Ten things to do in Dublin

I’m sure this post will make my brother whine “I want to go back to Dublin!” (if you know him and are Facebook friends with him, you’ll be used to this by now.)

But I thought “Hey, what are things to do in Dublin?”  Maybe because I’ve had to think about what you can do in Dublin recently.

So in no particular order –

1.  Go to Grafton Street on a Saturday afternoon.

It will be crowded and full of tourists and people collecting for charities and street performers.  There will be nothing like it ever anywhere.  Not that I’ve been everywhere.  But Grafton Street has its own special charm and magic, St. Stephen’s Green at one end, Molly Malone and Trinity College at the other.

It’s the best place to people watch.  Get a window seat at Bewley’s and play the tourist game (aka, what country which tourist is from.  Americans are easy – they wear the most practical shoes – think New Balance sneakers and REI hiking boots.)  Duck down alleys and side streets to get lost or find a church.  Grab a coffee to go at Butler’s (they’ll give you a free piece of chocolate with your coffee!)  and stop to listen to some of the buskers (street performers).   Be aware of the human statues, and the  statue that is really a statue (Phil Lynott).

2. Go to Temple Bar – in the afternoon

Temple Bar is a place everyone should stop at if to say they’ve been there.  But it’s not for everyone.  I always feel bad when I see tour guides weaving herds of eldery through the area, what with all the college students bumping about.  There’s kebab shops and a tattoo parlor or two, and a place that sells cool purses (yes, been there…).  And pubs.  Lots of pubs. In the day, Temple Bar is eclectic and eccentric, and not quite what you expect, but if you’re up for the challenge, totally worth exploring.  On a weekend night, it’s more frantic and crowded – and I’ll be frank, I’m always a bit worried that at some point, someone will vomit on my shoes.  Not that that’s happened.  I just have a vomit phobia, and outside primary schools, this seems like the most likely chance of vomit happening.

But if you stick with it, you cut through just the right alleyway, past the kebab shop and nightclub, you’ll go under this archway and end up…

3. …at the Ha’penny Bridge.

You have to see it.  It’s a symbol of Dublin.  Go, see it, cross it, take your photo under it.  It’s okay, everyone does it.

4. Go on a bus tour.

Hey, you’re a tourist, own it!  But as I told you before to be wary of the Dublin Bus, going on the bus tour is part “seeing Dublin” and part “How the holy hell is this thing going to fit down this street????”.   Plus, some are hop on, hop off ones, that’ll take you to the major sites, and are a pretty good value (15 euro for a two day pass.)

Just promise me you’ll ride up top.  You get more of the roller coaster feeling up top.

5. Trinity Library

I’ll confess – I hadn’t been there before my brother came here.  And go figure, the day we went, the actual Book of Kells was not on display.  But we got to go up to the library.

If you’re a book nerd or love old architecture, you will love this.  The scent of Old Library hits you as you climb up the stairs.  Sadly, you can’t run up and down the stacks or climb the ladders on the bookshelves without permission.

And if you love getting yelled at, just keep using the flash photography, to hear some guard shout “For the love of God, how many times do I have to say “Turn off your flash”???”  (it wasn’t us, I swear.)

6. Go to the Guinness Storehouse

Again, I saved this one for my brother’s visit.  But it is fun, and you get a free pint with admission (you can either learn how to pour your own pint or just cash it in at the Gravity Bar – which will give you the full view of Dublin and then some.

Also, on a wall somewhere, there’s a listing of great pubs in Dublin.  I was proud to point out to my brother that I’d been to at least seven of them, and had taken him to a couple already.

7. Go to a pub for God’s sake!

Or two.

Or three.

There’s a lot to choose from.  I always take people to The Stag’s Head – they serve up a good pint, and I’m always impressed that I can get there (though I did take my brother and his friend down a dead end street first.) From more traditional pubs like Neary’s, McDaid’s, and O’Donahue’s to more modern drinking establishments like the Dakota and the Odeon – you will not go thirsty in this town.  Expect to squeeze in, go up or down stairs, through mazes and alleyways, out the one door into another – and all that just to find the toilet!  Just find a place to perch and take turns buying the rounds.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly time will pass.

8. Take a ride on the Dart.

The Dart is one of the trains that run through Dublin.  You can take it up to Howth to spend the day, or it can drop you right off at Killiney Beach if you want a little peace.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take it to far off places like Dun Laoghaire, Bray, or even Greystones.  Want to do a bit of a hike?  Take the Dart to Bray, then follow the Bray to Greystones walk (apparently called The Cliff Walk, as you do walk right along the cliff.)

9. Visit the Leprechaun Museum

It’s not as kitchy-touristy as it sounds.  It explores the mythology and folklore of Ireland…and who doesn’t love some good folklore?  And you can tell people you went to the leprechaun museum! In Dublin!

10. Visit Dublinia

This is on my list of  places to take the kids.  (We almost went one day, but we got there too late and Maura was melting down on us.)  It’s the Viking history of Dublin.

Yes, I said Viking History.  Didn’t you know Dublin was founded by Vikings?  They gave the city it’s name really.

And if it’s nice out, go on the Viking Splash Tour – again, on my list of things to do.  But you ride in one of those amphibious vehicles (hence the “splash” part as you’ll enter water) and they give you Viking hats to wear, horns and all, and encourage you to cheer as you drive through Dublin.  What could be more fun than that?