Dublin, known as “the fair city” is the jewel in Ireland’s crown, especially with regards to luxury travel. The city, though a small one, has plenty to offer the more discerning traveller with countless fine-dining restaurants, designer shops, pampering hotels and luxury experiences that will keep any elite traveller happy.
The cobbled streets of the city centre exude charm, many literary greats have trodden these well-worn paths including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and James Joyce and the city exudes culture and art from every corner, with vibrant street performances and bustling energy of youth, having one of the youngest populations of Europe.
The city straddles the Liffey River that leads to Dublin Bay, surrounding the city are dramatic mountains, with its famous Dublin Mountain Way being renowned for epic and breath-taking hikes amongst rugged nature. The city offers everything a city-lover or nature-lover could desire on their holiday.
During the economic boom, Ireland was known as the Celtic Tiger and between the mid 90s and late 2000s, before the economic crisis, Ireland grew to cater to the luxury market. Nowadays, Ireland is again a booming capital, being the European headquarters for companies such as Google, Airbnb and Facebook and luxury is once again in demand. In the Irish capital, you will find spas to make you feel pampered from head to toe, fine seafood, endless cultural activities and plenty of live music venues.
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Dublin on a luxury. We will show you what to do in Dublin, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Dublin or a long term stay. Here we will show you how to enjoy the very best of luxury Dublin in our travel guide.
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The best time to visit Dublin
Dublin is prone to unpredictable weather and you can find four seasons in one day, so it’s best to visit in the springtime in April and May, whilst avoiding the crowds of tourists in the summertime because of an abundance of cheap flights from within Europe with low-cost carriers such as Easyjet and Ryanair.
If you’re not afraid of braving the crowds, head to Dublin in the summer between June and August, this is when tourists flock to the city and many summer festivals are held. It’s also one of the most expensive times of the year to visit, but if you’re a luxury traveller, this should not be an issue.
September and October are also pleasant months to visit Dublin and it’s always advisable to bring layers for cooler evenings as well as a rain jacket or umbrella for those spontaneous showers.
Luxury things to do in Dublin
Hit the shops
Dublin has a wealth of designer shops and designer labels, being home to brands such as JW Anderson and Simone Rocha. If you’re looking to pick up some designer fashion, head to Grafton Street to the famous Brown Thomas where you can find the big-name brands such as Jo Malone, Tom Ford and Hermès, and stroll down the nearby Cow’s Lane and Wicklow Street to discover boutiques showcasing local fashion designers.
Harvey Nichols is another department store that is a must-visit if you’re looking for chic designer clothing, located just a few miles out of the city centre in the Dundrum Retail Centre.
If you’re looking for unique pieces head to Siopaella Designer Exchange to find vintage Chanel and other designers dating back to the 70’s and 80’s or visit Tola Vintage for more one-off vintage finds in the heart of Dublin city.
Tour Trinity College
This iconic college is situated near the city centre and is one of Ireland’s most renowned universities. Dating back to 1592, the University corridors have been walked by some famous ex-alumni, including the artist Francis Bacon, the famed writer Oscar Wilde, writer Samuel Beckett and Jonathan Swift, who penned “Gulliver’s Travels”. Strolling through the university grounds you can feel history and culture exuding from every stone and imagine the great writers that once walked these very same routes.
Here, you can discover one of Ireland’s most treasured works, “The Book of Kells”, an incredible illustrated codex dating back to the 9th century and the rich history of Trinity College itself that spans over 400 years on a guided tour. Tickets start at €15 per person for adults for a 35 minute tour. This tour is in high-demand and it’s advisable to book online in advance.
Savour Irish Whiskey
Irish Whiskey has a reputation for being some of the best in the world and what better place to explore the tradition of whiskey making than with a guided tour of some of Dublin’s best distilleries, Jameson’s, founded in 1780. They offer guided tours, whiskey cocktail making classes from €50 per person and whiskey blending classes from €60 per person.
If you can’t get enough of Irish whiskey, head to the Whiskey Museum for more tours and tastings and learn about the history and tradition steeped into whiskey making.
Pamper yourself with a spa day
Visit the luxurious and elegant Powerscourt Resort and Spa for a day of pure indulgence just outside of Dublin city and a short 30-minute drive away. The spa is set in tranquil nature, with views overlooking the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Here you can ease your worries away in a two-storey spa with a range of relaxing spa treatments. A two hour Absolute Indulgence package including scrub, massage, lunch and full use of the spa facilities for the day starts from €230.
