Travel Guide of Dublin, County Dublin for: Harding HotelCity Centre, Dublin, Ireland
- A world-class city with a small-town mentality
- Charming architecture (including many Georgian-style buildings)
- Vibrant nightlife, from divey pubs to swanky clubs
- Compact city center is easily navigated by foot
- Burgeoning culinary scene
- Rich literary history and numerous literary-themed attractions, from the Book of Kells to the Literary Pub Crawl
- Museum exhibits and good drinking at the Guinness Storehouse and The Old Jameson Distillery
- Excellent museums, including the National Museum
- Christ Church Cathedral dating to 1030
- Mild climate year-round with less annual rainfall than London
- Airport serviced by many low-fare airlines
- Meals and hotels are pricey
- Public tram system (the Luas) has limited coverage and closes early
- Tight, winding one-way streets and bad traffic make for a miserable driving experience
- Gloomy, cool summers
- Some reports of young locals being hateful or violent towards minorities
- Temple Bar is often noisy until the wee hours
What It's Like
Dublin is a big city with a small-town mentality. It's a city where famous writers and drinkers cavorted (and brawled) in many of the same bars and where it's not unusual for a local to strike up a conversation with a stranger in a pub. Today, many of the most popular attractions revolve around the city's rich literary and drinking history. In the literary category, there's the Book of Kells, the Old Library at Trinity College, The Oscar Wilde House, and the Dublin Writer's Museum; in the drinking category, there is the Guiness Storehouse, the Old Jameson Distillery, and numerous historic pubs. The Literary Pub Crawl relates to both, with spirited literary-themed performances and visits to some of the favorite bars of Dublin literati such as James Joyce and Brendan Behan.
Dublin's nightlife scene has been hopping for decades -- or centuries, rather -- and it's still thriving today. University students flock to the rowdy Temple Bar area, while the bars near St. Stephen's Green tend to draw a classier set. The city center is very dense, so traveling by foot is easier here than in many other cities in Europe. Though the Luas train system is not well-used, there is a fairly reliable bus system and a pay-as-you-go bicycle scheme has added to the ease of getting around.
Where to Stay
One of Dublin's strongest assets is its compact city center. This means that regardless of where you stay, reaching another neighborhood downtown will require minimal effort, so it simply becomes a matter of preference. Temple Bar is the city's nightlife mecca, and is home to everything from quaint B&Bs to completely divey hostel-style inns. Be warned: This is a convenient area for people looking to barhop, shop, or dine out, but it's known to be noisy into the wee hours.
St. Stephen's Green draws a more upscale crowd, and visitors will find charming historic pubs and excellent shopping along Grafton Street. Some hotel rooms here have park views.
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