Things To Do in Dublin, Ireland

By on December 4, 2014

Dublin is a beautiful place to enjoy, Here we are going to list out the To Do Things in Dublin.

Dublin pubs

dublin pubs

There’s more than a thousand pubs to choose from on a Dublin city break. Forget the ersatz Irish pubs all over the world, this is the real deal.

Live music, banter and conversation, theatre, great food and pint after pint of Guinness will all be a feature of any Dublin city break.

A Dublin pub will follow the same approach as British pubs – order your drinks at the bar and pay for them round by round – these are not fancy Continental-style cafes. Actually, they’re loads more fun and amongst the friendliest places on the planet.

Dublin’s top pubs

There’s such a choice of Dublin pubs that it’s hard to pick our favourites but these are all worth seeking out on a city break to Dublin:

An Real Bocht (Charlemont Street) – for traditional Irish music

O’Dwyer’s (Lower Mount Street) – for conversation and good food.

Ryan’s (Parkgate Street) – Victorian fittings and good conversation.

Davy Byrnes (Duke Street) – for Ulysses fans.

Brazen Head (Lower Bridge Street) – great atmosphere and live music.

Dublin pubs south of the river

The Dawson Lounge – found on Dawson Street, near to the St Stephen’s Green end, and is reputedly the ‘Smallest Pub in Dublin’. It’s easy to miss, being so small and with only the one door, but it can fit in 20 on a good day. It’s also cheap by Dublin standards.

Doheny & Nesbitts – founded in 1850 on Baggot Street, it’s a popular pub with politicians, journalists and, believe it or not, economists. It’s near to government buildings and it’s said much of Ireland’s economic growth was planned in what journalists call the ‘Doheny and Nesbitt School of Economics’.

O’Donoghue’s – home of traditional Irish music. Noisy at night and seats are at a premium. O’Donoghue’s has been a shrine to Irish folk music for generations. The walls have photographs of musicians who have played there over the decades. Sunday mornings to the early afternoon are a special time. Great staff, fantastic pints.

O’Neills – famous pub, near to Trinity College, not related to the many O’Neill’s pubs found across Britain. It’s been a pub for 300 years and is located on the exact spot that the Vikings had their Dublin parliament over a 1,000 years ago.

Messrs Maguire – it’s hard to find a more central location overlooking O’Connell Bridge on Burgh Quay. Spread over four floors of early 19th century design, Messrs Maguire is a pub, brewery, cafe and restaurant. This is the place to head for wonderful real ales.

Oliver St John Gogarty – hard to miss in Temple Bar, it’s a late 19th century style bar named after the famous Irish Poet, Playwright and Surgeon.

The Long Hall – it’s on George Street and is, well, a long hall. It can get packed and is lively with conversation and is very lively as a result. The toilets are small which can mean queues.

Keoghs – like Davy Byrne’s, mentioned in Ulysses. It has a snug and a bell to call for pints while the upstairs bar is highly rated by local drinking experts. A piano means there’s often a crowd singing pub songs if someone can be found to play it.

McDaid’s – just off Grafton Street and where Brendan Behan and other literary characters used to drink. The perfect place for a break from shopping with an intimate main bar. It can get packed, particularly at weekends.

Mulligans – it’s said to serve what is unquestionably the best pint of Guinness anywhere in the world. Quite a claim. Also famed for the friendliness and professionalism of the staff. James Joyce and John F Kennedy have drunk here, but not together.

The Porterhouse – easy to find in Temple Bar, this brew pub serves a range of exclusive beers: three stouts, three ales and three lagers, many of them international award winners. And there are occasional one-off beers too.

Dublin pubs north of the River

Sackville Lounge – a small, intimate and relaxing pub on Sackville Place, just off O’Connell Street. Highly praised for its pints with staff that are friendly and helpful.

Slattery’s – in Capel Street, Slattery’s was quaint and a bit of a rockers’ bar. A refurbishment has transformed it into a modern style bar with fashionable fittings such as leather couches. The prices are reasonable for Dublin and the service is friendly.

Eating Out

Irish cuisine

Irish cuisine

Irish beef and lamb; ham and pork; salmon and seafood – these are the basics of Irish cuisine, almost invariably eaten with potatoes.

Dublin Bay Prawns, known as scampi everywhere else, are worth seeking out, as is Irish salmon, either fresh or smoked. Oysters are particularly fine in Dublin restaurants, as are mussels (usually from Wexford), scallops and Donegal crab.

A less elegant dish, but not to be missed is traditional fish & chips – ideally bought at a Dublin ‘chipper’ to be eaten in. The fish is fried in batter and is virtually the national Irish dish.

Irish stew is a simple but great meat dish – made with lamb, potatoes and vegetables. It will be found on the menu in many Dublin pubs. Irish beef is also excellent.

