Dublin may be small, but it packs a punch when it comes to things to do.
It’s a city full of history, character, natural beauty and unpolished elegance. It’s a veritable hotchpotch of old and new where hipsters and hip replacements cohabit in relative bliss.
Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in some of its epic history or slurp on cocktails in one of its many trendy haunts, Dublin will rise to meet your needs.
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, but you don’t need a date to enjoy all that Dublin has to offer. In fact you’re probably better off just going on a date with Dublin, Dublin will never stand you up and it’s got more charm than you can shake a stick at.
Let’s have a look at some of the best dates you can have with your love, Dublin:
- Dublin town is awash with parks and green areas. These oases offer a moment of calm away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin’s streets. From the historic Dubh Linn garden to the rambling Phoenix park, Dublin’s pastoral gems are second to none and can take you out of the city without having to leave the city.
- If it’s knowledge you’re looking for then look no further than our National Museums, all of which offer free entry. The Natural History Museum gives you a fascinating insight into just that, our natural history. It does so predominantly through the medium of dead, taxidermic animals, hence it getting the endearing nickname “The Dead Zoo.” If you’re more artistically inclined, The National Gallery of Ireland has a great array of art on show dating from the 13th to the 20th century. These are just two of a wealth of museums in the city that are all sure to enlighten you and leave you feeling that bit more learned than before.
- The classic date night often involves a movie. There is of course a range of mainstream cinemas in the city to choose from, but if you’re looking for something a bit different then check out the IFI (Irish Film Institute) in Temple Bar or the Lighthouse cinema in Smithfield. The IFI showcases the best in independent, Irish and international cinema. It has a cafe bar that serves dee-lish food and drinks, and altogether makes for a lovely evening. The Lighthouse cinema is a specialist, art house cinema that, similarly to the IFI,only showcases the best in Irish and international films. Both host various movie oriented events so keep an eye on their websites for details of upcoming events.
- Trinity College is located on 47 acres in the heart of Dublin. It is a hub of academia and history, and it also has a great bar called The Pav. During the summer The Pav, so called because it is the pavilion to Trinity’s cricket pitch, comes to life with beer swilling revelers who sit on the grass and bask in the sunshine. It’s hard to find a better way to spend a warm summer’s evening. To top it off, it’s cheap! The bar sells cans of beer, which makes for a bargain basement evening. If beer swilling is not your thing, Trinity also houses the Book of Kells, which is worth a look for its historical significance, but also because the Trinity library is beautiful!
- Sandemans offers a great free walking tour of the city. Even if you’ve lived here your whole life you’ll learn something new taking this tour. The tours are 3 hours long so put your walking shoes on and while the tours are “free” a generous tip is expected. They meet on the small square beside City Hall.
- The theatre goes with Dublin like cheese goes with chutney, they really work well together. There is a selection of theatres to choose from and which one you choose really just depends on what you want to see. From the luxurious splendor of The Gate to the historic Abbey Theatre, Dublin’s theatres are resplendent with dramatic artistry made to entertain you.
- Afternoon tea is the tea du jour. If you’re going to have tea you best have it in the afternoon. There are a number of fine hotels offering said tea throughout the city. The Westbury serves up its array of tiny sandwiches and cakes in its Gallery lounge, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the town below. Throw in some champers and you’ve an afternoon fit for a lord. The Gresham offers afternoon tea in it luxurious Writers’ Lounge and is a great place to start your evening if you happen to be going to the Abbey or Gate theatre as both are in close proximity.
- Coffee is a wonderful thing and drinking it can become a daytime activity. Dublin is swiftly developing its coffee brewing chops and coffee shops are popping up everywhere. Why not spend the day pottering around the town and sipping on coffee as you go? Kaph on Drury Street is a coffee dispensing gem in the heart of the Creative Quarter or why not try Simon’s Place in George’s Arcade where you’ll be greeted by the smell of fresh coffee and cinnamon buns! YUM!
- Music makes the world go around, that’s a saying, right? Well if it isn’t, it should be. Dublin is a hive of musical activity. On most nights of the week you will find live music, be it an intimate gig in a pub or a slightly bigger affair in one of our many music venues. The Academy on Middle Abbey Street plays host to numerous artists and it also hosts some great club nights. The Olympia Theatre on Dame Street shows plays as well as musical acts. It is a great venue for music gigs as its size and shape allow for some great acoustics and atmosphere.
- For all you bus fans out there, there are a number of bus tours around Dublin to meet your needs. The Dublin Ghostbus Tour promises a ghoulish night of fright. Bring a date and have him/her leap into your arms in fear! If spooks aren’t your thing, try out the Irish Story Telling bus. This will bring you around Dublin while its story tellers regale you with tales of Irish yore.
- Substitute real people with wax people at The National Wax Museum. Get up close and personal with everyone from Hannibal Lecter to Sponge Bob Square Pants. This week the museum is having a Valentine’s Day special, which offers entry for two and a wax made model of two hands joined together for the reduced price of €34. Swoon!
- Like coffee, cocktails are on an upward trajectory. There are numerous bars around Dublin that will meet your cocktail needs. The Drury Buildings is one such bar. It has an eclectic mix of cocktails ranging from the good ol’ fashioned, classic cocktails to its very own, more modern signature cocktails. Whatever your tastes it’s sure to have tipple to tempt you.
- After all this typing, I am parched! So let’s not forget the traditional, never fail you, pint. There is of course an abundance of pint dispensaries in the city. If you’re a fan of people watching and a ham and cheese toasty with your pint, then Grogans in the Creative Quarter is the place for you. It’s a pub as it should be, small, unfussy and always busy. Cheers!
This is a mere snapshot of what to do in Dublin if dating or otherwise. There is of course an abundance of restaurants, bars, shows, galleries, events, you name it, that I haven’t mentioned, but are no less worthy of your time and attention. For more details on what’s going on in Dublin check out dublintown.ie and dineindublin.ie.