When I set off for Dublin, there were a number of things I wanted to make sure I hit during my long weekend. Among them were pouring a perfect pint at Guinness, touring the famous Trinity college, experiencing live music at its finest, and figuring out what’s so special about Irish Whiskey. I’m proud to say I was able to check all of these (and then some) off the list in a single day via a self-created walking tour. Here’s the itinerary:
This tour is €4 and frankly, €4 well spent. Tours are about an hour long and start half past every hour 9-4:30PM. It can get pretty crowded, but as long as you stay close to the guide, you will learn a lot about Irish history including the many, many attempted revolutions fought by this small country, the hardship caused by the potato famine, and the philosophy behind the jail infrastructure. I was also quite surprised to learn that this Dublin jail housed some of the youngest prisoners ever (including a 5-year old!).
Tickets to Kilmainham can only be purchased at the prison, so make sure you arrive early to ensure a spot. If you end up needing to wait for the next tour, the prison also houses a decent size museum where you can spend a lot of time diving even deeper into the history of Dublin and the prison.
Pour your perfect pint at Guinness
For €18, treat yourself to a self-guided tour in the massive Guinness warehouse. While at the factory, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history of Arthur Guinness himself, how Guinness is made, and what makes Guinness so special. You’ll also get to be immersed in Guinness advertising campaigns throughout the decades. Once inside, be careful: a stop at Guinness could easily be a half-day event. If you have the time, relax and enjoy it all (including the numerous restaurant stops throughout the building). If you’re on a schedule, choose your stops wisely.
Hacks: Buy your ticket online to skip the line at the entrance and save a couple of Euros. Also, your ticket allows you to pour your perfect pint OR enjoy a pint at the 360 rooftop bar. Opt to pour your perfect pint and then take your pint and hop in the elevator to enjoy it in the 360 bar.
Trinity College and The Book of Kells
Trinity is a beautiful downtown Dublin campus complete with the expected gorgeous stone architecture and expansive lawns. You can do a guided tour of campus as well as the Book of Kells visit for €13, just the Book of Kells for €10, or create your own visit (skipping the Book of Kells) for free. I chose the last option since I’d heard paying to see the Book of Kells was basically like paying to see the Trinity library since the book itself is very small and there are many, many people going to see it in a given day. Simply taking a self-guided stroll through campus gave me a great feel for the place as well as the expected nostalgia for my younger years :).
Irish Whiskey Museum
These tours start every 30 minutes from about 10AM-6PM. The tour lasts roughly an hour and gives you a good, entertaining history of “poteen” and whiskey in Ireland. You’ll learn about shebeens, gougers, and where the phrases “saved by the bell” and “dead ringer” come from. At the end of the tour you’ll also have the opportunity to try 3-4 whiskeys. I can’t compare it directly to the Jameson tour since I didn’t have the chance to do both, but I believe it gives you a more complete history of the whiskey industry in Ireland.
Hack: Buy your ticket online using this website to save €4.5. Opt for the VIP tasting to get a 4th whiskey and souvenir for only an extra couple of Euros.
The Porter House
There are a few Porter House locations in Dublin (as well as Wicklow, Cork, London, and New York), and I very much enjoyed the one in Temple Bar. There’s live music pretty much every night and because of the bar's open layout, you can dance along from any of the three floors. Before arriving, check the music schedule for the location you want to visit and enjoy great music and a solid beer list!
Here’s a map of the Dublin walking tour I created for myself: https://goo.gl/maps/2pLdFbxmDx92
Along with the places detailed above, along this walking route you'll have a chance to see Christ Church Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Green, O’Connell Street, and Grafton Street. Take as much or as little time as you want in these places. In my opinion O’Connell Street is overrated and while Grafton is nice (especially with all of the Christmas lights), you don’t need more than a stroll along it to take it all in.
I hope you enjoy!