Dublin, Ireland, is a city of great literary and Catholic heritage and is home to more than 600 pubs. The vibrant Irish capital is also known as the capital of "craic," or the art of life.
The Best Things to Do
Step up your knowledge of Irish literature and the country's Nobel prize winners at the Dublin Writers Museum. Discover first and rare editions of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" and Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and sift through the Irish-interest titles at the on-site book shop. $8.96 adults
One of the most important buildings in Irish history, Dublin Castle was originally a medieval fortress. It was also home to a Viking settlement, part of which can be viewed today. The castle gardens hold the key to the city's name: its lawn is near the site of the original dubh linn, or "black pool" where the Vikings moored their ships. $11.94 for an adults guided tour
Journey into a world of myth and legend at the National Leprechaun Museum, the only of its kind in the world. Family-friendly days tours (ages 7 and older) are $11.94-$16.72; adults-only (ages 18 and older) night tours are $19.11 and focus on dark and twisted tales.
So named because it cost "ha'penny" to cross this, Dublin's oldest bridge, when it opened in 1816, Ha'penny was the only bridge to span the Liffey River until the Millennium Bridge opened in 1999. The iconic cast-iron bridge is a must for photo opps. Free
Built in honor of Ireland's patron saint, St. Patrick's was built in the 13th century and is the Church of Ireland's national cathedral. Jonathan Swift was its dean from 1713 until his death in 1745 and is buried—standing straight up—on the west end of the cathedral. $7.76 adults
Feel what confinement was like for prisoners at Kilmainham Gaol which held the leaders of five historical rebellions. Its lighting design was meant to spiritually inspire inmates. $9.56 adults
Where to Eat and Drink
The Brazen Head is Ireland's oldest pub; it dates back to 1198. It's been frequented by literary masters, revolutionaries and famous musicians and its walls are lined with photos, scrolls and ads. The "Beef & Guinness Stew" ($18.51) is legendary.
Go behind-the-scenes at Bow Street's Jameson Distillery to learn how to taste whiskey from a master. "The Whiskey Tasters" experience is one of four available at the distillery and envelops you in the secrecy of John Jameson's office for a premium sampling of four whiskeys. $35.83
Where to Stay
Sky Backpackers-The Liffey just may be the coolest hostel you'll ever stay in. It was formerly an artists' studio: David Bowie, Van Morrison and U2 are but a few who've passed through its doors. Artwork found throughout the hostel pays homage to these famous personages. True to its heritage, the common room regularly hosts gigs. Starts at $69.27 for a bed in a shared six-bed dorm