So you have a few days in Dublin and are considering what to do. The Guinness Storehouse and the Temple Bar area will undoubtedly pop up as options. Although must visits, if you’re looking to experience Dublin like a true Dubliner, we’ve picked out a few non touristy things to do in Dublin.
1. Moore Street
Looking for the “old Dublin”, you’ll find it on Moore Street. Located just off Henry Street, a popular shopping area. Moore Street is known for its street venders selling fruit and veg and other nick knacks. Most vendors here go back generations and are easily identified by their famous call to buy goods, which is done in a heavy Dublin accent. A true mainstay of the sounds of Dublin.
In the last few years Moore Street has become a real cultural melting pot. With Chinese, Nigerian and Indian shops and restaurants popping up and bringing a new vibrancy to the area. The street is also an historically significant site. During the Easter 1916 Rising, an event would start a chain of events that led to Irish independence in 1922, a row of houses there were occupied by some Irish Volunteers.
2. Cycle Around Georgian Dublin
Dublin has an amazing streetscape, particularly its Georgian Streets. They were built to house the wealthy aristocrats in the 18th century, before being turned into tenements later. In fact, half of Georgian Dublin had been knocked down, until stricter planning rules were brought in the 90’s. Charactised by their semi-circular doorways with pillars and red brick. You might notice that their windows get gradually smaller as they nearer the top. This was done to give an impression of the homes being taller than they are.
One of the best ways to see this part of Dublin is by bike. The relatively wide streets in this part of city lend themselves nicely to cycling around. To get a bike check out the Dublin Bike Scheme. They have stations dotted all over the city. You can rent a bike from the station for as little as €5 for three days. If you’re around on Sunday, be sure to drop by Merrion Square open air art gallery. Plenty of Irish artists come here every week to show off their latest works.
3. Visit Grafton Street / St Stephen’s Green
Grafton Street is one of two main shopping streets in Dublin, the other being Henry street. This fully pedestrianised street is a great place to take in the hustle and bustle of Dublin. From the flower stalls, to the street performers and musicians, there is an electric energy to the place. For those who enjoy a spot of shopping you’ll find many of the big department stores and high end fashion shops here too.
If you need a break from all this excitement, grab a coffee & head across the road to St Stephen’s Green – a popular spot with Dubliners, especially on a warm day. You can chill on the grass or feed the ducks at your leisure.
4. Take the Train or Dart
Looking to get out of the city and see more of Dublin? The Dart line offers a great cheap way of exploring other parts of Dublin. Head north to the seaside town of Howth, and enjoy a beautiful coastal walk around Howth Head. This 4 mile walk boasts stunning views of Dublin Bay. Afterwards reward yourself with a bag of fries (or chips as they’re known here), while relaxing near the pier.
Heading south on the Dart there are so many options. The ‘Forty Foot’ at Sandycove/Glasthule is a popular swimming hole for Dubliners on a warm day. Or jump off at Dalkey station to explore this pretty town, with its medieval castle.
Another hot spot is Dun Laoghaire, where the harbour provides a great location to grab an ice cream and take a stroll along the harbour wall. For more locations along the Dart line check out Dublin from the Dart, or see Irish Rail for times, stops and fares.
5. Visit Our Museums
All national museums in Dublin have free entry. They include the Natural History Museum in Merrion Square, also known as the dead zoo (a bit of Dublin humour) because of its collection of taxidermy animals. Right beside it is the National Gallery of Ireland, which is also free. It contains a great collection of both Irish and foreign art work. Around the corner on Kildare Street is another free museum, the National Museum for Archaeology. Full of treasures from the Celtic and Viking times as well as the ‘bog bodies’.
The Chester Beatty Library is another must-visit. Entry here is also free. It is the only museum in Ireland to win “European Museum of the Year”. Boasting a diverse collection of artistic treasure from around the world, from manuscripts, drawing and books and more. The collection was compiled by the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) and donated to the State in his will.
Another noteworthy museum is the Little Museum of Dublin. Located just off St Stephen’s Green in a Georgian House. The collection is made up of donated artifacts. Here, over 5,000 artifacts tell the story of Dublin in the 20th century. These document the social changes that happened during this time. There is even a whole room dedicated to the band U2. €7 entry for adults & €5 for seniors.