City breaks in Dublin
Book a short stay or weekend break in the Irish capital
Few cities can pack such a rich blend of history, culture and urban sophistication into such a relatively compact area, but Dublin does all this and more with easygoing charm. The charismatic Irish capital has evolved considerably over the years, and it's this complex and storied past that makes the city what it is today – a multicultural metropolis known for its vibrant pubs, stunning Georgian architecture and prolific artistic heritage.
Dublin is always buzzing with life, and there's no shortage of things to see and do during your city break. Wander along cobbled lanes and discover the many attractions in this UNESCO City of Literature. From world-class museums and galleries, to diverse shopping, brewery tours and a lively theater and music scene, you can easily fill a weekend exploring the city.
The best part is that Dublin's city center is very walkable, so by staying at a centrally-located hotel such as the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin, you can save time on transit and simply head to the main attractions on foot. Being based in the center is perfect for taking advantage of the city's legendary nightlife, too – just step out your door, and you're right in the heart of the action.
Our top 3 Dublin attractions
- St. Patrick's Cathedral
- Guinness Storehouse
- St. Stephen's Green
Our top 3 Dublin museums
- National Museum of Ireland
- Trinity College Old Library
- National Gallery
Our top 3 Irish foods
- Champ and colcannon
Use our Dublin map to see our pick of the top attractions
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover Dublin’s different areas
Best for nightlife and good times: Temple Bar
Always buzzing and full of life, Temple Bar is Dublin's most famous party district, with a vast selection of pubs, bars and nightlife, ranging from the traditional to the super-trendy. During the day, it's a great place for shopping, dining and people-watching.
Best for history buffs: Old City
The oldest part of Dublin centers on Dublin Castle and the city's two oldest cathedrals, St. Patrick's and Christ Church. Amongst the winding, cobbled streets you can also find remains of the original city walls and plenty of stylish designer boutiques, as well as the peaceful grounds of Trinity College.
Best for mainstream shopping: Grafton Street
The pedestrianized Grafton Street and the lanes and alleys surrounding it are a true hub of consumer activity, with branches of most major brands and plenty of restaurants and cafés catering to hungry shoppers and tourists.
Best for Georgian architecture: St. Stephen's Green, Fitzwilliam and Merrion Squares
These charming green spaces in the heart of Dublin are surrounded by some of the city's finest Georgian architecture, making them a charming place to relax in nice weather. You'll also find major cultural institutions such as the National Gallery and the Archaeology and Natural History branches of the National Museum of Ireland nearby.
Best for theater and museums: O'Connell Street
Once the epicenter of the struggle for independence, O'Connell Street is considered Dublin's main street. Today the area around is known for its theaters, galleries and smaller museums and attractions, such as the James Joyce Center, the General Post Office and the National Leprechaun Museum.
Best for riverside charm: North Quays
Running along the north bank of the River Liffey, this former shipping and port district still boasts some handsome heritage buildings that reflect the area's past. The surrounding streets are named after the wharves that once lined the river's edge, and are now home to trendy restaurants, clubs and bars.
Best for hipster hangouts: Stoneybatter
The former working-class neighborhood of Stoneybatter has undergone a wave of gentrification in recent years, and is now packed with Instagram-worthy cafés, bars and arts centers with a shabby chic, hipster vibe. It's a great place to chill out off the beaten tourist track.
Where to Stay
The indescribable joys of discovering the charms of a city are plentiful. Apart from renowned must-sees, legendary monuments and breathtaking architectural wonders, city breaks offer an array of surprises. A spontaneous stroll through alluring alleys might take you to a gem only known to locals. For the best and most authentic experience, mix your city escape with below recommendations and aimless walks. Take time to sit down and observe people enjoy the sun.
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin
This hotel in Dublin boasts a premier location in the city centre at the crossroads of Golden and Chancery lanes. Enjoy upscale amenities like Free high-speed, wireless Internet access, 24-hour room service and mini bar in each of the 150 rooms and suites. The convenient restaurant offers fresh Irish fare and the Super Breakfast Buffet, and 2 bars can be found on site. We also offer secured parking, off-site fitness centre access and 15 well-equipped meeting rooms for up to 400 guests.
© 2015 The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All rights reserved.
Things to do in Dublin
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
St. Patrick's Cathedral: St. Patrick himself is said to have baptized early converts to Christianity in a well on the site of this beautiful 12th-century cathedral, the largest church in Ireland. It's also the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. Buy tickets on official site.
Directions: In St. Patrick's Close, around 5 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin.
- St. Stephen's Green: Relax a while in this popular park surrounded by fine Georgian buildings. It's the perfect place to soak up some sun beside the pond, admire the public artworks and even catch live music in the summer.
Directions: Approximately 10 minutes' walk west of the Radisson Blu.
Dublin Castle: There has been a fortress on this site for over 700 years, but the current palatial building dates largely from the 18th century. Take a guided tour of the State Apartments; explore the remains of the Powder Tower and medieval undercroft; and catch an art exhibition during your visit.
Be sure not to miss the outstanding Chester Beatty Library in the castle grounds – this world-famous collection houses over 20,000 rare books and manuscripts, as well as paintings, sculptures, costumes and other artistic works.
Directions: Just a 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol: Learn about the often dark history of Ireland's struggle for independence at this historic prison where many of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed. It's a haunting but fascinating highlight for history buffs. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Take bus numbers 13 or 40 from the Carnegie Center stop, or buses 69 or 79 from Essex Quay. Both stops are only a few minutes' walk from the hotel.
Guinness Storehouse: Fans of "the black stuff" will enjoy visiting this converted grain store, which now houses 7 floors of multimedia exhibitions on the history of Dublin's favorite stout. The tour winds up in the Gravity Bar on the top floor, where you can sample some Guinness yourself while admiring panoramic views over the city. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: 20 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. There are also several buses to the area, but the travel time is the same.
General Post Office: Currently the headquarters of the Irish postal service, this imposing neoclassical building was also the main stronghold of the rebels in the Easter Rising of 1916. The structure still bears the scars of the event; you can learn more about its role in the new interactive, multimedia exhibition inside. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Less than a 20-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel.
Traditional Irish foods to try in Dublin •
Cockles and mussels: In the traditional song Molly Malone, the eponymous heroine sells these popular shellfish from a wheelbarrow in the streets of Dublin. The local area is still known for its fresh, flavorsome seafood, including prawns and oysters.
- Irish soda bread: This hearty, moreish bread is made from baking soda, buttermilk and flour, and can be adapted to be more sweet or savory in taste. Best served with a thick layer of fresh local butter.
Boxty: Try these tasty, fried potato pancakes alongside your bacon and eggs at breakfast.
Coddle: A Dublin specialty, this delicious one-pot stew made with bacon, sausage, potatoes and onions is slowly simmered to bring out the flavors of the ingredients.
Champ and colcannon: Potatoes are a major staple of the Irish diet, and these mashed versions flavored with spring onions (champ) and cabbage or kale (colcannon) are an appetizing way to enjoy them.
Grafton Street: This historic, pedestrianized street is Dublin's most popular shopping destination. Browse here for a large selection of designer goods and international brands, or head off the main road to discover quirky boutiques and vintage stores. Leave time for a visit to the exclusive department store Brown Thomas.
Directions: Just a 10-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin.
Nassau Street: Shop here for unique, quality souvenirs, antiques, crafts and gifts, including locally made crystal, tweeds, woolens and more.
Directions: Runs from Grafton Street along the south side of Trinity College.
Temple Bar: Famous for its lively pub scene, this colorful area of Dublin is also full of quirky boutiques and vintage stores, as well as a Saturday food market.
Directions: Less than 10 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel.
George's Street Arcade: As the first purpose-built shopping center in the city, this covered arcade boasts plenty of Victorian charm. Here you'll find everything from independent fashion and accessory labels to music, art, collectibles, and more.
Directions: Just 5 minutes' walk from the Radisson Blu and Grafton Street.
Henry Street: This busy shopping street is a popular place to browse all the familiar brands. There are also several malls in the area, including the Jervis Shopping Center and the Ilac Center, plus Arnotts department store, a Dublin institution.
Directions: North of the River Liffey, about 15 minutes' walk from the hotel.
- Dublin Writers' Museum: Housed in an elegant 18th-century mansion, this museum celebrates Dublin's rich literary heritage with exhibits and artifacts focusing on many of the city's most famous writers.
Directions: Take bus number 9, 16, 122 or 140 from Exchequer Street, or bus 13 or 40 from Lord Edward Street.
Trinity College Old Library: Within the country's most prestigious university, the 18th-century Old Library is a treasure trove of reading material. The library's impressive 65m Long Room houses the oldest and rarest volumes, including the famous Book of Kells, a spectacular early medieval illuminated manuscript. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Less than 15 minutes' walk from the hotel, or take bus number 9, 16, 83 or 83A from Exchequer Street.
National Gallery: Explore a fabulous collection of Irish art, as well as masterpieces by leading European artists from the medieval period to the present, including Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ. Admission to the permanent collection is free.
Directions: About 7 minutes' walk from Grafton Street.
