Ireland is one of those places that we’d always wanted to visit, but never had…until recently. Now that we’ve been to Ireland, we can enthusiastically recommend it.
To help you plan your Ireland trip, we’ve put together this list of our favorite places to eat, drink, and do in the Emerald Isle.
Where to Stay
- Milltown House – A cute B&B located right on the water. The breakfast was amazing, and they also have a bar.
- The Morrison – A Hilton property, making it a good option if you have points. But otherwise, a bit pricey for the quality.
- The Temple Bar Inn – The other place we stayed in Dublin, and we preferred it over The Morrison. Had an eclectic design, plus gym/pool access.
- Hotel Woodstock – A very affordable hotel on a golf course. The bar and restaurant were both quite nice, as were the fitness center and pool.
- Salthill Hotel – A nice hotel with two pools, a sauna, and a spa. Located an easy walking distance from central Galway and also next to the ocean.
Where to Eat
- Ashes Bar – A very good fine dining restaurant that many of our friends recommended.
- Global Village – A gourmet restaurant. Some of the best lamb Trav has ever had, plus good seafood.
- John Bennys Pub – Okay pub food, but a good place to have a drink.
- Murphys Ice Cream – A rather expensive ice cream place with small portions, but the sea salt ice cream is really good (get extra whipped cream).
- West Kerry Brewery – Good beer (get the porter), and the owner/head brewer was one of Ireland’s first female craft brewers.
- The Bank on College Green – Located in an old bank, it’s worth visiting to see and get a drink (though we don’t recommend the food)
- The Brazen Head – The oldest pub in Dublin, and some of the best pub food we had on our trip.
- Brother Hubbard – An average place for brunch with good coffee.
- The Church – A cool building with live dancing and Irish music. The food was pretty good, and we recommend getting a reservation.
- Fade Street Social – A tapas bar that many of our traveler friends recommended.
- Gino’s Gelato – A good gelato place that’s open quite late.
- Umi Falafel – A great place to get good, cheap falafel and salads.
- The Rowan Tree Cafe – A cool restaurant that’s also a hostel. We weren’t blown away by the food, but it was good for the price.
- Town Hall – Located in the old Ennis town hall, it’s a great spot for a fine dining meal.
- The Dough Bros – A brick oven, Neapolitan-style pizza place. They have interesting toppings like chicken tikka, and it’s not expensive.
- The Oslo Bar – One of Galway Brewery’s brewpubs. Really delicious pub food (get the fish and chips or chicken sandwich).
Where to Drink
- Dick Mack’s Pub – Great pub to visit if you’re looking for traditional Irish ambiance.
- Dingle Distillery – A good distillery. Their products are available all over Ireland.
- Foxy John’s Pub & Hardware Store – As the name says, it’s a pub on one side and a hardware store on the other. Worth visiting for the novelty.
- O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub – A really cool bar with live music. Also the place where Heather first tried Francis’ Big Bangin’ IPA from McGargles Brewery (one of the best beers we had in Ireland).
- The Black Sheep – A Dublin outpost of Galway Bay Brewery, one of the biggest craft breweries in Ireland. Good IPAs.
- The Porterhouse Temple Bar – A fun brewery to hang out with a group of friends.
- The Secret Bar – Also known as “The Bar With No Name,” it’s a really cool spot. They poured Trav the best pint of Guinness he had in Ireland.
- Vice Coffee Inc – The best coffee Heather had in Dublin. Very good flat white.
- McHugh’s – A lively craft beer bar.
- Coffeewerk + Press – The best coffee Heather had in Ireland. It’s very hipster, and also very Instagrammable.
- Tigh Neachtain – A cool, old school pub with interesting architecture.
- The Salt House – A great craft beer bar with plenty of taps, plus rare bottles from around the world.
- Slea Head Drive – The road that goes along the Dingle Peninsula. Lots of nice beaches to see on the way, plus great views of the oceans and cliffs. If you’re there in the warmer months, look into seeing this area by bike.
- The Ring of Kerry – Another scenic drive. It’s longer than Slea Head Drive, though it takes you through much of the same scenery. It can get overrun with tour buses during the summer, so bear that in mind when planning your trip.
- Skellig Michael – A picturesque island where many scenes from the latest Star Wars movies were filmed.
- Ballycarbery Castle – A ruined castle located in the Ring of Kerry.
- The Guinness Storehouse – A huge, very comprehensive museum. Your ticket includes a beer and a lesson on pouring the perfect Guinness.
- Trinity College – The oldest university in Ireland, and worth visiting to take in the historic architecture.
- Live music and Irish dancing – Many bars have this, especially in the Temple Bar neighborhood.
- Burren National Park – An area whose barren, “Martian” landscape stands in stark contrast to the lush Irish coast.
- The Burren Perfumery – A perfumery that uses all-natural ingredients local to the area.
- Cliffs of Moher – A fabulously scenic area that’s a must-see.
Want to see all of our favorite Ireland destinations on a map that you can access from your phone? We’ve pinned each location mentioned in this guide on the Google Map below:
Though there’s a lot more we wish we had time to see (especially Northern Ireland), we still had a lovely time on our Ireland trip.
We hope this guide gives you a starting place for planning your Irish adventure, and we’re excited to see what you discover!
Prefer listening to reading? Check out the accompanying podcast episode.