A City Guide to Dublin, Ireland

A city of stories and scribes, but also Intel chips and innovation, Dublin inspires both artistic minds and ambitious entrepreneurs. Here’s how to navigate both banks of the Liffey

Small in size but big in character, Dublin has creativity in spades - as evidenced by its prolific scribes, tech-heads and imaginative artists past and present. Today, the city's hunger for originality explodes not just as rich cultural pickings but also in an innovative entrepreneurial scene, a double-headed allure that's seen the city's population swell as techies and creatives decamp to the Liffey's banks.

The popular European city-break destination has long pulled in visitors enamoured by its well-stocked bars and welcoming inhabitants. Its success has bred the Guinness Storehouse, the stag dos and the shamrock-dressed frivolity, but we'd venture that one has to dig deeper to discover the city's true character.

Pass through the capital's contemporary and historical centre, eyeing up Dublin-Georgian architectural elegance as you venture down towards the river, and you'll encounter Liffey-side addresses - from fringe theatres to quirky cafés - that offer an alternative view of the Irish capital. In recent years, the restaurant scene has had something of a homegrown renaissance, picking up on the creativity that ripples across this buoyant city, as well as the warm hospitality of its much-loved pubs, to carve out a distinctly European ethos, found in cafés, bistros and fine-dining joints across its quarters. Likewise, many of the city's plethora of independent bookstores and independent shops sit away from the arterial thoroughfares. This is a walkable city, best explored on foot, allowing you to dip into side streets with ease, discovering all its quirks.

Portrait of a city: a complete guide to Dublin, Ireland

A bedroom at guesthouse Number 31 in Dublin


Number 31

Hidden behind an ivy-covered door off Leeson Street, Number 31 is a modernist mews dreamed up by architect Sam Stephenson. An aesthetically pleasing city retreat, its design is a masterclass in contemporary style. Afternoons (and early evenings) are best spent relaxing in the 1970s-inspired sunken living room in view of the fireplace, cocktail in hand. The 21 bedrooms, spread across two buildings, are all uniquely designed. Sam's Room, which gives off hygge vibes, is always a popular pick.


31 Leeson Cl, Dublin 2, D02 CP70

Living space at The Westbury


The Westbury

Something of a Dublin institution, The Westbury is ideally located for those in town for a weekend (or more) of exploring, sitting off Grafton Street - Dublin's main shopping hub. Stop for lunch at the hotel's 1930s-inspired eatery, WILDE, feasting on dishes spanning superfood salads to chateaubriand. For something more low-key, head to Balfes for a caffeine hit (or something stronger); a cocktail at first-floor Sidecar is also a smart move. There are 205 guest rooms, of which 27 are suites, offering cavernous bathtubs, sumptuous bedding and captivating Irish art. Splurge on the Presidential Suite, which comes with its own bar and XL bathroom (private sauna and steam room included).


Balfe St, Dublin 2, D02 CH66

A bed at The Alex, Dublin


The Alex

One for Dublin's cool kids, The Alex is a central boutique hotel akin to London's buzzier stays - think Soho House or The Hoxton. Bedrooms are spacious, finished with retro furnishings (that nod to the 1950s) and works by local artists. Downstairs, a light-filled co-working space (planted bam-smack in the middle of the lobby) offers guests and the city's creative set somewhere to bash out emails, charge up devices and sip on coffee from Steam Café. For something stronger, head to The Carriage for a sharpener before heading out for the evening.


41-47 Fenian St, Dublin 2, D02 H678

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