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Grand Canal Dock In Dublin: Things To Do, Restaurants, Pubs + Hotels

Grand Canal Dock In Dublin: Things To Do, Restaurants, Pubs + Hotels

If you’re debating staying in Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.

Located in the Dublin docklands, Grand Canal Dock is where the canal meets the River Liffey. In the late 18th century it was the largest docks in the world.

Significant redevelopment post-2000 resulted in many tech companies moving into the area, earning Grand Canal Dock the nickname “Silicon Docks”.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything from the history of the area to the best restaurants in Grand Canal Dock.

Some quick need-to-knows about Grand Canal Dock

Brewdog dublin

Photos via Brewdog on FB

Although a visit to Grand Canal Dock is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Grand Canal Dock is just 2km southeast of Dublin City Centre. The sheltered enclosed harbour is where the Grand Canal merges with the River Liffey which then flows out into Dublin Bay. The area includes Grand Canal Dock Railway Station.

2. A tech hub

Once a historic dock, the area is now a hub of high-rise architecture housing many multinational company HQs including Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Airbnb. It’s nickname “Silicon Docks” reflects its similarity to Silicon Valley, California as both are hubs of advanced technology and innovation.

3. Home to a fine bit of history

Designed by William Jessop, the Grand Canal Dock dates back to 1796. At that time it was the largest docks in the world. However, as rail transport quickly made canals redundant, it soon fell into decline. It became an area of chemical factories, tar pits and foundries. By the 1960s the docks were derelict, deemed “too toxic to sell”. Now regenerated, it is once again a hub of Dublin’s leading business development.

About Grand Canal Dock

grand canal dock dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

Grand Canal Dock covers a sizeable area of prime real estate south of the River Liffey. It’s bordered by South Lotts Rd to the east, Grand Canal Street to the south and Macken Street to the west.

Home to the Grand Canal Dock Railway Station and Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre, it’s an area of significant development over the last 20 years. This prime area of redevelopment also has many international HQ buildings around Grand Canal Square.

This multi-million Euro area has red resin-glass paving that extends into the canal. Futuristic architecture includes the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, the largest arts centre in Ireland, and The Factory, home of Irish Film and TV Network Studios.

Google Docks Montevetro building is currently the tallest commercial building in Dublin while the neighbouring Millennium Tower was until recently the tallest multi-storey building in the city.

Overlooking the water, The Marker Hotel is an innovative design and Leading Hotel of the World. Prestigious apartments occupy the award-winning Alto Vetro building and Boland’s Mill.

Things to do in Grand Canal Dock (and nearby)

Although there’s only a handful of things to do in Grand Canal Dock, the big draw of this town is its proximity to some of the best places to visit in Dublin.

Below, you’ll find some places to visit in the town along with heaps of things to do a stone’s throw away.

1. Surfdock


Photos via Surfdock

Watersports are a popular activity around Grand Canal Dock. Learn stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and windsurfing at Surfdock.

These lads have been offering individual and group sessions for 20 years. They also run summer camps for 8-16 year-olds. Facilities include changing rooms, lockers and showers as well as equipment rentals and tuition.

2. The Jeanie Johnston

Jeanie Johnston dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

The Jeanie Johnston started life as a cargo ship but is infamous as the legendary Irish Famine Ship, transporting emigrants to Quebec, Baltimore and New York as the famine devastated Ireland.

Between 1848 and 1855, the ship made 16 transatlantic voyages carrying 2,500 emigrants out and timber back on the return journey. In 1858, when loaded with timber, she became waterlogged.

The crew clung to the rigging for 9 days before being rescued. Learn more about this fascinating part of Irish history on an educational 50-minute guided tour of this replica ship which reveals the harsh reality of onboard life.

3. EPIC Museum

EPIC tour dublin

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

On a similar theme, the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum is in the heart of Dublin Docklands on Custom House Quay.

Pick up your “passport” and journey through 20 interactive galleries that tell the story of the Irish emigrants and how they changed the world.

Named “Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction” at the World Travel Awards 2021, this museum captivates all that have step through its doors.

4. The Famine Memorial

Dublin Famine Memorial

Photos via Shutterstock

Right across the road from EPIC, the poignant collection of Famine Statues is by local sculptor Rowan Gillespie.

It depicts life-size statues of Irish people carrying their meagre belongings towards the ship to escape poverty and starvation. It’s a sobering reminder of a harrowing period in Ireland’s history.

