Insider Tips

Dublin is What Happens in Between

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
Tweet us @visitdublinCLOSE

Whether discovering a spellbinding museum on the way to the Phoenix Park or bumping into a friendly local as you cross the Ha’penny Bridge, or swaying to the rhythm of an enchanting street busker blasting out your favourite tunes, you’ll quickly discover that Dublin is full of surprising moments where precious memories last a lifetime.

So, go on, take those extra few steps off the beaten track into a whole other Dublin. Dublin unfolds with the unexpected...

Dublin is What Happens in Between

Meander at your pace—peeking through doorways…

Whether you’re a foodie fan, enchanted by Ireland’s literary legends or fascinated by Dublin's Viking past, whatever your passion is, there’s a walking tour that will help you get under the skin of the capital.

Fabulous Food Trails will delight your taste buds and whet your appetite with hidden trendy pop-ups, or Irish artisan produce with a modern twist in a city centre market stall. A variety of activity tours will literally take your breath away so steal off into the depths of Dublin’s Grand Canal basin, where even the locals rarely go. Or try a literary pub crawl and peek your head into cosy pub snugs where the real craic is to be had. 

Want to do things at your own pace and peek through your very own doorways, then the Dublin Discovery Trails self-guided walking tours are just for you. Free and easy to use — just download the Dublin Discovery Trails App, available for iOS and also for Android.

Seek out your very own culture…

Grafton Street hums with unexpected cultural treats; your musical accompaniment for this walk will be provided by the street's bevy of buskers—ranging from angsty teenage electric guitar solos to jazz saxaphone and everything in-between, look no further for an impressive snapshot of the city’s cultural mood. Step off the thoroughfare and into winding lanes crammed with unique craft shops, independent boutiques, and dotted with cosy cafés and world class restaurants, serving every imaginable cuisine. Stop off at the iconic St Stephen's Green, one of Dublin's iconic squares, to feed the ducks, chill in the tranquillity of the park and keep an eye out for the fantastic outdoor art gallery on the railings around the park. 

The National Concert Hall is a well-known Irish landmark just a few steps away from St Stephen's Green and is home to the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir Ireland. Its striking façade, built in 1865, is an integral part of the city landscape but before settling in for a fantastic lunchtime concert, take an unexpected right hand turn and you’re on your way to the magnificent walled oasis of the Iveagh Gardens, one of Dublin's best kept secrets.

In Merrion Square Park, browse the railings of this beautiful Georgian square where upcoming and well established Irish artists sell their magnificent art. Here you will see the mischievous Oscar Wilde reclining on a rock at the edge of the square. Head to Merrion Row to one of many famous pubs where you’ll find some rich heritage and creamy Guinness, but before that take a mini detour to Sweny’s Chemist, to take in a highly entertaining Joycean reading.

Dublin is What Happens in Between
Dublin is What Happens in Between

Head for the hills…

Where else would you find a busy cosmopolitan capital surrounded by mountains, peaceful countryside and the shimmering sea? So, you’ll be spoilt for choice—whether to head for the hills or the seaside. Take to the countryside and clear the cobwebs with a breath-taking hike; there are wonderful walking trails and views. Make sure you visit the Hell Fire Club, a brooding building on Montpelier Hill which is not to be missed! Or check out more vantage points in the city from which to capture an unbeatable panoramic view.

Killiney Hill has wonderful tea rooms to visit before you take a walk up to the hilltop obelisk, where you’ll see the stunning vista of Dublin city and its glimmering bay.

Stop for a bite of lunch at the Merry Ploughboy or Johnnie Fox’s Pub; both boast stunning locations with menus of fresh seafood and rousing traditional Irish music and entertainment nights—you might even get to try your leg at an unexpected jig and a reel or two. Leave the mountains stimulated by scenic views, and satisfied with hearty pub food.

Dip into Dublin Bay

Jump onto the Dart train from the city centre and watch as pretty seaside towns and picturesque villages whizz by. Spot a seaside promenade or a world famous Martello tower, press the green button, hop off and stroll by the sea. Jump back on, gaze out the window, and stop off at the trendy village of Malahide on the Northside or the gourmet village of Glasthule on the South. Amble down the seafront, stop off at the Forty Foot in Sandycove... you might even be tempted by a refreshing dip in Dublin bay. Head into James Joyce’s local Fitzgerald’s Pub in Sandycove for a pint of Guinness—on arrival, the locals will be strangers, but on departure you’ll be leaving a pub full of friends!

Sail across the bay from Dún Laoghaire with Dublin Bay Cruises, disembarking in Howth Harbour; there treat yourself to a plate of mouth-watering oysters and chilled white wine overlooking the sea! Jump back on the Dart and watch the sun set over Dublin bay as it lights up Poolbeg’s candy-striped towers. You’ll arrive back into the city refreshed—ready for another night of unexpected fun!

Dublin is What Happens in Between
Dublin is What Happens in Between

Dublin life’s a stage

Literature is in the very fabric of Dublin, in its river (Joyce’s Anna Livia), in its conversation, its theatres and its very cobblestones. Three bridges that span the River Liffey are named after its literary giants and playwrights: James Joyce, Sean O’Casey and Samuel Beckett.

Dublin surely boasts some of the world’s most brilliant playwrights, while everyone from Irish rebels to movie stars have graced the fair stage of the elegant Olympia Theatre on Dame Street, whose atmosphere harks back to a glamorous era in Dublin. You’ll have your pick of stimulating performances at venues across Dublin such as The Gate, the Samuel Beckett Theatre and the Project Arts Centre, but to delve deeper into this world, sign up for the Abbey Theatre backstage tour or explore the 17th century surrounds of Smock Alley, Dublin’s oldest theatre.