Dublin locals are as friendly and funny as their reputation suggests, and their pubs, music and story-telling traditions are unmatched. But prepare to be surprised, too: Dublin overflows with first-rate cliché-busting diversions, from blockbuster books to world-class art.
Icelandair offers cheap flights to Dublin from the USA and Canada for some mighty craic (that's a handy local word for good times and a laugh, and it's pronounced 'crack') dished up all year round.
Before (or after?) you hit the pubs, care to detox with a soak in the Blue Lagoon? When you book flights to Dublin with Icelandair, you can add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
All of Irish history and heart is on show in Dublin, from grand cathedrals to storied prisons, and from gilt-edged gems to Guinness brewing magic. Make a beeline for Trinity College to explore the grounds of this prestigious, 425-year-old university. The Book of Kells lives here - this religious manuscript may just be the world's oldest book (dating from around 800 AD) and its illustrations are otherworldly.
Bookworms can trace the steps of literary heroes like Joyce, Beckett, and Wilde. Art lovers can seek out museums and galleries, and everyone can enjoy city strolls to appreciate the green squares, cobbled streets, and Georgian architectural elegance. Needless to say, you're almost obliged to check out local life in all its glory in one (or many) of the time-honored pubs.
Care to investigate lyrically named traditional dishes such as boxty, colcannon and champ? You'll meet potatoes in various guises, but you'll also find stylish places offering farm-to-table experiences with high-quality meats and seafood. Don't miss soda bread, and sample the Irish cheeses. Come dinnertime there are plenty of cheery, tourist-leaning offerings in Temple Bar, and some smart dining around Merrion Square, in the alleys off Grafton Street, and in Southside's Ranelagh.
You'll want to dedicate some time to Dublin's celebrated pub culture - the city is home to more than 1000 drinking dens. Many places serve food to accompany the free-flowing Guinness and Irish whiskey. Plus: enjoy timeless decor, friendly locals, tall tales, and invariably some live music too. Sláinte! (Cheers!)
It may be a trick of the eye, but we think the greens really are greener here (Ireland's not called the Emerald Isle for nothing). The countryside is a super-photogenic assortment of rugged coastline, lush fields, rolling hills, and moody castles and abbeys. In amongst the natural beauty are sweet little villages where life moves slowly and there's always time for a friendly chat. Take a road trip and visit places whose names sound like a song: the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, Kilkenny and Limerick.
From Dublin, perfect excursions include a foray to the fishing village of Howth; it's just 9 miles up the road, and perfect for seafood lunches and scenic walks. There's also Glendalough, 33 miles south - home to monastic ruins in a supremely lovely setting.