Walkable, human-scale Dublin, Ireland with its myriad attractions, is a wonderful city for romantics to visit.
Couples who love theater, music, art, and getting to know the residents of a special place will appreciate a stay in Dublin. Part of what makes the city so appealing are Dubliners' easy-going spirit of friendliness and good humor.
From its greensward in the center of the city to its Grafton Street shops to its historic treasures and tavern pleasures, Dublin attractions deserve a place on any well-traveled romantic couple's "must-visit" list.
One of the most efficient and affordable ways to experience Dublin's top visitor attractions is by purchasing a Dublin Pass, which allows for admission to more than 30 sites.
Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College, founded in 1592, is the oldest university in Ireland and a major Dublin attraction.
It is the repository of the Book of Kells, an ancient illuminated manuscript of the gospels labored over by Celtic monks, circa 800 A.D.
Note: There is an admission charge required to view the Book of Kells, which is on permanent display in the Old Library at Trinity College.
Dublin visitors to Trinity College will find this active campus alive with students and a lovely place to take a stroll. It's 40 acres encompass green meadows, historic buildings, and streets paved with cobblestones.
St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, Ireland
An urban park in the midst of the city, St. Stephen’s Green is a prime place to picnic, stroll, and people-watch.
The shady park contains an ornamental lake, benches, monuments and sculpture (including a piece by Henry Moore). There is also a garden dedicated to Irish poet W.B.Yeats, and throughout St. Stephen’s Green flowers bloom resplendently in spring and summer.
The Shelbourne Hotel is located on the north side of the Stephen’s Green. It's trendy No. 27 Bar and Lounge faces the park directly and also features paintings of the Dublin greensward.
Stephen's Green Shopping Center, which has about 100 shops and a food court, is across from Fusilier's Arch, the park's stately west side entrance.
Oscar Wilde Statue in Dublin, Ireland
Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde attended Trinity College and went on to write The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, among many other satires that have become literary classics.
Wilde's childhood home was a stately Georgian structure located at 1 Merrion Square, close to St. Stephen's Green. It is open to the public to tour. The statue of Oscar Wilde is located in the northwest corner of the park across the street from Merrion Square. The statue's nickname, "The Fag on the Crag," is well known locally.
Persecuted for his flamboyant homosexuality and tweaking Victorian mores, Wilde was arrested for "gross indecency" relating to "the love that dares not speak its name." He was found guilty, sentenced to two years in jail, and imprisoned. After his release, he wrote the famous poem "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," based upon a hanging that he witnessed while incarcerated.
Find out more about Ireland's literary heritage by visiting the Dublin Writers' Museum.
Guinness Brewery in Dublin
The Guinness Brewery has stood in Dublin since 1670 and is one of Ireland's top attractions.
It's St. James's Gate, constructed in 1759, marks the entry to the plant, which has grown to 64 acres.
Today the Guinness Brewery consists of a Roasthouse, a Brewhouse, the Fermentation and Beer Processing Plant, and the Market Street Storehouse. The first four all play important parts in the production of Guinness beer, one of Ireland's proudest exports.
The Storehouse, a restored 1904 structure redesigned to resemble an oversized pint glass, is the official visitor center of the Guinness Brewery.
The Storehouse stands seven stories high (making it one of Dublin's tallest buildings) and offers visitors an overview of the beer-making process, a tasting laboratory, and interactive exhibit. It also contains a shop, two restaurants, and three bars.
At the top-floor, glass-enclosed Gravity Bar in the Guinness Brewery, visitors can savor a complimentary pint along with a panoramic view of the city.
Horseshoe Bar at The Shelbourne
Named for its shape, the Horseshoe Bar in the, which earned a mention in James Joyce’s Ulysses, is the spot where Irish pols have debated issues for generations.
It has long been one of Dublin’s most popular bars, and even teetotalers ought to peek in to see this touchstone of Irish history.
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin is home to the country's Irish and European art collections dating from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Admission is free.
Playwright George Bernard Shaw, who spent much of his childhood immersed in the collections, left one-third of his royalties to the National Gallery. The Pygmalion author’s gratitude enabled it to acquire outstanding paintings and sculptures from the past two centuries, including a full-size statue of the benefactor.
Visitors who enjoy viewing modern art can do so at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, ironically located inside a 17th-century structure.
Temple Bar Area
Dublin's Temple Bar area is a district — rather than a singular drinking establishment — where adults gather for entertainment and edification.
The area is home to several cultural institutions, numerous art galleries, stores (including an Amnesty International Fair Trade Shop), restaurants, and places to sleep. Mostly, though, Temple Bar comes alive at night.
A traditional Irish pub, Oliver St. John Gogarty (its painted wall is pictured above) is the place to hear live Irish music. Gogarty's also includes a restaurant and inexpensive accommodations.
Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin
Dublin's oldest building, the medieval Christ Church Cathedral is a popular stop for visitors to Dublin, especially Catholic ones. It is home to the archbishop of Dublin.
Christ Church Cathedral was originally constructed in 1038 and was renovated in the Victorian era.
It's working bells, soaring nave, stained-glass windows, and other architectural details are a treat to behold.
Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge
Pedestrian-only Ha'penny Bridge is one of the several bridges that cross the River Liffey in Dublin.
Although it has gone by different names since it was originally built in 1816 (Wellington Bridge, Liffey Bridge, and Penny Ha'penny Bridge among them), the one it's best known by coming from the toll amount that was once charged to cross it.
Connecting the north and south sides of Dublin, Ha'penny Bridge is steps from the Temple Bar area. Lit at night, it's a fine place for a romantic stroll to end a memorable day in Dublin.
If you have extra time in Dublin, consider visiting:
- Abbey Theatre - Ireland's national theater
- Croke Park - stadium where the national sports of hurling and Gaelic football are played
- Dublin Zoo - founded in 1830 and transformed into a modern zoo.
Find out more: Official Tourism Ireland Web Site