There is no need to buy a postcard in this tiny country, the aged landscape, exotic foods and quirky people will provide plenty of photo opportunities better than you ever imagined. If you are considering a holiday in Dublin, make sure to visit these tips for a wonderful trip.

Things to see and do

Trinity College

Ireland’s most prestigious university, founded by Elizabeth I, also happens to house one of the city’s most attractive and historic real estate. Retreat to this calm campus and take a student-led walking tour, or simply see the sights on your own. Stop by one of the many libraries to see one of the world’s most famous and most beautiful books, the Book of Kells.

Kilmainham Gaol

If you are interested in learning about Irish history and the Irish path to independence, take a tour of this former prison. This is the largest unoccupied building of its kind in Europe and a visit will give you an audio-visual overview of the country’s history and a guided tour of the prison. The tour finishes in the gloomy yard where many Irish leaders throughout history were executed. Kilmainham Gaol tour spots fill up quickly and cannot be booked in advance, so we recommend making your way here first thing in the morning.

Chester Beatty Library

Located in the grounds of Dublin Castle, this world-famous library houses more than 20,000 manuscripts, rare books, clay tables, miniature paintings and costumes. Stop by to look around on your own or take in one of the regular specialist workshops, exhibitions and talks in the library. Take a trip to the roof to visit the Japanese garden or to the ground floor for a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine at the Silk Road Café.

Old Jameson Distillery

No trip to Dublin would be complete without a sip of uisce beatha, or the water of life—which commoners might know to be whiskey. Old Jameson Distillery is one of the most famous and renowned distillers, and a trip to the grounds gives an introduction to the history and culture of this potent drink. Guided tours run every 35 minutes and conclude in the gift shop, where you can find many whiskeys not available at home.

Croke Park

Ireland’s largest stadium (and the fourth-largest stadium in Europe) is home to the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Gaelic games. The architecture is magnificent and the stadium offers twice-daily tours (except on match days).

Seasonality

Like most European countries, it is best to visit Ireland between June and mid-September. During these months, the weather is at its best, but accommodates are also at their highest (especially in August). The low season runs from November to February. From October to Easter things are pretty quiet in Ireland. Many businesses have reduced opening hours and some destinations shut down altogether. The weather is also cold and wet during these months and fog can reduce visibility.

Essential information

If you’re looking to visit one of the world’s best travel destinations, keep these notes in mind. From Belfast to the Gap of Dunloe, this information is good throughout Ireland:

  • Australian citizens can visit the Republic of Ireland for up to three months and Northern Ireland for up to six months. Aussies are not allowed to work in Ireland unless they are sponsored by an employer. To stay longer in the Republic of Ireland, contact the local police station or the Garda National Immigration Bureau. To stay longer in Northern Ireland, you can contact the Home Office.
  • There are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland. Healthcare is often good, but Australia does not have a reciprocal health agreement with Ireland, so it is important you purchase travel health insurance before you depart.
  • Public intoxication, while technically illegal, is commonplace and often ignored by police. Do understand your travel insurance policy before departing, though, as not all policies are valid while intoxicated. Illegal drugs are popular in Dublin, especially in clubs. While possession of a small quantity of marijuana may only attract a fine or warning, harder drugs are treated more seriously.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jirka Matousek; cropped from original