Parking is limited and the drive into the city can take ages, particularly if you don't know where you're going. Stick to cabs. Unless you're combining your city break with a stay in the countryside, you certainly won't need a car; and if you don't want to fly, you're far better off getting there by train (see above). Watch out for place names if you're driving: most are bilingual, but some are only in Gaelic. We were lost in the country once and were advised to 'keep on the road you're on and you'll end up somewhere'. And sure enough, we did!
Ryanair alone operates flights to Dublin from 17 airports around the UK (www.ryanair.com). A multitude of full-service carriers - including BMI (www.flybmi.com) and Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com) - operate direct services from major UK cities. A taxi from the airport is around €35. Dublin Airport Arrival Private Transfer will whisk you to your hotel in style for around €60. The price is for the vehicle, not per person, so isn't much more expensive than queuing for a cab if you're in a group (www.affiliate.viator.com).
You can travel to Dublin from any rail station in Britain without flying, on a combined 'rail and sail' ticket; the journey includes the sea link from Holyhead in north Wales. Depending on the connecting ferry service, the London-to-Dublin trip takes upwards of seven hours (www.nationalrail.co.uk).
Country code for Ireland: +353. Dublin: 01.
Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks, The Secret World of the Irish Male by Joseph O'Connor, anything by Oscar Wilde, or something by one of the four Irish Nobel Prize for Literature winners, WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney - although anything by the lesser-garlanded James Joyce will cut it, too; his mammoth Ulysses is considered the best novel ever written, but Dubliners is easier-going. The Swing of Things by Sean O'Reilly is a contemporary thriller set in Dublin's shadowy netherworld.
Do go / Don't Go
Dublin is a year-round destination, but winter and early spring can be very, very cold and very, very wet.
Try Irish stew - a filling dish made with cubes of lamb or mutton, potato and onion - as well as fantastic seafood such as Dublin Bay prawns and oysters. In pubs, you won't escape the black stuff: locally brewed stout Guinness (so beloved and so calorie-laden, it's classed as a food) is ubiquitous. If you're not so keen on the taste, order a Black or Red Velvet - the former is mixed with champagne, the latter with cider and blackcurrant. A full Irish breakfast will set you up for the day.
There are as many taxis as pubs in Dublin (look out for the yellow taxi roof sign and the licence number) and fares are metered. Find one at one of the many ranks, or hail one in the street. Hackney cabs are just like taxis (ie: they're licenced), but you need to ring for one.
Your taxi driver will be happy with ten per cent, and restaurants expect between ten and to 15 per cent, though many now include a service charge on the bill. Check before forking out.
You'll need a brolly for the unpredictable weather - Dublin's wettest months coincide nicely with the summer… For nights spent in the pubs of Temple Bar, bring your best singing voice and plenty of hangover cures.
For inspiration, would-be scribes should visit the Dublin Writers Museum (www.writersmuseum.com) and the Book of Kells at Trinity College Library Dublin (www.tcd.ie). To get a visual dose of this country's heritage in oils and watercolours, visit the National Gallery of Ireland (www.nationalgallery.ie); there's also an impressive collection of international works, including pieces by Caravaggio and Picasso. The musically minded will enjoy a 'rock and stroll' guided tour-cum-pilgrimage around the city, from the site of U2's first gigs to the café where Sinead O'Connor was once a waitress.
Get used to the salacious but affectionate nicknames that Dubliners give to the statues dotted around their city. Oscar Wilde's is lampooned as 'the Fag on the Crag', James Joyce is 'the Prick with the Stick' - his statue on North Earl Street depicts him walking with a cane - while fictional fishmonger Molly Malone is known variously as 'the Tart with the Cart', 'the Dolly with the Trolley' or 'the Trollop with the Scallops'.
Dublin shoppers usually kick off in Grafton Street, between Trinity College and St Stephen's Green. Here, among all the usual big-name stores, you'll find Brown Thomas, the Harvey Nicks of Dublin, where you can snap up fashion from Dublin's favourite designer sons, Paul Costelloe and John Rocha. O'Connell Street is less exclusive, but is home to arguably Dublin's most famous store, Clery's, where you'll find everything from computers to clothes. Powerscourt Shopping Centre in South William Street was built in 1760 as a townhouse for Lord Powerscourt and has an original Georgian staircase.
Head to the Guinness Storehouse; you'll get the best vista of the city and surrounding countryside from the top of the factory (www.guinnessstorehouse.com).
On Saturday mornings, step back in time at Moore Street Market, Dublin's oldest fruit and veg market. The banter of the barrowboys gives a real flavour of old Dublin; should you be tempted by anything, the prices are rock bottom. You can also download iWalks - self-guided, audio-enhanced tours of the city - for free from the podcasts page at www.visitdublin.com.
17 March St Patrick's Day, which means lots of drinking, singing, dancing, drinking, 'Kiss me I'm Irish' t-shirts and more drinking. 16 June Bloomsday Marks the day in 1904 on which all the action of James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place. Fans dress up and go out for the day, visiting the book's locations and taking part in readings, walks and re-enactments.