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Top things to do in Dublin

Length: 3 hours Needed: Good mood

Basic Infos

If you only had one day to stay in Dublin, you would be unfortunate indeed.The truth is that there is so much to see and experience in Dublin that one day or even one week might not be enough. The big advantage of the city is that all emblematic parts are quite close to one another, making public transportation only necessary if you have to go farther away from the center.

Find below the “Top things to do in Dublin”:

1. Go on a Walking Tour

The best way to explore a city is getting into a free walking tour. Dublin is full of hidden gems and what the best way to expore it than with a local guide? You will get around the city and hear about all the stories about Dublin history and culture. Every inch of the city is covered in history. Believe us – it’s worth the walk!

Book now your tour and explore the wonders and secrets of Dublin with local guides!

2. Visit the Dublin Writers Museum

The Writers Museum is crammed with intriguing snippets from the literary past, including an extensive collection of Oscar Wilde relics and also, a fair few James Joyce masterpieces. Other enthralling exhibits include a wealth of information on realist Irish writer – Maria Edgeworth, a great chunk of fun on George Bernard Shaw and some amazing insights into the offerings of word smith extraordinaire, William Butler Yeats.

His work – Countess Kathleen is explained in great detail, noting the countess who sold her soul to save her peasants. Apparently the subject was based loosely on the unobtainable love of Yeats’ life – Maud Gonne. You’ll find this dinner party trivia and much more in the museum, and if you’re lucky, you’ll drop in on a day when new writers are premiering their work for no extra cost! Tickets are a worthwhile investment at €7.25.

3. The Old Jameson Distillery

Branding a tour of the 228-year-old Jameson Distillery as hip, edgy, and fun is no simple task. Some would argue it’s as difficult as two Irishmen going to the pub for one drink – impossible in a culture where buying rounds is second nature. The hip, edgy and fun titles are however thoroughly earned by a creative approach, regular audience involvement and generous whiskey samples.

From the crisp introductory video and multi sensory media to the guided whiskey tasting and friendly staff, you can be assured that you’ll leave the distillery with an ability to tell Jameson apart from perhaps lesser, Scottish or American whiskies. The Jameson Whiskey Experience truly is an essential addition to any Dubliner’s itinerary. Try the whiskey cranberry mix when you finish the tour in Jameson’s JJ Bar. It’s surprisingly good. Cheers.

4. The Guinness Storehouse

As your introductory tour guide may inform you, Guinness is not in fact black. It’s actually a really, really dark shade of red. The simple ingredients are Hops, Barley, Water and Yeast, and you get the best taste by smelling, swirling, sipping and swallowing. Your first Guinness sample comes midway through the tour and is the perfect appetite whetting, lip licking precursor to the full pint at the end in the Gravity Bar.

The views from this top floor, glass walled, circle bar – over Dublin and the surrounding countryside are quite simply stunning. Your ticket stub can be exchanged for a pint but during the handover, why not ask if they have anything else on tap. That one can’t get old. Other highlights of this multi-media tour include international advertising campaigns throughout the ages and useful Guinness trivia. For example did you know that four million pints of Guinness are brewed in Ireland every day. Two million are for export and the rest are for domestic consumption. The population of Ireland is just over four million. Standard tickets are €15.

4. Trinity College and the Book of Kells

The college is also home to the Book of Kells – regarded by some as one of Ireland’s most notable national treasures. In a nutshell it’s a text collection compiled by Celtic monks in the eighth century. It boasts four gospels of the New Testament, many incredible illustrations and back in the day, it was one of the most valuable objects in Ireland.

Think of this college at the Irish equivalent to Harvard or Cambridge. It’s super scenic and for €10 you can follow a starving student around the campus, exchanging your beer funding cash for historical high jinx. One particularly memorable tale involves former university Provost – George Salmon. His response to the English monarch declaring universities open to women was: “Over my dead body.” Ironically when women were allowed in, it was through a gate above his burial ground.

5. Christchurch Cathedral

This isn’t a massive cathedral by any standard but if you want to tick the ecclesiastical culture box, there’s more than enough inside here to keep you entertained. In the not too distant past the organ was replaced and inside one of the vacuum pipes, the mummified remains of a cat and a rat were found. The two almost perfectly preserved creatures are now on display in the extensive underground tombs. To this day they look like they’re engaged in the chase and both still possess the whiskers that you think, would have saved them from such a fate.

Also in the tomb (strangely restored with funding from a private health care company) you will find an intricate history of Ireland – complete with poster timelines and video installations. On a sidebar – avoid the horrific Dublina exhibit next door to the cathedral. It’s a dire experience crammed with irritating, high pitched school children and should be given a wide birth at all costs. That’s if you wish to maintain a shred of sanity.

6. The Hugh Lane Gallery

You’ll find this completely free exhibit, slightly north of the city and next door to the Writers Museum on Parnell Street West. The best bit of this is unquestionably the Francis Bacon studio – shipped over from London and painstakingly reassembled to display, inch by inch, the workspace as the great artist left it. Paints were tested and mixed on walls, not much was ever thrown away and the canvas in progress is where Mr Bacon placed it last. Surrounding said studio is a gallery and the completed pieces on display include the pause inducing, Kneeling Figure – Back View c. 1980 -82. This is related to the artist’s exploration of the human body and Bacon’s ethos: “I believe in deeply ordered chaos.”

Once upon a time during a cash flow crisis in Monte Carlo, Bacon started painting on both sides of the canvas to make as much money as possible from his gift and thereby fund his journey out of there. Doing this however taught Bacon that painting on the wrong (brown) side of the canvas actually enhanced his work and from then on most of his pieces, including the ones in the gallery, were painted like this!

7. National Concert Hall

When tickets for the majority of performances start at €10 each, you can’t really go wrong. Also like most things in Dublin, it’s a short walk away from the Avalon House hostel.

This national treasure can be found on Earlsfort Terrace, just south of St Stephen’s Green. The acoustics in here are good enough to match most world class stages and you’re assured a talented treat every time you buy a ticket, because to play here you have to be world class. At intermission they serve gingerbread men and if you rock up late, you can watch the beginning on a huge plasma TV screen in the foyer, before being ushered in between pieces. Performances here range from The Hiberian Orchestra’s Summer Promenade to Billy Connolley and beyond.

Here’s precisely what to do in Dublin on your next trip. Bon Voyage!


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