There is a tiny town located northwest of Columbus that boasts big Irish attitude – in a good way! Whether you have a little Irish in you, or just wish you did, Dublin is full of Irish charm for you to take in and savor. It’s easy to get into the Irish spirit, as Dublin is home to the country’s largest three-day Irish Festival and Celtic Cocktail Trail. Here are ten reasons to gather your little leprechauns and fairies and discover your own Irish attitude. This site does contain affiliate links.
Irish Fairy Door Trail
Eight fairies have made their home in downtown Dublin and are ready for visitors. Pick up your passport at the Dublin Visitors Center and locate your first fairy door. The visitor center is the ideal starting point as it sets the tone for your magical journey to the other seven fairy doors. The other doors are not as easy to find as they are not the center of attention. Little ones will enjoy searching the stores to find their resident fairy door. A prize is awarded to all adventurers who find the names of all the local fairies.
Traditional Irish Fare
Any Dubliner will tell you that in order to have a true Irish experience you must visit an Irish pub for an Irish meal. We swung into historic Dublin Village Tavern where the Guinness flows and Shepherd’s Pie is a staple on every table. This family-friendly pub is the ideal spot for dinner on the patio or a comfy meal indoors. We highly recommend the Irish egg rolls which is corned beef goodness deep fried and served with a dipping sauce. Also join everyone else and get the Shepherd’s Pie. There is a reason it is the most popular menu item. It is the best Shepherd’s Pie I have ever eaten.
If Irish cuisine is not your forte, we recommend the 101 Beer Kitchen. Their made-from-scratch dishes paired with a cozy atmosphere is the ideal spot for foodie families. Get the house-made loaded tater tots and you will never see tater tots the same. You may not think that Tater Tots need messing with, or made from scratch, but trust us: you’ll understand after you have them.
Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of mother nature during your visit to Dublin. There are four waterfalls located along the Waterfall Trail, with only three being view able year round. Our favorite was Hayden Falls which was easy to access thanks to a boardwalk winding its way through the forest to the walls. Be sure to stop at the reservoir, Dublin’s man-made waters to take in a true engineering feat. A few locals indicated it is Dublin’s best kept secret. The terraced structure is gorgeous and there are picnic areas in addition to open spaces in which to do yoga or meditate.
Take A Cultural Journey By Attending A Local Festival
Dublin is known for hosting the most epic Irish festival in the country, but they also have a variety of other cultural festivals throughout the year. We had the opportunity to experience Dublin’s B.R.E.A.D. Festival while we were in town. This festival celebrates the many rich cultures that call Dublin home. In true Irish fashion the bag pipers were out in full swing dazzling the crowd with their musical talents. Delicious smells and hand-crafted goods lure visitors to booths, each celebrating a different culture. One could spend all day watching the variety of traditional performances, sampling various cuisines and discovering what sets each culture apart.
Art In Public Places Tour
After you have finished looking for fairies, try you hand at finding all the public art that Dublin has to offer. Throughout the county there is impressive public art just waiting to be discovered. For easy assess download the cell phone tour which maps out all the works of art and gives the history behind each piece. Be sure to see the dancing rabbits located Ballantrae Park. The rabbits made up of recycled material which piques curiosity as to what makes up these structures! If visit during the summer months the park is home an amazing splash pad!
This was a family favorite because the majority of parks that house public artworks also have great playgrounds. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon park-hopping and admiring the local art. Don’t forget to swing by and behold the mystery of Corn Henge!
The perfect way to spend an entire day in Dublin is to visit the Columbus Zoo. We only scratched the surface during our visit, but the variety of exotic animals, exhibits and playgrounds already have us planning our next visit. As many of you know, not all zoos all created equal. I was in shock to see the humongous water park that was attached to the zoo. Tickets and passes are sold separately to the water park, AKA Zoombezi Bay, but what a great option for have for guests!
The zoo consists of themed areas that represent a particular part of the world. There you can find animals and exhibits that are native to that portion of the world. A favorite was Australia and the Islands mainly for the Kangaroo Walk-About. You have the opportunity to walk around in the kangaroo exhibit with our jumpy friends. You are required to stay on the designated path, but strollers are allowed.
The manatee exhibit is one that you would not want to miss. Onlookers congregate to catch glimpses of the giant stingrays, turtles and the sea cows. Interactive stations throughout the exhibit teach visitors how to protect these gentle giants and how the Columbus Zoo is helping in the efforts
Compared to Cincinnati Zoo
For those of you who have been to the Cincinnati Zoo one big difference you will notice between the two is that there is no “Big Bear Hill” that you will need to climb. In a matter of fact the Columbus Zoo is mostly flat, which makes strollers a breeze. Another difference is that the Cincinnati Zoo is one giant loop with a few exhibits branching off. Here the zoo is sectioned off by geographical location. The zoo is so expansive – I felt I missed out on some must see exhibits and animals because everything was so spread apart.
However, I was impressed with the numerous amount of statues and play areas offered for children of all ages compared to the single play area at the Cincinnati Zoo. When it comes to feeding the family, the food court was a hit. Not only was it affordable there was a good selection to choose from.
As you stroll the streets of historic Dublin be sure to swing into the local boutiques and splurge on a few Irish souvenirs. On Irish Second Saturdays the afternoon is filled with live Irish-themed music entertainment and arts and crafts. Grab lunch on one of the many patios and take in the Irish atmosphere. Families be sure to swing into Dublin Toy Emporium and get a gourmet coffee at Winan’s paired with delicious chocolate.
Treat Yo Self to Epic Sweet Treats at Kilwin’s
If you haven’t savored the sweet delectable ice cream that Kilwin’s has to offer, you are missing out my friend. Cincinnati does not currently have a Kilwin’s so this was a special treat for us. With fall being in full swing I had no choice but to go for the pumpkin ice cream. Divine.
Phoenix Bat Company Tours
Dublin is home to the Phoenix Bat Company. Guests have to opportunity to tour the plant and see how a bat is made from start to finish. Throughout your one hour tour, you will learn the history of the business, how they work with the pros and what goes into make a great bat. Tours are $10 but includes a mini bat to commemorate your tour. Tour times can be found on their website or personal tours can be scheduled.
Celtic Cocktail Trail
After traveling with children all day and night, this trail goes out to my parents. Sip on Irish-themed cocktails as you make your way around Dublin. Be sure to include a stop at a traditional Irish Pub and swing in to Vaso to take in the views from their rooftop bar. Each drink is unique and has an Irish flair to it. As always please drink responsibility; No T-Shirt is worth your life or anyone else’s. Now go sit back and enjoy one of Dublin’s signature cocktails.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the ES Sonetsa in Dublin and highly recommend it for families. Not only does it have a full kitchen completed with dishes, cookware and silverware, but they offer snacks and a full breakfast. The room was clean and spacious that allowed our little one to run wild Parent’s, they have bathtubs!! In a nutshell, it was like our own private apartment with the separate living room and kitchen space. The outdoor pool and basketball court were a nice touch as well.
The opportunities for family fun are endless in Dublin and the surrounding Columbus area. COSI, Ice Skating, and zip lining are a few additional adventures that your family can experience. Click here to learn more about Dublin and why it makes the perfect weekend escape.
Looking for more fun weekend adventures from Cincinnati? Look no further!