Leopold Bloom proclaimed in Ulysses that a good riddle would be to walk across Dublin without passing a pub. But the Dublin he was talking about was a very different place from the one we know today.
As you can see from our illustration of Rory McCann’s mapping algorithm, the perception that there’s a pub on every corner isn’t actually the case. In fact, you could say the real riddle is which non-drinking activity to do first.
Discover our pick of best non-alcholohic days out in Dublin...
Clear the head
One of the things that makes Dublin unique to many other European capitals is how quickly you can escape the city. Even from the centre of Dublin you’re never far from the mountains and the sea.
This makes Dublin the perfect place for people who like to get a bit more active. If you’re in the mood for a walk that’ll put hairs on your chest, why not hop on the DART and choose between walks on Dollymount Strand or Dun Laoghaire Pier?
Or take to higher ground and conquer Howth Head or Killiney Hill. If you’d like to combine water and heights, head over to the Dublin Wakedock right in the city centre for a spot of wakeboarding and try your hand at some of the jumps.
Alter your perceptions
Dublin has a thriving visual arts community and you won’t get very far before stumbling across one of the many galleries scattered around the city. Some of the better-known places are IMMA, The Lab and the RHA where you’ll see some of the best contemporary art that the city has to offer. But don’t be afraid to pop into some of the private galleries too – entry is free and you’re under no obligation to buy anything. Places particularly worth a visit are Taylor Galleries, Green on Red Gallery, Hillsboro Fine Art and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery. To keep an eye on all the upcoming exhibitions happening in Dublin visit dnote.
If you’re looking for something a bit different you should also head to The Science Gallery or the Jam Art Factory, check out some of the street art around Windmill Lane Studios or pop into The Art Of The Brick exhibition.
Off the wagon
Because of the relatively small size of Dublin city, bus tours are a brilliant way to see some of the best landmarks and attractions in Dublin.
If you want something a bit more exciting than an open top bus, try the The Dublin Ghostbus Tour a tongue-in-cheek, spine-tingling trip that weaves its way through the streets of Dublin every evening. Guides regale you with gruesome tales and you’ll have plenty of stops to explore some of Dublin’s most haunted sites up close (if you dare).
If you’d rather a different take on Dublin’s nightlife, City Kayaking offer evening river trips, while Hidden Dublin Walks is a good option for those without sea legs. They offer a variety of night walks to places like Dublin’s infamous Hellfire Club.
Warm your cockles
Dublin has a lot of tasty beverages to offer besides Guinness – there’s a bustling café culture that has blossomed over the last few years. Artisan Coffee shops have sprung up all over the city and Dublin is actually home to some of Europe’s most awarded baristas.
One place that has become a bit of a mecca for coffee lovers is 3FE on Grand Canal Street Lower. You could also try out Accents Lounge; it’s open late every night and often hosts comedy nights, tarot readings and more so you can while away the evening in a relaxing atmosphere.
But if coffee isn’t your cup of tea, make your way to one of Dublin’s non-alcoholic hidden gems, 'Tea Garden’. Located on Lower Ormond Quay, this little hideaway has a mind-blowing array of exotic teas on the menu and a host of private booths to enjoy them in. It also stays open till 11pm every evening, so you can make a night of it.
A night on the tiles
Some people think that clubbing and drinking go hand in hand, but over the last few years more and more alcohol-free club nights have kicked off all over the city.
One of the best known is Funky Seomra – a dance night where people get together and have a great time without the need of a tipple first. Funky Seomra events are held throughout the year in different venues around the city.
But this is just one of the many nights that are popping up across the city. So if you’re looking to have an amazing night out minus the hangover, give Dublin’s dance scene a whirl.