When visiting Dublin, my first piece of advice is to take a taxi from the airport. Yes, it's worth the money over the Aircoach or the DublinBus because engaging in conversation with Dubliners one-on-one is the best way to experience the city. I would not be surprised if it were a requirement for every cab driver in Dublin to have a witty personality. They will give you their personalized tours of the city -- hilarious, unfiltered stories included. I visited Dublin three months ago while I was studying abroad in Europe, and while I only spent three days there, the food, the beer, the music, and above all, the people left a lasting impression on me. Herewith, my must-sees for Dublin visitors:
1. Trinity College: Trinity's buildings are a mix of classical and contemporary architecture spread around elegant gardens. A leisurely stroll around its campus is ideal in the morning, before students are rushing to class. The Old Library is also truly a sight to behold: stacks of ancient wooden bookshelves that seem to go on endlessly.
2. The Little Museum of Dublin: An exhibition entitled "Your Huddled Masses: The Irish in America" tells the story of the Irish in America in a boldly original way, using sound, photography, film and striking illustrations to captivate the public imagination. It's a story of hardship and suffering, hope and retribution: the search for a better life. It's about the re-invention of home and the birth of great cities in a foreign land. It's a political story, but also a story about something more essential still: the American Dream. The exhibit begins next week through mid-September.
3. Cathach Books: This quaint and cozy bookstore specializing in 20th century Irish literature holds many treasures, including a large selection of first editions from this genre's masters: Joyce, Yeats, Beckett, and Wilde.
4. Fallon & Byrne: This deli is perfect for a quick lunch. Head to the food hall to find just about anything: delicious soups and sandwiches, potent coffee, fresh fruit and vegetables, decadent cakes, aged meat, just-caught fish, cheese, charcuterie, and antipasti.
5. The Winding Stair Bookshop & Café: It became a famous landmark in the 1970s and 1980s as a popular meeting place for writers, musicians, and artists with its iconic view of the Ha'penny bridge, but was then closed in 2005. In 2006, Elaine Murphy brought it back to life as a café with simple, old-fashioned, high-quality Irish cooking, and an extensive wine list. The bookshop remains on the ground floor.
6. Chapter One: This Michelin star restaurant in the center of Dublin focuses on local and seasonal produce to create its diverse take on modern Irish cuisine. From squab pigeon with foie gras and chestnut mousse, red wine glaze, smoked butter milk potato and fried cabbage to rump of lamb cooked in smoked oil with nettle flavor barley, salt baked turnips, fried sweetbreads and pickled garlic, the menu speaks for itself.
7. The Chop House: Anthony Bourdain described his experience at the Chop House as "the best f**king meal I've ever eaten in Dublin." The menu is diverse; the main focus is on traditional French cuisine but it also incorporates an Asian influence. If you're looking for reasonable prices, a very casual atmosphere, and Michelin-quality food, this gastro-pub is for you.
8. John Kavanagh: This 150-year-old pub is known to Dubliners as "The Gravediggers" owing to its location next to Glasnevin cemetery. It's off the beaten path, but it keeps locals coming for lifetimes. Don't order anything but Guinness here. I don't even think you can. It's good.
9. Slattery's Bar: Located in the Rathmines district, a mile-and-a-half south of central Dublin, it's far from the well-trodden tourist path. For those looking to start early, the bar opens at 7am. It's filled with older, lifelong regulars reading the paper and betting on horses. And you can get a hearty, delicious Irish breakfast alongside your perfectly poured pint of Guinness.
10. Guinness Storehouse: Definitely buy your ticket online beforehand; you will pay €14.85 instead of €16.50, and you won't have to wait in line. While the tour itself is definitely less than awe-inspiring, being that it consists of walking around in a line, watching videos of how the beer is made, the 360° view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar is worth the trip. You can sit, relax, and enjoy a complimentary glass of the black goodness surrounded by breathtaking views.
Click through the slideshow below to view photos of these must-sees!