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Dublin Travel Guide

About Dublin

Dublin has it all: a charming mix of medieval, Georgian and modern architecture, fascinating history, a legendary literary tradition, plus all the cosmopolitan delights of a dynamic capital city.

Home to one of the youngest populations in Europe, modern Dublin is awash with chic bars and upmarket restaurants, while many of the rundown areas have been given a swanky makeover.

For all the talk of spent Celtic Tigers and Eurozone woes, the city remains affluent in culture and art, and has an equally rich history to match.

A short stroll through the centre is enough to remind you of all three, whether it’s mediaeval castles and cathedrals or the plaques that honour James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.

Such literary prowess is nothing new and builds on what was begun 1,000 years ago when Dublin was a haven for monks who would use their time to produce spectacularly beautiful versions of the Bible. The best surviving example of this is the famous Book of Kells dating from 800 AD, which is now on show at Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university.

The city swarms in museums, with the National Museum of Ireland, the National Library, the National Gallery and the cute Little Museum of Dublin among the most interesting. All this is backdropped by the bulk of the 13th century Dublin Castle which, while built by the English, is now as Irish as anywhere else in the city.

Those who take a more literal approach to getting a taste of city life will find plenty to occupy them at the Guinness Storehouse, which along with providing a snapshot into the history of brewing, allows ample opportunities to sample the black stuff.

No less tasty are the weekly food markets, in particular the Ballymun, which sees farmers from the surrounding, emerald green countryside set up shop in the capital.

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Featured Hotels


Central Hotel

This cheap, city centre hotel harks back almost 200 years. It is very old school Dublin and as such boasts some impressive period features in its façade and public areas. The rooms have been recently refurbished, with free Wi-Fi available in most of them, though snuggle up in the Library Bar and the years still drift away.

Number 31

Overlooking elegant Fitzwilliam Place, Number 31 is the former home of Ireland's leading architect, Sam Stephenson. It has since been converted into a highly sophisticated, award-winning guesthouse with an emphasis on detail, luxury and simplicity. This stylish property offers a variety of en-suite accommodation, as well as secure car parking, but it's the intimate beauty that wins guests over.

The Shelbourne

A veritable Dublin institution immortalised in James Joyce's epic Ulysses, and now something of a hub for the Ireland rugby team, the 5-star Shelbourne Hotel has been home to the rich and famous (and even royalty) since its opening in the 18th century. Centrally located beside St Stephen's Green, with 265 opulent rooms, celebrated bars and restaurants, and a smart health club, it remains one of Dublin's most distinguished hotels.

The Merrion Hotel

Dublin's most sumptuous 142-room hotel looks like a standard Georgian block of houses, but behind its modest façade, it has been sensitively restored to combine period elegance with 5-star modern facilities. There's a classy restaurant, sizeable pool, gym and spa, but also magnificent formal, landscaped gardens, forming a serene haven far removed from the frenetic city centre.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Luxurious and ultra-modern, The Fitzwilliam commands a striking central location with the calm and tranquillity of St Stephen's Green to one side and Grafton Street to the other. Theirs is a stark, minimalist interpretation of typical country house features, using chrome, frosted glass, large leather sofas and dramatic down lighting. Its large roof garden is great for summer sunshine.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt, this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre, which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today, the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms, combined with an intimate courtyard garden, spectacular canal views, efficient staff and an excellent restaurant, ensures a luxurious stay.