Most people that visit Dublin leave with a lasting impression. Friendliness, spontaneity and mischief are just some of the traits make Ireland’s capital city so damn charming. New Year’s Eve is when the city comes together and puts its best foot forward.
Whether you’re a true-blue Dubliner or a blow-in from outs of town, you’ll know just how special it is to enjoy the city’s vibrant culture. Walk through the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, pass Georgian buildings, stroll through landmark parks and wander through many museums. You’ll dive into a history composed of Vikings, famine, revolution and literary greatness.
Finding accommodation in Dublin is tricky for both hotel and long-term stays – just ask anyone who lives here. This is one you’ll want to book well in advance so I recommend having a look on Airbnb or Hotels.com. If you’re unable to find something in the city centre, try to nab a hotel, hostel or B&B with commuter links to the city.
The Best Bars in Dublin
Grab a pint before the big partyor stay put for the night!
Dublin is probably best known for its open-arms pub scene. Every pub in town will be packed to the rafters on New Year’s Eve, each with their own parties and vibes. The problem is finding the right one! Thankfully, there are several great bars outside of the usual tourist traps where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger and soak up the atmosphere.
Grogans on is another place to consider. Sandwiched in between the trendy nightclubs and cafes of South William Street, you’ll get friendly service in a laidback, quintessential Dublin pub. You can grab a perfect pint of Guinness, chat to randomers outside and try their famed ham and cheese toasty.
Many a college night has been enjoyed at the Workmans Bar, the indie-music bar, club and venue on Wellington Quay. It’s great for a pint and quick bop. Pop in next door to the Bison Bar and enjoy some brisket or ribs. Chase them down with a whiskey sour on the horse saddle-style seats.
Maybe you’ve been to Temple Bar and decided it’s just too chaotic and touristy for your liking. For a traditional Irish music bar beloved by locals and the city’s multicultural population alike, head to the Cobblestone Bar in Smithfield, Dublin 7. You’re bound to catch a raucous gig as trad musicians assemble for an impromptu performance. The atmosphere is unbeatable and you might end up staying here for the countdown!
Next up is the Bernard Shaw. This is Dublin institution where you’ll get great music any night of the week in one of the coolest parts of the city. Grabbing a delicious pizza in the double-decker blue bus out the back is a must.
Looking for the perfect cocktail bar? Head to Drop Dead Twice in Liberties area. This down-to-earth bar has a Bring Your Own cocktail bar where you can leave your booze and let the bartenders work their magic to create some truly bizarre and delicious concoctions.
The Best Restaurants
Feast before the celebrations
Maybe you touched down in Dublin ahead of dinner time, or maybe you just want to add some soakage to your belly before hitting the town. There’s some great new eateries popping up in Dublin, as well as tried and tested classics, that are perfect for enjoying with your friends and loved ones before the celebrations begin!
If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, head to Capel Street, where you’ll find some great, authentic Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese restaurants. My personal favourite is Arisu – their Korean barbecue is to die for.
Dine by Dublin’s swan-capped Portobello canal at I Monelli. This compact, authentic Italian restaurant will exceed your expectations with their mouth-watering risotto.
If you’re someone whose night isn’t complete without a kebab then don’t settle for less. Zaytoon on Parliament Street is probably the city’s best take away kebab restaurant. Specialising in Iranian and Persian cuisine, this is the best way to satiate any hunger after your big New Years Eve night out.
If you want to catch a film, then head to the elegant art-deco Stella Theatre. While it’s not technically a restaurant, it provides the perfect low-key date before your big night out. You can grab some food at the Stella Diner. Sip on movie-inspired cocktails or prosecco and feast on tapas while you sit back in this renovated 1920s cinema.
New Years Eve Events in Dublin
Kiss goodbye to 2018 in style
Dublin’s Custom House becomes the backdrop for the city’s luminous NYE spectacle. The annual 3Countdown Concert takes place on Monday, December 31st
The city centre concert will see singer Gavin James headline at Custom House Quay. Irish acts Hudson Taylor, Wild Youth and Inhaler will also be performing on the night. This event is strictly over-18s.
