Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin

Ha'Penny Bridge, Dublin

Long weekend Dublin

Travel Essentials Europe

A trip to the Irish capital is simply fun: legendary pubs, impressive cultural addresses and a world-famous literary scene give the metropolis on the Liffey incomparable character.

With just under 600,000 inhabitants and covering an area that encompasses around 40 per cent of the Irish population, Dublin is a significant city. It is located on the east coast of Ireland, where the Liffey flows into Dublin Bay. The river divides the city into north and south, with most of the most of the sights being located in the traditionally more upmarket south side.


Welcome to Dublin! The first day is dedicated to cultural and culinary classics in this relaxed Irish metropolis.

To get to know the lively capital city, the best place to start is the nostalgic Little Museum of Dublin. The collection within this museum has been provided by Dubliners from all walks of life and the artefacts truly capture the soul of the city and illustrate both the highs and lows throughout its history. The museum is very close to the scenic St. Stephen's Green, which has a tranquil pond and waterfall in its grounds. For lunch, head to Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, a two-Michelin-star institution located in the Merrion hotel and a highlight of Dublin’s gastronomy scene. The restaurant’s menu changes seasonally, and visitors can choose between a classic lunch menu, a la carte or an 8-course tasting menu. The latter comes in at €235 per person and includes unique, changing dishes and optional wine pairings. Satiated but not yet satisfied, continue your tour around some of Dublin’s most well-known sights.

St. Stephen's Green, Dublin
St. Stephen's Green, Dublin

Both the National Gallery and Trinity College are just a few minutes' walk away. The latter is particularly known for its beautiful library, where in the most historic section, you can find The Book of Kells, an illustrated manuscript containing the four Gospels of the New Testament dating from the year 800. After an intense afternoon of culture, take a breather over a freshly brewed cup of Beanhive Coffee. The café is known for its artfully ‘painted’ coffees: on the frothy foam you’ll spot latte art creations depicting portraits, animals and famous Irish landmarks.

Despite feeling expansive, Dublin is a compact city and St. Patrick’s Cathedral is just a kilometer away. Only open until 5pm each day, you’ll have to get there in plenty of time to appreciate its beauty – especially if you get sidetracked by shopping on Dublin’s famous Grafton Street. After being transported back to the 13th Century, treat yourself to a little modern-day retail therapy at George Street Arcade or Grafton Street, which are open until 7pm on Fridays. End the day on a classically Irish note at Spitalfields, a pub with an iconic red and yellow façade located in a tiny house with just two floors. The menu offers unfussy yet high-quality comfort food, including a variety of grilled meats for two. The only hint that this may not be your typical Irish pub is the extensive wine list featuring predominantly European vintages from the last ten years. Sláinte!

Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin


The second day is dedicated to literature: Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and has much to offer book-lovers.

After exploring the most famous sights, books is the theme of day two. There are several good reasons for this: Dublin has produced four Nobel Prize winners in literature, has over 50 bookshops and in 2010 was recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature. The city’s wide-ranging history in the subject includes everything from 9th Century illuminated manuscripts, to 19th Century poems and contemporary fiction. After a filling hotel breakfast, gain an introduction to this side of Dublin at MoLI – the Museum of Literature Ireland. Inside, you can walk in the footsteps of Dublin-born James Joyce (1882-1941), the world-famous author of Ulysses, and in fact, the original copy of the 732-page work is on display in the museum. You’ll also find a new immersive audio-visual experience of Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable. Right next door, take a stroll through the romantic Iveagh Gardens, where several of Ireland’s most prominent writers have been memorialized.


Iveagh Gardens, Dublin
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

The path through the city centre will take you past a special institution: Marsh's Library was opened in 1707 and was Ireland's very first public library. Since then, hardly anything has changed inside and its wooden, ornate shelves are home to more than 25,000 books.

A morning immersed in literature will naturally whet your appetite for reading, so the next stop on the agenda should be the book market in Barnardo Square. Occurring each Saturday from 10:30am to 5pm, the market offers plentiful new and second-hand books for sale, so be sure to pick yourself up a bedtime read. For lunch, The Winding Stair on the north bank of the Liffey will greet you with a bookshop on the ground floor.

Walking up the eponymous staircase – a homage to a poem by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939); you’ll reach the restaurant. Run by Elaine Murphy, who has founded five restaurants in Dublin, The Winding Stair offers modern, seasonal yet traditional Irish cuisine. In the afternoon, work off your meal with a short walk to the National Library. The building not only contains an immense collection of books, but also informative exhibitions with free admission, on subjects such as the life and work of Yeats, and the country and people of Ireland in the 19th & 20th centuries.

Just outside the library lies the house of Oscar Wilde’s (1854-1900) parents and his childhood home, which is open for just one hour on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also Sweny’s Pharmacy, which today serves as a reading mecca for fans of James Joyce. Once again heading north of the Liffey, opt for dinner at Chapter One, helmed by Finnish chef Mickael Viljanen (born 1981), which opened in 2021 and acquired two Michelin-stars the following year. Using classic French techniques, he cooks up some of the most exciting dishes in Dublin using luxury products sourced from both Ireland and overseas. Choose between a somewhat set four-course menu or a surprise six-course menu.

Sweny's chemist, the Dublin pharmacy featured in James Joyce's Ulysses
Sweny's chemist, the Dublin pharmacy featured in James Joyce's Ulysses


On the third day, explore some of the lesser-known corners of the city. At lunchtime, make like the locals with a hearty bottomless brunch. There are two things that supposedly make an Irishman’s heart beat faster: drinks and bargains. Unfortunately, the two are often mutually exclusive – but not always. On any given weekend you’ll find plenty of restaurants offering bottomless brunches, where for a fixed amount, unlimited mimosas or bellinis flow and you can enjoy a filling main course. As a rule, brunch is generally offered until 4pm, and the cocktails are valid for up to two hours from the time of arrival. For a main, Platform 61 offers sumptuous salads, while Cleaver East serves delicious ribeye steaks, or for a more retro cool venue away from the centre, check out Thundercut Alley in Smithfield.

