30 Best Things to Do in Dublin
The capital city of one of the most picturesque countries in the world is home to Georgian architecture, lush green parks and a troubled past. Dublin is a fairy tale destination for adults with many breathtaking landmarks coupled with in numerous pubs. Apart from their distinct yet memorable accents, the locals are some of the warmest people you will ever come across. If you want to experience the true beauty of this city, warm yourself up because it involves a lot of walking but don't worry if you feel dehydrated, there's plenty of bars just around the corner.Here are more than 30 best things to do while you're in Dublin:
Have a Drink at the Church Bar
Yes, you read it correctly. A church previously named St. Mary's was shut down in the year 1964 and was later converted into a bar and nightclub in 2007. Whoever came up with this idea may be a bona fide genius who must've had trouble with the clergy. On the main floor, one can experience an island bar with live Irish traditional music playing on the side.
Get Educated At Trinity College
The oldest university of Ireland was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and boasts of an Alumni list which would put all the Ivy Leagues to shame. While walking on the cobbled pathways, you can encounter a museum full of Irish history, parks and architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries. Sometimes education can be fun, sometimes.
Take a Stroll Down Grafton Street
The same place where Bono of U2 started his career as a musician is now filled with classy boutiques, cafés and buskers who dream of becoming the next Bono. This street is one of the most iconic areas of the city and is always bustling with tourists and live music. A recommendation would be the Bewley's Oriental café, which has been in operation since 1927.
Spend Some Time With Meerkat's at the Dublin Zoo
Unlike many other traditional zoos around the world, the Dublin Zoo encompasses a wide variety of animals which are given plenty of space to roam and play. If you're an animal lover or a parent with kids, this would be a great place to visit as it is entertaining and educational at the same time. Did I mention that there is a Meerkat café within the zoo where you can interact with Meerkat's up close?
Get the Chills at Kilmainham Gaol
Gaol in Irish stands for jail, and this is an abandoned jail which holds the key to Ireland's disturbing past. This jail was set up in 1789, and in 1916, several rebels were executed at this very site. The guide can also take you to Stonebreaker's yard, which is the exact location of the executions. It is only in Ireland where such a grisly site could also have such beautiful architecture.
Live Your Fairytale at Dublin Castle
It can be said that Ireland is most famous for its castles which are present at every corner of this beautiful country. One such castle is the Dublin Castle which was used by the Britishers as the site of their central administration during their 700-year rule. If the English liked it, then you most definitely would. Rich in history, this castle also has a museum called the Chester Beatty Library and gallery.
Get a Beer Belly at the Guinness Storehouse Factory
This may not come as a surprise that the Guinness storehouse factory is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The guided tour will take you around the factory, which is shaped like a Guinness pint, and you will be learning of the steps involved in making the final product. In the end, all this meticulous learning would be worth it for you would be sipping a pint at the Gravity Bar.
Clear Your Sins at the St. Patrick's Cathedral
After all this drinking, visiting a church could only be seen as an apologetic gesture. Though, this one is wrought with all the marvels of Irish architecture wherein you would experience the embellishments from the 17th and 18th centuries. An added accompaniment would be the tomb of Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's travels who was the dean of the church for 35 years.
Have Your Movie Moment at Wicklow Mountains
Do any of you remember the beautiful landscape in the romantic comedy, PS I love you? If you do, then you will be a mile more excited to visit this landscape, which is a short drive outside the city. A camera would be a necessary companion as the mountains are picture-perfect. Here you will learn about history and have a casual, breezy lunch on the mountaintops.
Read a Book at Trinity College Library
Are you a book nerd? Or a proud Potterhead? Well, if you check any of the two boxes, the Trinity college library is just the place for you. It is situated inside the magnificent campus of Trinity College and is home to around 200,000 ancient books including 'The Book of Kells' since 1661. I asked if any of you were a 'Potterhead' because this place inspired J.K Rowling to visualize Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series. This factoid could help parents convince their snooty teenagers to visit the library.
Relish in the Past at the Christ Church Cathedral
This cathedral is a landmark which balances the beauty of its history with the religious importance it holds. Once you're inside the building, you will be mesmerized by the sound of the bells and the enveloping mystique of the 11th-century architecture. A true history fanatic would be enthralled by the exhibition of the 16th-century costumes.
