5 must-sees on a short break in Dublin

Thursday, 15 March 2012 7:40 AM

Dublin is the perfect destination for a short break, with the bustling Irish capital offering something for people of all interests and ages. Whether you're enjoying a romantic getaway or jetting off for the weekend with your family, you'll have an amazing time exploring the sights.

There's so much to see and do, though, that fitting everything in could be a bit of a struggle, particularly if you rely on trains and buses to get you from A to B. Book car hire at Dublin Airport, and you'll have the means to start exploring this vibrant city immediately. Here's a rundown of five must-see places that you ought to visit.

Dublin Zoo

A trip to Dublin Zoo is an exciting prospect for any animal lover and as it is officially the biggest family attraction in Ireland, it truly is not to be missed.

Opened in 1831, this is one of the oldest zoos in the world and today you can see more than 600 animals - including many endangered species - living in a 28 hectare park of lakes, gardens and other natural habitats. Giraffes, lemurs and flamingos are just some of the exotic creatures that live here.

Phoenix Park

Dublin Zoo lies within Phoenix Park and it is worth spending some time exploring the rest of the recreational space either before or after a visit to the zoo. As one of the largest parks in Europe - measuring some 707 hectares - it provides plenty of room for kids to run around in and for couples to go on romantic walks.

Among the many sights to be found here is the Wellington Testimonial - which at 62 m tall is the biggest obelisk in the continent - and the Victorian People's Flower Gardens, which comprises ornamental lakes and manicured flowerbeds. In the centre of the park is the Phoenix Monument, a column that was erected by the Earl of Chesterfield in 1747.

Dublin Castle

Dating back to 1204, Dublin Castle has long played a vital role in Ireland's history and to this day hosts many state occasions, including the inauguration of the president.

Reaching the castle in a hire car could not be easier - there're several public parking areas close by - and from the minute you head inside and explore you'll learn more about Dublin's past. Visit the gothic revival Chapel Royal, which features fine plaster decoration and ornately carved galleries, before taking a tour of the state apartments and medieval undercroft.

National Gallery

A must-visit for any culture vulture, the National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square West is home to thousands of works, some of which date back to the 13th century.

Sculptures, paintings and drawings can all be seen here, and with the gallery regularly hosting temporary exhibitions there is always something new and exciting to take in. Picasso, Monet and Rembrandt are just some of the famous artists whose pieces you will find in the institution's permanent collection. Admission to the gallery is free and as it's open seven days a week, incorporating a trip here on a short break couldn't be easier.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness is undoubtedly one of Ireland's most well-known exports and in visiting the Guinness Storehouse, situated on St James's Gate, you will find out how the iconic drink is made. A Guinness ambassador will show you how to pour the perfect pint and upon reaching the Gravity Bar at the top of the structure you'll be afforded wonderful panoramic views of Dublin.

Malahide Castle is said to be haunted

Haunted Dublin

As the summer comes to an end and the nights start to close in, the mind is automatically drawn to the next event in the calendar - Halloween. And there is no better way to mark the occasion than to explore the ghostly establishments of somewhere new.

Dublin is a great short break destination

Best cities in Ireland and Northern Ireland for a weekend break

Take your pick from one of these amazing Irish cities for a great weekend away.

Enjoy a short break in Dublin

Ensure you get the full Irish experience on a Dublin holiday

When it comes to getting an authentic taste of Ireland, there really is nowhere quite like Dublin. As the country's capital and biggest city, it offers the perfect blend of traditional and contemporary culture. In the same way to other big European cities - such as London and Paris - Dublin has all the amenities you need to have a relaxing break, but there's more than enough scope to have some craic too!

Visit Dublin on a cruise around the UK

Top things to see and do in Dublin on a UK cruise

If you're planning on go on a cruise around the UK, make sure you choose an itinerary that features Dublin. This vibrant Irish city is packed with attractions, which means there are a host of great options for fun on-shore excursions. Learn about some of the top things to see and do here below.

Make new friends with a singles holiday

Feature: Short-breaks for solo travellers

Solo travel has become increasingly popular over recent years and numerous tour organisers have responded by creating a range of two day to two week group trips, meaning you can travel alone but also be guaranteed the opportunity of meeting new folk.

Pick up unique items at one of Dublin's markets

A guide to Dublin's markets

For plenty of people taking a short break is a great opportunity to do a bit of shopping. We are not talking about heading to the high street and stepping through the automatic doors of establishments that can be found anywhere in the UK, we mean a different kind of retail therapy.

Explore Ireland's nature with a road trip

A road trip around County Dublin's natural attractions

Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle due to its lush green landscape, so where better to embark on a road trip to explore the best that nature has to offer? Branching out from the stunning city of Dublin you will find lots of parks and gardens to delight you and blow away those cobwebs.

Cork has many fine dining options

The top 5 reasons to holiday in Cork

If you have always fancied taking a long weekend in Ireland, but are not sure which corner of the country to head to, make sure you book holidays in Cork. The city is a lot further south than Dublin and is packed with just as much culture and beautiful scenery.

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam


This week IdealShortBreaks.co.uk is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?