Ways To Enjoy Dublin And Feel Like A Local
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The search for unique things to see and do in a particular city normally boils down to a single, simple question: "How can I experience the place I'm visiting like a local?" With our emphasis on discovering both major attractions and lesser known activities we took to our social media channels and messaged a wonderful bunch of travel experts and long-time residents.
A few familiar faces (and new ones) got back with their personal recommendations for fun ways to enjoy the Irish capital like a seasoned local. These include some of the city's best walks, gem attractions and nightlife events.
Local Inspired Things To Do In Dublin:
1, Dublin Science Gallery:
If you're at all familiar with Dublin you're almost guaranteed to have heard of Trinity College - home of the famous Book of Kells. But did you know the institution has its own state-of-the-art Science Gallery? It's completely free to access and is different from traditional science museums in that it has no permanent collection. Every few months a fresh exhibition is set up which explores a trending question in a relevant field of study. What you get is an experience that's just as, if not more, exciting than on a previous visit. Past exhibitions have explored humanity's cultural fascination with blood, the ramifications of synthetic life, and future developments in the gaming industry. All-in-all the Science Galley is modern, interactive, and best all, current!
Check out the site link above to learn more about 2015's present and upcoming exhibitions. You can reach the Science Galley by heading to the following address: Naughton Institute, Pearse Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2. The attraction was recommended to us by Paul Moran via the 'Dublin Local Guides' Google+ community.
2, Walk Along The Grand Canal:
Another member of the Dublin Local Guides community sets us up for our next journey. Willem vd Velden suggested 3 wonderful city walks offering scenic and cultural perspectives that you just don't get on the average sightseeing bus tour. Firstly there's the Grand Canal. Wander around the northern Grand Canal Docks area next to the River Liffey then maybe stop for a coffee the Il Valentino. If you choose to continue south along the length of the Grand Canal you could alternatively pop into the Schoolhouse Hotel/Bar for a pint and a bite of lunch. Keep heading along the rim of the canal until you come to either Charlemont Street or Richmond Street South then head up towards the beautiful Iveagh Victorian Gardens. It's the prefect point at which to finish up or move onto another city centre location.
3, Stroll Along Sandymount Beach:
Willem's second walk recommendation lies just outside the city centre in the coastal suburb of Sandymount. Here he suggests strolling along the quint and lengthy Sandymount Beach. And lastly there's the cliff walk from Bray to Greystones. It's by far the furthest from central Dublin, being located along Country Wicklow's eastern coast, but if you do plan on seeing more of Ireland's natural beauty then the walks don't come much better than this. Bray to Greystones is a well signposted route and the departure point is easily reachable via rail or bus.
4, Dublin Haunted History Walking Tour:
Back in Dublin Willem's last recommendation takes a spooky turn as you can choose to set out with the Hidden Dublin guides on a Haunted History Walking Tour. The organisers at Hidden Dublin are popular with both locals and visitors for their quality experiences and entertaining guides. They offer a number of tours, but the one linked to above is a renowned favourite. You depart with a small group from City Hall before exploring some of Dublin's oldest (and reputedly most haunted) streets. The tour finishes up at the iconic Brazen Head Pub.
5, Gravediggers Ghost Bus Tour:
Our next set of recommendations comes from Dublin Local Guides member William St Martin, who'd previously helped us find one Dublin's best bars. His first suggestion relates to the previous, but with a different twist. The Gravediggers Ghost Bus Tour departs every night from College Green and features a troupe of professional actors who recant a darker side to the past 600 years. During the tour you'll laugh, scream and visit some of Dublin's most iconic attractions, from St. Audeons Church to the infamous Kilmainham Gaol. Of the Gravediggers tour William himself noted: "The guides are real actors and they really engage with us, it is a very unique way to discover horror stories and places of Dublin... The tour ends at the church bar, which is another unique place".
6, Johnnie Fox's Pub:
From grisly tales of murder and body snatching to toe-tapping rhythms, William St Martin's second recommendation once again takes us outside the city centre limits and across to the little southern village of Glencullen. Here you'll find Johnnie Fox's Pub and the renowned Hooley Irish Dance Show. Every night at around 19:00 the guests arrive and are warmly greeted before being seated and offered their menus. You can either choose one of Johnnie Fox's award winning seafood dishes or a delectable alternative like prime sirloin steak and a variety of vegetarian dishes.
The meal is followed by a lively music session that incorporates traditional instruments, folks songs, ballads and even fun sing-alongs. Once the bands finish their set the scene shifts to introduce the highlight act. Lights dim, the stage rises, and out come Johnnie Fox's famous Irish dancers. This portion of night has been officially cited as one of the country's finest Cultural Shows, and a spectacle certainly befitting at least one visit.
You can reach Johnnie Fox's Pub from central Dublin by contacting their Shuttle Bus partner directly, read more here.
7, Visit Howth Village:
We'll finish up this first round of suggestions with a final recommendation from travel & lifestyle blogger Beverley Reinemann, who we contacted via Twitter (@PckYourPassport). Beverley suggested taking the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) to Howth Fishing Village. Howth is a pretty Dublin suburb that lies on the Howth Head peninsula. It's a great place to see relics from Ireland's past (Howth Castle), savour stunning seaside vistas like those around Ireland's Eye, and run along lovely beaches (Claremont Beach). Also note that Howth is a main stop on our Malahide Castle & Coastal Day Tour, which runs daily from central Dublin.
- LIST UPDATE -
Shortly before starting the original article I'd intended to speak to the wonderful staff at the Dublin Visitor Centre and ask which attractions they'd most recommend to sightseers. Well those suggestions are now in and listed below. Foodies and culture vultures in particular should appreciate the extra dash of inspiration.
8, Marsh's Library (Saint Patrick's Close, Dublin 8):
Though it's often overlooked, Marsh's Library is a prized spot for anyone seeking out Ireland's literary culture. The building itself a terrific early Early Baroque gem tucked away just behind St. Patrick's Cathedral. Inside they have over 25,000 multilingual books dated from the 16th-18th centuries, and even a Latin volume of the 'Lives of the Irish Saints' from around 1400. You can explore the building as part of a tour or simply wander as you please between the Irish oak bookshelves. As you do so bare in mind that famous names such as James Joyce and Jonathon Swift once frequented this exact place.
9, Whelan's of Wexford St (25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2):
Whelan's Bar is one of Dublin's definitive live music venues, and not just traditional music. Since 1989 they've hosted gigs featuring the likes of Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, the Arctic Monkeys and Ed Sheeran. On one hand it's your typical cozy Irish pub, and on the other it's one of the world's most underrated and intimate live music venues.
10, Fabulous Food Trail (44 Oakley Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6):
There's no better way to enjoy the sights and tastes of Dublin at the same time than on this renowned culinary walking tour. Every morning they take small groups of visitors and locals alike on a trail of some of the capital's finest food-related establishments. We say food-related, because on top of the usual restaurants you'll discover bakeries, street markets, fish & cheesemongers, various delicatessens and more. During the tour your guide will even recount the stories behind each neighbourhood along the route.
11, Whitefrier Street Church (56 Aungier St, Dublin 2):
An indispensable history stop for anyone seeking such experiences. Whitefrier Church in the city centre is notable for housing the relics of Saint Valentine as well as the relics of Saint Albert of Trapani. They also own a life-size oak statue of Our Lady of Dublin.
The folks at the Dublin Visitor Centre certainly know their stuff. If you're still looking for more tips and inspiration we'd strongly recommend heading over to their site. Try this blog piece of their's: Top 3 Family Activities in Dublin City.