With an illustrious history and a young-at-heart attitude, Dublin is a dynamic cultural hub with all the right ingredients - from the literary heritage of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, to enjoying the 'craic' in the pubs and clubs around Temple Bar.
Nothing epitomises Ireland more than the sound of live traditional music bounded by laughter, clapping and the clinking of glasses-many bars offer free live music, so make sure you seek them out and enjoy the 'craic'.
It would be sacrilege indeed to come to Ireland and not sample a pint of Guinness, which tastes better in Dublin than anywhere else in the world; follow it with a chaser of Irish Whiskey, and you'll make friends for life! But if the drinks come with history, you'll find Dublin's gastronomic scene totally modern with restaurants catering to every taste.
Local specialities include Irish stew, filled potato pancakes called boxty, drisheen black pudding and a wealth of shellfish, including cockles and mussels. Don't miss the chance to try coddle, a dish made with pork sausages, or colcannon, the Irish equivalent of bubble and squeak.
Dublin is a wonderful place for shopping and on the south side of the Liffey you'll find plenty to buy. Local goods to take home include handknitted Aran sweaters, contemporary and Celtic-style jewellery, ceramics, hand-blown glass and paintings. With such an illustrious literary history, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of bookshops across the city, including second-hand and specialist dealers.
For fashion visit Grafton Street, where you'll find Brown Thomas, Dublin's premier department store and a great stockist of Irish designers..