Dublin wasn’t originally part of my itinerary when I wanted to hop the pond and visit the UK, but when I realized that a direct flight was hundreds of dollars cheaper than going straight to London, I was excited to put that savings towards 2 fun days in Dublin.
There are a LOT of things you can do in Dublin that don’t involve whiskey or pubs, and there’s a lot more to see in Dublin than what I chose to do with my time, but here’s how I spent my 48 hours in Dublin when I visited in December 2015!
The Irish Whiskey Museum
To call this a museum, which typically evokes memories of static exhibits with a bunch of pictures/artifacts wouldn’t do this place justice. The Irish Whiskey Museum is an experience- you walk through interactive exhibits that include video and a live and friendly tour guide which not only explains the whiskey making process, but the history of Irish sprits and Dublin history…and for those of you Scots out there, you’ll learn a bit about the ‘rivalry’ between the two countries in terms of distilleries and whiskey making techniques.
After the tour, you’ll be given a souvenir tasting glass and get to enjoy some complimentary tasters. You can stick around the bar afterwards- and since there’s free wifi, I’d recommend it. Enjoy an Irish Coffee for me, okay?
The Guinness Storehouse
Yes, you knew I was going to mention this next! The Guinness Storehouse is totally touristy but it’s really well done. If you don’t like Guinness like I do, (I love me some stouts!) skip this, but if you enjoy the beer, you could spend half a day here.
I didn’t do your typically tour, I did the Connoisseur Experience and really enjoyed it. You’ll still get to enjoy the perks of the other tours- like a free Guinness tasting and access to the museum and gift shop- but you will get to sit with a select few Guinness lovers and a personal bartender for a private tasting experience.
You’ll get seated at a private bar with about 10-12 other patrons, and you will learn about the varieties of Guinness, some of which you might not have heard of in the states! Best part? We got to taste each one- yup…everyone got a healthy sized taster for each of the beers we tried. Trust me, you’ll be feeling good, so good in fact, you’ll ace the final exam- pouring your very own pint of Guinness!
Free Walking Tours
I was staying at the Generator Hostel Dublin, and the tour picks up there to relocate to a central location. I would highly recommend a free walking tour on your first day there, just to get the lay of the land and learn about the history…plus, you’ll meet other nice people who may want to grab a pint later.
I traveled to Dublin by myself and met some really nice people that were staying at my hostel, but also got some awesome travel tips during our mid-tour break at the coffee shop. If you’re a bit introverted or are traveling solo, a free walking tour is a frugal and fun way to meet people and get some great photo opps!
Join Up With A Pub Crawl
If you don’t do a pub crawl in Dublin, you’re missing out. I met some really nice people, and ended up with some..ahem, stories… of some others, which I will not share here on the blog, but it was a great night out!
The Backpacker Pub Crawl is good for even non-backpackers (like myself) and for your ticket price, you’ll get a half pint of Guinness and about 4 additional house shots at the various locations. Also, if you have a blast, you can join pub crawls on any other nights you’re in Dublin as long as you keep your wristband on. So basically, you’ll master the “Irish goodbye” at least once or twice during your visit. If the backpacker crowd seems a bit too rowdy, there are other ones such as the Literary Pub Crawl you can try as well!
Go Shopping On Grafton Street
One thing I will say about Grafton is that you’re going to find a lot of those “made in China” generic touristy type shops full of cheap sweatshirts and shot glasses. If you’ve been to Vegas, you know the type of shops I’m talking about.
I unfortunately didn’t find a lot of local Irish flair when I was there for 2 days, but I did get to pop into Avoca, which makes gorgeous woolens in Ireland, and has great gifts that don’t look like they’re leftover from St. Patrick’s Day (there is SO much more to Ireland than green and shamrocks!).
Of Course, There’s The Old Jameson Distillery Tour
As stated, I was staying at the Generator Hostel and it literally is on the other side of the Old Jameson Distillery. Easy, peezy! You can walk through replicas of the whiskey making process and learn a bit about Jameson history with a tour guide, a few videos and a couple real big mash tanks that will show you how Jameson was made here before operations were moved to a larger location for increased production.
The tastings are a bit different than you will experience at other distilleries, at the Old Jameson Distillery, you’re actually going to taste 3-4 whiskeys (including Jack Daniels & Johnny Walker) and see how they stack up to Jameson. Afterwards, you can enjoy a complimentary whiskey & ginger, or a non-alcoholic beverage.
Live Music At Temple Bar
If your liver hasn’t quit by this point, spend some time taking in the awesome live music at the Temple Bar area of Dublin. One bar, whose name and specific location escapes me at this point (I wonder why!) had an excellent duo that played the fiddle and guitar- who yes, covered Johnny Cash on request.
For the price of a pint, it was one of my favorite experiences in Dublin- and I can still hear the music playing in my ears. The live music is always pretty solid in Dublin, and it’s a great way to rest your feet after a long day of sightseeing!
I hope you’ll enjoy your time in Dublin, there is plenty more to do and see, but these were my picks during my stay!