If you’re wondering where to stay in Dublin that’s 1, in a great location and 2, home to lots of pubs and restaurants, Ranelagh is well worth considering.
While often dismissed for being an affluent neighbourhood in Dublin’s south, Ranelagh is a trendy spot that boasts some of the best restaurants, pubs and cafes in the city.
It’s also a short walk (and a shorter bus/taxi ride) from many of the best places to visit in Dublin, which make it a great base to explore from.
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from the history of the area to the various things to do in Ranelagh (plus where to eat, sleep and drink).
Some quick need-to-knows about Ranelagh
Although a visit to Ranelagh in Dublin is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Ranelagh is a suburb on the south side of Dublin. It’s less than a 25-minute walk into the city centre (St Stephen’s Green) and a under 15 minutes if you’re in a taxi/driving.
2. A cool base to explore Dublin from
Ranelagh, along with nearby Harold’s Cross, Stoneybatter and Portobello, is regarded as one of the ‘coolest suburbs in Dublin’, with a lively atmosphere and streets packed with cafes, pubs, yoga studios, shops and restaurants. It’s also conveniently within walking distance from some of Dublin’s main sights.
3. Home to heaps of restaurants and pubs
Ranelagh is home to countless cafes, restaurants and pubs. You can try somewhere new every day and continue to be blown away with the dining and bar scene in the area. I’ll round up some of our favourite spots below!
Ranelagh is an affluent corner of Dublin, with many old (and eye-wateringly expensive!) 19th century houses, which is a remnant from the early estate years.
Ranelagh stretches from the Grand Canal to Milltown Park. At its centre is the Ranelagh Triangle, from where most of the restaurants, pubs and cafes sprawl out from along the main street.
Ranelagh early history
Ranelagh was originally a village called Cullenswood and home to many large estates. It was the scene of skirmishes during the Irish Confederate Wars and was known for many years after the mid-17th century as the Bloody Fields.
Some more recent history
Ranelagh was incorporated into the expansion of Dublin City in the 19th century. The neighbourhood was named Ranelagh after an entertainment venue was established in 1770 called Ranelagh Gardens, similar to another place in London at the time.
In 1785, Richard Crosbie successfully flew a hot air balloon from Ranelagh Gardens to Clontarf, which was just two years after the first ever manned flight and made headlines around the country.
Things to do in Ranelagh (and nearby)
While there aren’t many things to do in Ranelagh itself, there are endless things to do a short distance away.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Ranelagh Park and the Iveagh Gardens to nearby whiskey distilleries and more.
1. Ranelagh Gardens Park
Ranelagh Gardens are part of the original area developed in the 1700s. It was named after Lord Ranelagh and is well known for being the site where Richard Crosbie launched his hot air balloon ride in 1785.
The small park area remaining today is now surrounded by residential streets, but is a nice place to escape the city. It has a playground, walking trails and beautiful flowers.
It’s open from the early morning until evening and can be accessed straight off the main street in Ranelagh.
2. Herbert Park
Just to the east of Ranelagh, Herbert Park is a very popular place to head with the whole family. It’s home to endless outdoor activities, including football pitches, tennis courts, croquet courts, duck ponds, children’s playground and spaces available for outdoor classes.
Herbert Park has a long history dating back to the 13th century when it was known as the Forty Acres. It was part of the vast Fitzwilliam Estate for many years until it was given to the council for a public park.
If you head there on a Sunday, you must check out the weekly Herbert Park Food Market on from 11am to 4pm.
Just a bit further east from Herbert Park, Sandymount is the closest beach to Ranelagh. The long stretch of sand is perfect for a morning stroll and is overlooked by a 19th century Martello tower.
If you’re up for a decent walk, you can also start the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk (or otherwise known as the Great South Wall Walk) from Sandymount Strand which offers beautiful views across the bay.
Otherwise, the area is also home to some great shops, gastropubs and cafes if you’re after an alternative place for brunch or a drink.
4. The Iveagh Gardens
If you take a trip over the canal north of Ranelagh, you’ll come to the Iveagh Gardens. These incredibly beautiful gardens were designed in 1865 and have been more recently restored in the 1990s.
