Travel like an Irish local: use our guide to find Dublin’s most vibrant neighborhoods - from the famous Temple Bar to the treasures of the Old City.
One of the best ways to explore Ireland’s capital is by navigating around the different Dublin neighborhoods. From Temple Bar to Liberties, each area code packs in plenty of charm, centuries of stories, and some of the best foodie hotspots Europe has to offer.
Whether you’re in the fair city to see history, immerse yourself in art, find your new favorite restaurant, join in the party, or all of the above, you’ll be able to narrow your interests down into the different quarters. These Dublin neighborhoods deliver culture and craic (Irish fun) by the bucket-load, so get them on your bucket list.
For Movies and Merriness: Temple Bar
Area code: Dublin 2
A tale of two worlds, Temple Bar is a completely different place from day to night. Amble around one of Dublin’s oldest districts and you’ll be spoilt for choice with culture. Watch a show at Meeting House Square, get your indie movie fix at the Irish Film Institute and check out contemporary art at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios. Follow well-heeled Dubliners and make a beeline for top-drawer cheesecake at Queen of Tarts and when the sun goes down, responsibly enjoy a handcrafted pint and live music at The Porterhouse.
For Architectural Treasures: Old City
Area code: Dublin 8 and 2
Glimpse into Dublin’s past as you stroll among its Old City, otherwise known as the Medieval Quarter. The jewel in its crown is Dublin Castle, one of the oldest surviving landmarks in the capital. Stop off at the world-famous Chester Beatty Library, home to an incredible collection of books and manuscripts, before paying St. Patrick’s Cathedral a visit, built to honor the famous saint himself.
For Georgian Glory: Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square
Area code: Dublin 2
It’s all about the Georgian architecture in these Dublin neighborhoods. Pack a camera, because the details are sublime. The houses here are handsome, built to perfection with bright doors and wrought-iron decorated windows. Dublin’s Georgian past is remarkably preserved in both Fitzwilliam Square and Merrion Square, but the latter boasts the Natural History Museum, Leinster House (seat of the Irish national parliament), and the National Gallery of Ireland. If you’re living it up in the capital, set your search for hotels in Merrion Square. In particular, The Merrion Hotel. When this luxurious five-star hotel came to town, the whole of Dublin straightened up its tie. Nothing here disappoints.
For Greenery and Groceries: St. Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street
Area code: Dublin 2
Not the biggest, but by far the most beautiful park of all Dublin neighborhoods, St. Stephen’s Green is a serene antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life. Within the 22 acres of greenery is a lake, waterfall, sculptures, and flowerbeds galore. Head to the bandstand and you may even nab yourself a free daytime concert. Grafton Street is also in this neighborhood, Dublin’s tourist-filled shopping area filled with boutiques, hotels, and restaurants. If you’re picking up presents, go from Grafton Street down Johnson Court Alley to find Powerscourt Centre, a gorgeous shopping center set in a beautiful Georgian house. Close by is the incredible award-winning Ulysses Rare Books store, which sells first editions from legendary writers – Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and Samuel Beckett to name a few.
For Storied Streets: O’Connell Street
Area code: Dublin 1
Head north of the River Liffey and be transported back in time. The facets of Dublin’s long and once-troubled history still scar the ornate statue of Daniel O’Connell on O’Connell Street, named after the 19th-century politician. This area was thrown into the center of the 1916 Easter Rising and Irish Civil War in 1922. But beyond its war-laden past, O’Connell Street is teaming with welcoming food joints, hip hotels, jovial pubs, and various theaters – this is theater district, after all.
For Sights by the Sea: North Quays
Area code: Dublin 1
Dublin’s North Quays were a big influence on the works of James Joyce, providing literary settings for both Eveline and An Encounter. Today, the quays aren’t so much the heart of Dublin’s shipping industry, but packed with office buildings, hotels, bars and foodie hotspots. Starting from the mouth of the River Liffey and ending just before Phoenix Park, it’s the perfect place for a stroll. Nearby attractions include the thought-provoking Famine Sculptures, The Irish Emigration Museum, and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship.
For the U.S. in Ireland: Embassy Row
Area code: Dublin 4
You’re in fancy Dublin now. This slick upscale suburb can be reached just south of the Grand Canal – you can walk there from many central Dublin neighborhoods. First and foremost, Embassy Row is a residential area – a prestigious one at that – but you’ll also find a luxurious cluster of hotels, restaurants and the U.S. Embassy here.
For Whiskey and Weird Tales: Smithfield
Area code: Dublin 7
Don’t visit Dublin without heading to the brilliant Jameson Distillery in the Smithfield neighborhood of the city. Here you can witness the production process of the famous Irish whiskey and taste it in all its glory. The area also boasts a different kind of spirit – those of myths and legends surrounding the centuries-old mummies buried in St Michan’s Church. Legendary writer Bram Stoker, the man behind Dracula, is even said to have visited the vaults.
For a Real Pint of Plain: Liberties
Area code: Dublin 8
Step out of the Old City and into Liberties. Back in the day this was one of the Dublin neighborhoods outside the city walls, making it exempt from the capital’s policing systems, levied taxes, and tariff demands put in place to run and protect the center. And that’s where the name Liberties derives from. Dublin’s most popular tourist attraction is in this area – the Guinness Storehouse – where you can wander seven stories devoted to the iconic tipple and even sip a pint of it in its sky-high bar, so long as you’ve made a plan to get home safely.
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