National Museum of Ireland: This vast institution actually has 3 separate locations in Dublin, dealing with Archaeology, Decorative Arts and History, and Natural History. View collections that span everything from Celtic metalwork and jewelry to traditional Irish clothing, ancient bodies preserved in bogs and animal skeletons.
Directions: The Archaeology and Natural History buildings are less than 10 minutes' walk north of St. Stephen's Green, and the Decorative Arts building is north of the river, a few minutes away from the James Joyce Bridge.
Irish Museum of Modern Art: The IMMA collection of Irish and international contemporary art is housed in a former 17th-century hospital building, which has been converted into bright, elegant gallery space. Admission to the permanent collection is free.
Directions: Take bus numbers 13 or 40 from the Carnegie Center.
Travel in Dublin
All you need to know about the city’s transport
Dublin's city center is compact and easy to get around on foot. During peak traffic times, it is often quicker to walk to your destination.
Fortunately, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is within comfortable walking distance of most major attractions, shopping and nightlife, so you can make the most of your short break in the city. Our concierge team will be happy to help you with directions and can order taxis, too – cabs are plentiful and relatively inexpensive in the capital.
Here’s everything you need to know for getting around Dublin:
Arriving in Dublin
There are a number of buses connecting Dublin Airport to the city center, including regular Dublin Bus numbers 16A, 230 and 746 and the Airlink Express Coach (bus 747). There is also a 24-hour private coach service offered by Aircoach, and plenty of taxis available outside Terminals 1 and 2. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes.
Dublin has 2 main train stations, Connolly and Heuston, both of which are fairly central and easy to reach by public transport, as is the main bus station, Busáras.
There are also several train services to Dublin from the ferry terminal at Dun Laoghaire, and buses from Busáras timed to coincide with ferry departures and arrivals at the Dublin Port Terminal just north of the city center.
Dublin has a comprehensive public transportation network which includes around 200 bus routes, plus the Luas light rail system and the DART suburban rail service.
You can buy single tickets for Dublin Bus services from the driver. If you don't have exact change, you can get a receipt for reimbursement from the Dublin Bus Office. 5-day and 30-day bus passes are also available.
The Luas light-rail system is another option for getting around the city. There are 2 lines: the red line (from the Point Village to Tallaght) and the green line (from St. Stephen's Green to Sandyford). You can buy tickets from the machines at Luas stops. There are also DART and commuter trains that serve Dublin's suburbs.
If you're planning to use public transportation throughout your stay, consider picking up a Leap prepaid smartcard, which can be used on buses, Luas and DART trains.
BikesIf you like the idea of scooting around Dublin on 2 wheels, the Dublinbikes scheme offers pay-as-you-go bicycles that you can rent at 40 stations throughout the city center.
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and moreUseful Irish phrases:
|The city center (often seen on buses)||An Lár||Un lahr|
|Men / Women (on washrooms)||Fir / Mná||Fur / Menah|
|House (often seen in pub names)||Tigh||Tee / chee|
|A hundred thousand welcomes||Céad Míle Fáilte||Kayd MEE-leh FAHL-cheh|
|Drink, music and fun (often seen on pub signs)||Ól, Ceol, agus Craic||Ohl, kyohl, ah-guss crak|
|Police officer / Police force||Garda / Gardaí||Gard-uh / Gard-ee|
|Sorry||Oifig an Phoist||If-ig un fwisht|
|Fire Station||Staisiún Dóiteáin||Stash-oon doh-chahn|
Population: Approximately 1,905,000 (2016)
Average cost of travel: A single ticket for the bus is €2.00
Most defining feature: The character-rich pubs
Average cost of a pint: €4.50 - €5.00
Top 5 Dublin facts and tips:
The name Dublin comes from the Old Irish Dubh Linn, which means "Black Pool". Today the city is referred to in Gaelic as Baile Átha Cliath
- Buy tickets online for popular attractions (especially the Book of Kells) during the busy summer season to avoid standing in line. Or, purchase a Dublin Pass, which includes admission to most major tourist attractions.
Sports fans can watch the traditional Irish games of Gaelic football or hurling at Croke Park Stadium.
- The O'Connell Bridge over the River Liffey is wider than it is long.
St. Patrick's Day (March 17) is the biggest celebration of the year in Dublin, so be prepared for the crowds (and a great party).
Dublin enjoys a maritime climate, with relatively mild winters and cooler summers. You'll seldom see extreme temperatures, which makes it pleasant to visit all year round.
Temperatures tend to reach highs of around 16-19°C in summer, and lows of around 3-4°C in winter. The daily weather can be quite changeable though – so be prepared for rain at any time!