Ok, Dublin! Let’s go!
November 14, 2019 8:38 AM   Subscribe

After asking Monday about a potential trip to (or connecting through) the UK immediately post the next Brexit deadline, we opted to book a trip to Dublin instead. It seems like it will be a great place to go with our 5 year old. We will do more research on sights later, but hoped those who know Dublin can help us figure out where to stay so that we’ll be central to the sights we may ultimately visit.

Thanks for all the insights you shared in response to my prior question. Dublin it is! We booked our flights, but have yet to plan the actual trip. Trip is 2/15-22/2020.

The main focus will be culture and history, rather than environment/sport/activities. We don’t have any personal connections to Ireland.

With those vague interests in mind, where in Dublin should we stay? Looking for neighborhoods/districts firstly, but would welcome actual hotel recommendations (hotels, not AirBnBs). We will not be hiring a car.

We’re flexible on pricing; we went cheap on accommodations on our last trip and, while not disastrous, we got what we paid for.

If you could share why/what sights are influencing your recommendations, that would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Admiral Haddock to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I took my then 6 and 9-year olds to Dublin a year and a half ago. We stayed in an apartment in Cow’s lane, kind of on the edge of Temple Bar. The apartment itself was so-so, and the neighborhood was sometimes loud at night (though it was summer and we had the windows open). The location was great though. We could walk to Trinity College, Dublin Castle, and the amazing archeology museum. There were tons of restaurants nearby. When we wanted to go farther afield we took one of the hop-on-hop-off tourist buses (the kids rode free with my ticket and they LOVED the double-deckerness).
posted by rebeccabeagle at 10:57 AM on November 14, 2019

Seconding the hop-on-hop-off tourist buses in Dublin. I got myself a ticket and it was a great way to see stuff and have a sense of how far things were while not getting wet on rainy days. I also recommend the DoDublin Card as a way of getting to experience lots of things easily (and it includes transport from the airport).

I stayed at Grafton Guesthouse and it was low-frills and pretty cheap, nothing exciting but perfectly adequate, and in a great location. It was pretty quiet (I was there Sunday through Friday and got a room that faced away from the street). The lodging included daily breakfast at a bar nearby, but it was very meat-heavy and I don't eat meat, so I opted instead to have breakfast at The Good Food Store and it was a good choice. Places in Dublin that I enjoyed visiting: Trinity College's long room (such a gorgeous library), Kilmainham Gaol (lots of history), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (across the street from Kilmainham), the General Post Office (I collect stamps and there's a great historical exhibit in the basement), St. Stephen's Green for walking and people-watching, Marsh's Library (18th century Enlightment library with a hilarious selfie corner), and Dubray Books (has a cute little second-floor cafe).
posted by wicked_sassy at 11:19 AM on November 14, 2019

I recently stayed at Abbey Court Hostel on the north side of the river, right by the O'Connell Monument. It turned out to be a sweet spot - a hop across the bridge to Temple Bar, quieter but not empty at night, lots of nearby shopping, right by the Airlink, both Luas lines and a tonne of buses. It's amazing how the tourist crowds disappeared on this side of the river. It's also a shopping area with lots of department stores.

Dublin is tiny, so I'd prioritise a quiet night. You can basically walk anywhere in the center in half an hour. I wouldn't recommend that hostel for a family, it's very bare-bones, but there's plenty of hotels in the area.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:30 AM on November 14, 2019

I am Irish, but have lived in the States for many years. I've finally reached the age where imposing on my friends in order to sleep on their floor when I go home for a visit is not hugely appealing, so I stay at Handels. Just on the edge of Temple Bar and Christchurch, it's as central as can be, and very nice, and the employees are super sweet. Nearby is the old stalwart, Jurys Inn, which I haven't stayed at in an age but which is part of a well-known and reliable workhorse of a chain of Irish hotels.

If you're in a museum-going mood, the Chester Beatty on the grounds of Dublin Castle is, in my opinion, the best museum in Dublin. That's a pretty high bar, you say? Yeah, I think it's that good. Plus, it's relatively small and so unlikely to really try the patience of any children along for the visit, and has a wonderful cafe. Another slightly lesser-known museum is IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which has genuinely world-class contemporary exhibits, is on incredible grounds, and is within an easy walk of the Heuston Train Station where a billion bus and Luas lines run (and I think the hop-on hop-off circle line stops right outside the museum itself, if you invest in tickets).

If you stay near Temple Bar, eat at The Queen of Tarts in Cow's Lane. It's stupendous, and ever so cozy.
posted by DSime at 12:10 PM on November 14, 2019

I either stay with family, or at a hotel near them when I’m back in Dublin, so I can’t really help with hotels. However, I would recommend staying fairly central, but avoiding Temple Bar itself. I wouldn’t suggest further west then about Christchurch, for example, and the Docklands can get pretty dead in the evenings and on weekends.

Further to some of the sights already mentioned, I think it might be midterm in Dublin that week too, so there will probably be children’s activities at the museums and art gallery. The National Museum of Ireland has 3 branches in Dublin - Natural History (including Irish Elk skeletons) , Archaeology (warning - depending on you and your kid, you may want to avoid the bog bodies), and Decorative Arts and History (includes historical costumes). The first two along with the National Gallery and the National Library are clustered together. Decorative History is in the former Collins Barracks best accessible by Luas (tram).

As an Irish person, I find it hard to say this, but the Leprechaun Museum is probably worth a visit. It’s more of a museum of legends and folklore in reality.

You may want to consider being not too far from a train station (Connolly/Tara Street/ Pearse, rather than Heuston, for clarity) so that you can take a day trip out of the city centre to e.g. Malahide Castle or south right along the coast to Killiney or Bray. Both Howth, originally a fishing village, and Dun Laoghaire (and its pier, the traditional place for a Sunday afternoon stroll for half of Dublin) are on the train as well.

posted by scorbet at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding avoiding staying in Temple Bar. Also anywhere near Busarus or Connolly Station.

I have never stayed but I have had drinks in the loinge of the Central Hotel on Wicklow Street near Grafton Street. It is very old school which might appeal.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:42 AM on November 15, 2019

We were in Dublin a couple years ago; stayed at the O'Callaghan Davenport Hotel. I posted this review on Trip Advisor:
Classy hotel. Decent size room; not a suite but plenty big enough. Very nice bathroom. Staff we had interactions with were very professional. The Leap Bus from the airport drops you off practically at the door. On one side of town, so there’s a bit of a walk to the night life area around Temple Bar. Seemed to be a variety of O’Callaghan properties in the neighborhood.

I'll second that Dublin is a pretty small city; we walked just about everywhere. The hotel is very close to Trinity College, so, yeah, the Book of Kells and the Long Room were highlights. We also made sure to visit the Oscar Wilde statue (didn't do his house), the National Gallery, and had a drink at Neary's, Peter O'Toole's hangout near the Globe Theater.
posted by Bron at 6:55 AM on November 15, 2019

Be mindful of the weather. February is still winter storm season here, and it's often wetter than the average month. But you could strike it lucky with a beautiful, sunny (if not necessarily warm) few spring days. Ah, the vagaries of a temperate oceanic climate.
posted by macdara at 4:59 AM on November 18, 2019

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