When traveling abroad, quite a few people recoil at the words ‘tourist trap.’ In fairness, most of the popular attractions at the biggest tourist destinations tend to be a bit pricey, but it certainly doesn’t mean they are not worth seeing. They’re popular for a reason! I’ve put together a list of common tourist attractions that will make memorable impressions and enrich the overall Dublin experience, allowing you to embrace tourism in Dublin.
The famous street that Ed Sheeran sings about is known for being a hotspot for buskers and street performers. It’s a lovely walk right by the city center, with many little side streets to explore, full of shops, pubs, and restaurants. Grafton Street is first on this list because no matter how many times I make this walk, I always feel the need to go back and do it all over again.
This place is notorious for their overpriced drinks, and you’re unlikely to find any Dublin locals in there with you. It’s right in the heart of Temple Bar Area, a touristy hub right by Dublin’s famous River Liffey. Though I wouldn’t recommend going in for more than a pint, Temple Bar has traditional live music almost every night, and large crowds of people to go along with it. If you don’t feel like dancing, Temple Bar is divided into quite a few different seating areas, so you’re free to roam around and explore.
Book of Kells – Trinity College
This is probably one of Dublin’s most famous attractions; even on weekdays, the lines to see it extend out the door. The Book of Kells describes the four gospels of the New Testament, but even if you aren’t religious, it’s an amazing opportunity to see such a well-preserved historically relevant book. Trinity College, where the Book of Kells and the Trinity Library are located, is not only a beautiful campus, it’s also located in a wonderful area that’s easy to explore.
Guinness is one of Ireland’s most iconic drinks, and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Paudric, a Dubliner I met one of my first nights in a pub right off Grafton Street can attest to this; he admitted that he drinks Guinness so often that it’s begun to taste like coffee. The Guinness Factory is definitely worth a visit, even for those that don’t like beer. Unlike the previous attractions on this list, the Guinness Factory isn’t right in the city center, but it is accessible by bus or the Luas (Dublin’s tram). It’s a self-guided tour of the history of Guinness and its production process, and you may take however long you like exploring whatever you like. To top it all off, the tour includes a pint of Guinness at the rooftop bar, where you have a 360º view of Dublin. Slainté (cheers)!
While abroad, I’ve learned very quickly that tourist attractions and tourist traps are not the same thing. Every one of these experiences has made me love Dublin more and more, and I would recommend them to anyone who came to visit. Whether your stay is long or short, the close proximity of these tourist destinations makes Dublin a place you can fully experience, even in limited time. Embracing every touristy part of the city isn’t exactly the advice I pictured myself giving when I began studying abroad, but I’ve definitely been convinced by the attractions this city has to offer.
Julia Woodruff is a Psychology major at Purdue University and is studying abroad with IFSA at University College Dublin in Ireland in Spring 2019. She is an International Correspondent for IFSA through the Work-To-Study Program.