Admire an Irish Sunset by Walking Across the Ha'penny Bridge
The unconventional name comes from the 'half a penny' toll people had to pay to cross the bridge during the early days. Today, a visitor can stand on the bridge and witness the famous Irish sunset and even, hear some of the best music the country has to offer through the 'Music under the bridge' tours. Simply put, the London Bridge has nothing on Ha'penny.
Get Your Walk on at Howth Cliff
If you start to lust for the salty sea, drive a few hours out of the city of Dublin, and you would get just what you wanted. Spend a day at the town of Howth where you can trek the cliffs, have a drink at one of the pubs and get a view of the Dublin Bay and Howth Harbor. If you're a tourist, then you must visit one of their souvenir shops.
Visit the Phoenix Park
Ever wondered, what it would be like having a lovely afternoon picnic with a group of Irish Deers? If this thought has occupied a space in your wanderlust then, you must visit Europe's largest walled park. Phoenix Park was set up as a royal deer hunting park in the year 1662 but today, 450 Deer's run free in the vicinity.
Art Lovers Unite at the National Gallery of Ireland
This is one of the stops in Dublin, which cannot be missed, especially if you have high regard for the creative arts. This gallery houses a famous collection of the Italian Baroque, the Dutch masters painting and Irish as well as European art. The National Gallery of Ireland was founded in the year 1854, and you needn't worry about emptying your wallets for this one because the entry is free!
The Name is Wilde, Oscar Wilde
One of the finest literary geniuses of the world and a national treasure, the statue of Oscar Wilde is situated at the Merrion square park. Here, you can witness the pure artistic enthusiasm of the sculptor or sit beside Wilde himself and read a book written by him. A personal recommendation for a book would be 'The Canterville Ghost' a timeless classic. Let him know that even in his death, he is remembered and loved by so many.
Feel the Power at Leinster House
The Leinster House is where the national parliament of Ireland, the Oireachtas is situated. It was previously used as the Ducal palace for the Dukes of Leinster, but since 1922, the building complex is used for all things political. As a visitor, one can not only learn about Ireland's political history but also wonder how the Irish were able to construct such exquisite architecture with a hangover?
Dance the Night Away at the Hairy Lemon Pub
If you thought I was overdoing the jokes about Ireland's love for alcohol, wait till I tell you all about this recommendation. Just like its unusual name, the hairy lemon pub was built in the 19th century, and 'subtle' is not a word I would use to describe it. Here, you would witness live Irish music typically known as a 'trad' session with a drink in your hand of course and traditional Irish food mixed with some joyous dancing.
Write a Letter to the Past at the General Post Office (Gpo)
A post office doesn't seem like the most tourist worthy spot in any travel list, but this one is definitely worth your time. Full of Ireland's history, Dublin's GPO is one of the places where the 1916 uprising which resulted in the formation of an Independent country took place. Once you visit this revolutionary site, you will not only have a guided tour of the marvellous architecture but also get a sense of the Irish's patriotic sentiment.
Feel Your Adrenaline Rush While Watching a Hurling Match
Hurling requires all of its players to wear a helmet at all times, so you know this 3000-year-old sport should not be taken casually. Here, a wooden stick called a hurley and a hardball, sliotar are used to play the game. This match usually takes place in the well-known Croke Park and is watched by on-lookers, old and young. This is also referred to as 'the fastest game on grass' so 'take that' elitist horse riding polo matches.
Experience All Things Pink at Lucy's Lounge
Well, I don't mean to say that all they sell is of the colour pink, but this vintage store has one of the most recognizable buildings in the Frownses street area as it is painted the colour pink. Here, you can unleash your inner quirky fashion desires as this is not your 'typical' clothing store. You can find a collection of vintage and colourful clothes, accessories and gift items. The shop's pieces are just as fascinating as the interior of the shop, and for any Instagrammers, this is the perfect place for a photo-worthy of a thousand likes.
Feed Some Ducks at the St. Stephen's Green
St. Stephen's Green is situated in the city centre yet feels as though you are in the countryside. Just like all the other places in the city, St. Stephen's Green also holds a place in the history books since it opened in the year 1880. The famous story is from the 1916 uprising where the garden would be a place for the battle but the caretaker, James Kearney would ask them to stop fighting for one hour each day in order, to feed the ducks. So, when you get your picnic basket, remember to get something for the ducks and for Mr Kearney's sake.
