- Cityscape Georgian splendour
- City life Live and let live
A small riverside city with a big gushing heart, this historic Irish hub is beloved for its pubs, its U2 and Dracula connections (author Bram Stoker was born here), and its general joie de vivre.
Dublin’s young and energetic population ensures there’s always a buzz in the air, and the city has no shortage of new bars, restaurants and boutiques to keep Liffey-side life full of surprises. Enjoy the 'craic' and a singsong over a pint of Guinness, wander the streets and take in the gorgeous Georgian architecture, or visit some of the many-splendoured museums and art galleries. Just outside town, seasidey Howth provides succour for those who prefer to stray far from the madding crowd; but you’ll find the magnetic draw of Dublin’s upbeat urban spirit – and the desire to stay for another convivial evening draped over a glass or two – impossible to resist…
Do go/Don’t go
Dublin is a year-round destination, but winter and early spring can be very, very cold and very, very wet.
Planes Ryanair alone operates flights to Dublin from 17 airports around the UK (www.ryanair.com). A multitude of full-service carriers – including BMI (www.flybmi.com) and Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com) – operate direct services from major UK cities. A taxi from the airport is around €35. Dublin Airport Arrival Private Transfer will whisk you to your hotel in style for around €60. The price is for the vehicle | not per person | so isn’t much more expensive than queuing for a cab if you’re in a group (www.affiliate.viator.com).
Boats The most direct driving route to Dublin from the UK involves taking a car ferry from either Holyhead – a route operated by both Stena Line (www.stenaline.co.uk) and Irish Ferries (www.irishferries.com), which crossing times starting at under two hours – or from Liverpool with P&O (www.poirishsea.com).
Trains You can travel to Dublin from any rail station in Britain without flying, on a combined ‘rail and sail’ ticket; the journey includes the sea link from Holyhead in north Wales. Depending on the connecting ferry service, the London-to-Dublin trip takes upwards of seven hours (www.nationalrail.co.uk).
Automobiles Parking is limited and the drive into the city can take ages | particularly if you don’t know where you’re going. Stick to cabs. Unless you’re combining your city break with a stay in the countryside | you certainly won’t need a car; and if you don’t want to fly | you’re far better off getting there by train (see above). Watch out for place names if you’re driving: most are bilingual | but some are only in Gaelic. We were lost in the country once and were advised to 'keep on the road you’re on and you’ll end up somewhere'. And sure enough | we did!
- Taxis There are as many taxis as pubs in Dublin (look out for the yellow taxi roof sign and the licence number) and fares are metered. Find one at one of the many ranks, or hail one in the street. Hackney cabs are just like taxis (ie: they’re licenced), but you need to ring for one.