You’ll never forget your first trip to Ireland.

(And how you packed far too many spaghetti-strap dresses for a destination whose year-round weather is about as balmy and sun-drenched as a winter day in Seattle.) 

Will there be rain? Oh yes. (Ireland gets around 150 to 225 days of it each year.) But even the mistiest of grey days are mild (the lowest temperature is typically around 45 F/ 7 C), and necessary for keeping fields green and getting people to gather in warm neighbourhood pubs.

Dublin is the fair metropolitan capital at the heart of this Emerald Isle, and a must-visit for any travellers seeing the island for the first time. From the historic Georgian architecture to the Michelin star dining to the ancient cobblestoned streets and pubs of Temple Bar, Dublin is the kind of storybook-castle city you want to pinch on the cheek and get a beer with at the same time. Thinking of putting Ireland on your to-do list? Here are 20 photos to push you over the edge…

Most visitors can’t get enough of the international bunting and pub-lined Dame Lane. You can find it in the south of Dublin’s city centre, and it runs parallel to Dame Street and stretches from Trinity Street to Palace Street. Dame Lane derives its name from the now-demolished medieval church of St. Mary del Dam. (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin)

There are around 30,000 castles in Ireland, but Dublin Castle is ever-so-conveniently situated downtown. Up until 1922 it was the seat of the British government’s administration in Ireland, but before that a castle had stood here since the days of King John (and his days were specifically the December 24, 1166 to the 19th of October, 1216). (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin)

When the morning light hits the inner courtyard of Dublin castle just right, it looks almost pink. (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin)

Watching someone pour a pint of Guinness is a soothing and hypnotic experience, right up there with watching campfires and white-water rivers. Even if you’re not a fan of dark, dry stouts, trying one is essential and it goes down even smoother with your new friends at the local pub. (Photo: Flytographer Aoife in Dublin)

The cool medieval St. Patrick’s Cathedral looks miles away from Dublin, but is right in the heart of the city. The cathedral actually dates back to the year 1220 and puts on lunchtime musical recitals, because why not? (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin)

This corner in Dublin’s busy riverside neighbourhood, Temple Bar, is a big favourite for photos (and it’s not hard to see why). It’s a tourist standby packed with pubs, boutiques and people, unless it’s raining, then everyone might be sipping on a pint somewhere inside. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

A chance snow storm turned this already magical scene in front of 12th-century Malahide Castle into the kind of next-level photo you’d commemorate on Christmas cards, mugs and T-shirts. Malahide is nine miles north of central Dublin, and has 260 acres of estate parkland, so there’s even more photo-ops to be had in the ancient woods.

You’ll often spot Jameson signage outside of pubs in Dublin (this one in Temple Bar). Jameson Whiskey is the pride of Dublin, and John Jameson started his distillery more than 200 years ago, right in Dublin on Bow Street. The distillery is still in operation and visitors can go there now to blend their own take-home Irish whiskey or to do a tour and tasting. (Photos: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

The 22-acre St. Stephen’s Green is the largest park in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares, but the coolest thing about it is that its north-west corner is a special garden for the blind. It’s filled with scented plants that are strong enough to be handled and are labelled in braille. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

Technically we’re still in Dublin, but Rockbrook Cottages are about a 40-minute, totally-worth-it drive south from the city centre. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

Old-timey barber shop? What mystical Irish time travel is this?! This photo, also snapped south of Dublin’s city centre in the Rockbrook Cottage area. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

Doily-pane half-moon windows, ornamental wainscotting and turquoise paint with a floral trim? It’s like this sweetheart of a building in Temple Bar was planned and solely decorated by grandmothers and we wouldn’t have it any other way. (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin).

Dublin Castle, the perfect backdrop for deep eye-searching with your sweetie. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

It’s hard to find a spot in Temple Bar that isn’t photo-worthy… The trick is to go there early in the morning so you beat the crowds for that private shot. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

You can’t beat the panoramic background of heritage brick on quaint Georgian architecture. (Photo: Flytographer Mairead in Dublin).

Muralifying city streets is a trend we hope sticks around as it creates these secret little alleys and hidden pockets in a city that are covered in local artists’ messages and colourful imagery, just waiting to be discovered. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

This Coach House (which has an impressive stone facade that expands far past the boundaries of this photo) was built in 1833 and overlooks the Dubh Linn Gardens. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

This might be confusing, but Temple Bar is an actual bar in the area known as Temple Bar. It is, not surprisingly, one of the most famous pubs in Dublin, and has a history that dates back to 1599 when Sir William Temple built his house and gardens in the area. A sea wall was built in 1656 to hold back the Liffey River, and the area (later developed by William’s son, Sir John Temple) then became known as Temple’s Barr. Barr, as in sandbank. Today, the river still holds and Temple Bar in Temple Bar houses 450 of the world’s rarest whiskeys (and is as photogenic as ever). (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)

The “Ha’penny Bridge” or Liffey Bridge over the Liffey River is a pedestrian-only bridge that got its nickname because it used to cost half a penny to cross. (Photo: Flytographer Vanessa in Dublin)