Insider Tips

Saints & Sinners: A Dublin Guide

By Visit Dublin

8th February 2019

Can't decide whether to be a saint or a sinner on your Dublin trip? This guide shows you how to have the best of both worlds!

We’re delighted to be both the angel and the devil on your shoulder, and have compiled a handy list of cultural sights 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-nineteenth century – in Trinity College Dublin Library. 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.

Sinner: Pitt Bros

Dublin restaurant-owners have grown more creative in recent times, understanding that foodies don’t always want a refined, five-star affair. As such, an array of new restaurants have emerged, focusing on single areas of culinary expertise while offering delicious food at reasonable prices.

We love Pitt Bros, a smoked BBQ project located on Georges Street, Dublin 2. They serve up flame-grilled goodness daily and close when the meat runs out! Try the St Louis Ribs and Bone Marrow mash. Carnivores only need apply! 

Queueing up to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College

Saintly: Dublin Tour Bus

What better way to get an introduction to the colourful history of Dublin than by driving through it! Dublin Bus offer a selection of fantastic guided tours of Dublin, one of which has a handy ‘hop-on, hop-off’ option that stops at historic spots like the atmospheric Kilmainham GaolChrist Church Cathedral and the Guinness Storehouse.

Sinner: Cocktails and 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 some cocktail-making classes? 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 own 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 dancing at Mint Bar in the Westin Hotel; where you’ll find Cuban DJ MotionLatina on the decks right into the wee hours.

Friends enjoying cocktails

​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 next 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 2018 highlights was Life at the Edges, an exhibition exploring the future of frontier living.

Sinner: Comedy nights

Having had your science fill, we reckon it’s time for some chuckles! There have been an array of world-class Irish 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 run regularly around the city, showcasing the best of both established and upcoming talent. Our favourites are the Comedy Crunch in the Stags 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 Aidan and Des Bishop.

An exhibit at the Science Gallery

Saintly: Picnic at Malahide Castle

A northbound DART from Dublin 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 twelfth 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 über-wholesome picnic and spend the day there? Your parents would be proud!

Sinner: Pizza and 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!

Malahide Castle

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