Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. It’s a small, friendly place that’s easy to get around and has a wide variety of things to see and do. With a deep history going all the way back to the Vikings in the 9th Century, Dublin has endured a lot. From a period of control by England in the 17th century that led to the gorgeous Georgian architecture, to a long decline and eventual economic recovery in the 1980s, Dublin’s resilience is part of its charm.
Located in east-central Ireland, Dublin sits on the River Liffey. To the north and west is farmland and to the south lies low mountains. The city is split by the Liffey and the east side is divided even more by smaller rivers. There are also two canals – the Grand Canal to the south and the Royal Canal to the north.
The climate is temperate with warm summers and cool winters. The temperature is never too extreme in either direction. Don’t expect a lot of rain in Dublin – because of its sheltered location, it’s one of the driest places in the country.
Historically, the river divided Dublin culturally and economically with the Northside being more working class and the Southside a bit wealthier. Today, it’s divided into districts for tourism and real estate purposes. The Medieval Quarter, the Antique Quarter, the Georgian District, the Tech Quarter, and the Cultural Quarter.
The Medieval Quarter is the oldest part of the city and was part of the original Viking settlement. It’s home to Christ’s Church, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Dublin Castle. Stop by Burdock’s Fish and Chip shop which has seen a lot of celebrity guests since it first opened its doors in 1913.
Next to the Medieval Quarter and along the Francis Street area, you’ll find the Antique Quarter. Here, you can shop for everything from souvenirs to classic paintings and stop for a bite to eat in one of the many cafes.
If you’re into architecture, you have to visit the Georgian District. Dublin has some of the most beautiful Georgian buildings in the entire world and this is one of the best places to see them.
In the Tech Quarter, see how Dublin is stepping up in the digital age with tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter sharing office space in this once run-down area of the city. The area has been revitalized and is now home to delicious restaurants, fancy hotels, great coffee, and even a place where you can paddle board.
In the Cultural District, you’ll find hip music venues, bars, restaurants, markets, and second-hand shops. There’s even a 1920s-style speakeasy at the Vintage Cocktail Club.
Lastly, there’s the Dame District, which links the Cultural, Medieval, and Georgian quarters. Buzzing with shoppers during the day and full of nightlife and energy at night, no stop in Dublin is complete without some time in the Dame District.
There are also plenty of outdoor adventures to be had throughout the city, including guided outdoor tours, kite surfing, and sailing. There are also plenty of self-guided walking tours throughout the different parts of the city as well as guided hikes through mountains.
The Dublin Airport is a small airport with only two terminals. Terminal 1 is older and used for short flights while Terminal 2 is where international flights arrive. The terminals are connected both before and after going through security. A second runway is currently in development.
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There are a few options for transportation to and from the airport. There are several buses and coaches that will take you from the airport to various places in Dublin and the surrounding areas, including Dublin Bus which will take you right through Dublin and Aircoach for 24 hours transport to the South Dublin City Centre. There are also plenty of car rental options.
Taxis are a great way to travel. Taxi stands and a dispatcher are available at both terminals. If you take a taxi to the airport, the driver will drop you off at whichever terminal you choose.
While there are not train stations at the airport, bus service can take you to various ones located in the area.
The Dublin Airport has unlimited free Wi-Fi and you can even find free printing facilities if you need them. If you have a long wait and are traveling economy class you can either purchase a pass, or join a membership program if you’re a frequent flyer. If you’re traveling with children, there’s a special lounge with a small play area. You’ll also have access to plenty of baby changing facilities and a place where you can rent car seats or strollers.
There are no hotels at the airport but there are a lot in the immediate vicinity. Most offer 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport.
If you’re looking for shopping, each terminal has a lot to offer. In Terminal 1, you’ll find a variety of shops including The Loop. The Loop is a collection of brands and stores like MAC, Jo Malone, Chanel, and Dior. You can also get souvenirs, whiskey, and much more. Terminal 2 has specialty watches, a bookstore, as well as authentic Irish food, clothing, and jewelry.
As for restaurants, Terminal 1 has a variety of options that range from Marquette for grab and go sandwiches and salads to the Gate Clock Bar for a true pub experience. There are also a few 24-hour options, like McDonald’s, AMT Coffee, and Wright’s Food Fayre.