If you’re in Dublin for a short while, there are a lot of tourist activities the city has to offer. Some of these include the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, and Temple Bar. While it’s definitely worthwhile to check them out, there are a few lesser-known places to go if you really want to feel like a local. This list is made up of some of my favourite things to do in Dublin, and all places I’ll return to on my next visit
Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
Bray is a beautiful seaside town on the South edge of Dublin, full of bars, shops, and restaurants. One particularly good recommendation by a local was Platform Pizza, where I went with a few IFSA students. On a clear, sunny day, you can’t compare the view from Bray to anywhere else in Dublin. If you take the DART or a bus from the city centre, it brings you right to the start of the pier, and if you walk the whole way down, you’ll reach the beginning of the Cliff Walk to Greystones. This walk runs along the cliffs on the seaside and takes about 2 hours. So, make sure you pick a nice day because there’s no quitting half way!
Ned O’Shea’s, The Merchant
Many people have heard of the Brazen Head, Dublin’s oldest pub, founded in the year 1198, but they don’t realise that there is a hidden gem right across the street. Ned O’Shea’s is a traditional Irish pub that serves award-winning fish and chips and has live music on weeknights. The atmosphere is always positive and the staff is really kind. It’s definitely my go-to recommendation when friends want to experience a classic Irish pub.
Howth Fishing Village
A weekend day-trip to Howth was recommended to my mom and I by a cab driver when we came to Dublin for the first time. It takes about half an hour to reach there by DART or bus from the city center. It’s well worth the trip though, because Howth is one of the most picturesque areas in the city. There’s a little market every weekend that sells knick-knacks and amazing food from international vendors. Every time I go, I make sure to get Lángos; a traditional Hungarian fried potato bread with garlic, sour cream, and shredded cheese. After getting food, I walk down the pier which is beautiful and relaxing. There are incredible seaside views and lots of buskers. Howth is definitely a part of Dublin that you don’t want to miss.
Bruxelle’s is a restaurant and pub off the edge of Grafton Street, but I’ve actually never been for the food. By pure luck, my friends and I came across this empty looking bar on a Wednesday night, and didn’t think much of it until a man outside pointed us in the direction of the basement and told us that there was live music. We found out that there is an open mic every Wednesday night, hosting some of the most talented performers I’ve ever heard. The regulars we’ve met are really friendly and welcoming. Every time we went, we had a great experience. One thing to keep in mind at Bruxelles is that respecting the musicians is a must. Talking is fine, but if you don’t keep it down, and instead bother the other listeners, you will be called out.
Dublin Little Museum
Many tourists don’t realise that a lot of the museums in Dublin are free. The National Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, and National Museum of Archaeology are some of my favourites.
The Dublin Little Museum isn’t free, but it is one of the best museums I’ve ever gone to. It features a quick and fascinating history of Dublin led by knowledgeable and passionate tour guides. In addition, the artifacts featured are all important in their own way. Everything in this museum was donated by the community, and it really brings into perspective what life in Dublin was like throughout history. There are 3 levels in this museum. The first floor is an ever-changing history feature, which included displays like the history of Aer Lingus, and the history of refugees in Ireland. The top floor is the writer’s area and a special room dedicated to U2 and Bono, who grew up in Dublin, and the second floor is where the guided tour begins. This museum is a must if you’re a history buff and I’d recommend it even if you aren’t!
This list is for you if you are someone who likes to avoid touristy destinations. Being immersed in the culture is difficult when you’re in a place for a short while. But, with this list you’ll definitely feel like you’re experiencing the truest version of Dublin there is.
Julia Woodruff is a Psychology major at Purdue University and is studying abroad with IFSA at University College Dublin in Ireland in Spring 2019. She is an International Correspondent for IFSA through the Work-To-Study Program.