St Stephen’s Green
Nine bucolic hectares flanked by Georgian townhouses, St Stephen’s Green is an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. Its tree-lined paths wind beside lakes and flower gardens, while manicured lawns are dotted with Victorian bandstands and statues of the city’s great and good, from Irish patriots to writers Joyce and Yeats.
Chester Beatty Library
Packed with rare treasures from across the globe, this is one of Europe’s best small museums. Highlights include early biblical parchments, papyrus poems, Chinese jade books and the world’s finest collection of illuminated Islamic texts. Make time for its temporary exhibitions, the Mediterranean-and Middle East-inspired Silk Road Cafe and the Zen-like roof terrace.
Slip into a booth and watch the sunset at Sophie’s, above the Dean Dublin hotel. This industrial-styled restaurant has 360-degree views of the city through its glass walls. The menu riffs on Irish, Italian and New York cuisine, from calamari and spiced chorizo bolognese to lamb shank with champ mash, plus barbecues and pizzas on the roof terrace. Post-dinner, sip craft ale, whiskey or cocktails as DJs spin tracks ’til late.
The Hugh Lane
Set in a Georgian pile, this gallery houses an excellent collection of modern and contemporary art, running the gamut from Impressionist masterpieces by Degas, Monet, Manetet alto Irish artists such as Sean Scully. There’s also the studio of Dublin-born Francis Bacon, transported from London and reassembled piece by piece.
With more miles of beach than Barcelona, Dublin’s coast is a glorious place for a cycle. The Irish Centre for Cycling offers bike hire and tours such as Wheels and Waves, pedalling from the seaside town of Malahide, via its sprawling castle grounds, to and from the fishing village of Howth. Cyclists also take a short boat trip to an island known for its rare birds and ancient ruined church.
Perched at the end of Howth’s pier, Aqua serves up just-caught seafood and locally sourced beef, lamb and chicken, paired with veggies from its own garden. With floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s a side order of sweeping sea views, and, on Sunday afternoons, a soundtrack of live jazz. Wind down with a drink in the bar before a walk around the harbor.