If you’re debating staying in Phibsborough, you’ve landed in the right place.
Although we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit Phibsborough, it’s a great base to explore Dublin from.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from things to do in Phibsborough to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows before staying in Phibsborough
Although a visit to Phibsborough in Dublin is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Less than 2km north of Dublin city centre, Phibsborough is on the Northside area in Dublin 7. Situated on the North Circular Road, the commercial centre is better known as Doyle’s Corner. The parish is bordered to the north by the Royal Canal and Glasnevin.
2. One of the ‘World’s Coolest Neighbourhoods’
Named one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods by Time Out magazine, Phibsborough oozes old-school charm and history with a contemporary buzz. Nowhere is that better seen than in the array of quirky cafes, bars, pubs and small businesses. Home of Phizzfest, this friendly community has an artsy ambience with several small informal theatre venues.
3. A fine base for exploring
Phibsborough is conveniently close to the city and is teeming with independent bars, cafes, pubs and places to find good food and evening entertainment. Served by local buses and the LUAS Green Line, it’s a convenient base for exploring Dublin and the nearby coast without the need for a car.
The name Phibsborough (Phibsboro) has evolved from Phippsborough. It was named after a Lincolnshire settler, Richard Phibbs, who died in 1629.
The Royal Canal and Harbour Terminus brought employment to the area which was later shaped by the arrival of the Midland Great Western Railway and the North Circular Road.
The Blessington Street Basin once provided water to the city and is now a wildlife haven. Residential expansion north of Dublin eventually incorporated Phibsborough.
Significant landmarks in Phibsborough include St Peter’s Catholic Church (1862) and the former Flour Mill, now flats overlooking the Royal Canal. Broadstone Station Terminus with its grand facade is used as the HQ of a bus and coach company.
The area also has Dalymount Park (home of Bohemian F.C.) and the Mater University Hospital. Phibsborough has had several famous political and literary residents.
James Joyce lived on St Peter’s Road and author Irish Murdoch was born in Blessington Street. There are several memorials to local heroes of the Easter Rising.
Things to do in Phibsborough (and nearby)
Although there isn’t a huge number of things to do in Phibsborough, the area is a stone’s throw from many of the best places to visit in Dublin.
Below, you’ll find heaps of things to do a short walk away, along with a handful of things to do in Phibsborough itself.
1. Blessington Street Basin
Blessington Street Basin was constructed from 1803-1810 and served as a reservoir to Dublin. It was known as the Royal George Reservoir. Fed by Lough Owel, it is 120 metres long and 60m wide.
By 1869 it was no longer big enough to meet the needs of the city but it continued to provide water to the Jameson and Powers distilleries until the 1970s.
In 1993 it was regenerated by Dublin City Council. It is now a peaceful public park and bird habitat with an artificial island.
2. Botanic Gardens
Bordering Phibsborough, the National Botanic Gardens are often overlooked by Dublin visitors but they are well worth exploring. Located on Botanic Road on the border with Glasnevin, this oasis of calm includes restored Victorian greenhouses and a Palm House.
Free to visit, these gardens provide microclimates for some of the 15,000 plant species from all over the world.
The 50 acre site has outdoor gardens and beds showcasing exotic plants. The gardens offer regular guided tours for keen horticulturists and there’s a nice cafe at the end of your stroll.
3. Glasnevin Cemetery
A more unusual place to take a guided tour is the Glasnevin Cemetery, within walking distance of Phibsborough. This 124-acre site is the final resting place of over 1.5 million people since 1832.
It has the largest collection of Celtic crosses and the 180-foot tall O’Connell Tower above the crypt of “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell.
The onsite museum has interactive exhibits such as the awardwinning “City of the Dead’. Search your family surname on the computer database and see photographs of the cemetery’s lengthy history.
4. Croke Park Museum
Croke Park is home of the Dublin Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and formerly the national rugby and football teams. As one of the largest stadiums in Europe it has seen its share of major sporting events.
The GAA Museum provides a journey through the history of Gaelic games to the present day. Visit the Hall of Fame and see the educational exhibits showcasing Ireland’s national teams and Gaelic games.
There’s an interactive Games Zone to test your hurling and Gaelic footie skills and behind-the-scenes Junior Explorer Tours.
5. Royal Canal Walk
The Royal Canal has featured in several folk songs and stories including “The Auld Triangle”. Walk along the Royal Canal Way (Sli Rioga) passing the old locks between Phibsborough and Croke Park on a pleasant 11-mile walk.
Altogether it stretches for 90 miles from Spencer Dock (formerly Broadstone) to Cloondara and the River Shannon.
