Ireland’s capital city is vibrant, cosmopolitan and buzzy. What gives Dublin added oomph is the spirit of its people. It may be a modern city of glass and steel, a favourite with business people, conference goers and tourists, but Dubliners remain friendly and plain-speaking.
Dublin’s streets are Georgian and elegant, its shopping districts (Grafton Street south of the Liffey and Henry Street on the north) bustling and its pubs (Davy Byrnes and Mulligans of Poolbeg Street are two of its very best) cosy and welcoming.
The Irish have a deep respect for their past. The city’s sights include the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, which dates from the 9th century, and can be viewed in Trinity College Library, the Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral, Marsh’s Library, Dublin Castle, the Parnell Museum, Kilmainham Gaol, Francis Bacon’s studio and, of course, the Guinness brewery at St. James’s Gate where the black stuff has been produced for more than 250 years.
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Summers in Dublin are in the teens (Celsius), with about 18 hours of daylight in July and August. Winters are mild and wet with the temperature in the 10s and rarely going below freezing. Rain is typical, but there are occasional snow flurries. Although Dublin is in one of Ireland’s drier areas, it usually rains 150 days a year.
There are a couple of peak tourist seasons. Summers and school holidays are very busy as are Christmas and New Year.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) is an exceptionally busy time. Make reservations and book Dublin flights as far in advance as possible.
The off season is mid-November through mid-March or Easter with the exception of Christmas/New Year. Prices will be lower in some cases, but fewer attractions and restaurants are open.
Autumn and spring are good times to visit Dublin. The seasonal hotels and restaurants open in the spring and usually do not close until November. There are often good deals on flights and accommodation to encourage tourism.
Between public transport, taxis and your own two feet, the city is easy to get around. Walking is the best option in the centre of town. If you get tired, you can always hop aboard the light rail, LUAS, which has two lines accessing the main attractions. The bus network is also a great way to get around. It covers the city and has a small Nitelink service as well. To get out to the suburbs and seaside towns, the rapid transit train, DART, is the way to go.
Taxis are abundant, but fill up quickly on nights and weekends. Driving in the city can be very frustrating. All the traffic and parking problems, combined with expensive car rental rates, make it not really worth your time. If you want to rent a bike to get around, there are plenty of bike lanes around Dublin, but heavy traffic, bike theft and few bike rental shops around make it less than ideal.