Often hailed as one of the friendliest cities in the world, Dublin is now making its name as a great place for a long weekend. But creating an itinerary from scratch about a place you barely know can seem daunting. This is where Divento’s itinerary planner comes in: all you have to do is put in your preferences for the kind of things you like to see and do, plus the dates of your trip, and it’ll suggest a route for you to discover the city. If you don’t like the look of something, it’s easy to shift it around, swap it for something else or simply delete it, even when you’re on the go. We used the itinerary planner to organise the following 3-day trip around Ireland’s capital.
By Emma Rutter
Divento suggests that you start your visit in the north of the city at the Hugh Lane Gallery. Opened by Sir Hugh Lane in 1908, it focuses on modern art with a particular penchant for Irish artists. It had the first impressionist paintings in any public collection across Britain and Ireland when it opened.
Exit the gallery and cross the road to your next stop, the Garden of Remembrance. It was built in memory of all the men who fought for Irish freedom in different rebellions, from 1798 right through to 1916. Spend a few minutes here, then head out of the garden and follow your Divento itinerary down towards O’Connell Street. As you go, look right to see the General Post Office, which served as a headquarters for Irish nationalists during the Easter Rising. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls. Keep walking and look out for the Jim Larkin statue and O’Connell Monument further down the street, both marked on your itinerary map. These two men were important figures in Irish history: Larkin set up trade unions for workers in 1914, and Daniel O’Connell campaigned for the right for Catholics to sit in Westminster in the 19th century.
When you get to the river, turn right. Walk up the road until you get to Ha’penny Bridge, which is a little cast-iron bridge built in 1816. You used to have to pay a ha’penny if you wanted to cross, but it’s now free, meaning you have an extra penny or two to spend on lunch in the café-bookshop, The Winding Stair, just opposite.
Follow your map along to the Molly Malone statue, and head down Grafton Street, the city’s central shopping district. The next stop on the Divento itinerary is the Little Museum of Dublin. As the name would suggest, it’s a tiny little place with lots of artefacts donated from locals, like letters written by James Joyce and an exhibition on the well-loved Irish rock band, U2. If you’ve nothing planned for tonight, be sure to ask about the City of a Thousand Welcomes programme, which connects visitors to local Dublin “ambassadors” who’ll take you out for a drink (soft or otherwise) and tell you about the city.
The best way to get the lowdown on Irish history is at Kilmainham Gaol, which is recommended by Divento on today’s itinerary. The prison was built in 1796 and, having been converted into a museum, now has objects from the people who were held prisoner there over the years, including personal items from leaders of the 1916 Rising. Make sure to book tickets for a guided tour.
It’s quite possible you’ll be feeling a bit claustrophobic after your trip to Kilmainham Gaol; it is a prison, after all. So, next up on the itinerary is a gentle stroll and picnic in Phoenix Park, 1,750 acres in size. You can spend all day here if it’s nice, but if it rains (highly likely given you’re in Ireland), just switch around some of tomorrow’s activities in your itinerary planner. However, if the sun is out, you can wander around the hills and try to spot the local herds of deer that roam there, or search for a couple of key monuments and buildings. (Double-check the Divento map if you’re having trouble!) Try looking for the Wellington Testimonial, the largest obelisk in Europe, which was built to commemorate the victories of the 1st Duke of Wellington, who was born in Dublin. It’s a good place for a picnic if the grass is too damp to sit on. If you walk a bit further on, you’ll find the Magazine Fort, where the first shots of the Easter Rising were fired. Then pop into the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, based at Ashtown Castle and Demesne, for a bit of a rest and a caffeine hit at their café. If you want to visit the Áras an Uachtaráin (President’s House), which is also in the Park, you’ll need to buy your tickets here.
Today Divento suggests starting off in Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university and one of the best-regarded universities in Europe. You mustn't miss a visit to their famous library, which is the permanent home of the Book of Kells, an illuminated 9th-century manuscript in Latin containing the four gospels of the New Testament.
Pop next door to the National Gallery of Ireland, which has an extensive collection of works by impressionist painter Jack B Yeats, plus a Caravaggio masterpiece and other works by European artists like Turner, Vermeer and Velásquez.
You’ll probably be feeling peckish by this point, and Avoca, just across the road, is the best place for lunch. Their seasonal menus make the most of local Irish produce and are known across the country for their quality and great flavours. Make sure to look at their blankets, scarves and clothing, all produced at their mill outside the city.
It’s just a 10 minute walk to Divento’s next suggested stop, Dublin Castle. It was the seat of English and British rule in Ireland for almost 700 years. Book a ticket to see the State Apartments, including St Patrick’s Hall, the room used for inaugurating the President, and some of the State artwork on display.
It’s about time to wrap up your trip. There’s no better way to do so than by tasting one of Ireland’s most famous exports: Guinness. Hop on the bus and in 10 minutes you’ll find yourself in front of the Guinness Storehouse, a multimedia experience introducing you to the history of the beloved dark beer. You can book a ticket via the handy link on Divento.com, and there’s a free drink included in the price. Raise a glass to your trip with the words of the traditional Irish toast: Sláinte!