Is mise Denise Fay, I’m the Regional President of the PSA for Ireland. PSA Ireland thought that we’d share what we like to do, where we like to visit and where we like to bring our family and friends who visit us.
Shure, you can visit the websites that will tell you where to go (yes, the Guinness Storehouse is a super venue to visit) but we wanted to share some insider places. There is so much to do, see and experience in our beautiful Island. This is our PSA Insider’s Guide to Visiting Ireland.
We are a land of saints and scholars, rich in history of rebellion and conquest, of culture and resilience. You are going to have an amazing time discovering Ireland.
Come back regularly as we’ll be adding in different places and videos, that are bound to inspire.
Whether you’re here for a few days or a few weeks, you’re guaranteed a brilliant time outside of Croke Park.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions, as I’d love to help you out – [email protected].
Slán Leat agus take care,
Temple Bar – A favourite of tourists to visit. By all means, pop along and check it out. However, we’ve gathered a few of our favourite restaurants that we love to visit when we meet friends.
Gotham – A casual dining spot (after a drink in Kehoe’s!) on South Anne Street, just off Grafton Street. The décor is special, a real treat, especially for the New Yorkers in the audience.
Musashi – This is the freshest sushi that you can get in Dublin. My favourite one is the one in Parnell Street, but there are are a good few locations. Hard to beat for great Sushi.
Hugos – Sean Weafer, our opening speaker of the GSS has recommended Hugos. It is situated just off the north east corner of St. Stephens Green. It’s fine dining at a very affordable fee and boasts an international (embassy) and business clientele, which is highly appropriate for our global speaking visitors.
Ukiyo – This is another favourite. It’s Japanese/Korean and is on Exchequer St, just off Grafton Street. It has a wonderful fusion of dishes along with some super cocktails and the Eda Mame sharing dish is delicious. You will want to order another one!
Italian Quarter – There is a lovely walkway – the Millennium Walkway – which has a range of restaurants to choose from. Despite it’s name, you can eat Italian or Thai, sample some wine with antipasti or take in a quick bite, it’s a bustling little spot to people watch!
It’s on the Northside and is located just down from Henry Street, just behind the Jervis Luas stop and is a tucked away little walkway. A bustling area that connects the Northside with the Soutside, The Millennium Bridge will bring you to the far end of Temple Bar.
We may be famous for a pint of the black stuff (Guinness) but we have so much more to offer. Craft local beers are popping up in all bars and are well worth a sample too. There are so many fabulous pubs to enjoy a drink in. You’ll never to be short of a fantastic little pub, cocktail bar or wine bar in Dublin.
These are my two favourites.
Kehoes on South Anne Street – My favourite pub in Dublin of all time is Kehoes on South Anne Street, just off Grafton Street. It is such a friendly pub, it’s also a very busy pub too but there’s a real nice vibe in it. A traditional pub, it was first licensed in 1803, making it one of the oldest in Dublin and is a treasure of authenticity with it’s snugs, partitions, not to mention the actual bar.
Ely Wine Bar – If wine is your thing, then you’ll love the Ely Wine Bar, on Ely Street, just off Stephens Green. Located in the heart of Georgian Dublin, it’s a find. It’s one of my favourite places. Whether you want a glass or bottle of wine, bubbles with lunch, small grazing plates or dinner, it’s a wonderful little spot.
Long standing member Eamonn O’Brien has put this little video for you of his three favourite bars, two for outstanding traditional Irish music sessions.
Here are Eamonn’s favourites:
O’Donoghues – So many traditional music artists started here, it’s an awesome place to visit. Located on Merrion Row, just down from Hugos (mentioned earlier), this is one of the best places for traditional Irish music. It gets packed so go early!
The Brazen Head –The oldest Pub in Dublin. Located on Bridge Street, a ways down the Quay on the Southside, it has a colourful history.
While it’s definitely Dublin’s oldest bar, whether it is Ireland’s oldest bar is up for debate. The Brazen head dates back to 1198, however Sean’s Bar in Athlone was established in 900.
Regardless of whether it’s the oldest in Ireland, it’s a step back in time. The present building was built in 1754 as a coaching Inn. As Eamonn says, you can always say you had a pint of the black stuff in Dublin’s oldest pub.
