Welcome to the port of Dublin, the capital and the biggest city of Ireland! Known for pubs, musical culture, and rich historic and cultural heritage, Dublin is considered one of the best European destinations. In this article, read about:
- Port of Dublin (Dublin cruise terminal, getting around, helpful info)
- 10 best things to do in Dublin cruise port and best Dublin shore excursions
Port of Dublin
Port of Dublin is Ireland’s largest cargo and cruise port. Cruise ships dock at Alexandra Basin (Alexandra Quay), located approximately 3.2 km/2 miles away from the city center. Alexandra Basin consists of three berths (30, 33, 37), the most important for cruise liners being Ocean Pier 33 where the majority of large cruise ships dock. Alexandra Basin is located within an industrial area and cruise passengers are strictly forbidden to walk around the pier.
The Port Authorities normally provide a complimentary shuttle bus to the entrance of the port (no. 2 Branch Road), from where guests can navigate on foot or use public transport to get into the city center. There isn’t a proper terminal building, so cruise ships will often set up a small information desk onboard the ship.
Some cruise vessels also dock at berth 18 located on North Quay Extension, in front of the Tom Clarke Bridge. There is no shuttle provided here and guests are allowed to exit the port on foot via the blue gates on East Wall Road. Small cruise ships sometimes dock up the river Liffey close to the city center.
With six large ferry companies (Irish Ferries, Stena Line Ferries, The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, P&O Ferries, CLDN, and Seatruck Ferries), operating up to thirteen sailings daily, Port Dublin is also one of the main ferry ports serving routes across the Irish Sea to Holyhead (Wales), Liverpool (England), Douglas (Isle of Man), and Cherbourg (France).
Helpful info & links:
- See the Dublin port cruise schedules at https://www.dublinport.ie/
- From Ocean Pier 33, passengers are provided with a complimentary shuttle bus to the port entrance at no. 2 Branch Road South, from where they can walk to the city center (depending on your speed this can take you around 20 – 30 minutes on foot).
- The nearest Luas Red Line Tram stop is located at the Point Village (look out for The Point tram stop), approximately a 17-minute walk (1.4 km/0.9 miles) from there.
- From berth 18, The Point tram stop is located only 9 minutes walk (750 meters).
- Cruise lines sometimes offer a convenient shuttle service from the cruise ship directly to the city center and the round trip costs around $12 per person. The tickets must be purchased onboard the ship to avoid lines and delays on the pier.
- A limited amount of taxis are also available outside the ship by the port entrance. The fare is around 15-20€ per vehicle one way to downtown and the trip takes around 10 minutes depending on traffic conditions. If you are traveling with a small group, it’s cheaper to take a taxi than a cruise line shuttle bus.
- The official currency in Ireland is EURO (€). ATMs and currency exchange are available in the town. Local currency and credit cards are widely accepted. See the currency converter
- Dublin Hop on Hop off buses are available and they make around 30 stops at major Dublin city highlights. The loop takes around 1h 45 minutes. Check out Dublin Hop on Hop off sightseeing bus tours on Viator and Get Your Guide
- Dublin Pass City Card is a great option if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, as it allows you to access over 35 attractions, museums, and monuments in Dublin for free. Read more on https://dublinpass.com/
- Public transport in Ireland is reliable and below are the links to official websites where you can check the timetables, routes and prices:
- Irish Rail official website https://www.irishrail.ie/
- Dublin Bus http://www.dublinbus.ie/
- Bus Eireann (Irish bus service provider in all regions except for Dublin region where its sister company Dublin Bus provides services) https://www.buseireann.ie/
- Dublin Luas Tram (Green and Red Line) https://luas.ie/
- Dublin has an oceanic climate with long, cold winters and warm, temperate summers. For useful cruise packing tips, check out my article What to Pack for a Cruise in 2023 – Top 60 Cruise Essentials
- Dublin Airport is located 11 km/7 miles (a 15-minute drive) north of Dublin port.
- Book a private transfer to/from the port of Dublin
- Check out Dublin rent-a-car deals
- Explore Dublin tours and activities
- Find accommodation in Dublin
- Get an e-sim card to have access to the Internet at all times!
- Search the best Western Europe cruise deals!
10 Best Things to Do in the Port of Dublin
Many attractions in Dublin are located right in the city center and can be easily reached on foot. Make sure you grab a city map from the tourist information center before your independent city exploration. If you prefer not to walk, can take one of Dublin Hop on Hop off double-decker buses along O’Connell Street. If you would like to explore beyond Dublin, then I will strongly suggest booking an organized shore excursion through the cruise line or a reliable tour operator, especially if your time in port is limited.
Before I list the 10 best things to do in the port of Dublin, I invite you to sign up below and get my FREE Shore Excursions Packing List! (PDF/printable format)
1. Trinity College and Book of Kells
Admire the rich architecture and history of Ireland’s most prestigious and oldest university dating from the 16th century. The Old Library contains over 4.5 million books including the famous Book of Kells, the 8th-century illuminated manuscript Gospel book containing the four Gospels of the New Testament, one of Ireland’s National Treasures. Trinity College is located in the city center, opposite the Parliament House.
There is no entrance fee to walk through the campus of Trinity College, but there is a fee to visit the Book of Kells and the Trinity College Library. The admission fee is 18.50€ for adults and 10€ for children 6-17 years old. A family ticket is available at the price of 46€ (2 adults + 2 children under 18). Online booking is required and you’ll need to select a specific entry time for your visit. Find more information on https://www.tcd.ie/
The Old Library is fully wheelchair accessible but you will need to speak with one of the staff to give you access to the elevator.
2. Dublin Castle
This iconic landmark is one of the most important buildings in Irish history. Built by King John of England in the early 13th century, this imposing castle was the seat of English and British rule in Ireland.
Dublin Castle is located in the heart of Dublin on Dame Street, within walking distance of many major tourist attractions such as Trinity College, City Hall, and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Nowadays a major Irish government complex and a conference center, the castle is open to the public and used for important national events and state receptions.
Visit the Chapel Royal and admire the stunning architecture and stained glass windows, decorated with coats of arms representing many of Ireland’s Viceroys; The Revenue Museum, located in the crypt of the Chapel Royal; the opulent decoration of the State Apartments including the Throne Room; the famous St. Patrick’s Hall, one of Ireland’s greatest ceremonial rooms. Stroll through the Castle Gardens and visit the Garda Síochána Memorial Garden, dedicated to Irish police members killed in the line of duty.
For self-guided tours, the entrance fee for adults is 8€ and 4€ for children 12 to 17 years old. A family ticket (2 adults + up to 3 children) is 20€. Guided tours are available. Wheelchair users are welcome in all areas of the State Apartment and the Gardens, but Chapel Royal is only partially accessible. Find more information on https://www.dublincastle.ie/
3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Experience the impressive Gothic architecture of the largest church in Ireland and one of the most visited places in Dublin. Admire the beautiful stained glass windows and spectacular decoration while learning about the history of the church throughout the centuries and the important people buried here like Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. Visitors can also choose to climb up the bell tower to get magnificent views of the city. The cathedral is known for its world-famous choir, established in 1432, which still performs daily during school term.
St Patrick’s Cathedral is located in the center of Dublin, at a stone’s throw from Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, and a wonderful St Stephen’s Green Park. The entrance fee is 9€ for adults, 3.50€ for children 6-12 years old, and 24€ for a family of 2 adults and up to 3 children. I strongly suggest you book your tickets online to skip the long lines and maximize your time at this site. There is a lift and ramp at the main entrance for wheelchair users. Find more information on https://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/
4. Malahide Castle and Gardens
Experience the fairytale world of this 12th-century medieval castle and learn about the aristocratic Talbot family, owners of the castle from 1185 to 1975. Explore the private rooms and visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens & Butterfly House. If you are traveling with kids, do not miss participating in the interactive Fairy Trail, a magical experience in the wooded West Lawn, suitable for kids of all ages.
Malahide Castle offers different tour packages that start at 8.50€ per adult and 6€ for children. Visit the official web page to choose the most convenient experience for you https://www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie/
This enchanting castle is located in Portmarnock, approximately 15 km/9 miles (a 20-minute drive) north of the port of Dublin. You can get there by bus but the ride takes over 1h 15 minutes one-way. A taxi or an organized tour is a more convenient option.
5. Temple Bar
Established in 1840, The Temple Bar is home to Ireland’s largest whisky collection and the most iconic bar in Dublin. This amazing place is located in one of Dublin’s most charming districts of the same name (The Temple Bar neighborhood), full of cultural centers, art galleries, pubs and restaurants, famous for its lively day and nightlife.
Temple bar is located in the city center, approximately 5 minutes walking distance from Trinity College. If you wish to enjoy a drink or get a bite to eat, I suggest you head there early (opens at 10:30 am) otherwise be ready for a little waiting because it can get crowded. The official webpage is https://thetemplebarpub.com/
6. Grafton Street
For your shopping pleasures, head over to Grafton, one of the main shopping streets in Dublin. This lively street offers a variety of souvenir shops, high-end stores, and many cafes, restaurants and bars. Even if shopping is not on your list, walking along this pedestrian street and enjoying the local artist and musicians’ performances will make you feel the authentic spirit of Dublin City!
7. Jameson Whiskey Distillery
Take a visit to the original distillery of the biggest-selling Irish whiskey on the planet! Learn about the history, process and different types of Whiskey on an interactive tour before enjoying a complimentary drink. Whiskey-blending and cocktail-making classes are also available at an extra cost.
Jameson Distillery is located just off Smithfield Square, on Bow Street. You take the Luas red light tram at The Point station or in the city center and get off at the Smithfield stop. If you walk, it takes approximately a 15-minute walk from Temple Bar and 20 minutes from Trinity College to get there. A taxi from the pier will cost around 20€ and the trip takes about 10 minutes.
Entrance tickets can be purchased online or directly at the distillery. There are several tours and experiences offered, and the prices start at 26€ per adult. Jameson Distillery is fully wheelchair accessible. Find more information on the official webpage https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/
8. Guinness Storehouse
If you are a beer lover then you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Guinness Storehouse, located in St James’s Gate district, approximately a 20-minute walk from Dublin city center. Experience the history of Ireland’s most iconic beer on a self-guided tour of the old fermentation plant of the brewery and enjoy some beer in the tasting rooms. Visitors can also savor fine dining while taking in breathtaking 360-degree views of Dublin City from the renowned Gravity Bar.
To get there, you can either walk 25 minutes from Dublin city center, or you can take the bus 123 from O’Connell Street Upper to James Street. There are several tours and experiences offered and adult tickets start at 26€. The Guinness Storehouse building is wheelchair accessible (it has ramps and lifts). Check more info on the official webpage https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/
9. The Merry Ploughboy Pub
Nothing better than music and food to top off your visit to this bustling city! Experience traditional Irish entertainment and cuisine at the famous MPBP, the only pub in Ireland owned and run by musicians. Their Irish music & Irish dancing show have been awarded several times as the best traditional show in Ireland.
The MPBP is located on Edmondstown Road, approximately 20 minutes drive south of the port of Dublin. Pre-booking tickets for the dinner show is a must as it normally sells out quickly, so make sure you book the visit on time. You can also check availability on their official web page https://www.mpbpub.com/
10. The Wicklow Mountains National Park
Take a trip to the filming location of the popular romance film, “P.S. I Love You” and the famous Mel Gibson movie, “Braveheart”. The landscape of this beautiful national park is more magnificent in reality than it looks on screen.
Gentle slopes, serene lakes, and deep glacial valleys offer many chances to fish, kayak, and hike. Many of the tours offered to Wicklow include a stop at the monastic city of Glendalough, founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, known as the Valley of the two lakes. You will enjoy a traditional Irish lunch and some free time to roam and explore the mystical and natural beauty of the valley.
The national park is located only 30 km/18.5 miles south of Dublin cruise port, and it takes less than a 1-hour drive to get there. The best way to get there is on an organized shore excursion which will take you to the most scenic spots and famous spots in the national park.
To Wrap Up
Whether you decide to take in Ireland’s natural landscapes, visit its impressive castles and historic landmarks, or spend time enjoying authentic Irish whiskey in one of its lively pubs, you will spend an unforgettable time in Dublin. Make sure you plan your day ahead so you can maximize your stay in this wonderful port of call!
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