An Alternative Guide to Dublin

by Matthew Sims
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Irish hospitality is legendary. Every year countless tourists visit the capital, Dublin, to experience the joy of Guinness in one of its pubs. However this can often mean that the real sober charm of the city can be overlooked. If you are looking for more than just the bottom of a pint glass during your trip, Dublin is an eccentric city with countless pots of cultural gold to be found.

You can also find our alternative guide to Berlin.

Science Gallery at Trinity

Trinity College is a staple for many visitors to Dublin, being an ancient university that was founded in 1592. The architecture and grand esteem of the Old Library can be shown to you by student tour guides that the university employ. Yet, for something more interactive and 21st century why not cross the campus to the Science Gallery? A modern interactive experience awaits where year round exhibitions are held for the inquisitive visitor. A recent highlight was the ‘Happy’ exhibition that explored the age old question of why Irish people are so chirpy.

Literary Heritage

Often described as one of Dublin’s under-rated jewels, the Writers’ Museum is a must-see if you are interested in Ireland’s literary heritage. Although it occupies a small townhouse, it holds pieces from greats such as Jonathan Swift, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce. In addition, you can also pay a visit to Oscar Wilde’s home, to further your knowledge of the literary great.

Every Saturday and Sunday there is also a book market in the Temple Bar district. Here you can not only get some real bargains, but also browse the vintage vinyl market to find music to accompany your next literary adventure.

Art House Cinema

If you are sick of the multi-screen cinemas that are engulfed by the smell of nachos and popcorn, then the Irish Film institute’s Art House Cinema is worth a visit. It plays independent Irish films in an intimate and comfortable setting. It also has a bar which provides inexpensive food. It is worthwhile to check on their website beforehand to see if you can catch a film festival.

Evening of Storytellers

A trip to the pub is a must when in Dublin, but why not make the night a bit more interesting by visiting the city’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head? Here you can enjoy ‘An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies’ , a night packed full of storytellers and their magical tales from Irish folk history. The combination of good food and entertaining tales will surely make for an evening you will not forget.

Graveyard Curiosity

Some may call it morbid but Dublin holds a spookily large amount of cemeteries, including Bully’s Acre and Glasnevin Cemetery. While Bully’s Acre has remained unused since 1832, it is one of Ireland’s oldest graveyards. It holds a particularly creepy reputation as it served as a hot bed of activity during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, when body snatchers would dig up the remains of the victims of cholera epidemic for financial or medical gain.

In the same part of town, the Kilmainham Goal stands unused since 1920’s as Ireland’s most infamous prison. It holds deep roots in the nation’s history and now has a major exhibition displaying it’s political past and process of renovation.

U2 Wall

For music fans an unlikely new attraction has emerged. U2’s recording studios have long been located at the Hanover Quay Studios but in 2009 they were forced to move due to a new development project. However, the walls surrounding the old site have become a Mecca for fans who have created a U2 shrine. The graffiti and cartoons proclaim their undying love for the rock band. Even if you are not a U2 fan, the artwork alone is well worth a visit.

National Leprechaun Museum

While most cities will have a wide variety of museums and galleries, not many will have one completely dedicated to mythical creatures. Not exclusively documenting the history of the leprechaun, the the National Leprechaun Museum focuses on all Irish mythology and the characters of the folklore tales.


While this may seem obvious, actually walking in Dublin is the perfect way to see the true beauty of the city. With the ground being relatively flat throughout, no matter age or ability, walking tours are made significantly more bearable. This also makes it a perfect environment to cycle along the River Liffey and across the Old Toll Bridge; the area by the river has great restaurants and provides fantastic views of the city.

Where to stay?

Over your break we recommend, the Sandymount Hotel, located in the centre of the city. The hotel provides a luxurious and comfortable stay during your ideal weekend break to Dublin.

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