The Cobblestone – Located in Smithfield, an old The Cobblestone is a fab venue and it’s safe to say that it’s unlike any other pubs. In it’s own words, it is a drinking pub with a music problem! A place where real Trad music sessions take place every evening, it’s a wonderful traditional music venue. Enjoy a pint with their free traditional music, from 6pm most evenings in a rough around the edges kind of lounge.
Jameson Distillery, Smithfield – You can check out the Jameson Distillery first, while in the area. It’s located just on Smithfield Plaza and is the site where Jameson whisky was distilled here until 1971. It’s a great tour to take.
To walk off the fantastic food and drink you might consume, we have suggested two areas to go walking in.
There are so many super walks in and around Dublin. However, two of our members have shared amazing walks with amazing views that are about 20-30 minutes outside of Dublin on a Dart.
DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a quick and easy way to get around Dublin. It runs along the coast of the Irish Sea from Malahide or Howth in north County Dublin southwards as far as Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Whether you head north to Howth and Sutton or south toward Greystones and Bray, you are guaranteed great walks and spectacular views.
DARTs are frequent throughout the day, so you can wander at your leisure to the nearest station and don’t worry, you won’t have to wait too long.
Two members have shared their favourite walks – one Northside and one Southside. We’ll let you decide which is your favourite
Taking time out in nature will be important after being immersed in learnings in Croke Park. A super place worth visiting is the Howth-Sutton cliff walk to the Bailey Lighthouse.
You can do as much as you want of it, it is 11.6km trail and if you did it point to point could take about 3 hours to complete. It’s a popular one for the views – they are stunning, even on a wet day.
There are a few versions that you can take, each which starts at the Howth Dart Station. Check out some maps here.
New member Dawn Leane has suggested taking the dart and head the other way toward Bray.
While on the Dart heading southside, enjoy the views as the cityscape gives way to coastal scenery, travelling through the suburbs of Sandymount, Blackrock, Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey before emerging from the Killiney tunnel to experience some of the most picturesque scenery in Ireland, as the train hugs the cliff edge. Multi-million euro mansions above and beautiful blue waters below.
The trip to Bray takes about 45 minutes and a short walk along the seafront will bring you onto the cliff walk path. This is a 7km walk, the path is well maintained and rises to 100 meters. In addition to stunning views, walkers can observe a wide range of marine wildlife including dolphins, seals, porpoises, gannets, kittiwakes, guillemots and oystercatchers in addition to a wide variety of flora.
This walk will require appropriate footwear and do bring plenty of water or other refreshments.
On reaching Greystones there are many cafes, restaurants and gastro pubs, catering for all tastes. Greystones is a bustling seaside village with numerous shops, a beach and a park. When you are ready to leave, a DART will bring you back to Dublin via the same route.
At the time of writing part of the cliff walk is closed due to a landslide. However in the event that it has not reopened by GSS there are two alternative routes, well signposted. One is a loop back to Bray, the other a cross country walk to Greystones via Windgates.
More information on routes and timetables are available here.
So now it’s time to head outside of Dublin, especially if you have more time and are planning on staying for a few days.
We’ve separated this into counties – along the main routes – Heading south from Dublin to Cork and Kerry, heading North from Dublin to Belfast.
A slight detour off the main Cork-Dublin motorway and just off the motorway to Kilkenny stands one of Ireland’s tallest high crosses. While there are many high crosses dotted around Ireland, this has been well preserved and stands at a height of an impressive 7metres.
Discovered by a stone mason in pieces in 1850, it was lovingly restored and housed out of the elements for future generations to enjoy and appreciate the artwork on the high cross.
Carved in the 9th century, it is the earliest surviving testimony to the existence of an early Christian monastery on this site. Because of it’s preservation, you get to see the carvings on the stone, with lots of self guiding explanations as to what and why they were carved in stone.
Cahir Castle, one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built from 1142 and is incredibly well preserved. It has guided tours and audiovisual shows in multiple languages.
I drove about 10 minutes off the M8 to Cahir Castle to take a look at this little gem.
New member Tony Gallivan who recently moved to Co Kerry shares his recommendations for County Kerry, starting with Tralee, the Capital of Co Kerry and and a major destination along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Ballygarry Estate & Spa Hotel – This is a 4 star, super hotel. While there are tonnes of Spas to pick from, this is one that is highly recommended. It is amazing. Seeing is believing, a great spot to stay in Tralee.
