Checking out the tradition and culture of Ireland in Dublin
Despite being a thoroughly modern capital city, Dublin still has a touch of the traditional about it if you know where to look. Ireland’s capital is one of the oldest cities in the country and while the oldest parts of the area have long since been built over, across centuries the city’s been an unmistakably important part of Ireland’s culture. I’ve written up a bit of info to help you explore a few different sides of this completely unique city.
Dublin can be pretty expensive, so don’t make the mistake of staying in the city centre if you’re looking to visit on a budget. Central stays aren’t quite as convenient as they seem because of Dublin’s great transport system – you’ll only save a few minutes while spending a fair few extra Euros. On the couple of occasions that I’ve stayed in Dublin hotels, I’ve stayed over at the Dublin Airport Hotel by Travelodge. It’s about a 25 minute bus ride from the city centre, so not too hard to get around from. Of course, if you’re more in the mood for luxury, Dublin has literally hundreds of hotels.
Starting off a trip around Dublin’s cultural sights, you should definitely pay a visit to a few of the museums and galleries scattered around the city. The National Museums are a regular favourite, so you can expect them to be pretty packed. If you can stomach the crowds, a visit to the Decorative Arts Museum (a bit less busy than the central two) makes for an interesting little time, showing off a few exhibits about everyday life over the centuries. When it comes to galleries, you’ve got a few good choices. Modernists should check out the IMMA and Hugh Lane Gallery, while you’ll find a bit more traditional work over at the National Gallery.
In the evening, there’s two things that I’d recommend. First up, check out what’s on at the theatres around Dublin. There’s a whole lot of places around from the city centre on out to the more distant reaches of Dublin, so you can be sure of finding something on any given night. I’d definitely suggest having a look at what’s on at the Gaiety Theatre – it’s over a century old and happens to be one of the first stops for any big touring play around Ireland. It’s also probably the easiest to get to, given that it’s placed right in the city centre.
Dublin’s been home to some of the world’s greatest writers of both plays and literature so it’s not surprising that the theatrical scene is so active. There’s plenty of tours showing off places featured by every writer from Joyce to Beckett, but if you’re looking for a real side of Dublin culture, I’d recommend the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. A hilarious and clearly well-read guide takes you round some of the city’s best pubs in the city, with fascinating anecdotes and facts.
That leads pretty nicely into my second suggestion. Dublin’s got plenty of great pubs for visitors, with many places playing traditional Irish music through the night. Avoid Temple Bar if you like money but don’t like crowds – it’s packed and outrageously expensive. Instead, check out somewhere local like Bowe’s Bar or The Brazen Head – Dublin’s oldest pub.