I’ve been to Dublin twice, and I’ve done a good mix of touristy things like the Guinness Storehouse Brewery tour and everyday activities, like exploring the parks.
I love Dublin. It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, yet it feels friendly and approachable.
The first trip I took with a friend, and we only had one day and two nights in Dublin. This last time I went back by myself for a 12-day solo tour of Ireland and had three days for Dublin, so I got to see more. There is so much to do, and I love the energy of Dublin.
- Phoenix Park: I stumbled into Phoenix Park by accident, trying to get to Dublin Zoo and getting off at the wrong bus stop (again!). My map navigated me to the zoo, but I spied the park off to my left, so I wandered in, and what a great surprise! This park is truly gorgeous. It was early morning, with the dew still on the grass and joggers making their way through on their morning run as I wandered around. This park is legendary; you can read more about it here. This park would be an excellent spot for a picnic!
- The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland: Glasnevin is just three kilometers from Dublin City Center. From the Botanic Gardens Website: “A premier scientific institution, the Gardens contain important collections of plant species and cultivars from all over the world and are famous for the exquisitely restored historic glasshouses.” I spent a half-day wandering around these grounds enjoying the different varieties of flora and watching families. The glasshouses are absolutely spectacular.
- The Dublin Zoo: I don’t often go to zoos when I’m traveling, but I was looking for outdoor activities, and the zoo is located pretty close to the botanical gardens, so I thought I would check it out, and I’m so glad I did! I enjoyed watching the families as much as the animals. The most significant difference I noted was the two-parent households, with their kids and often grandparents out with them as well! Everyone was well dressed for a day out; it felt very different, and it was really cool to see that cultural difference.
- Sophie Rooftop Bar: Located at the top of the Dean Hotel, this restaurant/bar boasts 360-degree views of Dublin. I popped in mid-afternoon on my first day in Dublin and managed to get a table without a reservation. A charming place with good food and unique cocktails, it was perfect for a late afternoon respite. I did not stay at The Dean, but it looks like a nice hotel with a fantastic lobby.
- The Long Hall: If you’re looking for a local hangout, I highly recommend The Long Hall. I used my Bumble (dating app) and met up with a local for some beers at The Long Hall, and it was a busy but cozy spot! As the name implies, it’s a long hall furnished with plush red upholstered furniture and dark wood.
- South Great George Street: I love wandering this area and looking at all the shops. It felt more authentic and less touristy than some of the other areas.
- The Whiskey Museum: Yes, it’s one of the touristy things to do. I found this place in 2016 on my first trip. It was a drizzly February weekday and the place was empty so we skipped the tour and went straight upstairs to the bar. It’s such a cozy, unique spot. The bartender was charming, of course, and knew his way around his whiskeys! I’d love to go back and do a tour; I love Irish whiskey. Of course, I had to get the Writers’ Tears. I still have the bottle I brought home this last trip!
- Trinity College Library: Another touristy spot but absolutely worth popping in. The ancient tomes on display, the impressive architecture, and the sheer volume of books make this a once-in-a-lifetime stop.
- Iveagh Gardens and Saint Stephens Green: I smelled the roses of Iveagh Gardens before I spotted them. I love the bustling city’s contrast with Dublin’s spectacular gardens. If you are into landscape architecture or horticulture, any of the parks will please you, but I loved this particular Victorian garden the best.
- Temple Bar area :Yes, it’s touristy, but if you want to see all of the teenagers in Dublin hanging out, head down to the riverfront near the Ha’Penny Bridge. The river Liffey separates the two sides of Dublin. I happened to be staying on the north side, but the real action is down on the south side! Walking this area day or night, you’ll get a sense of the energy Dublin exudes. It’s a busy city, with lots of things going on!
Overall, I think you could easily spend weeks in Dublin and not get bored in the least. There is much to see in this country, and every city has its own vibe. If you want to explore more of it, check out our 12 Days Solo in Ireland blog!
However you decide to see Ireland, it is one of the easiest countries to visit as a solo female traveler, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular!