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Explore Dublin This St. Patrick's Day

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It might be halfway through the work week, that doesn't stop countless international visitors flocking to the Irish capital for the Celtic country's most famous national holiday. If you plan on making a short break out of your trip to Dublin this March then consider exploring the city even further. While the main parade takes place on the 17th at 12:00pm and travels from Parnell Square towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the City Sightseeing Dublin bus tour is a hop-on hop-off service that can you show you all the capital as it prepares for the big day. Not only can you come and go between 28 stops as much as you please for 2 whole days, but the helpful staff are highly attuned to the history and culture of the city. They'll point out key attractions who're hosting special events just for St. Patrick’s, great pubs where the craic flows like the Guinness, and venues putting on top class shows.

In the three days leading up to the main events why not visit highlight attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse (Blue Route Stop 14), Old Jameson Distillery (Red Route Stop 21a), or The Little Museum of Dublin (Blue Route Stop 7). The first two host regular guided tours of their facilities, an experience which includes everything from the brewing processes, brand evolution and modern logistics. And as is to be expected, both treat their visitors to a tantalising sample of the finished product. We draw attention to the Little Museum of Dublin because St. Patrick's Day isn't all about drink, and this institution is one which summarises and presents the key events, culture and lifestyle quirks of the capital in all their incarnations. Don't miss the 'Made in Dublin' exhibition, where you'll get to examine the story of U2 from their earliest roots in 1970s to international stardom. Even if you hate Bono, it's a renowned exploration of Dublin's pop culture scene.

If you do decide to travel aboard the City Sightseeing Dublin tour then our final stop recommendation would have to be Trinity College (Both Routes, Stop 2). The college itself is home to the ancient Book of Kells and features one of the most stunning, almost storybook-like, libraries in the world. Right across the road from Trinity College is the new Irish Whiskey Museum, an attraction which has climbed far in recent months to become one of Dublin's favourite visitor destinations. Upon entering you and your group are introduced to a passionate guide who'll whisk the party off on an insightful and entertaining journey through the multi-layered story of Irish Whiskey. The tour is split into three sections across numerous floors: 'The Origin of Irish Whiskey', 'The olden times of Irish Whiskey', and 'The boom times of Irish Whiskey'. At the end you'll be welcomed into the tasting room, where a master taster will share their knowledge with the group. Enjoy your complimentary tipple!

Depending on how you arrive in Dublin, note that the City Sightseeing Dublin Bus Tour can be booked with an optional Airport Aircoach Shuttle. This nifty bus is ideal for getting into the city centre quickly and efficiently. All Aircoach Shuttle Buses booked with the City Sightseeing tour include return travel to Dublin Airport, a portion which is valid for 6 months.

If you'd like to go further afield than Dublin in the lead up to March 17th, then the City Sightseeing tickets are also available as day tour combinations. Spend one day exploring the capital's landmarks and use the other to visit either Malahide Castle on the scenic east coast or the stunning rivers and valleys of County Wicklow. Both excursions are lead by a professional guide and include walking portions.

Finally, what kind of St. Patrick's day would it be without a fantastic pub crawl. At CityXplora we recently spoke to a bunch of Dublin locals and travel experts to get their opinion on the city's best, underrated bar and pubs. Their enthusiastic replies yielded 15 suggestions spread throughout the city centre, everywhere from Capel Street to the heart of Temple Bar. Check it out and stock up on a little inspiration.