Planning a Dublin itinerary is tricky. Firstly, there’s so much to see and do here, it’s difficult to know where to start! Secondly, we know that at (ahem) a certain age, you’re increasingly more interested in the cultural, ‘touristy’ activities you used to scoff at your parents for on the family holiday. But we’re also aware you still aren’t quite ready to admit you’re a grown-up, and want to have plenty of fun in Dublin too! To that end, we’re delighted to be both the angel and the devil on your shoulder, and have compiled a handy list of educational, cultural sights and delights to check out in Dublin, followed by a fun – and more devilish – activity afterwards. Enjoy!
Saintly: Book of Kells
One of the most visually stunning artefacts in Dublin, the Book of Kells is housed – as it has been since the mid 19th century - in Trinity College. Dating back to around 800AD, it’s thought that this intricately decorated manuscript was started by Columban monks on the Scottish island of Iona, before they fled from Vikings to Kells in Co. Meath. Two volumes of this beautiful and vivid book are displayed in the Old Library at Trinity every day. That’s not all though, in the same building you’ll find the famous Long Room, which houses over 200,000 of the library’s oldest books in its fine oak bookcases. Exhibitions in the Long Room Library regularly take place. Admission to see the Book of Kells costs €9 (Students / OAPs: €8, Families: €18, Under 12s: free).
Sinner: Pop-up restaurant; Salt Lick Dublin
Dublin restaurant-owners have grown more creative in recent times, understanding that foodies don’t necessarily have lots of money to spend on lavish meals. As such, an array of pop-up restaurants have emerged, that offer delicious food at reasonable prices and – given their usual intimate settings - encourage diners to make new friends as they eat! We love Salt Lick Dublin, a new venture that runs every Friday and Saturday in the charming southside village of Ranelagh, (served by the green Luas line). This food-loving collective serve up grub under a different theme each month (tacos right now, yum). More info here.
Saintly: Dublin Bus Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
What better way to get an introduction to Dublin’s colourful history than by driving through it! Dublin Bus offer a selection of fantastic guided tours through the city, one of which has a handy ‘hop-on, hop-off’ option that stops at historic spots like the atmospheric Kilmainham Gaol, Christchurch Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse.
Sinner: Cocktails + Salsa dancing
Dublin has come into its own in recent years when it comes to cocktails, with talented mixologists around the city offering a variety of creative concoctions! Vintage Cocktail Club is spread over three floors, and inspired by the roaring ‘20s. Here, Gareth Lambe offers classic cocktail staples, as well as some of his own inventions. Alternatively, if you fancy letting that creative flair shine through, why not book a cocktail-making class? These fun sessions teach punters about the art of mixology, and you’ll learn which juices and fruits suit which liquors. Having sampled some of your tasty creations, we reckon you’ll want to go dancing, and believe us, there are plenty of options! We recommend a spot of steamy salsa at Mint Bar in the Westin Hotel; where you’ll find Cuban DJ MotionLatina on the decks right into the wee hours.
Saintly: Science Gallery
Science nerds – you’re among friends here! Whether you’re big into tech and physics, or just generally curious about how things work, be sure to make your way to the Science Gallery. Located adjacent to Trinity College on Pearse Street (served by the Dart), this creative and visual space is home to all manner of fun and fascinating projects. One of the upcoming summer highlights is ‘Strange Weather’; an exhibition which questions our behaviour in relation to weather, and offers radical proposals for the future.
Sinner: Comedy night
Having had your science fill, we reckon it’s time for some chuckles! Ireland has produced an array of world-class comedians over the years; step forward Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan, Ardal O’Hanlon and Jason Byrne, to name but a few. As such, comedy nights regularly run around the city, showcasing the best of both established and upcoming talent. Our favourites are the Comedy Crunch in the Stag’s Head on Dame Lane (free ice-cream, people), Battle of the Axe in the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, and the legendary International Comedy Club on Wicklow Street, which is run by the always-hilarious brother act of Des and Aidan Bishop.
Saintly: Picnic at Malahide Castle
A northbound Dart from the city centre will have you out to the picturesque, coastal village of Malahide in just 27 minutes. There, you’ll find the magnificent Malahide Castle, built in the 12th century and positively steeped in history. Guided tours run regularly, which will tell the fascinating – and sometimes spooky! – history of the castle, and there’s a brand new interactive exhibition on the ground floor. The 22-acre ornamental gardens of the castle are stunning too; Lord Talbot, who designed them, was a major plant enthusiast, and so the grounds are home to a staggering 5,000 species and variety of plant. Once you’ve explored the castle and its grounds, we recommend you stroll down to the village’s coast to really experience all lovely Malahide has to offer. Why not pack an uber wholesome picnic and spend the day there? Your parents would be proud!
Sinner: Pizza + Beer at the Bernard Shaw
One of the coolest hangout spots in the city, the Bernard Shaw (named after the iconic Irish playwright) is run by Dublin dance collective Bodytonic and hosts weekly nights celebrating reggae, electro, dub, jazz, and everything in between! The bar’s exterior is regularly given visually-striking makeovers by renowned Dublin street artist Maser, and what’s more, there’s a double-decker bus out the back serving pizza. Sold!