Some of you will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on 17th March. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.
If you are celebrating in Dublin this week, here are 10 other things to do while you’re there:
- Get lost in music at Andrew’s Lane – Formerly one of the few playhouses on Dublin’s south side, Andrew’s Lane has reopened as a music venue. It may be missed by theatre lovers, but is attracting fans and gaining a strong reputation on the city’s music scene. So far, the fare has tended towards the left-field end of the spectrum, with arty electronica acts from the likes of Matmos and Venetian Snares wooing the more adventurous punters.
- Stroll through the Dubh Linn Gardens – If you don’t want to pay to get into Dublin Castle then stroll around the Dubh Linn Gardens hidden behind. It’s the original place of the dubh linn (dark pool), from where the city drew its name and was recently landscaped into a garden. Though most tourists don’t know about it, it’s extremely popular with office goers as a lunch venue. Sometimes, it’s also used as a helicopter-landing site.
- Catch some traditional Irish sounds at the Cobblestone – The Cobblestone is a gem. The musicians’ corner downstairs attracts traditional players whom you would pay to see elsewhere, and the paying venue upstairs rarely books a duff band. It often showcases traditional and folk music. Overall, it’s cosy, while eschewing unnecessary frills; if you want to avoid excessive paddy-whackery in favour of a genuine traditional Dublin pub atmosphere, come here. Beware: it gets packed!
- Stroll around peaceful Trinity College – Sunday morning is the best time to visit this intellectual hub, before the students are awake and while the bells toll for morning mass throughout the city. Trinity College is an oasis of peace and beauty. Its campus is a mix of classical and contemporary buildings interspersed with elegant gardens. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity boasts stellar alumni, including playwright Oscar Wilde and Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett. Make sure to visit the Old Library and the Book of Kells.
- Warm up with some Irish stew at the Porterhouse – The wooden décor may be excessively rustic, but Dublin’s oldest microbrewery pub, the Porterhouse, makes up for that with the quality of its beer. The pub only sells its own label of beers, but the stouts, lagers and ales are better than any mass-produced beer. The Oyster Stout, made with real oysters, is very good. The excellent pub food, Irish stew, and bangers and mash will fill you up without breaking the bank.
- Visit Temple Bar food market – Saturday outdoor market featuring stands with baked goods, meats & cheeses, plus grab-&-go bites. Located in an artsy area worth exploring. (Please bring back some cronuts for Nada and I 😉 LOVED THEM!)
- Visit Christ Church Cathedral – Its hilltop location and eye-catching flying buttresses make this the most photogenic of Dublin’s cathedrals. It was founded in 1030 and rebuilt from 1172, mostly under the impetus of Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke (better known as Strongbow), the Anglo-Norman noble who invaded Ireland in 1170 and whose monument has pride of place inside. Guided tours include the belfry, where a campanologist explains the art of bell-ringing and you can even have a go.
- Stroll around Phoenix Park – it’s a beauty! The Phoenix Park at 707 hectares (1752 acres) is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. It also houses the Dublin zoo and various houses of important political figures, including the President of Ireland.
- Walk on the Great South Wall – It’s off-radar for a reason. Access to Dublin Bay’s Great South Wall (dating from 1716, when it was designed to combat the silting that disrupted ships) is via a pretty disgusting industrial route. Get past the scrapyards and sewage ponds, however, and you emerge at a granite walkway stretching from the Pigeon House towers to Poolbeg Lighthouse. On a good day, views range from Terminal 2 to the Sugarloaf.
- Don’t forget the museums – includes The Irish Rock‘N’Roll Museum Experience, Chester Beatty Library’s exhibition (which has a lovely roof garden), The Little Museum of Dublin, National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Ireland, National Print Museum and many more.
Photo credit: Google