Ham (often from Limerick), home-cured bacon and sausages are popular in Dublin. Try both black and white pudding – they’ll almost certainly turn up with hotel breakfast during Dublin city breaks.

Vegetable dishes found in Dublin restaurants include Colcannon – mashed potato with cabbage, and Champ – mashed potato with chopped spring onions. Boxty is finely grated, raw potato and mashed cooked potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg and onions – all fried on a griddle.

Puddings in Dublin tend to be hearty and invariably come with an offer of cream.

Soda bread and scones are popular – they suit the soft wheat that is grown in Ireland while potato cakes often feature at breakfast along with eggs, bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, tomato and mushrooms – so, forget about cholesterol and loosen your belt.

And when you’ve finished all that, it’s time for an Irish (or Gaelic) coffee. Dietary wise, it contains all that’s necessary for a good life – alcohol, caffeine, fat and sugar.

Dublin restaurants

Dublin restaurants

There are any number of good Dublin restaurants to choose from and they vary from the cheap and cheerful to rarefied fine dining. Here is a small selection we can recommend.

Coppinger Row is more affordable than many Dublin restaurants and is an attractive spot to dine. It’s at Coppinger Row close to Clarendon Street and the Gaiety Theatre.

Elephant and Castle has informal eating at its best with great staff and simple dishes like burgers and salads, often with a touch of spice, make this a great spot on Dublin city breaks. It’s at 18 Temple Bar.

Eden has an interesting eclectic menu. Mains can be as expensive but it’s well located in Temple Bar. The menu gives details of where the ingredients are sourced.

Fallon and Byrne in Exchequer Street is a Dublin institution. A fine food hall with restaurant where you can enjoy an excellent pre-theatre dinner without breaking the bank.

Gallagher’s Boxty House is a traditional Irish pub-style restaurant in the heart of Temple Bar with excellent food and fabulous Irish coffees.

Omar Khayyam is for when you’ve had enough Irish stew and boxty. It offers Middle Eastern specialities. It’s by the Ha’penny Bridge in Temple Bar.

The Commons is on St Stephen’s Green, in Newman House. This is a more formal choice, based in a fine Georgian building with a varying menu with excellent service.

O’Dwyer’s is not only a famous Dublin pub, it also sells Italian food. The pizzas are hugely popular so expect it to be packed. It’s found at Lower Mount Street.

Rajdoot Tandoori is an opulent Indian restaurant and a deserved award winner with lots of vegetarian options. If you like Indian food head for Clarendon Street.

Outside Dublin it’s worth heading out on the train to enjoy excellent seafood at King Sitric on the East pier at Howth.

Dublin shopping

Dublin shoppers mainly head for the two main traffic-free shopping streets of Grafton Street and Stephen’s Green on the south side of the River Liffey and Henry Street on the north side.

Grafton Street Dublin

Grafton Street Dublin

Grafton Street is home to most of Dublin’s smartest shops. Top of the shopping range is the famous department store Brown Thomas – strong on fashion. The jewellery and watch specialist Weirs is also here. In Grafton Street you will find the most popular of Dublin’s famous Bewley’s Cafés and many of the inevitable big-name chain stores too.

Other good shopping streets in this area of Dublin include Wicklow Street, Dawson Street, and South Great George’s Street. Parallel is Clarendon Street, with the Powerscourt Townhouse where there are smaller outlets, restaurants and cafes, and the Westbury Mall which is full of gift shops and cafes.

On Dawson Street, to the east of Grafton Street, is the Royal Hibernian Way, a small shopping mall with exclusive menswear, flower and chocolate shops and a wine bar owned by former Formula One race car driver Eddie Irvine.

St Stephen’s Green Mall Dublin

St Stephen's Green Mall Dublin

This is the largest shopping mall in Dublin with a wide range of stores and restaurants. The three-storeys tower over the surrounding buildings but blend in well thanks to some imaginative design based on Victorian galleries. The ground floor shops are open galleries. Among the 100 or so stores are big name retailers as well as specialist shops and stalls.

Henry Street Dublin

Henry Street Dublin

Dublin shoppers on the north side of the river head for Henry Street where there are big department stores, such as the popular Arnotts, as well as a wide range of popular fashion and footwear stores. The ILAC shopping centre and the newer Jervis Street Shopping Centre are both here.

The well-known outdoor food market in Moore Street is always crowded as is nearby O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare. This is home to the excellent Clery’s department store and to Eason’s Booksellers.

Dublin markets

Dublin markets

The Liberties is one of the oldest areas of Dublin, found between Christchurch and the Liffey. The Liberties is packed with antiques shops and it also hosts many crafts and gift shops. The market is usually open on Friday and Saturdays, and on Sundays around Christmas.

