As the Irish saying goes: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.”
Welcome to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Here you’ll find some of the oldest buildings in the world, along with some world-famous alcoholic beverages. For a wee city, Dublin packs a punch with plenty of quirky things to do. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s see what we can do!
Revel & imbibe at the Irish Whiskey Museum
Not even minor fans of whiskey (or as we spell it: whisky) would refuse this opportunity. At the Irish Whiskey Museum, visitors will learn why Irish whiskey is considered one of the best ranges around the world. While €20 (~AUD$32) gets you the guided tour and three whiskey nips to sample, we encourage you to try the premium tour for only €3 more; as well as the tour, you’ll get a fourth sample and a souvenir whiskey glass as a token. If you want to have the full experience, to learn more about the distilling process and the variety of Irish whiskeys — which also includes a take-home mini whiskey bottle — then prepare to fork out €30. Totally worth it, though!
Tour the Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is where Australian history meets our colonial roots. Many of the men, women and children who were locked up here were waiting to be exiled to the great southern land (a.k.a. Australia). Their crimes ranged from petty theft and brawls to rape and murder. And while the history of this beastly penal facility is interesting, the most remarkable fact is how this gaol-turned-museum managed to curate over 10,000 objects relating to Irish political lore. If that doesn’t perk your lions, then how does paying €8 (~AUD$13) for a guided tour of the place sound? A historical spot, worthy of Instagrammable posts!
Learn & drink at Guinness Storehouse
Guinness is the national beverage of choice — aside from whiskey — so the Guinness Storehouse would have to be the most distinctive place to visit in Ireland. With two bars and four restaurants, that is quite definitely an understatement! The storehouse, however, is not the actual brewery (as you won’t be able to enter due to OH&S), but it showcases all you need to know about Guinness in a nifty museum. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that Guinness, when served from the keg, is 100% totally vegan? So now you can feel good knowing that no animal was harmed in the making of this brew.
Relax at Phoenix Park
As their website states: “Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe.” But, we say it is much more than just a park. It is essentially a stand-alone ecosystem. Not only do you get luscious sprawling lawns to gallivant about on, but you also get the Dublin Zoo, a handful of historical monuments, the Irish president’s residence, the American ambassador’s residence and a gigantic cross that signified the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979. Aside from running over vast green lawns, Pheonix Park also includes half a dozen ponds to circumnavigate and various types of gardens and mini forests.
Visit the Cathedrals
Being a devoutly Catholic country means there’s apt to be a few fancy cathedrals to woo any pilgrim’s heart. And leading that front in the Republic of Ireland is Dublin, who hosts two Instagram-worthy churches: St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral. Starting with the most popular, St Patrick’s Cathedral has a history spanning over 800 years. It has also been the backdrop to some famous movies, including The Godfather Part III. Christ Church Cathedral is the official seat for both the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin and is one of the oldest in the country capital, built around 1030AD. There are also a handful of historical churches that are interesting to view in their own right.
Go on a pub crawl
Where better to go on a pub crawl than the wonderful world of Dublin? Catch up on your Irish chants and bask in the company of the fine men and women of Ireland. If you wish to dabble in traditional Irish music, then look no further than The Temple Bar. You can catch a band playing every night of the week, showcasing the best of Ireland. Another one for great Irish music is The Hairy Lemon. And if you’re looking for something really quirky, then check out The Blind Pig. Its underground lair shares a collection of Prohibition-era cocktails, along with an a la carte menu. Be aware: this is not the place to ask for pina coladas.
Whirl around at the Wicklow Mountains National Park
If ever you feel like escaping the city for a day of fresh air and a good limb workout, may we suggest the Wicklow Mountains National Park? Covering a land mass of 20,000 hectares, this lavish expanse of greenery and running water is the perfect backdrop to lose yourself in. You don’t even need to leave the car if you’re not that bothered, by simply taking a scenic drive through the mountains. We recommend visiting the valley of Glendalough, home to a handful of historic landmarks, and also the Powerscourt Waterfall, a 398-ft (121m) tall beast of cascading water.
Hike along Howth Head
Apart from its linguistically challenging name, Howth Head is a picturesque spot for those seeking a fairly simple hike without having to leave the capital. Or even for those seeking another hike altogether. The town of Howth itself is a wonderful spot to visit, which could include checking out the National Transport Museum or even the Howth lighthouse. But for those wanting to break a little sweat, pop on some hiking shoes and trek over to Howth Head Peak for a close-up view of the Irish Sea. If you squint a little, you may even cop a view of Holy Island in the far distance.
Get Instagramming at Ha’Penny Bridge
Visiting Dublin without walking over the Ha’penny Bridge is equivalent to visiting Sydney without walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Granted, the sizes are extremely different, but the sentiment is the same; you’d be hard-pressed to find a Dublin souvenir store that doesn’t sell pictures of the Ha’penny Bridge. This popular landmark in Dublin got its name from the original fee for crossing the bridge back in 1816: half a penny. Interestingly, it was officially called Liffey Bridge back then, with the toll of half a penny being held for 100 years. Thankfully we’re in the year 2019, where you can cross the bridge for free
Visit The Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin houses a vast collection of wee trinkets that all tell the story of the Irish capital. Located in a Georgian townhouse, this award-winning museum is only accessed by guided tours, where the tour guides are as lively as an Irish pub during Oktoberfest. For 30 minutes, you’ll bear witness to the growing world of Dublin, seeing characters like James Joyce, John F Kennedy, and Queen Victoria, and maybe even a brief appearance by U2. Get yourself an all-day ticket for €15 (~AUD$25).