5. Dublin Bay Cruises

Dublin Bay Cruises boat tours

Photo left: Peter Krocka. Photo right: Lukas Bischoff Photograph (Shutterstock)

Relax and take in the coastal scenery with a 75-minute trip with Dublin Bay Cruises. Travel through time, identifying local landmarks around Dublin Bay and listen to the commentary as you enjoy drinks from the bar.

Operated by the Garrihy family, this cruise takes in Ireland’s Eye, Howth Head, Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Sandycove Martello Tower where James Joyce was inspired to write Ulysses.

Return the same way or hop on the DART train in Howth or Dun Laoghaire for the 30-minute train journey back to the city.

6. Walk the Grand Canal

canal walk dublin

Photo By Nabil Imran (Shutterstock)

What better way to absorb the history and natural beauty of the Grand Canal than with a ramble. It’s also a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of the area!

I’ve mapped out this looped walking route for you, which takes around 50 minutes in total. It follows the canal and takes in some nice scenery along the way.

Grand Canal Dock restaurants

grand canal dock restaurants

Photos via Osteria Lucio on FB

There are some excellent Grand Canal Dock restaurants for those of you looking to eat nearby (some of the best restaurants in Dublin are also a short ride away). Here are out favourites.

1. Herbstreet

Herbstreet is an award-winning family owned restaurant in the heart of Grand Canal Square. From breakfast pancakes to lunchtime burgers it does the full gamut of food and drinks until late. Top wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic options can be enjoyed in this stylish waterfront setting.

2. Charlotte Quay

Locally sourced ingredients are prepared with expertise at Charlotte Quay, resulting in a fresh and exciting dinner and drinks experience with a hint of Mediterranean influences. The well-located bar shakes great cocktails and has superb views through a wall of glass.

3. Osteria Lucio

Michelin star chefs Ross Lewis and Luciano Tona bring years of experience and a host of innovative ideas to the table at Osteria Lucio. Their exquisitely served dishes offer layers of flavour in a blend of Irish and Italian cuisine.

Pubs in Grand Canal Dock

Brewdog dublin

Photos via Brewdog on FB

There’s a handful of brilliant pubs in Grand Canal Dock for those of you itching to kick-back with a post adventure-tipple after a day of exploring. Here are our favourite spots:

1. BrewDog Dublin

Brewdog Outpost Dublin is in a prime venue at Capital Dock overlooking the River Liffey waterfront. With two bars, a fantastic food menu and 32 taps of craft beer, this landmark resembles stacked ships’ containers. Outdoors there’s a firepit and shuffleboard. Join a microbrewery tour, visit the Beer School or just relax with a pint and an epic burger and enjoy the view.

2. The Marker Hotel

The iconic Marker Hotel is home to one of the finest rooftop bars in Dublin. From her, you’ll be able to soak up mighty views of the surrounding area. There’s also a bar downstairs, if you fancy sitting inside. Contemporary seating and snazzy lighting adds to the buzzing atmosphere.

Grand Canal Dock hotels

boutique hotels Dublin

Photos via

There are some excellent hotels in Grand Canal Dock, one of which is one of the finest 5 star hotels in Dublin. Here are our favourites.

Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. The Marker Hotel

The Marker Hotel is a landmark on Grand Canal Square offering a luxury hotel experience in the heart of the waterfront. There’s a cocktail bar, rooftop lounge and brasserie and a spa that includes an infinity pool, gym and steam room. Modern air-conditioned rooms are sleek and stylish with stunning views.

Check prices + see more photos here

2. Sonder at Britain Quay

Sonder at Britain Quay offers stylish apartments with balconies in an enviable location. Enjoy extra space with a living room with sofa, a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher and dining area, comfy bedroom and modern bathroom. Close to all the sights and attractions at Grand Canal Square.

Check prices + see more photos here

3. Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane

Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane offers 4-star luxury in an amazing location overlooking the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Spacious guest rooms are modern and comfortable and visitors have use of a health club, Stir Restaurant and epic Vertigo Bar.

Check prices + see more photos here

FAQs about visiting Grand Canal Dock in Dublin

Since mentioning the area in a guide on where to stay in Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Grand Canal Dock in Dublin.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best things to do in Grand Canal Dock?

If you’re looking for things to do in Grand Canal Dock and nearby, Surfdock, The Jeanie Johnston, EPIC and The Famine Memorial are worth a look.

Is Grand Canal Dock worth visiting?

Grand Canal Dock makes a great base to explore Dublin from. However, we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit.

Are there many pubs and restaurants in Grand Canal Dock?

Pub wise, try BrewDog, Cafe Bar H and the rooftop of The Marker Hotel. For food, Osteria Lucio, Charlotte Quay and Herbstreet all pack a tasty punch.

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