Ireland is a country where the old and the new collide. Where rich history and culture permeate into every street corner. Nowhere is this felt more so than in its capital, Dublin. Here you get a unique look into Ireland as you’ve never seen before. Where the people are as colorful and charming as the old shops that line the streets. Where every corner has a story to tell just waiting to be heard and explored. From the vibrant music scene to the many historic tours, one can never run out of things to do. If you’re visiting and unsure what to do, here are 5 must-try activities you ought to do when in Dublin.
Enjoy traditional music at The Hairy Lemon
Irish culture has always been a fusion where the tradition meets modernity and nowhere is it embodied more than in its traditional music or trad as it’s commonly called by the locals. Despite the name, this unique musical style is alive and vibrant with so many young artists keeping it alive. This is also in part due to the popularity of traditional Irish pubs that has always been the home traditional Irish music. But for the best trad experience, head on over to The Hairy Lemon. With its striking green and yellow exteriors, this quirky pud has been known to be the best place to experience traditional Irish music 7 days a week. The pub is filled to the brim with character and personality from its 19th-century building to the people who frequent it. Get ready to dance your night away with great music and great pub patrons.
Browse through ancient books at the Trinity College Dublin
This ancient university is built in 1592 making it one of the oldest universities in the UK and the oldest in Ireland. Throughout the years, it has produced notable literary figures like Bram Stoker, the author of the horror classic Dracula, and Jonathan Swift, who wrote Gulliver’s Travels. This University is also the home of a remarkable collection of ancient books. The priceless collection is housed in their old library which is open to the public. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Book of Kells. This ancient manuscript is believed to be written in 800 AD by monks. This book is made of vellum with each page filled with intricate ornate patterns that were made by hand ages before the printing press was invented. The antique wood and stone high-ceiling interior give it an air of mystery and magic. So magical in fact that Hogwarts—the school of magic from the worldwide hit Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—was inspired by its grandeur.
Experience the beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Ireland has a long history of faith and spirituality and this medieval church has been a testament to that. This 800-year-old edifice is the largest church in the country and is named the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, legend has it that it was built on the very spot where St. Patrick supposedly baptized celts back in the 5th century. This iconic church had undergone quite a few changes throughout it’s long and colorful history. In 1860 it received a major restoration work after it was neglected for a long time while in 1864 saw the addition of its neo-Gothic flying buttresses. Recently, its companion the Lady Chapel—which dates back to 1270—was restored and is now open to the public. Today, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is popular among tourists with its guided tours with larger groups. There is also an app one can download for those who want a more intimate experience.
Wander into the mysterious Hellfire Club
Montpelier Hill is an idyllic place if you want to escape from the urban streets of Dublin. The beautiful hill is a popular hiking point with its many short forest trails and a gorgeous bird’s eye view of downtown Dublin. On the weekends, the place gets filled with locals and tourists alike out for walks. But at the peak of this picturesque sight sits an old mysterious lodge. As legends would have it, this was the meeting place of the infamous Hellfire Club. The members of this mysterious club are said to be Satanists who would meet and dine with the devil. Around the old building adding to the spooky vibe, you would also see the remains of prehistoric cairns that are built by ancient settlers. If ghost stories and spooky tales excite you, this should be on top of your list when visiting Dublin. Be sure to talk to the locals for other tales about the place while you’re at it.
Visit the iconic Guinness Storehouse
And finally, a visit to Dublin would not be complete without a trip to the home of this iconic Irish drink. The Guinness Storehouse, built in 1904, was once the fermentation plant of the brewery. Today, it serves as a kind of experience museum for visitors and tourists to see how the world- renowned beer. This multi-storey building—which resembles a gigantic Guinness pint—is a complete experience where visitors get to learn about the traditional art of brewing. The tasting rooms are where guests get to taste and appreciate the distinct flavor of this Irish dry stout. Guests can also learn how to pour the perfect pint and everything about Guinness through the Guinness Academy. And to top it all off, you get to enjoy an amazing panoramic view of Dublin at the famous Gravity Bar. Here, guests get to marvel at the beauty of Dublin all while enjoying a pint of Guinness in hand.
Irish culture is truly a multi-faceted experience that will surely delight anyone from all walks of life. Whether you like to hang out with new people and party, or you just want to spend some alone time touring historic landmarks, Dublin has got you covered. If you want to visit this amazing city, you might want to check out this list of Vacation Rentals in Dublin, Ireland.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Finn McCools Tours.
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