It’s a very popular place to explore near the city centre with a yew maze, rosarium, fountains and waterfall.
They’re commonly referred to as Dublin’s ‘Secret Garden’ and you can easily explore all the corners for hours. After your walk, you’ll find plenty of grassy areas for a picnic when the sun’s out.
5. Teeling Whiskey Distillery
Another of Dublin’s top spots close by to Ranelagh is the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. The modern distillery was opened in 2015 and is the first new distillery in the city in 125 years.
It’s located just down the road from where the original family distillery once stood in the 1700s.
Open every day of the week, they’re open for tours where you can learn about the process of making their award-winning whiskeys. You’ll also find the Phoenix Café onsite for lunch after your tasting.
6. St Patrick’s Cathedral
As one of Dublin’s most iconic buildings, St Patrick’s Cathedral is north of Ranelagh and not far from Teeling Whiskey Distillery. As the Church of Ireland’s national cathedral and the largest of its kind in the country, it was built between 1220 and 1260.
It’s famous for its choir which still performs, along with regular services during the school term. If you’re interested in learning more about the impressive cathedral, you can take a free guided tour which are run throughout the day.
Restaurants in Ranelagh
1. Host Restaurant
For some of the best Italian food in Dublin, head to Host Restaurant. Everything about this place gets rave reviews, the food, the service and the atmosphere. From the pasta to the rib eye, there’s plenty of good dishes on the menu and all paired with an extensive wine list.
2. Antica Venezia
Antica Venezia is just further down the main street, and is a cosy, dimly lit place offering incredible food and service. The seafood is often considered a real winner here, and there’s a nice long wine list to go with your meal of choice.
Nightmarket is one of the most popular Thai restaurants in Dublin for good reason. You’ll find authentic Thai here, with a long list of delicious starters and large mains to follow. You can either opt for take away or dine in for the real experience, with the cocktail menu being an unexpected highlight as well.
Pubs in Ranelagh
Renowned for its finely poured Guinness, you won’t be disappointed with a visit to this old school spot. Birchalls also has a nice fire to warm yourself up by and have a chat with some mates. Plus, their famous toasties are the must have snack to grab with your drink.
2. Humphrey’s Pub
This dimly lit pub fills quickly on weekends with locals and visitors alike. If it’s too crowded inside, you can always head out the back to the beer garden and enjoy a drink with some mates, if the weather is nice.
Close to the Ranelagh Triangle, Taphouse is a trendy place to head to taste some craft beer and have a feed. The menu is served from 2pm onwards and includes a range of small plates, snacks and bigger meals. While you can find burgers and rib eye steak, it’s the tacos that get rave reviews here.
Accommodation in Ranelagh
If you fancy staying in Ranelagh or nearby, you’ve a decent number of top-notch hotels to choose from.
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 Devlin
This super stylish Devlin is one of the best boutique hotels in Dublin. It features 40 modern rooms, with some offering city views from the window. It’s rooftop dining rea, Layla’s Restaurant, offers beautiful views across the city to go with delicious cocktails.
2. Clayton Hotel Burlington Road
Tucked away in a quieter part of the neighbourhood, this 4-star hotel is an extremely popular choice. With over 500 spacious and comfortable rooms, you’ll find something to suit your tastes and needs. It’s also got a great lounge and bar area serving food all day with some of the finest Irish ingredients.
3. Hampton Hotel
Within walking distance of Herbert Park, this hotel is located inside an old Georgian building. The stylish rooms come equipped with all the modern amenities, with free standing baths in upgraded rooms. The hotel is well-known for its casual bistro and bar featuring a heated terrace area and live music, so you don’t have to wander far for a fun evening.
FAQs about visiting Ranelagh in Dublin
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Are there many things to do in Ranelagh?’ to ‘Where is there to visit nearby?’.
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.
Is Ranelagh worth visiting?
I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit Ranelagh, unless I was visiting one of its pubs or restaurants. The area, however, makes a great base to explore Dublin from.
Are there many things to do in Ranelagh?
Aside from Ranelagh Park, great pubs and excellent restaurants, there isn’t a huge number of things to do in Ranelagh. There is, however, endless things to do near Ranelagh.
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.