Insider Tips

Dublin: A Vibrant City

By Visit Dublin

12th July 2018

Like most modern cities, Dublin can be divided up into various sectors or quarters, helping you to find the things that interest you with ease.

Read our guide to the city's segments, from unmissable cultural and historical gems to tech and party hotspots...

Medieval Quarter

This is the oldest part of the city, encompassing the area around Dublin Castle, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral and taking in the old city walls. Part of the original Dubh Linn settlement, this area became the hub of the Vikings in Dublin and remnants of this time in history are still visible. Start your trip to Dublin with a deeper understanding of the city’s ancient history by taking a step back in time at Dublinia, and explore the medieval features of the area. 

If hunger hits while exploring the past, Dublin institution Burdock’s Fish and Chip shop should fit the bill. Located on Werburgh Street, just around the corner from Christ Church Cathedral, Burdock’s has a special place in the hearts of Dubliners and is popular with visitors to the city, even famous ones.

Motion blur cyclist passing Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Antique Quarter

After exploring medieval Dublin you may be in the mood to sniff out some souvenirs from bygone days. Lucky for you, Dublin’s Antique Quarter is right next door. Just off High Street, the Francis Street area of the city has an abundance of antique, art and collectible stores offering hours of browsing to all fanatics. From fireplaces to fine art, this area has it all and it’s all for sale. Dust the cobwebs off your wallet and invest in something that will bring you and your family pleasure for centuries or just immerse yourself in the smell of old books and the feel of cracked leather for an hour.

If all the poking about in antiques makes you peckish, meander up neighbouring Meath Street to grab a tasty lunch or a perfectly-brewed coffee in LEGIT Coffee Co. — or continue your stroll up and around the corner to Thomas Street for a sweet treat at The Dublin Cookie Company.  

The Liberties

On this trail you’ll also pay a visit to the Liberties, a real authentic slice of ‘old Dublin’ that has to be seen to be believed! Located southwest of the inner city, the area is historically associated with market traders, whiskey distilling and the textiles industry. This lively neighbourhood is a stone's throw from the city centre, and is buzzing with media hubs, visitor attractions and cafes. A visit to the Liberties offers an eclectic blend of old and new Dublin, perfect for understanding what makes contemporary Dublin tick. 

This part of Dublin is also the location of the iconic Guinness Storehouse – the home of Ireland's world-famous stout. Learn how to pour the perfect pint, discover the age-old history and art of brewing, and stop for a pint in the Gravity Bar, where you'll enjoy the best panoramic views Dublin has to offer. For a delicious lunch or brunch, sample the beautiful menu at The Fumbally, one of Dublin's beloved laid-back cafes. 

Creative Quarter

Stretching from South William Street to George’s Street, and from Lower Stephen’s Street to Exchequer Street, this quarter is a hub of design creativity and innovation and there are plenty of inspiring and exciting places nestled in the area waiting for you to explore. South William Street is the beating heart of the Creative Quarter. This short, sweet strip was traditionally home to Dublin’s rag trade, and the tradition lives on in quirky shops, boutique malls like the Powerscourt Centre and a suite of bars and restaurants touching every conceivable taste base.

Stone exterior of Powerscourt TownhousePowerscourt Townhouse

Georgian

Dublin is often praised for its Georgian architecture, which spans both north and south of the River Liffey, and rightly so. The city has some of the finest Georgian buildings in the world and none are finer than those located in the Georgian Quarter. Running from St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College to the canal, this area is the epitome of gentrification. Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square are prime examples of this style of architecture with their tall red brick townhouses, colourful doors and wrought-iron decorated windows.

The Irish House of Parliament (The Dáil) is situated in one of the most spectacular Georgian buildings you will ever see – Leinster House. As befits such a magnificent area, the choice of places to dine is equally as grand. Some of Dublin’s finest restaurants are found in this area, such as Patrick Guilbaud’s, Bang Restaurant and of course The Shelbourne Hotel.  

No matter where you go in Dublin, you’ll see fine examples of this style of architecture but to truly appreciate it, the Georgian Quarter is a must.  

Tech

Otherwise known as “Silicon Docks”, Dublin’s Tech Quarter can be found in the Grand Canal Dock area of the city. With global giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter sharing space with Irish and lesser-known international tech companies, this area is a veritable who’s who of the digital age. A once run-down and derelict part of the city, it’s been revitalised with the development of offices, apartments and great places to eat and socialise. This once quiet spot is now buzzing with hard-working, hard-playing people enjoying Dublin’s reign as Europe’s tech headquarters.   

Even if you’re a Luddite with no interest in the Facebooks of this world, the area’s refurbishment makes it worth a visit alone. Stunning buildings, modern art, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and activities like stand-up paddle boarding make this a place for everyone to see. For one of Dublin’s finest cups of coffee pay a visit to 3FE or if you fancy a stylish cocktail, take the lift to the rooftop bar in The Marker Hotel and enjoy stunning views while sipping on a Watermelon Martini. If your budget doesn’t stretch to The Marker, grab a quick lunch at nearby KC Peaches and watch the world go by. 

Grand Canal Dock lit up at night
Grand Canal Dock

Cultural

The world famous Temple Bar area of Dublin is also known as the Cultural Quarter. Teeming with bars, restaurants, music venues, hip boutiques and second hand shops, Temple Bar is a highlight of any visit to Dublin.  

Regular markets, street theatre and buskers make this the most exciting part of this vibrant city. Wander through cobbled streets to discover something new around each corner, sip a drink in one of the fine establishments and enjoy the bustle of locals and tourists that make up Dublin’s unique atmosphere.  

Once more, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to food and drinks in this quarter. Top places to eat (in this, the oldest part of the city along with the Medieval Quarter) include Gallagher’s Boxty House, which offers traditional Irish fare. For something completely different, step back in time with 1920s-style speakeasy at The Vintage Cocktail Club.  

A happy couple strolling through Temple Bar
Temple Bar

Dame District

Running behind Dame Street, this quarter links the Georgian, Cultural and Medieval quarters and has its own distinct feel and atmosphere. During the day the busy warren of streets are full of eager shoppers enjoying some of Dublin’s quirky boutiques and its café culture, while by night the area is buzzing with the energy of clubbers and bar-goers.  

The area has wonderful places to grab a bite to eat, Pichet, a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner, being among the highlights. The Dame District is home to some of Dublin’s favourite pubs like The Bankers and The Stag's Head, both offering food and of course a perfect pint of the black stuff.  

Whether your passion is the past or you’re fascinated by the future, explore one of Dublin’s Quarters — you’re bound to find something to make your visit to Dublin worth tweeting about.

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