“May you always have love in your hearts and beer in your belly”
In honor of St. Paddy’s day and a tribute to my Irish heritage I wanted to share with my fellow Funners where to Eat, Play, and Run in Dublin, Ireland. It couldn’t be more perfect of a time to talk about Ireland than NOW since it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend!!!
When one thinks of St. Paddy’s Day, one thinks of orange wigs, leprechauns, and green beer. Therefore I am going to enlighten you on the real reason why we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day……it’s to honor Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. OK, history lesson over. I’ll drink to that!
I immediately fell in love with the city of Dublin the minute my feet hit Irish soil. Dublin is a quaint city with a ton of history that dates back to the Vikings era. To really get a feel for the Irish culture and to be able to visit most of the main attractions in Dublin I would plan on spending around 3-4 days there. Irish people are SO friendly and extremely engaging you most likely won’t ever want to leave. Expect strangers to come up to you on the street and start a conversation, treat you like you are their long lost friend, and if you’re lucky enough maybe even buy you a pint of Guinness.
Typical Irish cuisine consists of a lot of meat, potatoes, meat, potatoes, meat and potatoes…….did I mention meat and potatoes? When you go to a restaurant in Dublin expect to order traditional Irish dishes including Irish stew (made with lamb, mutton, or goat), shepherd’s pie (meat and vegetables, topped with potato), bacon and cabbage (with potatoes), boxty (potato pancake), coddle (sausage, bacon, and potato), and colcannon (mashed potato, kale or cabbage, and butter). If you aren’t a meat eater don’t worry, most restaurants offer locally caught seafood like cod and salmon due to the fact that Ireland has the ocean surrounding it on all sides. If you order a traditional Irish breakfast be prepared for a large meal featuring a variety of meats as well as eggs and tomatoes. Common breakfast meats include black pudding, also known as blood sausage (yes there is blood in this, ewwwww); bacon; and white pudding, which is a pork and oatmeal sausage.
If you are on an alcohol detox, not gonna lie, it will be extremely hard to visit Dublin. Now let’s talk about what you SHOULD be drinking in Ireland. You must start the day with an Irish coffee (it contains whiskey), consume a pint of the creature (Guinness) during lunch, and end the night sipping or slamming down whiskey during your pub crawls.
Below are some of my favorite drinks to order in Dublin!
Dowd’s Lane Big Vat Cider – It’s gluten free woo hoo. (I’m so LA for making that comment)
Guinness – Why? Because you have to while you are in Dublin. Basically it’s the Irish equivalent of water.
Galway Hooker – If you prefer a lighter beer than Guinness, this is your go to. Order the Amber Lager or Pale Ale.
Teeling – I LOVED this Whiskey. You can also tour their distillery in Dublin.
Yellow Spot – One of my favorites. Hit the spot:)
Bushmill’s Black Bush – I honestly ordered this because of the phallic name but it ended up tasting delicious. I know, I’m really mature.
Red Breast – Again, the perverted side in me thought it was hilarious to order this whiskey and say these words out load to a bartender. I didn’t expect anything in regards to taste but to my surprise I loved it.
Hot Irish Whiskey – A version of America’s hot toddy! Order it at a bar when it’s cold out or if you are sick. I need one right now as I am writing this post because I currently have a sore throat grrrr.
- The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub that dates back to 1198. There are so many cute rooms you can get lost in. Get the Beef and Guinness Stew for dinner! It’s gluten free too hehe.
- The Auld Dubliner – Had my first actual beer in Ireland here. Cute bar in Temple Bar area with live music.
- The Porterhouse in Temple Bar – Dublin’s first pub brewery with great food that is good for groups since it is multi-level and has a ton of seating.
- Stag’s Head – Location of my first hot whiskey! Head to the small private room in the back of the bar on the right.
- The Palace – Authentic Irish bar with live music. Head up the stairs and have a seat and relax with a whiskey nightcap after dinner.
- The Temple Bar – The number one tourist bar with the largest collection of rare whiskies in Ireland. Had an amazing band playing while we were there. The party is always going at this famous bar in Dublin so one must make a stop here for at least one drink.
- Bruxelles – Sports and music bar in the Grafton street area, the main shopping area, consisting of 3 rooms. Loved this place.
- Mulligans – Mulligans has hosted the famous Judy Garland and John F. Kennedy. The bar is over 200 years old and when you are in there you feel like you are in the 1800’s. It has a locals vibe to it and it’s low key. Right next door is a restaurant called The Vintage Kitchen that I was dying to go to because it was ranked as one of the best places to eat in Dublin. Evidently you have to book in advance, which I didn’t, so I never ended up eating there (bummer). I suggest making a reservation a few days in advance and then heading to Mulligans before of after dinner for a drink.
