8 Things to do in Dublin
There are 12 Dublins in the United States and 6 in Australia.
To avoid any confusion (as if!) I’m talking about the one in Ireland 😉
Here are my picks of favourite experiences from the quirky, fun and friendly city; along with some interesting facts.
- Touring the Guinness Storehouse
A trip to the Dublin cannot be complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, for an introduction to the process of making this famous stout. Our tour concluded by gazing at panoramic views of the city, while guzzling a pint of the freshest Guinness we’ve ever had…. Somehow it tasted even better there.
Did you know? In 1759, 34-year old Arthur Guinness went to the Dublin city council and signed a 9,000 year lease on a 4 acre plot to set up a brewery. The agreement was missing a very important clause – inflation – making the annual rent (200 years later), a grand sum of £45. How’s that for vision and (I’ll just say it) balls, with a healthy dose of stupid luck?!
- Walking along the River Liffey
River walks give such a great flavor of the character of a city. Lively and vibrant, was the impression we were left with, after our long stroll along the banks of Liffey.
Did you know? You might think that Guinness uses the water of Liffey or its tributaries for production. However, it actually uses natural spring water from Wicklow Mountains, the right to the use of which, was one of the key reasons behind the choice of site for the brewery.
- Watching street shows in Temple Bar
Temple Bar is one of the most charming areas of the city, with its cobble-stoned streets and brightly painted buildings housing bars, restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries. An energetic vibe flowed through its streets at all times of the day, and the countless number of musical performers (some of whom were extremely talented) were a treat to listen to.
Did you know? Dublin is Europe’s most popular destination for stag and hen parties, hosting an estimated 600 pre-wedding celebrations every weekend. In 1999, apparently such parties were banned/ discouraged from the Temple Bar area, though this has now lapsed.
- Gazing around the The Old Library in Trinity College
The Book of Kells, considered to be Ireland’s greatest national treasure, is the main draw of visiting the Old Library in Trinity College. For me though, the reading room upstairs held more allure. Rows upon rows of old leather-bound books, neatly arranged in shelves over two storeys.
Did you know? The sculpture of a Sphere within a Sphere, by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro can be found on the grounds of Trinity College. Versions of this bronze sculpture can be found in many cities, across Italy, USA, Japan, Iran and Israel.
- Picnicking in St. Stephen’s Green
On a sunny day we joined (what seemed to be) half the population of the city, for an alfresco lunch in the leafy environs of St. Stephens Green. Followed up with a mid-afternoon snooze under the sun… Blissful!
Did you know? A.E. Guinness, the great grandson of Arthur Guinness, is credited with providing this park to the people of the city. He bought the land, had it landscaped and then handed it over to the city corporation, for use by the public. The statue of his at St. Stephen’s Green, is in recognition of this contribution.
- Learning about Dublin’s Viking past at Dublinia
History-buff Hubby put this down on his must-do-in-Dublin list. I must admit, that even for someone like me, the introduction to Dublin’s viking and medieval history was an engaging and informative experience. Plus, you get to dress up as a viking. (Okay, not really… but if it were the case, I bet you would definitely want to visit :-))
Did you know? If you immediately conjure up an image of a half-spherical helmet with horns or winged horns jutting from its sides, when you hear the word Viking, you’d be wrong. The horned helmets commonly associated with Vikings are just an invention of 19th-century Romanticism and not based on any historical evidence.
- Sampling the in-house brews at Porterhouse
Dublin’s oldest microbrewery, with its rustic ambience, buzzing atmosphere and live music performances, is a great place to sample several different varieties of beer. My tip would be to pass on the food though. (Don’t get me wrong – I love Irish stew, bangers & mash, etc. – but there’s ‘pub fare’ and then there’s ‘pub’ fare.)
Did you know: There are primarily two types of beer – ales and lagers, and the difference between them is fundamentally due to the type of yeast used to ferment them. All other varieties like stouts, pilsner, bock, etc. fall under these categories. Read more here.
- Gorging on Modern Irish at Fade Street Social or The Winding Stair
There’s no way food won’t make it to my top experiences of any place, and Dublin was no exception. The menus at Fade Street Social and the Winding Stair made for an interesting modern twist on traditional Irish dishes. Still drooling at the memory of the smoked ham hock and black pudding with whiskey dressing.
Did you know? The famous statue of “Molly Malone” personifies a fictional character whom a song of the same name is based on. The song is also known as “Cockles and Mussels” or “In Dublin’s fair city”, and is considered the unofficial anthem of Dublin.
What about you? What were your favourite things to do in Dublin?
Viking helmet: “Hjelm av jern fra vikingtid fra Gjermundbu” by NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet – http://www.flickr.com/photos/vitenskapsmuseet/4361571039/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons