Put Dublin on top of your “to do” list in 2014! The city will be rocking for the entire year with an abundance of things to see, do, and experience. Whatever time you visit you are guaranteed fun and craic. It is hard to do it all, but we have rounded up 14 Dublin highlights for 2014!
1. Move to the music
Dublin is a city rich in homegrown music from our rock roots of Thin Lizzy and U2 to our vibrant trad scene. Acts as diverse as Jurassic 5, Garth Brooks and The National will be rocking Dublin in 2014. On more intimate scale venues like Whelan's, the Button Factory and the Twisted Pepper showcase new and exciting acts on a nightly basis around the city. Soak up the Summer atmosphere at festivals like Longitude and the Dublin City Soul Festival. Take the chance to pick up an instrument and show what you are made of at one of the music master classes. Or take to the open mic, dance a jig or simply sit back and enjoy the talent on show. You can try the trad experience at any time of the year with The Bodhrán Experience in Monkstown - a unique opportunity to learn to play our native drum!
2. Make movie magic
The stars will come out to play during the country’s premier film event, the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, (February 13th – 23rd). Showcasing the very best in Irish and international film, this silver screen extravaganza offers a packed programme of more than 130 feature films, public interviews, industry workshops and master classes. With directors, actors and producers attending to meet and discuss their work, it’s a film buff’s dream, as well as a massive social event for Dublin cinema goers. The Fingal Film Festival, (May 7th – 9th ), will showcase emerging national and international filmmakers with lots of independent film screenings.
3. Sample a taste of the capital!
Dublin City will become a food haven during The Dine in Dublin Restaurant Week, (February 24th - March 1st), a recipe for a tasty break in the capital. Top restaurants get involved in this week-long gastronomic event with giveaways, and of course, great value offers on meals. Have your fill with cooking demonstrations, prosecco evenings, wine-tastings, pop-up theatre performances, and cocktail masterclasses. Oh and did we mention belly dancing?! Bloom in the Park over the June Bank Holiday weekend, (May 29th – June 2nd) features an artisan food market and food village. Or at any time do a Fab Food Trail where you get to sample delicious tastings on a leisurely walk, peppered with fascinating snippets of information on the city’s history and architecture.
4. Celebrate St. Patrick!
Dublin is the best place in the world to be to celebrate our patron saint. The capital will turn green for the St Patrick’s Day Festival, (March 14th - 17th), an action-packed, Celtic fiesta spanning four days of pageantry and fun. Enjoy street theatre, giant puppetry, funfairs, outdoor concerts, comedy shows and music sessions in the city’s lively pubs. The main event will be the St. Patricks Day Parade when hundreds of floats and marching bands take over the city for one of the most spectacular outdoor events of the year.
5. On your bike for the Giro d’Italia
Get on your bike for one of the greatest cycling events in the world which is coming to the streets of Dublin! The Giro d’Italia Big Start, (May 11th) wheels into Dublin as the culmination of three days of exciting cycling around Ireland from the world’s top professionals. Join with thousands in giving these elite athletes a Dublin-style welcome. You might even be inspired to do a little cycling tour of your own and make the most of Dublin Bikes, the city’s free bicycle transport network with 44 stations. Pick up and drop off a bike at your leisure, and don’t forget to pop into Cafe Rothar, (the Irish for bicycle) on Fade Street, a unique bike shop come cycling themed cafe! If you prefer more active adventure and an adrenaline fuelled experience check out biking.ie and discover a different side to Dublin!
6. Conquer Brian Boru!
Celebrate Dublin’s Viking past in 2014, which marks the 1000th anniversary of one of the most significant events in Irish history, The Battle of Clontarf, won by the mighty chieftain Brian Boru. March sees the launch of a Battle of Clontarf Heritage Trail to guide you through the most important sites. And why not find out more about Dublin’s Viking history at Dublinia, an interactive exhibition beside Christchurch Cathedral. You can become a Viking for an hour or two on the Viking Splash amphibious tour bus. They provide the horned helmets, you provide the Viking roar! Or try the free Viking Walking Tour, ending up in a pub in Temple Bar telling Viking stories! Click here to find out about all events celebrating the The battle of Clontarf.
7. Be a culture vulture!
Culture seekers won’t be disappointed with a visit to Dublin any time of the year. The peak is September and October, Dublin Festival Season, with events to suit everyone. The Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun laoghaire, (September 2nd – 7th), attracts some of the world’s leading authors while the Dublin Fashion Festival, (September 5th – 8th), is firmly set in the social calendar. The mighty Dublin Theatre Festival, (September 25th – October 12th), is the country’s largest multi-disciplinary arts event with hundreds of stage events. The Dublin Fringe Festival, (September 2nd - 27th), is a 16 day festival of theatre, comedy, dance and spectacle, which takes over more than 40 venues and celebrates the new and the next. Culture Night, (September 20th) is a magical opportunity to visit the city’s museums, galleries, churches, historic houses, artists’ studies and cultural centres, – for free!
8. Cheer lead in Croke Park!
Cheer leaders and razzmatazz will replace the Artane Boys Band in Croke Park, the home of Gaelic Games, for the history-making US college football extravaganza, The Croke Park Classic (August 30th)! This super event will see the UCF, (University of Central Florida) Knights square off against Penn State Nittany Lions to mark the opening of the 2014 American football season. This is the first time both teams have played outside of the US and the match will air on US TV stations. Thousands of American football supporters will be in town sporting the stars and stripes for the game, so the atmosphere in the city centre promises to be only mighty!
