Located south of the Liffey, the area around Christ Church Cathedral—with its cobblestoned streets and imposing architecture—is a great home base for those wanting to sleep among history. The stunning cathedral dates back to the 11th century, although the present-day version reflects a number of changes over the years, including a late 19th-century "Victorianization." Its finely manicured grounds attract lounging locals and tourists alike.
The neighborhood also provides easy access to Dublin Castle, the "not-really-a-castle" castle from which the British ruled until 1922. And then, of course, there’s the Guinness Brewery (a house of worship to some), a little further west along the river.
The neighborhoods included in this designation are located outside central Dublin, but each has its own attractive qualities. Ballsbridge and Ranelegh, both just over the Grand Canal, are leafy, residential neighborhoods, for the most part. Ballsbridge also features a posh cluster of shops on Baggot Street Upper.
The Portobello area just north of the Grand Canal is, by way of contrast, funky. West of Richmond Street South is the hub of Dublin's Jewish community, and to the east of Richmond is a trove of ethnic shops and eateries. The overall vibe is intermittently scrappy and stately, a nice cross-section of Dublin culture. Finally, Smithfield is just west of Church Street and within easy walking distance of most sights.
Starting just above the Liffey, Gardiner Street shoots north from the Custom House, a behemoth of an 18th-century building located near Butt Bridge and across the water from Trinity College. It eventually becomes residential (and a little run-down), but the lower portion is populated almost entirely by hotels and B&Bs. Although not particularly scenic, Gardiner Street Lower offers proximity to the Henry Street and O’Connell Street shopping areas and to Dublin's main train stations.» See hotels in Gardiner Street Lower.
Upper Gardiner Street, including Gardiner Place, is quiet and nondescript. Situated relatively close to O'Connell Street, it is conveniently located on the northern border of Dublin's city center. The plethora of small, well-priced guesthouses and hotels lining the surrounding streets make this area a real treat. Expect a relaxed scene and far more residents than tourists.» See hotels in Gardiner Street Upper.
This is where Dublin sheds its partytown mode and becomes swank (North Quays) and retail (O'Connell Street). The North Quays mix café culture, business district and the sleek, cool Docklands area toward the east. O'Connell Street is Dublin's premiere shopping boulevard, packed with locals and tourists alike.» See hotels in North Quays.
Located at the top of O'Connell Street, the Georgian Parnell Square is charming, expansive and inviting. The surrounding area is jam-packed with notable landmarks, including the Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the Dublin Writers' Museum and the Garden of Remembrance, which honors those who died fighting for Ireland's independence. The exquisite buildings here add to the area's refined, stately air.» See hotels in Parnell Square.
Verdant St. Stephen’s Green is perhaps the largest, but certainly not the only, park in this quiet (yet central) sliver of Dublin. There's also Merrion Square, where stately Georgian homes and stattuettes of famed residents recall past grandeur, and Iveaugh Gardens with its elegant stone fountains.
Outside of parklands, the streets in this area are residential and quiet, marked by ornate mansions, elementary schools and dog-walking residents. North of the Green, shopping, bars and throngs of people set the stage, and the area to the west of St. Stephen's also has a residential, less touristy feel, with a few pubs thrown in for good measure.
Bars, crowds, drinks, Irish music, and then more pubs, beer and general gaiety. Get the picture? Young, loud and raging Temple Bar is the place where tourists party in Dublin. Located just south of the River Liffey and west of the road leading to O’Connell Street, the neighborhood is smack dab in the center of the action. Trinity College is situated just east of the expansive bar scene.» See hotels in Temple Bar & Trinity College.