DUBLIN – WHY GO?
Gone are the days when you skipped a stopover in Dublin and headed straight for the mountains and magic of Ireland’s west coast. Dublin is now abuzz with trendy cafes, chic bars and nightlife. Shopping malls and markets are thronged with shoppers, the music scene is humming and the Guinness can’t be beaten.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Art and literature
Stroll along the Liffey boardwalk to the Dublin Writers Museum at Parnell Square, crammed with letters from the likes of Behan, Swift, Wilde and Joyce. Dublin’s arts calendar is packed with top international music acts, traditional Irish music, stand-up comedy and a lively clubbing scene. Art buffs should head for the National Gallery of Ireland, while there’s Irish history aplenty at Dublin Castle.
From O'Connell Street (seat of the Easter Rising in 1916), you can walk across the Liffey to the 16th Century Trinity College, whose old library houses Ireland’s most famous manuscript – the medieval Book of Kells. Wander through the historic campus, and you’re within easy reach of the green lung of St Stephen’s Green.
For a taste of more contemporary culture, tour the Guinness Storehouse and sample some of the famous black stuff in the Gravity Bar – a pint is included in the price of the tour. If you need a stronger pick-me-up, head to Jamieson’s Distillery to try some authentic Irish whiskey.
Dublin comes alive after dark, and Temple Bar is party central. Kick off the night in one of the bars lining the district’s cobbled streets or head for the smarter pubs of Dame Street. Grafton Street is also pretty lively, while the Octagon Bar at the Clarence Hotel is a good people-watching spot.
Start your shopping outings around Grafton Street – though don’t expect many bargains. Roches and Arnotts are great homegrown department stores, while the craft stores on Nassau Street or the arcades and markets around Henry Street are great for picking up bric-a-brac and vintage clothes.
MAKE A DATE
Take the luck of the Irish off to Leopardstown racecourse for a flutter on the Gold Cup – highlight of the racing season.
Dublin turns into one giant party for St Patrick’s Day with parades, music and daylong revelry. Don’t blame us for the hangover.
The Irish Open attracts some of the biggest names in golf.
Taste of Dublin – a four-day celebration of the city’s food and drink – is a must.
See the ghosts and ghoulies at the Samhain (Halloween) parade, complete with parades, street theatre and dancing.
Find a traditional pub, preferably one with a roaring fire and full of roaring laughter, to try Irish ceilidh dancing and enjoy the craic.
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