The towpath provides a pleasant traffic-free stroll dotted with statues (look out for Brendan Behan relaxing on a bench). Gritty former industrial buildings include mills that relied on the canal for transport and water.
6. Jameson Distillery Bow St
Located south of Phibsborough, the Jameson Distillery offers tours and tastings at its historic Bow Street Distillery premises. Hands-on activities include learning how to blend your own whiskey, enjoying a comparative whiskey tasting, see how to draw whiskey straight from the cask and how to make the perfect cocktail.
After enjoying the informative 40-minute tour experience (€25), enjoy a drink at JJ’s Bar or pick up a souvenir bottle or two from the gift shop.
7. The Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is in the centre of Dublin. Covering 1750 acres, it is one of the largest public parks in any European capital city. Open 24/7, the park has miles of walking and cycling trails and frequently hosts festivals and events.
Originally a royal hunting ground in the 1660s, you may still spot grazing fallow deer while exploring the trails. The park is also home to Dublin Zoo, the Papal Cross, Áras an Uachtaráin and plenty of walking trails.
Pubs in Phibsborough
There’s a handful of pubs in Phibsborough for those of you itching to kick-back with a post adventure-tipple after a day of exploring. Here are our favourite spots:
1. Doyles Corner
Doyle’s Corner is an impressive building on Phibsborough Road. Popular for a special party or event, it’s also a great place to drop in for Irish and classic dishes from 4pm daily. The glamorous Art Deco bar has a full range of spirits, wine, ales and soft drinks.
Cumiskeys is a historic stone building on the remains of a 17th century inn. It’s said that Cromwell parked his horses here and popped in for refreshments and W.D.Grace played cricket within sight of this pub! Toady it’s a welcoming pub serving delicious food, bespoke cocktails and quality wines with friendly service.
3. The Hut
The Hut on Phibsborough Road is a traditional pub inside and out. The period facade is decked with hanging baskets in summer and welcomes drinkers to the fine Victorian bar within. Perch on a stool and check out the brass lamps and stained glass while sipping a pint in this true local’s local.
Places to eat in Phibsborough
There are plenty of solid places to eat in Phibsborough if you’re looking for a feed after a long day on the road. Below, you’ll find some of our favourites:
Loretta’s is a neighbourhood restaurant at Doyle’s Corner. Chef-owned and operated, is has a spacious dining room for enjoying creative dishes served with flair. Open Wednesdays through Sundays, it has an early bird menu and an innovative sharing Sunday Dinner. Worth trying!
2. The Bald Eagle-Beer & Food Co
Home of craft beer, gin and great food, the Bald Eagle is in the heart of Phibsborough. Local history and culture adorn the walls of this old-school eatery right down to the retro arcade machine. Award-winning comfort food, fine ales (including own brews) and speciality cocktails make this an essential choice.
3. The Back Page
Offering a nice mix of pizzas, pints, ping-pong and sports, this casual sports pub is a fine place to fill up. Handmade pizzas reflect the sports theme (think Eric Cantona and Ayrton Senna speciality pizzas) along with sides and salads. They have a fine drinks menu too.
Places to stay in Phibsborough (and nearby)
If you’re thinking about staying in Phibsborough in Dublin (if you’re not, you should!), you’ve a pick of places to stay.
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. Charleville Lodge Hotel
Charleville Lodge is a stylish hotel less than a minute from the LUAS stop in Phibsborough. Thirty rooms are furnished in 21st century style with an emphasis on comfort. If you want a clean smart place to lay your head, then this place offers excellent value for money.
2. Croke Park Hotel
Conveniently close to Dublin Airport, sports arenas and city centre attractions, Croke Park Hotel is well located as a base for sightseeing. Rooms are comfortable and well furnished with WiFi, tea/coffee facilities and 55” Smart TVs. Tuck into a hearty Irish breakfast before heading out exploring.
3. Ashling Hotel
Located north of the Liffey, the four star Ashling Hotel is one of the most popular hotels near Dublin Zoo. Dine and drink at the sumptuous Iveagh Bar and Chesterfields Restaurant before heading to bed in one of the luxurious guest room with city views.
FAQs about visiting Phibsborough in Dublin
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Phibsborough 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 Phibsborough?
If you’re looking for things to do in Phibsborough and nearby, Blessington Street Basin, Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery are worth a look.
Is Phibsborough worth visiting?
Phibsborough makes a great base to explore Dublin from. We wouldn’t recommend that you go out of your way to visit, but it makes a good base.
Are there many pubs and restaurants in Phibsborough?
Pub wise, The Hut, Cumiskeys and Doyles Corner are all mighty spots. For food, Loretta’s, The Back Page and The Bald Eagle-Beer & Food Co pack a tasty punch.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.