Mother Redcap’s is worth seeking out. It’s an indoor market near to Christchurch and has stalls selling food, books, antiques and clothes. Next door is Iveagh Market with second-hand clothes bargains.

Near Grafton Street is the red-brick George’s Street Arcade, an indoor market that has a bohemian and slightly alternative atmosphere – just the place fortune telling and body piercing on top of unusual souvenirs and collectibles.

For Dublin shopping with character, head for Moore Street Market, to the west of O’Connell Street. It opens every day but Sunday and specialises in fruit, vegetables and flowers. Traders arrive in horse-drawn carts, and it’s hardly the tidiest spot on earth – squashed vegetables on the cobblestones are a hazard – but it’s full of Dublin character.

Permanent shops in the market include Irish family butchers and many small Asian and African shops. Beware of pickpockets, as this a popular tourist spot, but add it to any shopping tour of Dublin.

Dublin shopping hours

Dublin shopping hours are usually 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday and Dublin city centre shops open late on Thursdays until 8pm.

Late opening in the Dublin suburbs is usually on Fridays. Several of the larger Dublin chain stores open on Sundays, usually in the afternoon.

Dublin nightlife

While for many on a Dublin city break ‘nightlife’ will mean a Dublin pub, some visitors will want a little more than endless pints of Guinness.

Despite its popularity with stag parties, Dublin is not a city packed with seedy joints. It really is the ‘craic’ that makes Dublin such a great city at night.

Dublin clubs

Dublin clubs

Nightclubs in Dublin have thinned out lately as ‘Super Pubs’ with multiple bars and dance floors have cashed in on new licensing laws. There are good Dublin nightclubs around though. Nightclubs in Dublin usually open at 10pm, close at 3am. Drink prices are higher than in bars and it’s sensible to carry some ID. Don’t turn up in a big group – entry is often refused.

Lillie’s Bordello calls itself “the most prestigious club” in Ireland. It’s all dark wood bookcases, chandeliers but with top-class dance floor, The drinks are pricey. Check it out at lilliesbordello.ie

Club M Nightclub at Bloom’s Hotel in Temple Bar is one of Dublin’s longest established night clubs. Enjoy chart, dance and Rn’B music played by some of Dublin’s top DJ’s.

The Leeson Street area has some good clubs, notably Annabels. In Temple Bar, try- Club M. Rock Garden; Bad Bob’s Backstage Bar; and Henry’s at Henry Grattan lounge

Dublin theatre

Theatregoers have lots to see in Dublin. Theatrical productions are not just revivals of Irish playwrights like Yeats and O’ Casey but also pride themselves on modern work. The most famous venues are The Abbey, considered to be Ireland’s national theatre, and The Gate.

Abbey Theatre: It lost its original 1904 building to a fire in 1951 and The Abbey was the first state-subsidized theatre in the English-speaking world. Currently in Lower Abbey Street, north of the river, a home for the Abbey will be on George’s Dock, hopefully by 2012.

Gate Theatre: This respected theatre launched the careers of Orson Wells, James Mason and Michael Gambon – quite a pedigree. It has featured all of Samuel Beckett’s plays and is in a fine building at 1 Cavendish Row.

Gaiety Theatre: It’s been home to the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1971) but somebody had to when the show came to Ireland. It’s had a panto every year since the 1850s and is a nightclub on Friday and Saturday, with live bands on different floors.

Grand Canal Theatre: A new addition to the Dublin cultural scene, designed by Daniel Libeskind, in the renovated dockland district. It’s at Grand Canal Basin, east of the city centre.

The Lambert Puppet Theatre: Based at nearby Monkstown and with seating for 250 this is the only purpose-built puppet theatre in Ireland and productions vary from fairy tales for children to Oscar Wilde for adults.

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre: In Grafton Street opens at 12:50 daily for soup and sandwiches followed by performances that range from classic one-acts of Shaw, Wilde and O’Casey to the best of new Irish writing.

Dublin music

Traditional Irish music is what most visitors want to hear on a Dublin city break. There is no shortage in Dublin, mostly in the pubs. Traditional Irish music is both played with great passion and most pub music sessions are impromptu, but there are other music venues too.

Olympia: Packed with history, the Olympia stages musicals, comedy, theatre and concerts. Leading performers – The Coors, INXS, Johnny Cash, Kraftwerk, Paul Weller, Morrissey have performed there. It also features an acclaimed panto.

National Concert Hall: Near St Stephen’s Green, The NCH is home to classical music with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera and Festival Productions which specialises in musicals.

RDS Arena: Hosts rock concerts a well as the Dublin Horse Show at Ballsbridge. Bruce Springsteen has been a frequent performer and up to 80,000 fans have rocked at this venue which also hosts rugby, football, and exhibitions.

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