Sail Dublin Bay
If you want a unique viewpoint of Dublin, see it from the sea. A unique tour with Go Sailling starts from €70 per person for a powerboat tour (maximum 7 people) and you can enjoy views of Dalkey Sound and Dalkey Island, Bulloch Harbour and Dublin Bay itself. Don’t forget to bring a waterproof jacket or raincoat as sometimes it can get pretty wet out on the water.
Listen to traditional live Irish music
Dublin is the place to be if you’re a night owl. There are over 600 bars in the city alone and you can find everything from traditional pubs where you can sip pints shoulder to shoulder with the locals and enjoy live Irish music.
For the best traditional Irish music, head to Whelan’s on Wexford Street. This authentic pub hosts regular live music events and is known to be where some of Ireland’s musical talents have been spotted. For another Dublin classic, head to O’Donoghues which is an iconic Irish pub where the band, the Dubliners, would come and play for free. Another classic is The Cobblestone, also noteworthy for its traditional live music scene.
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
Learn how Guinness is made and sip on at the stunning Gravity Bar offering 360 degree views over the city of Dublin. Prices for the tour start at €18.50 and includes a free pint. If you want a more in-depth experience, check out the Connoisseur Bar for a deluxe tasting experience with experts. Even if you’re not a fan of the black stuff, the Guinnes Storehouse is well worth a visit. Sláinte!
Paint the town red
Visit some of the classiest bars in Dublin and enjoy sipping on cocktails whilst taking in the local vibe. For some of the best cocktails, head to No. 23 Cocktail Bar in The Marrion Hotel, a hidden gem which creates an intimate ambiance with plush armchairs in front of roaring fireplaces. Another new bar on the nightlife scene is offers pure luxury, head to 9 Below with its vaulted ceilings and sumptuous sultry lighting. The cocktails are excellent and if you’re feeling flush you can savour their most expensive Whiskey called the Middleton Pearl 30th Anniversary, which will set you back €1,200 per glass.
Where to stay in Dublin
The Merrion Hotel – This hotel is a fantastic option for those who want to be at the heart of all the action and indulge in ultimate luxury. It is situated in the city centre and within walking distance of important landmarks such as the National Museum and Gallery as well as the shopping district on Grafton Street, you can experience Georgian style and elegance in one of the cosy and stylish rooms. The decor is historic and you can even enjoy taking a bath in a claw-foot tub. The hotel also has a great restaurant which has views over a lush garden and also has a pub which was once an 18th century wine cellar. Facilities also include a fitness centre and infinity pool.
The Westbury – For five-star luxury head to The Westbury, a grand hotel which was voted No.1 Hotel in Ireland by Conde Nast, and is located in the heart of Dublin. The hotel has an old-world style, complete with plush furnishings such as armchairs, four-poster beds and sumptuous bathrooms with heated marble floors. This is one of Dublin’s most expensive hotels and stepping into the hallway, you will be transported back into Dublin in the 1930s. The hotel also has its own fantastic restaurant and the staff will make you feel at home.
Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin – The Fitzwilliam is a hotel that combines chic modern décor with bright flashes of colour. The hotel and staff will make your stay unforgettable, with staff ensuring that you have everything you need during your stay. The hotel has comfortable sleek rooms and you are just a short stroll away from the heart of the city. The hotel also hosts a chic bar as well as Glover’s Alley, a 1920s styled restaurant serving up French-inspired cuisine as well as afternoon tea hosted daily in the hotel.
The Marker Hotel – Situated in the docklands, Dublin’s business district and home to Google, Facebook and Airbnb in Ireland, this modern geometric building is bright, sleek and hip. Each of the bedrooms is bursting with bright colours and plush fabrics and offer fantastic views over the bay.
The hotel boasts excellent and attentive staff and the hotel atrium is a gathering place for many locals, whilst on sunny days the rooftop terrace bar will be bustling with activity and it makes the perfect place to enjoy a sunset cocktail whilst looking over the docklands of the city. The on-site restaurant offers excellent meals and there is also an infinity pool, spa and fitness centre in the hotel to ensure that you are pampered throughout your stay.
Luxury eats in Dublin
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud – Famed for being the only two-starred Michelin restaurant in Ireland, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is an absolute must for gourmands and epicureans offering French cuisine in the setting of a Georgian townhouse. The staff offer five-star service and the food is inspired by locally sourced ingredients such as oysters, lobster and turbot served in a creative and exciting menu which will amaze you and stimulate your taste buds. A four course meal from the A La Carte menu will set you back €156 without drinks. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Garden Room – Set in the stunning Merrion Hotel, this casual dining restaurant offers excellent cuisine featuring locally sourced seafood and meat of the highest quality in a more relaxed environment that still manages to maintain its elegance. The restaurant looks out onto the formal gardens of the hotel and you can enjoy the peaceful green landscape whilst indulging in a meal featuring the stunning local ingredients in artisanal dishes. There are also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.
