Wherever you go, you need to get out and talk to the locals. You'll get the best tips of where to eat, drink, what transport to get, directions, discounts... And not just that but you get a feel for the 'normal', the culture, the languages or accents, and get the best picture of the place you're visiting...
So big thank you to the kind gentleman with the moustache I met by St Stephens green, the taxi driver who picked me up from the airport, and the lady at reception who enabled me to recommend to you the top 5 things to do in Dublin.
1) Enjoy a pint of Guiness with panoramic views of Dublin on the Guiness Storehouse tour.
Now I'm not a big lover of stout, but this is something else. Throughout the tour you learn about the way in which Arthur Guiness, entrepreneur and philanthropist has helped shape the Dublin that is known today, then enjoy a cold pint of the velvety black stuff, which only tastes this good in Dublin, and a 360 degree view of the city.
Book the tour online and you get a discount, as well as fast track through the queues, to understand the history, the marketing, and the sampling of the famous velvety stout. Be prepared though, it's a good hearty drink, so don't have a big lunch just before your visit (or breakfast if you're anything like the dubliners... Breakfast and ale!)
2) 'Diddly Dee' music and drinks
The great thing about Dublin is it has kept all its old pubs, the oldest of these is the Brazen Head, built in 1198. It's a very quaint pub with open fires, and good old Irish music. You could quite easily lose time in here as you soak in the atmosphere and listen to the diddly dee of the Irish band. It also has Irish folklore storytelling.
3) Take a tour round Temple Bar
Don't just walk down the main road in the middle, get in and out of the little side streets, there are loads of little vintage shops and randomly placed market stalls selling things from trinkets to maps. Then just as your legs are getting tired, hop into a bar for an Irish coffee to get out of the cold and warm your cockles.
4) Irish dancing at the Arlington Hotel
This is on every night of the week. You get a three course meal for €33.95 which is a little on the pricey side, but well worth it. You get a full three course meal and a thoroughly enjoyable show. It's amazing how they can put on a miniature river dance on a small stage, and get the audience participation. Definitely worth a visit.
5) Amble down Grafton Street
This is the more upmarket shopping area, and whilst my credit card was firmly in my purse (even though earning those air miles on purchases was tempting) it was still great to peruse the shops and stop to watch the street artists perform, to watch a couple dancing a jive to a guy uplifting the crowd with his upbeat guitar strumming.
Again, head down the side roads for some lovely bars and pubs, or visit the little gem that is the Dawson Lounge on Dawson street... little being the operative word as it's the smallest pub in Dublin, but fabulously formed.
...when in Dublin...