SALES of Guinness are rocketing and everybody is reminding you they have an Irish granny. It can only mean one thing - St Patrick’s Day is fast approaching.

While cities all over the world, including London and Manchester, will be hosting their own parades and celebrations of Ireland’s patron saint, Dublin will be the epicentre of the global party.

If anything, it would be slightly surprising if all the fun didn’t inspire you to jet off to the Irish capital for a few days of fun. If, however, you’ve left it too late to make this year’s celebrations in Dublin there is no need to despair. The city remains one of Europe’s top tourist destinations all year round, whether attracting fans of the black stuff, James Joyce enthusiasts, history buffs or simply visitors keen to explore its rich heritage, vibrant cultural scene, good food and great craic.

Dublin is a great place to spend a long weekend, but there is another reason why more visitors from Great Britain are being inticed there for a short break. Ireland’s flag carrier airline, Aer Lingus, offers flights to 13 North American destinations, including New York, Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Of course, you can fly to any of these cities from Great Britain, but the difference is that if  you fly from Dublin you can pre-clear American immigration, allowing you to get off the plane in the United States and go through immigration as if you are a US citizen. Goodbye four-hour queues! Flights to the newest destination, Seattle, from the UK start from £259 each way from

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The system also means you can fly from London Heathrow or Birmingham - both just over an hour from Oxford - to Dublin and then go through US immigration while connecting to your transatlantic flight.

Or you should take the better option, hop off in Dublin and stay overnight to soak up a bit of the city before you head onwards.

If you only have 24 hours there are plenty of options. You could take a trip to Trinity College or to Dublin Castle or take a wander along O’Connell Street to the General Post Office, headquarters of the rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising.

All good choices, but if you want to experience what really make Ireland tick then you should head over to the Guinness Storehouse for a crash course in the history (and the future) of what is probably Ireland’s most famous export.

The Storehouse had a record-breaking year in 2017, with 1.7 million visitors passing through its doors. It is partly a museum, partly a hands-on experience that guides visitors through more than 250 years of brewing history. If you’ve been before there’s a good reason to return, as the new Brewing Floor, which takes visitors through the creation of Guinness, opened last September.

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And you don’t even need to leave to go to lunch. The Storehouse has a fantastic range of restaurants, cafes and bars catering to different tastes and budgets. At the slightly higher end (although very affordable and well worth the money) is the 1837 Restaurant, where you can combine your meal with great views out over the Storehouse and the rest of the city.

Tickets for the Storehouse can be booked at

The tour is an ideal length, so won’t eat up too much of your day if you want to explore more of Dublin. In the evening, Temple Bar is a big attraction for many visitors to the city who want to experience some of its legendary nightlife.

It’s well worth a visit, but there are other slightly less hectic parts of the city to visit for a good pint too.

If you opt to stay in the excellent Brooks Hotel in Drury Street ( then you have the option of a number of bars and restaurants in the ‘creative quarter’ as well as the added bonus of being a short walk from Grafton Street. One particularly good offering is Fade Street Social, which offers tapas made from authentic Irish ingredients. There are plenty of good pubs and bars nearby to finish off your evening.

It means that in the morning, suitably refreshed, you can pop over to Dublin airport, hop on a flight and be in New York City in less than seven hours, but with a better pint of Guinness behind you than you’ll enjoy stateside. What’s not to like about that?