The Ashe Hotel, Tralee – Great food and service, another 4 star hotel right in the heart of the Tralee.
The Meadowlands Hotel, Tralee – Just like the Ashe, great food and service, it is a family run hotel.
The Grand Hotel – This landmark hotel has been beautifully restored to its original architectural beauty. Centrally located with an amazing dinner every evening. Highly, highly highly recommend it.
Cassidy’s restaurant, Tralee – This is by far, the best contemporary restaurant in Tralee town. It has 3 menus, 2 table d’hote and one A La Carte. Superb value with a 3 course meal on a Saturday night costing €35. The Chowder is amazing, (unless of course you’re from New England or similar). A challenge to see how they compare! You do need to reserve.
Bella Bia – This is a nice Italian family-run restaurant. This one is my favourite although there are also two other Italians 2 minutes away. One is on Prince’s Street, Il Pomo Doro, (https://www.ilpomodoro.ie/), next to the Brandon Hotel. The other is Restaurante Uno – https://restaurantunotralee.ie/) which is opposite Bella Bia, it’s located upstairs and does a lovely evening meal.
The Bookshelf – This is a great place for breakfast. Located on Manor Park Retail Park, with it’s free parking and fabulous coffee, it’s well worth a visit.
The Daily Grind – Another great spot for good coffee and lunch/brunch, located at The Mall.
Ugly Mug – This is perfect for when you fancy a nice coffee and cake. Located on Edward Street, it’s a lovely boutique coffee shop.
The Brogue Inn – The Brogue Inn is a landmark in Tralee. A traditional Irish pub with good local musicians, food and sports – will probably need pre booking for food.
Yummy Cafe Market – Located between Cassidys and the main square with a yellow glass front, it’s a super little find for families. It was voted Best Family Restaurant in Ireland.
As Tralee sits on the Wild Atlantic Way, there is much to see. By far, check out Fenit Beach. If you fancy a spot of Kayaking or Paddle boarding, then this beach is ideal. It’s also a heaven of peace for walking and just being.
We’d be here all night talking about all the fantastic things to do and see in Killarney. Here are some of my recommendations:
Grab a bike, drive it, walk some of it. It is 189KM of National Park.
This is the highest mountain in Ireland at 1,038.6 metres high.
Please note that even experienced walkers should check the weather forecast and any local advice before going out. Something that happens here that happens nowhere else in the world is, that no matter how experienced you are, if fog comes in, it will come in quickly and visibility can vanish. Please do not continue even if you are experienced, it can be hazardous at best.
A medium walk that can be done in 2/3 hours up and down. Stunning views at the top of the mountain. Just check out this little video that Tony took when he recently climbed it.
Leave from the same trail as Torc and go straight on. It is also a medium walk that will take maybe 4 hours and you will need a taxi back from Kenmare to Killarney. It’s a lovely day out especially on a clear day and also very good for a cycling day out.
Muckross Park Hotel & Spa – This is a five star hotel which once hosted Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Muckross.
Scotts Hotel – Situated in the heart of Killarney Town Centre, this family run hotel is a great place to stay. It’s also a great spot for an evening out with live music in its covered Courtyard.
In terms of places to eat, there are more cafes and restaurants here than you can shake a stick at! Grab your walking shoes and spend a lovely few days here.
There are so many fab beaches in Co Kerry. I’d also recommend Banna and Ballyhugie beach.
Ballybunion is a lovely little seaside town with a castle and a few nice places to eat at.
Why not consider doing some of the Kerry Camino for a casual walk if you are not as adventurous as wanting to do Brandon or other bigger mountains on Dingle?
Dingle town is a day out, there are boat trips to UNESCO sites – especially the Blaskett Islands.
There’s also Brandon mountain and Brandon point with about 120 miles or 180k of walking on here.
Check out the Ring of Beara
I haven’t been yet but it is apparently more spectacular than the ring of Kerry and overlaps into Cork.
Kenmare is a lovely, small little town which is definitely worth a visit.
I have to give a mention to one of my ancestors here, This is a gem of a place. If you ever wanted to experience Irish country lifestyle, perhaps one that your very own ancestors experienced before emigrating, then a visit to this farm is a must. You will experience the simple country lifestyle in rural Ireland before the days of electricity & modern conveniences.
It also has good food, a very warm welcome and a wool shop to buy traditional woollens for the winter.