From Irithyll of the Boreal Valley you can go up, to Anor Londo (this guides writer is smashing their head repeatedly against silver knights to bring you that area guide as we speak) or down, to the Irithyll Dungeon. It's a small area, but feisty, with lots of can-do attitude all aimed at stopping your progress. To make matters even better there's only one bonfire, but this guide will help you open up all the shortcuts so you can run around and explore to your heart's content, as well as where to find all the key items you might need later.
From the Distant Mansion bonfire in Irithyll proper go down the stairs and follow the path around and out (there's only one direction you can go in). You'll go down some stairs on the side of a cliff, and (after a fight) these will eventually bring you to the first and only Irithyll Dungeon bonfire.
We're not really given to explaining all the enemies you'll meet, because that takes a bit of the 'fun' out of playing the game, but we're giving a special mention to the jailers. They wear tall hats and long robes, and disturbing doll–like masks, but if that doesn't tip you off then you can spot them by the large branding irons they carry as weapons which, depending on your stats, can deliver an instant kill if they get a proper hit on you. The jailers can cast a spell (indicated by a little puff of fog and a red light around them) that shortens your health bar and increases your equip load. It's only a temporary effect but it's really annoying. However, this spell can only affect you if the jailer who cast it can see you. If you put a wall between you it'll stop working (though any effect it's had so far will stay until the spell wears off). Your best tactic is to take the jailers out as quickly as possible, because they're not actually very tough and the spell in question is one of the first things they'll do when they see you.
The Dungeon covers a small area, but it's kind of wound around itself, and getting through it without opening the shortcuts could be described as 'mildly irritating' at best. Once you do get them open, though, it's actually pretty easy to run through.
Run forwards from the bonfire and out onto the prison walkway. Turn right and run along (a hollow will run out of a cell and try and push you down onto the second level, so watch out for that) and then left over the bridge between the two sides of the dungeon. Turn left and you'll see a gate which is, as I'm sure you've already guessed, locked from the other side, but you can get through a broken wall in the cells next to it to come out on the other side of the gate, then run left to find it and get it open. You just saved yourself 30 seconds!
Now turn around, run to the end of the walkway, and open a cell door on your right. Inside is a corpse which you can loot for the Jailbreaker's Key. Run back over the bridge to the other side and run to the left. There's a barred window behind some barrels which you can unlock with your new key, and from here you can make a drop down, eliminating the need to run through any more of this level of the dungeon if you die somewhere else.
Alright, assuming you've dropped down using the first shortcut you're now outside, with stairs going up on your left (which lead back into the first level of the dungeon) and some going down on your right, inside a new building. Go through the latter, up some more stairs into a long low room, and then look to your right. There's a hole in the floor alongside the wall, and you can drop down into it. Do not be alarmed when you land almost on top of a giant; he won't wake up unless you start hitting him.
Go down the ladder on your right and cross over the stone platform here, into a sewer (with many rats), down a tunnel on your right, and through into a large area that, if you look up, turns out to be the bottom floor of the main dungeon cell area. There are a lot of enemies, but also a lot of fun items here, as well as the NPC Karla locked in a cell, but for now run through the doorway on the left and out onto a small platform with a statue of what appears to be a dragon (this area becomes significant later in the game). Keep going forwards and you'll find a lift, which leads you back up to the main area of the cells. Hooray!
You can run into this from the other direction if you're coming up from the Profaned Capital, but you can also open it here early on. If you go into the room with the sleeping giant and drop down to the floor from the walkway on the right hand side, you should see a doorway (the giant has his back to it). Go through it to open up a lift which will lead directly back to the Irithyll Dungeon bonfire.
Found on a corpse in a cell, and opens up the first shortcut through the dungeons as described above. Come on, help us out, we're not writing all the directions out twice.
This is umbral ash for the Shrine Handmaid. It's in a cell on the upper floor of the Irithyll Dungeon. From the bonfire head into the dungeon and cross the bridge, then go left and through the gate that you opened earlier. Go right and around into a room with three jailers. There's a locked cell in the top left corner from the stairs, which has the ash. Unfortunately you can't open this cell without the Jailer's Key Ring, which you have to get from the Profaned Capital.
After you drop down from the first shortcut, before you go into the cell with the sleeping giant, there's a room that is conspicuously empty except for the chest up against the right hand wall. This chest is, of course, a mimic, and you can kick its ass in exchange for a new Shard to reinforce your Estus.
If you've been following the Siegward of Catarina storyline, poor old Siegward will now be locked in a prison cell at the feet of the sleeping giant, but you can't get to him from this side – you need to go down to the Profaned Capital and back up again. In any case, if you do want to free him, you'll need the Old Cell Key. This is found in the rat–filled sewer you run into after the sleeping giant. At the very end of it are two chests. The one on the left is a mimic. The one on the right holds the key.
This is on the ledge at the bottom of the second shortcut bonfire, lootable from a statue that looks kind of a bit like a dragon, maybe. It'll turn you into something that looks kind of a bit like a dragon, maybe, and is irreversible until your next death. You also have to take off all your armour to use it.
This is in cell on the ground floor of the dungeon (accessible from the lift described in the second shortcut). It's on the right hand side as you walk in, and there are two hideous four–legged creatures with the faces of babies guarding it. The coal will unlock some more upgrades for your weapons.once you've given it to Andre at Firelink Shrine, so it was all worth it.
Some more umbral ash for the cackling Shrine Handmaid to make into new items for you. This one is likewise in a cell on the ground floor of the dungeon, but on the right hand side as you walk in from the lift.
Your next area is the Profaned Capital, and you don't have a boss to fight to get there, hooray! To get there go to the bottom of the lift described in the second Irithyll Dungeon shortcut above, and run straight through the bottom of the dungeon to the doorway opposite. This will lead you out onto a staircase, which takes you down and round to a rickety stone bridge connecting to a collapsed tower.
As you step on to the walkway a stone gargoyle will detach from the cliff wall on your right and thump onto the bridge in front of you. You can either try and roll under him and run into the tower, and then up the ladder to the platform opposite, which is where you'll find the bonfire, or you can fight him. Just be aware that his wings are stone and will do quite a bit of damage to your weapons. He can also shoot fireballs. Good luck.
Either way, you just made it to the Profaned Capital. Good work!
Buy the official Dark Souls 3 Guide now.