With its winding streets of charming historic buildings and public, centuries of history to discover over cobbled sidewalks and its vast number of traditional Irish pubs serving up traditional Irish ales, Dublin certainly is a traveler’s feast. The majority of its sights are in the center of the city along the River Liffey, and many of the biggies are on the south bank – the south side of the famous Ha’penny Bridge is minutes from the drinking quarter of Temple Bar. But really, Dublin isn’t all old buildings – it’s also a colorful hub of music, art, theater, food and literature. So what’s a visitor to do with just 24 hours in Dublin? Well, there’s just so much.
Located directly in the center of Dublin, a few blocks for the similarly historically significant Christ Church Cathedral, the Dublin Castle has existed for a very long time. Founded in 1204, the Record Tower piece of the building still remains from that century. The structure began as a major defensive wall following the Norman Invasion, was founded by the orders of King John of England. As the primary seat of British power in Ireland, the structure evolved through the Middle Ages, the 1798 Rising, the Anglo-Irish War, Bloody Sunday and all subsequent notable events. Visitors get a thorough tour of the state rooms and significant items, as well as a walk down to see more original castle walls and moat. Those interested in Irish history need only go to the Dublin Castle – in fact, the city of Dublin is named after the Dubh Linn, Irish for Black Pool, referring to the one that once sat on the site of the present Castle Gardens and Coach House.
Much has been made about the humble spud over the last few centuries, and Europe owes its healthy cultivation of the grain to Ireland, where the climate and soil are perfectly suited to its production. The owner of the Boxty House is a recognized expert on the potato and his passion for traditional Irish fare is at the heart of this menu, with items like black pudding potato cakes, Irish Rock oysters from Kilmore Quay, Galway salmon with a Connemara Whisky dressing, Dunanny Irish Crab Meat and the signature Boxty Platter, which includes three different types of boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake. Perfectly located in the lively Temple Bar area and well known among both locals and travelers, the Boxty House is an ideal introduction into the true Irish culinary tradition.
Arthur Guinness’ legendary stout has been based out of their St. James Gate location since 1759, and in, this time, it has become a household name just as much a part of Irish history as Kilmainham Gaol. What was once the original brewery has been renovated to form the largest pint glass in the world, comprising seven levels from atrium to Gravity Bar, and as visitors make their way up, they learn about the story of Guinness as well as information on how the beer is brewed and shipped around the world. Visitors get to linger at the top, sipping a perfect pint of the stout while soaking in the best view of the city from their all-glass bar space. Beer aficionados can hit the oak and leather Guinness Connoisseur Bar for an exclusive tasting experience of the four most popular Guinness variants, and pick up a few keepsakes from the official souvenir shop – although one might be able to find less expensive Guinness goodies at Carroll’s Irish Gifts.
Swiftly amassing a slew of accolades since they opened in 1992, including one Michelin star and consistent "Best Restaurant" and "Best Dublin Restaurants" from the Food & Wine Restaurant and RAI Awards, Chapter One is the premier fine-dining restaurant in Ireland. Their name is derived from their location just at the bottom of the Dublin Writer’s Museum, and the faithfulness to the land is evident from their chosen ingredients: Irish Sika Venison served with black pudding, Irish Hereford Beef, Irish beetroot, Achill Island blackface lamb – all colorfully reimagined, impeccably executed, beaming on a perfect white plate. Before stepping in for a meal, visitors are encouraged to walk through the Dublin Writer’s Museum upstairs to learn about the equally rich literary history of the city, which birthed such greats as James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, W.B Yeats and many more.
On the south bank of the River Liffey between Westmoreland Street and Fishamble Street, Temple Bar has been a household name since 1673 and is now bustling with art galleries, an acting school, the Irish Stock Exchange, the Irish Film Institute and much more, most notably, and infamously so, the vast number of bars and traditional Irish pubs. The night lights up to the sounds of Irish folk groups singing in the streets and in the pubs, ale being poured, and the chatter of locals and tourists. Escape the overpriced and bursting bars on Temple Bar Square in favor of some place a little off the path.