Disaster! You’re under medical advice to avoid the hard liquor on the exact weekend you had planned to spend exploring all the cultural charm of Dublin’s Temple Bar. As Alanis Morissette would warble, “isn’t it ironic”.
Well, no, not really. Luckily Dublin’s a stunning city which doesn’t need any beer-goggle enhancement. And to prove it, here are some of our favourite things to do in Dublin, completely sober.
Image © Marc C. Johnson
For the best quick overview of Dublin’s recent history (all told with a Dubliner’s sense of humour) head to the Little Museum of Dublin. Set in a townhouse on St Stephen’s Green, everything in this museum has been donated by members of the public. You’ll see historic artefacts from model aeroplanes to official documents to signed photos of Bono.
The famine was a huge part of Dublin and Ireland’s history. You’ll see a number of monuments commemorating the hardship around town. Docked at Custom House Quay you’ll find a replica of the tall ship Jeanie Johnson. The original vessel made the seven week crossing from Ireland to the USA many times – carrying Irish hoping for a better life away from famine-plagued Ireland. You’ll learn lot about the harsh conditions for such emigrants – though on the Jeanie Johnson herself, amazingly, no lives were ever lost.
With the number of great writers associated with Dublin – James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw to name just a few there are more than enough libraries and museums dedicated to literary works. The Dublin Writer’s Museum proudly displays rare first editions of significant work as well as desks and other belongings of some of Dublin’s literary greats. And whilst we’re on the subject of books, the Trinity library and its star attraction – the ornately illustrated Book of Kells – is worth a visit too.
What about Dublin’s biggest attraction? The…
Even if you’re not sampling the produce, the Guinness Storehouse is still worth a visit. You’ll learn all about the brewing process, and the ways that Guinness has been marketed over the years. At one time doctors used to prescribe a pint! The panoramic views from the Gravity Bar are pretty impressive too.
Image © jordache
Dublin’s main shopping street is O’Connell Street, where you also won’t be able to miss the 121.2-metre tall Spire of Dublin. A few streets away you can visit the first ever Penney’s (better known as Primark in the UK) in Mary Street – there since 1969.
There’s an eclectic mix of shops in the Powerscourt Centre, hidden behind a grand Georgian facade. Pick up stylish home wears from Article, check out the unique designs from Dublin’s designers in The Loft, or just stop for a cake in the courtyard.
The gorgeous George’s Street Arcade is an old Victorian Shopping Centre. Today the red-brick building contains hundreds of stalls selling vintage clothes, handmade jewellery, antiques, collectables and other oddities. Amongst other things.
A sample picture of a gourmet burger. I’m sure you could have used your imaginations…
Image ©Joshua Resnick
If you’re not drinking then may I suggest that you invest those pounds (and calories!) you’ve saved into eating instead? Dublin’s dining scene is amazing.
If you’re looking for Michelin-starred cooking you could try Dublin’s only restaurant with two stars; Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. However since it is also said to be Dublin’s most expensive restaurant, Chapter One located in the basement of the Writer’s Museum (above) might be a more cost effective option. It’s still got the one Michelin star and serves modern French and Irish inspired dishes.
If you’re after something more casual there’s plenty to try. How about Irish gourmet burgers at Bobos, classy pub-style grub set in a former bank at The Bank on College Green or pizzas piled high with so many toppings they’re practically a second meal at Millers Pizza Kitchen.
Those with a sweet tooth should fight tooth (and nail) for a table at the superb Queen of Tarts. They do cakes to go too.
Image © Alice Mariscotti
Sometimes the best thing to do in a city is simply stroll, and Dublin comparatively easy to cover on foot. If you’re looking for some more contained districts though, consider these:
Docks and waterfront – look at the old locks, the warehouses converted into quirky restaurateurs and the beginners trying to get their balance at water-skiing.
Trinity College – 421 years of history are contained within the grounds of Trinity College. It’s incredibly peaceful to stroll through considering its location right in the centre of the city.