I reported on where we stayed and ate in the hotel and restaurant review forum. In summary: we had a 2-bedroom apartment at Trinity College. Excellent choice: clean, quite, central, and relatively cheap. We had some bad experiences with RS recommended restaurants, but one huge success: go to the Trocadero!
Here are a few more comments:
The Book of Kells is worth seeing, but the College does a bad job of managing crowds. Despite having advance tickets, we were shoved and crowded throughout the rather brief tour. Worth the money? Maybe. Best part is a visit to the Library--the Long Room. If you are a lover of books, it will make you drool. It will also remind younger visitors of the Hogwarts library. Get tickets online and way ahead of time.
If you want to visit the Kilmainham Gaol, get tickets in advance. No possibility even a few days ahead.
Temple Bar is, as RS writes, "Dublin's rowdiest neighborhood." Unless you are 25 and love being squeezed and shoved around while you drink too much, it's worth avoiding.
The Trinity College tour, on the other hand, is better than I expected. About an hour's worth of great stories from Trinity's smartest students. Great fun, easy walking. And who wouldn't want to see where Bram Stoker's dorm room was.
O'Connell Street reminded me of Brussels or the Ramblas in Barcelona: dirty, dangerous, crowded, awful. Filled with homeless people--why isn't Ireland doing a better job at that? Take a HOHO and see the statues and buildings from above, or skip it altogether.
Dublin Castle: Take the tour. You'll see things you can't see on your own, like the newly discovered Viking ruins under the castle.
Guiness Storehouse: Sort of like Temple Bar with manners. Very high tech venue in which to worship beer. Some very interesting information. Entry includes a lesson on pouring the perfect pint; do it. If you don't like heights, it's a scary place, with floating escalators that go up 6 floors and a high viewing platform at the top. The gift shop carries everything Guiness but feels like Macy's during a sale. To get there, take the HOHO.
Dublin Writers Museum: Only gets one triangle in RS's guide, but for people who love writers and books, it's a 3 triangle stop. Ireland probably produced more great writers per capita than any other country in the world (including ours). If you love Wilde, Joyce, or the Irish playwrights, it's a must see.
Abbey Theater: Still producing great Irish theater after a hundred years. Get tickets online and way ahead of time. Also check out the Smock Alley Theater; saw a great show there.
Sprinkle your speech with "fecking" and "shite" in every sentence and you'll pass as a local.