Location: Custom House Quay, Dublin 1
Times: December 31, 2018 at 20:00 – 23:59
Price: Approximately €29.95 incl. booking fee.
Liffey Lights Midnight Moment
The highly-anticipated and free Liffey Lights Midnight Moment returns this year under a canopy of sparks on Custom House. You can enjoy a brilliant display of lasers, lights and aqua beams on the River Liffey accompanied by DJs and live music. There’s a matinee show from 6-7pm which is perfect for families who want to get the kids to bed
The second show, from 11:30pm, will swell to a fantastic finale at midnight. Both events are free but you’ll have to book tickets on nyfdublin.com at the end of November.
Location: Custome House Quay
Times: December 31 6-7pm matinee show, December 31 from 11:30 – 12 am on January 1
Octoberfest might be done and dusted, but that doesn’t mean German tradition can’t be celebrated throughout the year!
From Friday, November 31 to January 13th, you’ll be able to snack on schnitzel, bratwurst and beer at a festive beer lodge in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Entry is free, but there are VIP options if you want booked reserved seating and food.
Price: Free entry, VIP passes €30 and €60 per person.
Charleston NYE Party
Don your best flapper dress, pearls and fedoras for a night of dancing at the Burlington Hotel. The Leeson Street joint will transform into Gatsby’s Mansion this New Years Eve for their 1920s-themed Charleston Party. Tickets are a bit on the pricey side at €79, but this includes a prosecco reception, four-course dinner, casino and DJ until late.
Location: Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Leeson Street Upper, D4.
Times: December 31 at 19:30 – 02:00 January 1
Midas Touch Golden Palace Party
If you’re willing to travel outside of the city in the name of female-empowerment partying, then consider the Midas Touch Party. Events coympany H&G is putting on an Egyptian-themed party on the grounds of Lough Crew House. Celebrate the New Year and the reign of ancient queens and goddesses in this Golden Palace. This event is BYOB and your ticket covers your transport from Dublin.
Meeting point: Mountjoy Square
Times: Mon, 31 Dec 2018, 22:00 – 05:00 Tue, 1 Jan 2019,
Best things to do in Dublin
Cure your hangover
Head to a great cafe
When the dust has settled and the sun has risen, you’ll want to replenish your strength. Thankfully, Dublin isn’t short on plenty of divine cafes whose brunch menus will cure any hangover.
Brother Hubbard has quickly built up its reputation as one of Dublin’s best cafes. With establishments on the Northside and Southside of the city, you can pick up delicious Middle Eastern-inspired brunch such as Turkish eggs and halloumi flatbread, as well as the classic granola bowls and avocado toast.
Venture towards the north side and hit up Woodstock in Phibsboro. This great-value and for the most part, has avoided the influx of influencers and hipsters that you might see snapping pictures of their eggs Benedict in other places.
On the South Side, you can’t do better than Goose on the Loose. This small enclave on Kevin Street is perfect for a delicious helping of Russian-style blini, American pancakes or the classic savoury crepe.
Check out the cities top sights
No trip to Dublin is complete without hitting up some of the city’s landmarks. If you’re here for a longer break, then here are the top spots and landmarks you mustn’t miss.
Learn about how the Irish diaspora shaped the world with a visit to EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum at George’s Dock. You can journey to the past in the world’s first digital-only museum and get an insight into the Irish influence in music, books and politics.
Another great way to learn about Irish history is with a tour of Glasnevin Cemetary. If you don’t fear the hair of the dog, then head to John Kavanagh’s “The Gravediggers” pub. This no-frills family-run watering hole has been in existence since 1833. Befriend the staff to hear some ghost stories.
If you don’t mind the cold, then clear your head with a venture to Dublin’s stunning surrounding scenery! In the city, you’ve got Phoenix Park which is absolutely beautiful in the evening.
Drive out north towards Howth and Malahide for some stunning views of the coast. The south of county boasts the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains. Personally, I love hiking up to the vast and beautiful Bohernabreena Reservoir in Glenasmole Valley, D24.
Another classic option is to visit the Guinness Storehouse in the Liberties area and the Jameson Distillery in Smithfield – showcasing two of Ireland’s most well-known exports!
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