A friend of mine recently moved to Dublin from Edinburgh. The silver lining of this is that it gave me the perfect excuse to spend a weekend in Dublin visiting her and exploring the city! It’s somewhere that has long been on my bucket-list (particularly given its many literary connections!) so I couldn’t wait to take her up on her invitation to stay.
Before I left, I put a little shout-out on Instagram for recommendations and was inundated with the most amazing suggestions! We didn’t get to do everything on the list this time, but it’s so easy to fly from Edinburgh to Dublin that I’m sure I’ll be heading back again soon. I’ll try and include as many of the recommendations in this post as I can for anyone visiting soon!
“…I live in Ireland every day in a drizzly dream of a Dublin walk…”—
Dublin in October
I spent the weekend in Dublin in mid-October which meant that the city was ablaze with the most beautiful autumnal colours. It also meant we had some shockingly bad weather on Saturday (think constant heavy rain all day) but the colours and crisp autumnal sunshine on Sunday more than made up for that. I would definitely recommend visiting in the late-autumn. The crowds were thinner and we were able to really see the city at its finest!
Trinity College was one of the most highly recommended places to see. Particularly the Long Room in Trinity’s library, but I’ll get to that later…
Trinity is one of those campuses that just makes you long to be a student there. Even in the pouring rain, the main quad is so grand and beautiful that I was immediately nostalgic for my student years. It’s the sort of place that just resonates history, learning and that relentless pursuit of knowledge. Maybe I’m getting poetic, but the grandeur really struck me and I’m infinitely jealous of any Trinity students out there! We had a good mooch around the campus, admiring all the autumn leaves and seeking out hidden corners.
The Long Room at Trinity Library
This place has been on my bucket list for longer than I can remember. As a literature graduate, bibliophile and helpless bookworm, the idea of standing in one of the world’s most impressive libraries basically has me weak at the knees.
Before I went I’d seen so many incredible photos of the Long Room that I just knew it could never live up to my expectations. Especially when you add in the crowds of visitors that we were bound to share it with… I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Long Room at Trinity Library is, hands down, one of the best, most awe-inspiring places I’ve ever been. It’s HUGE (65 metres long, to be exact) and looks like it would be more at home in the world of Harry Potter than Dublin. There were crowds, yes, but the room was still quiet. You know that sort of reverential hush that libraries tend to illicit? It was like that. Quiet, calm, and utterly magnificent. If you’re a bookworm, go. If you’re a fan of architecture, go. In fact, just go.
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”—Jorge Luis Borges
Advice on Visiting the Long Room
- To access the Long Room you have to buy tickets to the Book of Kells exhibition (which is certainly worth seeing in it’s own right!) You can book tickets online in advance which I’d probably recommend doing as I’d imagine the queues in this place can get incredibly busy during peak times!
- There will be crowds. It’s best to just accept that and not fight against it, but the room is more than large enough to fit everyone and you’re not rushed round. Take your time, see everything, take your photos and just enjoy!
- The library is at its quietest first thing in the morning and right before closing so try and time your visit accordingly.
- Photographers, be prepared for low (extremely yellow) light!
“When in doubt, go to the library.”—J. K. Rowling
From James Joyce and W. B. Yeats to Oscar Wilde, Dublin is a bit of a literary playground. I wanted to see and do as many literary-related things as possible during our weekend in Dublin and luckily my friend is similarly book-obsessed. As well as its connections to famous authors, Dublin has so many amazing bookshops. We spent plenty of time browsing the shelves in Hodges Figgis and The Winding Stair. We didn’t make it to Chapters this time, but that’ll be top of the list for my next visit!
Seeing the Long Room was my priority for this trip, but I also really wanted to pay my respects to the statue of Oscar Wilde outside his childhood home at 1 Merrion Square. It helps that Merrion Square is one of the most photogenic parts of Dublin too! If you’re a fan of Georgian architecture then you will love a stroll round this part of town. There are so many beautiful doorways that I actually lost count (and came away with a full camera roll!) Be sure to check out the fabulous Instagram account @TheDoorsofDublin for a bit of #doortrait inspiration.
We finished up our weekend in Dublin with a wander through the Temple Bar area, a (half!) pint of Guinness in one of the many pubs (when in Dublin, right?). Before heading home, we took a walk over the famous Ha’penny Bridge. Not literary, but definitely lovely!
Instagram is so wonderful for recommendations. If you’re reading this and you sent me a tip, or a restaurant suggestion, or advice on where to go thank you so much! We tried to visit as many as possible and it made such a difference to our weekend. I couldn’t visit everywhere this time, but below is a list of the most frequently suggested places. I’ll be checking back next time I go for sure!
What to see in Dublin
- Trinity Library/The Book of Kells
- Trinity College Campus
- Merrion Square
- St Stephen’s Green
- Iveagh Gardens
- The Guinness Factory Tour
- Dublin Castle
- Phoenix Park
- Howth (not in Dublin – but a lovely place to day trip to)
- Chester Beatty Library
- Ann’s Lane (the most Instagrammable street, covered in umbrellas!)
Where to eat in Dublin
- The Winding Stair
- The Bank Bar (for cocktails)
- Meet Me in the Morning
- Bunsen (amazing burgers!)
- Queen of Tarts
- Hatch & Sons
Do you have anywhere you’d like to add to this list? Leave me a comment below!