L’Ecrivain – This elegant French restaurant offers classical dishes with a twist, with fresh, local ingredients as the star of the show. The restaurant is the perfect place for relaxed dining and is not pretentious at all, attend by the excellent staff and there is a beautiful terrace as well as a chic bar on site. The head chef Derry Clarke earned his Michelin star through creating amazing flavour combinations that are simple yet mouth-watering. Lunch tasting menus will set you back only €65 without drinks, whilst the dinner tasting menus start from €115 per person without drinks.
Chapter One – Nestled in the basement of the Writer’s Museum this restaurant offers a fusion of French and Irish cuisine and possesses one Michelin star. Dishes are beautifully presented in contemporary style and include local cured salmon, Lambay crab, Connemara cockles and olive fed pork. A two-course lunch is only €36.50, whilst a four-course dinner is only €80 making this a very reasonable place to experience Michelin starred cuisine. The restaurant itself is understated and elegant and offers relaxed dining in a welcoming environment.
The Greenhouse – This one-Michelin starred restaurant is an intimate restaurant that oozes style. There is a well-priced set lunch menu available during the week and also five-course menus for the weekends. The cuisine is a fusion between Scandinavian simplicity and Irish quality ingredients due to Chef Mickael Viljanen being at the helm. The dishes include local specialties such as turbot, foie gras, aged shorthorn beef and other quality ingredients making this a feast for your senses. A two-course lunch will set you back only €45 without drinks, whilst a three-course lunch only costs €55. It’s an absolute steal and you can enjoy one of the best Michelin starred lunches in Dublin without burning a hole in your pocket.
Luxury tours to do in Dublin
Aran Islands Scenic Flight and Galway Rail Tour
This unique and comprehensive tour will take you on an adventure starting from Dublin City to the coast of Galway. From Galway, you will fly over the stunning landscapes of the Inis Mor in a small aircraft, taking in the unrivalled views of the Aran Islands. The journey starts with a 3 hour train journey to Galway city during which you can enjoy the views of the rolling hills rushing past your window, after which you will board a small plane to enjoy a 10-minute flight over Inis Mor.
This is followed by the scenic Island tour which will take you to explore the history and mythology of the region, including a visit to Dun Aengus fort and Kilronan village before flying back to Connemara and then visiting the city of Galway, giving you enough time to enjoy a pint of Guinness before exploring the streets of the city. After this, you will return to Dublin by train. Prices start at €159 per person including train travel, plane ride and transfers. Hotel pickup and drop off and lunch are not included.
Game of Thrones Full Day Tour
For die-hard Game of Thrones fans, this tour was made for you. Explore the incredible natural landscapes that provided backdrop to your favourite series on this full-day tour which will bring you to the Dark Hedges and the Antrim Coast, as well as the Giant’s Causeway, a natural phenomenon made up of 40,000 basalt columns rising from the sea, a result of volcanic eruptions from centuries ago, legend has it that it was a road to Scotland built by the Irish giant of legend, Finn McCool.
You will also visit central Belfast where you can explore the city on foot before returning to Dublin in the evening. Hotel pickup and drop off and food are not included in the price. Prices start at €65 per person.
Visit the Cliffs of Moher
Escape the city and head to the wild coast of Galway and visit the iconic Cliffs of Moher. This full-day excursion will take you to the edge of the cliffs which soar 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs look over the Aran Islands and Galway Bay and will be sure to take your breath away.
Visit the charming city of Galway and enjoy exploring the city on foot on a complimentary guided tour of the centre with an experienced guide who will regale you with tales of folklore, history and music from the Emerald Isle. Prices start at €55 including hotel pick up, drop off and food are not included in the price.
Recommended luxury tours in Dublin
- Luxury ‘Luck of the Irish’ Tour – Fully Guided and Chauffeured 4 days & 3 nights
- Private Luxury Day Tour Dublin – Tour to the Cliffs of Moher and Burren region
- Private Whiskey Tour from Dublin, Visit 2 old distilleries & Irelands oldest pub
- Private Day tour to Kilkenny from Dublin – 9 hr tour to Kilkenny Medieval city
- Newgrange and Hill of Tara Private Guided Tour from Dublin
- Private Guided Day Tour of the Wicklow Mountains
- Viking & Medieval History Tour
- Deluxe Whiskey and Food Tasting in Dublin
- Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip Including Giant’s Causeway from Dublin
- Half-Day Private Glendalough, Wicklow, and Powerscourt Gardens Tour from Dublin
- Irish Whiskey Museum: Whiskey and Brunch Experience
- Private 4-hour Dublin Tour with a Local Host