Weekend break in Ireland: 10 things every visitor to Dublin should do

St Patrick’s Day is on March 17, and where better to celebrate than Dublin? Here’s our must-see guide to Ireland’s capital city.

Go green this St Patrick’s Day and tick off some of Dublin’s unmissable sights and experiences…

1. The Guinness Storehouse

Raise a glass to St Paddy at the famous pint-shaped home of Guinness, which produces an incredible 10 million pints every day. It has an interactive experience on the history of the famous stout – and a chance to sup at the seventh floor bar which offers 360-degree views of the city.

2. The Book of Kells

One of the most beautifully illustrated manuscripts in the world, kept under lock and key at Trinity College Dublin, these 680 pages of vellum contain the four gospels in Latin and were written in about 800 AD by Irish monks.

3. Phoenix Park/Dublin Zoo

Dublin boasts the largest inner city park in Europe – Phoenix Park is twice the size of New York’s Central Park and five times bigger than Hyde Park in London. It’s home to Dublin Zoo, which boasts giraffes, zebras, tigers, hippos, monkeys, red pandas and a herd of Asian elephants. It was also home to the original roaring lion mascot from Hollywood studio MGM, who was actually called Cairbre and born at the zoo in 1927.

[Read more: St Patrick's Day: 6 people we didn’t know were Irish]

4. The National Leprechaun Museum

For animals of a different kind altogether, head to this museum, dedicated to Irish folklore and mythology, at the heart of the city. You’re led around the interactive experiences with a guide to discover what it’s like beneath the rocks at Giant’s Causeway and if there’s really a crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.

5. Bono and The Edge’s hotel

If you want to experience Dublin like an A-lister, stay at the luxurious Clarence Hotel. Owned by Irish superstars, Bono and The Edge of world-renowned rock group, U2, it’s one of Booking.com’s most requested Dublin hotels, receiving 8.6/10.

6. St Valentine’s remains

Romantics might be surprised to hear that the remains of St. Valentine, the patron saint of love are not to be found in Rome or Paris, but in the Whitefriar Street Church.

7. One of the world’s oldest pubs

Officially Ireland’s oldest pub, the legendary Brazen Head dates back to 1168 and famous patrons have included James Joyce himself. A short walk from Christchurch Cathedral, the pub is both a historic landmark and one of Dublin’s best venues for Irish music.

8. Dublin’s secret garden

In spite of its city centre location, Iveagh Gardens remains one of the Dublin’s least known public spaces. Filled with grottos, waterfalls, exotic trees and even a maze – Iveagh Gardens is still one of the city’s greenest and best kept secrets.

9. Whiskey at Bowe’s Lounge

One of Dublin’s last remaining Victorian pubs, Bowe’s Lounge on Fleet Street is an authentic Irish drinking hole brimming with old-world charm as well as over 100 whiskeys from around the globe. The Old Jameson Distillery is also worth a visit if whiskey’s your tipple.

10. The National Gallery of Ireland

Today, the National Gallery of Ireland's collection includes more than 2,500 paintings and some 10,000 other works in different media including watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture. Every major European School of painting is extensively represented. It also houses a renowned collection of Irish paintings. The gallery's highlights include works by Vermeer, Caravaggio, Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet.

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