In September Croke Park will host the All-Ireland Hurling and Football finals, a great day out. You can do the Croke Park Experience at any time of the year with a tour of the stadium - and immerse yourself in football and hurling heroes from the past in the magnificent GAA museum. If you have a head for height and are an adventure seeker sign up to the Etihad Skyline rooftop tour, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city at 17 stories high. Just don’t look down!
9. Be a runaway success in Dublin!
Make your visit to Dublin a runaway success and combine it with some marathon action! You can tog out and take part – or be an onlooker, soaking up the electric atmosphere on the streets. The Flora Women’s Mini Marathon, (June 2nd), is the biggest all-womens race in the world, with 40,000 participants each year. The city streets will be thronged with well wishers. A new event on the running calendar is the Rock & Roll Half Marathon, (August 4th), which had a hugely successful start last year with 6500 athletes from home and abroad. But the big one of the year is the Dublin City Marathon, (October Bank Holiday Monday) which takes professional and amateur runners alike through some of the city’s historic landmarks. Just watching them file by is exhausting! But the craic afterwards is mighty!
10. Village people!
Dublin is a city made up of villages and neighbourhoods and exploring them is a must to get under the skin of the capital and its people. For culture and craic, find your way around the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, wedged between Trinity College and the Old City. This is Dublin's party hub, packed with bars, discos, and pubs. During the day it's quieter with quirky shops and cafes. The nearby Creative Quarter around Georges Street is where you will find up-and-coming designers and painters. Residential neighbourhoods including Ranelagh and Donnybrook are worth a visit with buzzing pubs and restaurants or stroll along the leafy embassy belt in Ballsbridge. Check out The Liberties in the inner city, home to the famed Guinness Brewery, and the antique district around Francis Street, where you will find many hidden treasures. For Georgian magic walk around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square, each with two little parks. Some of Dublin's most famous citizens once lived here including Oscar Wilde!
11. Outdoor Dublin!
After a hectic night on the town there is nothing like stretching your legs and getting some fresh air! Less than an hour from the city you will find a nature lover’s paradise of mountains and forest. Head for the hills where you can do a looped trail that will restore you to good health. And you don’t have to leave the city for a walk – Marlay Park in Rathfarnham, south of the city, has stunning walks and a brilliant weekend farmers market. The 770 acre Phoenix Park, the home of Dublin Zoo, has lots of paths and trails and space for you to walk or cycle around. Watch out for the deer! And take time for a cuppa at the Victorian Tea Rooms. If you fancy teeing off there are some world class golf courses in shouting distance of Dublin including the Royal Dublin links course on Bull Island, Portmarnock, or Dun Laoghaire.
12. Dip into Dublin!
Dublin is only a stone’s throw away from stunning coastline and beautiful beaches. Hop on the DART train and head north to the historic fishing village of Howth, now one of Ireland’s swishest addresses and a wonderful place to see the fishing boats bringing back their bounty. You can try some sea fishing yourself! Or dip in the sea. Brush away those cobwebs with an invigorating cliff walk around the Hill of Howth, and whet your appetite with some delicious seafood in a local pub or restaurant afterwards. If you take the DART south you will find yourself in Dun Laoghaire, with its magnificent marina. Sign up for a sailing or kitesurfing lesson. And visit the Shackleton Exhibition at the new ferry terminal. Then stretch your legs along the gorgeous coastal walk past Scotsmans Bay and Sandycove to Dalkey village, famed for its restaurants, pubs and shops. Stop along the way at scenic Bullock Harbour, from where you can take a boat ride to Dalkey Island for a picnic – seafood sandwiches, of course! Oh and you might spot Bono on your travels. He lives in nearby Killiney.
13. How about some Hidden Gems?
The great thing about Dublin is you never know what hidden gems and quirky attractions you will find around the next corner. Check out mummies of Dublin’s most influential 17th, 18th and 19th century families in St Michan’s Church and Crypts. In Christ Church Cathedral crypt there are the mummified remains of Tom and Jerry, a cat and rat who died in the organ pipes and mentioned by James Joyce in Finnegans wake. You will find the bones of none other than St. Valentine at the Carmelite Church in Whitefriat Street. Bring your loved one!
Do little people really exist in Ireland? Find out at The National Leprechaun Museum, dedicated to Irish mythology, and opens up a fun and magical world full of fascinating folklore and enchanting stories.
Explore the inventors of Dublin on an Ingenious Dublin tour starting at the Science Gallery. A great way of seeing the real Dublin is on a Le Cool walking tour – each one is different. You could end up in Dublin oldest barbers, seeing a back street exhibition and visiting an interesting pop up gallery! Surprise surprise!
14. Celebrate New Year in Ireland’s party capital
Party till late and see off the old and welcome in the new at the Dublin NYE Festival. The city is transformed into a massive outdoor playground with music, dance, fireworks, and pageantry. Join the People’s Procession of Light on New Year’s Eve, and dance the night away at The Countdown Concert in College Green, named by Lonely Planet as one of the top five New Year’s events in the world! Restore yourself and wind down and chill out at The Big Brunch, a laid back mix of food and music in Dublin’s Temple Bar on New Year’s Day.
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