10 Places in Ireland I’d Love To Return To

Nov 18, 2021 10:34:00 AM / by Jessica Kisluk

CAPA alumna Jessica Kisluk studied abroad in Dublin in fall 2018 and left with the best impressions of the country. She lists her top 10 favorite places she found rewarding to visit and takes us down memory lane.

It’s been three years since my semester abroad in Dublin, and there are many places I’ve been dreaming of returning to when I get the chance to visit Ireland again. While studying abroad at Griffith College in Dublin, I made it my mission to explore the city as much as I could, as well as the rest of Ireland. For me, making my own discoveries of places I found interesting was so much more rewarding than focusing on the main tourist destinations.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite spots in Dublin:

1. The Irish Film Institute (IFI)

All kinds of Irish and international films are shown at the Irish Film Institute and it’s a more intimate experience than going to the larger cinemas. There’s also a small cafe there if you want to grab a bite to eat! I first got familiar with the IFI through my internship at the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland. If you’re really into film, seeing a show here is a must!

2. Phoenix Park

I stopped at Phoenix Park only once during my semester in Dublin, but I wish I spent more time there to bike around or take a long stroll. This is where the President of Ireland and the US Ambassador to Ireland live. 

phoenix park

If you’re lucky, you'll stumble upon the deer that roam around the park. If you definitely want to see animals, you can head to the Dublin Zoo that is located in the park. You can also grab a bite to eat at the Victorian Tea Rooms or the Phoenix Café.

3. Gallery of Photography

The photography professors at Griffith College took us to the Gallery of Photography for class and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The exhibits are always changing and feature Irish photographers. It’s a small gallery, but you can learn a lot through the exhibits shown here.

4. Blarney Castle Gardens

blarney castle gardens

Besides kissing the famous Blarney Stone, the Blarney Castle grounds are beautiful to walk around. There’s over 60 acres of gardens, avenues, arboretums, and waterways. The Blarney Castle Gardens are close to Cork, which was a fun city to explore. My friends and I took a 3-hour bus ride from Dublin to Cork and then another 30-minute bus ride to travel to the Blarney Castle Gardens. If you’re looking to visit a castle closer to Dublin, Malahide Castle is worth checking out too!

5. Queen of Tarts

One of my favorite breakfasts was at the Queen of Tarts in Dublin, right near Temple Bar. They have some of the best scones, muffins, and cakes. I took my parents here when they came to visit and they loved it.

6. Croke Park

croke park

I’m glad I didn’t miss out on a game at Croke Park! Whether it’s hurling, Gaelic football, or rugby, the energy at the games is just different in Ireland. I was there in 2018 for the Women’s Gaelic Football Team Championship where Dublin took the win. At the beginning of the semester, we took a tour with our Analyzing and Exploring the Global City class, which inspired my friends and I to buy tickets to a game and see what all the hype was about!

7. Belfast Christmas Market

If you’re studying during the fall semester, you’ll be able to catch the beginning of some Christmas markets that pop up at the end of November. The Belfast Christmas Market in Northern Ireland was located right in front of City Hall and included vendors from all over the world. There were all sorts of things to buy for gifts (or yourself) and delicious foods to eat. We were able to stop at this one after one of our Global Cities trips, where some of my classmates decided to extend our day trip and stay the whole weekend.

8. Howth


If you're looking to get out of the city for a hike, Howth is only a 40-minute bus ride from Griffith College. If you go on the weekend, there’s a cute little market to shop and eat at. Walking along the coast is breathtaking.

9. The Bernard Shaw

The Bernard Shaw is a restaurant, pub, and event space. We used to see bands play there and snack on pizzas that they served out of a double decker bus. When I was in Dublin, The Bernard Shaw was located on South Richmond Street, but it has since moved to Drumcondra. I still follow the restaurant on social media and there’s always something happening! On Thursdays through Sundays, they have a food market with vendors from all over the world. I would love to go back and check out their new location.

10. Murphy's Ice Cream

I am dying to taste Murphy’s Dingle Sea Salt ice cream again. There are locations in Dublin, Galway, Killarney, and the OG spot—Dingle. It can’t hurt to bring a tub back to your flat for another time to enjoy as well!


I hope you can enjoy some of these places and even make your own discoveries that you’ll be wishing to return to once your semester is over! Time flies by, so take advantage of your time abroad and savor each moment.

Thanks, Jessica, for your trip down memory lane!

Click here to see all of our dublin programs

Topics: London, England, Diversity Abroad