Whenever someone mentions “Dublin,” I get that feeling like they are talking about an old boyfriend of mine. I get quiet, try to pick up on what they are saying, maybe get a little gossip, all the while lustily dreaming about this perfect time in the past…

Too much? I like Dublin. What can I say? I like it so much I have a f***ing Master’s Degree in Irish Studies. (Yeah, I still have no idea what I’m going to do with that.)

For those of you unfamiliar with this jewel on the River Liffey, let me take this opportunity to tell you all you need to know about having an epic experience in Dublin’s Fair City.

If you’re staying in town and have a little cash to burn I say you can’t go wrong with The Westin, which is pretty much smack dab in the city center close to Grafton Street‘s shopping, Trinity College‘s history and a good selection of night life. If you are opting for the budget angle, I personally enjoy booking a stay on the grounds of Trinity College. (Note: This option is only available when school is out of session).

Trinity’s campus is open to the public daily until midnight, but those staying on the grounds have only to show their keys to security if they are looking to party until the wee hours. You may know that Trinity College’s Long Room is home to the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript dating to around 800 A.D. If you have the time you can wait on the ridiculously long line to see it, because it is pretty cool. But if you are in Dublin for just a short while, I really think this is an opportunity that you can let slide by…but you didn’t hear that from me.

The lunch hour is a busy one in Dublin, as locals, tourists and business people flood the pubs for a pint. I highly recommend Porterhouse Central on Nassau Street, a microbrewery serving a fun twist on classic pub fare with dozens of beers on tap. The party heats up here on weekend nights and erupts into a dance party.

Take a little reprieve after lunch and do some shopping up Grafton Street or head over to St. Stephen’s Green before heading out to explore Dublin’s nightlife.

For dinner be bold and cross the River Liffey to its northern bank to visit The Church, a church-turned-restaurant, bar and club. Note: Arthur Guinness (yes, that Guinness) was married on the premises in 1751, when it was known as St. Mary’s Church of Ireland.

Satiated, head back to the south side and over to Dame Lane, a small street tucked up behind the bustling Dame Street. Here hides the city’s beloved The Stag’s Head, a landmark Victorian pub with plump Chesterfield sofas and dimly lit rooms. Things get a bit more rowdy (and fuzzy…thank you, Guinness) on the weekends in the downstairs bar, with live traditional Irish music.

For all of you night owls, it’s important to note that Dublin’s pubs have their last call at midnight, but there are a handful of late-night bars in the area. After the Stag’s Head, make your way up the street to The Globe. Open until 2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday (and 1 a.m. on Sundays), this bar hosts a series of eclectic events on different nights of the week. Yours truly has danced there on several occasions to a live DJ who spins alternative tunes while old Betty Boop cartoons flash against the back wall. I also happened to meet Glen Hansard there, of Once and The Frames fame…but he wouldn’t leave Marketa Irglova for me.

Finally, if you are still feeling energized from the frenetic night scene (and you should be), visit Iskander’s Kebab House at 30 Dame Street. Throughout the night (and into the early morning) locals line up for fresh and delicious kebabs, wrapped in doughy bread and topped with hot chili and garlic sauce. You probably won’t be doing any making out after that snack, but I don’t really think you will care.

That’s it, kids. Slainte!

P.S. There are obviously a dozen other recommendations I have on Dublin, but no one likes to read a blog post the length of Nicholas Nickleby, so if you want any other tips e-mail me at mdrillinger@gmail.com.

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