- The Dawson Lounge – City’s smallest Pub. You have to go there so you can say you had a drink at the smallest pub in Dublin.
- Sheehan’s – Cute pub near Grafton Street. Had a really good meal consisting of the staples; red wine, meat, and potatoes.
- Shop and Stroll on Grafton Street
- Grafton Street is Dublin’s famous shopping street and host to a lot of international chain stores and chic fashion outlets. Grafton Street, which borders Temple Bar area, begins at Ireland’s version of Central Park, St. Stephen’s Green, and ends at Trinity College. During the winter months the streets are lined with festive lights and its absolutely breathtaking to take a stroll through.
- Become a prisoner at Kilmanium Gaol
- Kilmanium Gaol is a former prison in Dublin and now is a museum. Take a tour but buy tickets online before you go because they they sell out fast and you can only go during your time slot. I learned the hard way.
- Pour the perfect pint at the Guinness Factory
- Take a tour of the factory and learn how Guinness is brewed, poured, and sample some pints. After the tour head up to the Gravity Bar and have a Guinness while enjoying 360 panoramic views of Dublin. Go during the day while the sun is shining so you have good visibility through the windows that way you will be able to see all of Dublin’s main attractions from the bar. I would stop by The Brazen Head after the tour for some food and drink as it is walking distance to the Guinness Factory.
- Feel like you are enrolled in Hogwarts at Trinity College and attend The Book of Kells exhibit
- The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript that is written in Latin, created around 800 AD, and contains the four Gospels of the New Testament. I personally loved visiting the Long Room in the Old Library, the main chamber in one of the most impressive libraries in the world. Trust me, this part of the tour will make you feel like you are a student of Hogwarts in a Harry Potter movie.
- Say a prayer at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
- Regardless of your religion you definitely need to stop by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral while in Dublin. I’m not baptized and I didn’t melt when I walked through the doors so you’ll be fine. You pay a small fee to enter but it is so worth it. Look online before you go for mass times and tours. It is also walking distance from Temple Bar area.
- Feel like a Giant at the National Leprechaun Museum
- I am a kid at heart so I enjoyed it this museum, but jokes aside this place is really for kids. Walking distance from Temple Bar area across the Liffey River. You learn about Irish Folklore and mythology and take silly photos.
Where to Stay
You MUST stay in Temple Bar area. This neighborhood is everything you would picture Dublin to be; cobblestone streets, crowded pubs, packed restaurants and live Irish Music. It’s a no brainier, stay here so you can stumble home after hitting the pubs.
- Airbnb – They have a ton of cute apartments that are clean and affordable in the area. This would be my number one recommendation in terms of value.
- Clarence Hotel – If you want to splurge stay in this hotel which is owned by U2’s Bono and is located in the heart of the Temple Bar area. Bono is known to occasionally stop in for a cocktail.
- Morgan Hotel – This hotel was affordable, clean, and had a good location in Temple Bar and is where I stayed during my visit to Dublin. The hotel is currently under construction and has plans to reopen soon.
In Dublin, walking from pub to pub will be your main form of exercise but I highly recommend starting your day with a morning job along the river Liffey, which flows through the center of Dublin.
There are a lot of bridges which connect east and west Dublin that you can run over which also make for great photos! The most famous bridge is Penny Bridge, made of cast iron. Run past attractions such as the General Post Office and then finish your run through Temple Bar. Warning, most people will look at you like you are crazy during your run. Not a lot of people are out on the streets exercising like in they do in the United States. The Irish locals probably thought I was running because someone was chasing me! I have to say, despite the funny looks during my run, it was a pretty amazing way to wake up and get an endorphin high and see the city from a different perspective.
A lot of the pubs have live Irish Music, so get your groove on and try some Irish Dancing to get your heart rate up!
During the day I suggest that you walk around the city as much as possible but make sure you wear your comfy shoes. You really can really walk to most attractions in Dublin. If you get tired you can always grab a cab but I personally feel that walking around the city is the way to go. You never know what you will stumble upon, plus you are also burning off all that good Irish food and drinks. The Hop-on Hop-off bus is a convenient and inexpensive transportation option and a great way to see all of the tourist attractions.
I hope you enjoyed this post on Dublin! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! Wishing you the luck of the Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day wherever you are in the world and hoping you will be lucky enough to visit Dublin soon! Flights to Dublin are extremely affordable right now from major US airport hubs so take advantage of that. You won’t regret it!!! Hashtag #luv2eatplayrun in your Instagram photos, follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel please! Thank you!