips experience up a notch. Note they’re closed from Sunday to Tuesday.
Chapter One Restaurant
Address: 18-19 Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin 1, Ireland
Chapter One has one Michelin star, and it offers a fine dining experience in the heart of Dublin. There’s a chef tasting experience with a decadent four-course menu as well as a dedicated vegetarian menu. Dinner is a four-course adventure where halibut, hen, and Irish steak mains are presented in a unique way.
The Vintage Kitchen
Address: 7 Poolbeg St, Dublin 2, Ireland
If you’re looking for a quirky place to eat with bring-your-own wine and vinyl records to spin, The Vintage Kitchen is the place to be. For dinner, try the slow-roasted pork or the risotto with grilled greens, basil, and leek. On the lunch menu, there’s the kitchen’s signature fish pie or Irish game soup to start. Fresh and local are what The Vintage Kitchen lives by.
Dublin was founded by the Vikings as far back as the 9th century, and it’s been a wild ride for the port city ever since. The Normans came and settled the area, then even more invaders came through town. Finally, the British took occupation of Dublin in the 1100s. From the Tudors to the era of Restoration, Dublin was destroyed and rebuilt many times. Christianity, both Protestantism and Catholicism, ruled the culture in Dublin for hundreds of years, making up the entire fabric of their society. War and civil unrest, including the Irish War of Independence in 1919, shook Dublin to its core. The city once again rebuilt and took on new responsibility as the capital of Ireland, and today it’s one of Ireland’s biggest and most influential cities.
Irish traditions range from the culinary to the culture. Try a pint of Guinness or Irish whiskey, partake in pub culture, and don’t forget to try a full Irish breakfast of sausage, bacon, blood pudding, tomato, eggs, potatoes, and bread. Irish food is famously hearty, so come hungry before boarding your Dublin cruise ship.
Larger ships berth at Alexandra Quay. Other ships dock further from the city center in the suburbs of Dun Laoghaire, which is about 20 minutes from the center of Dublin. When you’re boarding cruises from Dublin, it’s good to look up where your ship will be when you arrive, especially if you’re coming to Dublin from a faraway town. Cruises that dock in Dublin as their port of call often include a complimentary shuttle to the center of town.
Dublin is a modern but fairly flat city, so it’s pretty bike-friendly if you’re interested in renting a bike. Car rentals are also a popular method of transportation, but parking and driving on the left-hand side of the road can be a challenge for some travelers new to Ireland. Of course, taxis swarm the city, and you can hail a taxi via the MyTaxi app as well. Dublin has an extensive train and tram network that locals use to travel to smaller towns outside the city if you’re interested in a day trip beyond Dublin proper before boarding your Dublin cruise ship.
Cruises from Dublin are popular for shopping for handmade goods, knitted wool sweaters, Irish whiskeys, and other keepsakes. Check out the strip malls and shopping centers near the cruise port. Grafton Street in downtown Dublin is also known for its shopping. Irish pottery and ceramics are popular souvenirs here.
The euro is the local currency in Dublin. Credit cards are widely accepted, so you won’t have to rely on cash for everything. When tipping a taxi driver, leave a 10% tip or round up to the nearest bill. Tipping is appreciated in restaurants, too, where good service typically gets a 10% tip. Note that you’ll get the best currency exchange at bank ATMs.