Dine With the Devil at the Hellfire Club
This club is situated atop a hill which overlooks the city of Dublin. Even though it may seem like a perfectly normal and rather quaint location away from the city, this place has a history like no other you've heard till now. It is believed that the members of the club were Satanists and devil worshippers who called the devil every night. If you're someone who scares easy, this location should not be on your list. Though, I can't help but imagine those alleged Satanists calling on the devil just for the sake of a drinking contest, quaint, isn't it?
Shop Without Breaking the Bank at Dublin's Flea Market
This is a flea market which is held only on the last Sunday of every month, and if you're a shopaholic on a tight budget, this is your playground. At low and affordable prices, you can splurge in over 60 stalls which sell everything from furniture and old clothes to reusable household items. This is also a cost-effective way to buy a gift for all your family members and friends when you return back home.
Remember the War at the Historic Collins Barracks
Even though this place is now the National Museum of Ireland, it was once home to the British armed forces and the Irish army garrisons for a period of three centuries. It is situated in the Arbour Hill area of the city, and with the help of a guided tour, an individual can learn all about its vast history and add to their knowledge of Ireland.
Eat Fish N'chips at Dublin's Oldest Chippy
If you decide to add my recommendations to your travel list then, you would need to eat something to soak up all that alcohol you've consumed throughout your trip. There is no better food for that than our old friend 'fish n' chips', and there is no better place to eat it at than Leo Burdocks which opened its door in 1913 and was a regular supplier of food during the First World War and the 1916 uprising. Despite its popularity, the place can only hold three people at one time so, get there fast or wait in a long line.
Feel Fancy at Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant
If you're looking for an exceptional dining experience in Dublin, Patrick Guilbaud restaurant is going to satiate your taste buds with their French haute cuisine. This restaurant may sound like any other high-end fine dining experience but what makes this one unique is its two-star Michelin rating, the only one in all of Ireland. The interiors are elegant, and the food is known to be some of the best in the world. In short, it is worth every penny.
Take a Trip Back to the 18th Century at 14 Henrietta Street
To visit a period where you weren't alive may seem like the work of a time machine but not when you're in Ireland, and the past is kept carefully wrapped in an envelope for all to witness. This Georgian townhouse has architecture dating back to the 1740s and what makes this even more impressive is how it goes from telling a story of upper-class life in the 18th century and moves to poverty in the early 20th century when the house was occupied by people living in poverty.
Reach Within Your Soul at the Oratory of the Sacred Heart
This is a chapel which is much smaller in size than its older counterparts, but it is arguably, the most distinctly beautiful. Oratory of the Sacred Heart was built after the First World War. One can only marvel at the mural painted by Sister Concepta Lynch, a nun, just behind the sacred heart statue. It took Sister Concepta 17 years to perfect the mural.
Have an Epic Day at the Irish Emigration Museum
An interactive museum which takes its audience on a journey of 1,500 years wherein at least 100 million left Ireland and settled elsewhere with much difficulty and hope. With the help of quizzes, videos and audio recordings, a person can dive deep into the history of Ireland.
Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
This cemetery museum is home to the graves of many known politicians, poets and writers of Ireland. The most visited grave in the cemetery belongs to Michael Collins, the nationalist leader who died in 1922. I wonder what the dead must be thinking from inside of their graves, "No peace even in death, eh?"
Live Large at the Little Museum of Dublin
Any city in the world with a rich history would contain several significant museums, and in the case of Dublin, there isn't an exception. Most museums will take you back to years which seem too far off, but at the Little Museum of Dublin, you will only be transported to the 20th century. Here, the most popular exhibits are from the 1916 uprising and JFK's tour of the city. Bono of U2, a local and national treasure also occupies space in this not-so-little museum. History doesn't seem too far away now, does it?
Despite being one of the more geographically smaller countries in Europe, Ireland's heart is by far the most unique of them all. Ireland is one of those places which will feel nothing like home but the feeling of belongingness will wrap you up to your core in just a few days of staying here; it works both ways. I believe this dazzling country should hold a high place in everyone's travel bucket list.