Sunday is the perfect day to explore the north side of Dublin. Running parallel to the river, Henry Street, the city’s second major shopping street, is bordered by the popular Ilac Mall. It is also home to Chapters, the largest independent bookshop in the country. On the ground floor you can find all kinds of new books, while upstairs you can browse through a well-stocked collection of rare and limited-edition tomes. To the west, the alternative Smithfield and Stoneybatter neighbourhoods adjoin the city centre. The latter was classed by TimeOut as one of the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, not only thanks to its youthful atmosphere and creative shops along Manor Street, but also due to its growing foodie scene. The family-run Italian restaurant Grano, tiny café Slice and L. Mulligan Grocers, which serves excellent Scotch eggs and craft beer, attract locals from across the city. Culture vultures should round off their Dublin trip with a visit to the Museum of Decorative Arts and History, one of four sites at the Irish National Museum.

Dublin is arguably most famous for being home to two world-renowned drinks: Guinness and Jameson whiskey. Both brands have distilleries which are open daily and offer a glimpse into each drink’s production process. The Jameson distillery is located in Smithfield, while the Guinness brewery is located in The Liberties south of the river. If you walk from one to the other (roughly 1.5km), you will pass the Fish Shop. Fish & chips are an important part of coastal Irish cuisine and the best are on the island of Howth, just under 20 kilometres east of Dublin. If you don’t quite have time for this half-day excursion, Fish Shop is an ideal alternative, with the advantage indoor seating minus hungry seagulls. In the early evening, take a twilight walk over the James Joyce Bridge, built in 2003. Joyce once said, “When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart”. In Baile Átha Cliath, as the city is known in Irish, holidaymakers will no doubt also leave a piece of their heart.

Old Jameson Distillery, Smithfield Square in Dublin
Old Jameson Distillery, Smithfield Square in Dublin



A historic stable and a modernist work by Sam Stephenson - connected by a secret garden - make up this stylish boutique hotel.

  • Number 31
  • 31 Leeson Close, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 6765011

A classic five-star hotel by St. Stephen's Green city park. The one-star gourmet restaurant "Glovers Alley" is on the fifth floor.


This 18th century property makes you feel like you're in a movie - and ready to make a grand entrance after a visit to the spa and pool.

  • The Merrion
  • 21 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 603 0600

Opened in 1824, this luxury hotel is one of Dublin's landmarks. The "1824 Bar" in the style of a private library is the ideal retreat in the evening.

  • The Shelbourne
  • 27 St. Stephens Green
  • Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 663 4500, theshelbourne.com

A Victorian-era townhouse provides an elegant setting for this boutique hotel with a homely ambience.



A cosy café with photogenic coffee art: the drinks with entire paintings on the their froth are almost too beautiful to drink.


Bottomless brunch at its best: Hereford beef steak is accompanied by octopus, king prawns or half a lobster.


This restaurant owes its fame to the Finn Mickael Viljanen. In the dimly lit cellar restaurant, his colourful creations are particularly effective.

  • Chapter One
  • 18-19 Parnell Square N, Dublin 1
  • T: +353 1 873 2266

“Delahunt of Camden Street had the grub to deliver,” it says unflatteringly of this fine Victorian pub in “Ulysses”. “After the liquid things came the solid. Cold roasts in great quantities and meat pies...”

  • Delahunt
  • 39 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 598 4880

Modern fish restaurant in Smithfield. Fish & chips, haddock croquettes and mussels are accompanied by natural wines.

  • Fish Shop
  • 76 Benburb Street, Dublin 7
  • T: +353 1 557 1473

Right next to The Merrion Hotel is the French-influenced gourmet temple of Patrick Guilbaud, who has had a significant influence on the culinary scene in Dublin for over 40 years.


The mix of intimate, historic pub and quality traditional cuisine has earned this pub just west of the centre a Bib Gourmand.


Hidden behind a pink door is a three-storey restaurant that refines Irish ingredients into small works of art.


A delightful symbiosis of bookshop and restaurant. Here you can enjoy modern, local Irish dishes with a view of the Ha'penny Bridge.


In the open kitchen, Keelan Higgs cooks many of his unagitated yet aromatic dishes over an open flame.

Irish Pubs


Opened in 1889, the pub has been an institution on the Dublin literary scene ever since James Joyce stopped in regularly and immortalised it in "Ulysses" and "Dubliners".

  • Davy Byrnes
  • 21 Duke Street, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 8 771 21405

A stone's throw from the cosmopolitan shopping area of Grafton Street, not much has changed in this bar since 1887. No music, no screens - just the buzz of voices and clinking of glasses.

  • Neary´s
  • 1 Chatham St, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 677 8596

Dublin's oldest pub has been around since 1198, and now features live music, hearty food and outdoor tables.


The “Long Hall” has existed since the 1960s. Carpet and upholstered benches along the walls create a cosy atmosphere.

  • The Long Hall
  • 51 South Great George‘s Street, Dublin 2
  • T: +353 1 475 1590

This pub has been providing the Temple Bar neighbourhood with beer and a stylish place to catch-up for 200 years.

Lisa Arnold

Find out more

Best restaurants
Best restaurants in Warsaw
Falstaff has put together a list of top ten of must-visit restaurants in Warsaw.
By Taras Kowalczyk
an old thermal baths in Europe
Travel Essentials
Budapest’s best thermal baths
With more than 100 geothermal springs coursing below the city and being home to more than a dozen...
By Jennifer Walker