Choosing the right place to stay in Dublin will make all the difference to your trip. Use this insider’s guide to the city’s main neighborhoods to book the best Dublin hotel for you.
In central Dublin, just south of the River Liffey, Temple Bar’s 18th-century cobblestoned streets are a hedonistic whirl at weekends. Catch a movie at the Irish Film Institute or immerse yourself in old Dublin at the Gallery of Photography. Meeting House Square hosts the weekend food market. West is Christ Church Cathedral, close to where the Vikings first settled, and on the way is the sprawling Dublin Castle. Further west are the red-brick terraces of the Liberties neighborhood.
East of Temple Bar is Trinity College’s sprawling statue-studded campus and the white colonnaded Bank of Ireland. South is Dublin’s shopping hub, around Grafton Street and Nassau Street.
South of Trinity College, linked by Grafton Street, is St Stephen’s Green, its 22 acres of landscaped lawns loved by locals on sunny days. West is Merrion Square, where Dublin’s iconic doorways lend character to the elegant Georgian houses. Close by is the majestic Leinster House parliament building. West is Grand Canal for leafy waterfront walks to Portobello’s neat Victorian red-brick terraces. Further south, upmarket restaurants and hotels dot leafy suburban Ballsbridge.
North of the River Liffey, O’Connell Street, filled with shops, is graced with statues of Dublin luminaries. Halfway along is the landmark General Post Office building, the centre of the Easter Rising in 1916. Museums line the northern end. A westbound walk on the riverside Liffey Boardwalk passes the Italian Quarter‘s alfresco cafés at Ormond Quay, and the 18th-century Four Courts. Once unfashionable, the Northside now buzzes with bars and an eclectic mix of multicultural restaurants, especially around Parnell Street.
At the eastern end of the River Liffey’s north bank, bordering the renovated Docklands, the glittering IFSC is home to Ireland’s financial powerhouses. Between it and the neo-classical Custom House, the startling life-size famine sculpture marks the spot where migrants sailed away to escape poverty. To the north, George’s Dock’s refurbished warehouses house boutique-filled malls with waterfront wine bars at Customs House Quay. Further east, the O2 entertainment venue (which has replaced the old Point Theatre) draws thousands for major live events.
Hugging Dublin Bay, this charming coastal neighborhood is only a 20-minute journey by DART train southeast from central Dublin. The car ferry from Liverpool docks here and the two huge piers are a favourite promenading point. Further southeast is the cosy bathing spot of Sandycove, and nearby is the Martello Tower, a centuries-old defence fortification, now home to the James Joyce Museum.