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dublin header Alberto Gonzalez Limon/Flickr

Grab a Pint and Gather Round

Let’s make two things clear: This isn’t a pub crawl and there won’t be any Irish Car Bombs. Drinking is a thing of culture in Dublin, where a night at the pubs is akin to visiting the vineyards of Bordeaux. Indeed, the city’s best bars host some of its finest architecture, literary history and traditional musicians. So grab a pint--and, OK, a farm-to-table shepherd’s pie--and see what we mean.

Where to Stay

Make your stay at a rocker-owned hotel

The Clarence

Bono and The Edge weren’t aiming to become hoteliers. They just loved the glass-ceilinged Octagon Bar so much, they decided to buy the historic hotel surrounding it. After checking into your minimalist-chic suite overlooking the River Liffey, head downstairs for an incredible meal at Michelin-starred Cleaver East and a creative cocktail at the prohibition-style Liquor Rooms. Still thirsty? You’re only a couple blocks from Temple Bar, the city’s main entertainment district.

6-8 Wellington Quay

Where to Eat

Nouveau Irish cuisine, pub fare and all-liquid diets

The Pig's Ear

Cooking show star Stephen McAllister is giving Irish cuisine a good name. Using local ingredients (including stout and toasted barley), he elevates classic dishes without skyrocketing the prices. Come for the pig belly served with black pudding and parsnips. Stay for the buttermilk custard made with rhubarb and ginger.

4 Nassau St.

bowes Trip Advisor

Bowe's

Known for its perfect pints of Guinness, 100-plus whiskies and craft beers on tap, Bowe’s is the ultimate authentic Irish pub. We especially love the original stained glass and red chesterfield banquettes, not to mention the colorful characters who can always be found inside.

31 Fleet St.

porterhouse gilberto_sparks/Instagram

The Porterhouse Temple Bar

Tired of Guinness? Try the small-batch beers at Dublin’s first microbrew pub. Here, you can sample an array of award-winning beers, or just go for the Original Irish Stew made with braised lamb shank and red ale.

16-18 Parliament St.

What to Do

Drinking is better when you’re learning too

Take a Literary Pub Crawl

James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde…these authors definitely didn’t get their inspiration from slurping coffee in a cubicle. Join an unconventional walking tour of the literary icons’ favorite pubs while getting a crash course in Irish literature and folklore.

curling Brendan Rankin/Flickr

Cheer(s) at a Hurling Match

Hurling is Ireland’s national sport (think: super-manly field hockey), and watching a match with die-hard fans is truly a cultural experience. Head to the sports-centric Living Room Beer Garden for the largest outdoor screen in Europe or to Palace Bar, the Tipperary hurling team’s unofficial headquarters for the past century.

1 O'Donoghue's/Facebook

Jam at O'Donoghue's

One of the most renowned and oldest traditional music bars in Ireland, this place draws top folk acts seven nights a week. Wallpapered with photos of the legends that have played here (The Dubliners included), it’s the best place to tap your foot to the harp and fiddle.

What to Skip

Don’t get hung up on a trendy name

The Bar Temple Bar

Temple Bar is the main nightlife neighborhood in Dublin, but don’t be fooled by the tourist trap pub that tries to capitalize on the same name. In this neighborhood, stick to the historic Palace Bar and Porterhouse microbrewery.

What to Pack

umbrella Kate Spade

Umbrella

Leave your Gortex at home. The "brolley" is the locals’ rainy day pick. Choose a bright color to combat the Irish gray skies--in a travel size of course.

Kate Spade ($38)

app Twenty20

Story Map App (Free)

You’re in the land of storytellers, so use this app to have a real Dubliner narrate your journey with historic tidbits, ghost stories and drunken tales as you wander the streets.

Story Maps

cabri J Brand

Capri Pants

Even in summer, it’s never quite hot enough for shorts in Ireland. Show a little leg at the bar while keeping warm with a cute pair of cropped pants.

J Brand ($178)