After the madness of St Patrick’s Day, sometimes all we want to do is get out of the house, breathe some fresh air and enjoy our city without it heaving with crowds. Alcohol might be a bit of a touchy subject for us today (both for our heads and stomachs), but there are so many things to do around Dublin that are delightful without needing a drop of drink. Although the tourists that swarmed into our city for the long weekend may have been attracted by our character-filled pubs and mad nights out, I often believe that Dublin’s true character lies in other places.
For today and tomorrow, enjoy these quieter ways to pay tribute to our Irishness, many of which won’t cost you a cent (your purse from yesterday will thank you for that one).
Walk from Bray to Greystones – or vice versa
A good long walk will clear the mind and tire the feet of anyone looking to relax today, and this scenic route from Bray to Greystones is the first of a few on our list. As anyone who commutes via DART will know, the route along Dublin Bay and out towards Wicklow is one of the loveliest ways to appreciate the scenery. Plus, if the walk proves to tire you out, you can always hop on a train and enjoy it in reverse.
Spend the day in Phoenix Park
Being the largest enclosed park space in Europe, you won’t run out of nooks to explore in Phoenix Park this weekend. It’s another great place to have a long walk on one of the many routes, or you can just enjoy the sights of deer in the fields, take photos at the monuments and maybe even pop into Dublin zoo to escape the city. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this huge green space resides in the middle of our capital city, but we’re not complaining – it provides the perfect spot to zone out.
Grab some chips from Burdock’s
A true Dublin institution. I distinctly remember my first time eating Burdock’s chips (with crispy bits, of course) on my way home from a day spent at Portmarnock beach during a heatwave when I was 15. Those are the memories that paint a picture of Dublin for many, and no matter how long it’s been since you had them, proper chips from a Dublin chipper are always a winner.
Visit The Little Museum of Dublin
We have a lot of informative gems in Dublin, but perhaps the most charming is The Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green. All guided tours to any of the fab exhibitions they run are included in the total ticket price, and with exhibitions such as ‘Ireland’s Fashion Radicals’ and ‘Women’s History of Ireland’ on display, it’s perfect for the Dublin woman. There’s a guide called Sam who’s a particular delight, so ask for him if you can!
Walk around Glasnevin Cemetary
Apart from the fact that it’s one of the most scenic places in Dublin, there’s something so calming about taking a walk through a quiet graveyard and reflecting on the names you come across (only in broad daylight, obviously). Glasnevin is home to some of the figures who helped to shape Ireland as it is today, including Countess Markievicz, James Larkin and Luke Kelly, and a quiet Sunday (or bank holiday Monday) is the perfect opportunity to pay respects.
Swim at the 40 foot
Ok, so granted, this isn’t for everyone. I am absolutely not a fan of jumping into cold water when I’m feeling fragile, but this is so quintessentially Dublin that I felt compelled to include it on the list. Even if you can’t be coaxed from your coat and hat, it’s still a lovely thing to watch those braver than you take the leap and boost their heart rate in the Irish sea’s unforgiving water. Plus, it gives the perfect excuse to head for tea and a hearty meal afterwards, which, let’s face it, is what everyone came out for in the first place.
Wander around Hodges Figgis
Image: Hodges Figgis on Facebook
Is there anything better in the world than spending an afternoon wandering through a good bookshop? When the bookshop is Dawson Street’s Hodges Figgis, then the answer is an emphatic no. The magic of this place doesn’t even lie in its mountains of books to get lost in, or its comfortable armchairs to take a well-earned rest. It’s the shop assistants themselves who make the bookshop such a brilliant experience. Their expertise in every area of literature and their ability to scope out exactly what you’d love to read is a skill that I think some people are just born with. For the rest of us, we’ll have to be content with going with their advice.
Dance it out at the Cobblestone
Ok, you caught me. There is a pub on the list. But this isn’t a shot-taking pub, this is everything that’s lovely about being Irish crammed into a space in Smithfield. The Cobblestone is famous around the city for its trad music sessions, founded by the Mulligan family and featuring some of Ireland’s best traditional musicians. The pub is not just a place to drink, as it hosts talks, classes and gigs and sessions from a big range of music. Whether you’re just there to listen to the music or want to get chatting to some strangers, the Cobblestone is a great setting for an interesting night.