After my recent article talking about the process of moving to Dublin, I figured my writing on the topic wasn’t complete until I’d listed the most fun things to do in this vibrant little capital city. Whether you’re thinking about making the big move or simply visiting for the weekend, I hope you’ll take my advice and do the following 3 things when you come. I’m not a native Dubliner, but I have lived here for a good few months and have had my fair share of seeing what’s good (and what isn’t). So, here are my list of best things to do in Dublin!
3 Best Things to Do in Dublin: Bike, Visit a Pub, and Shop
Bike Ride Through Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is one of the biggest enclosed recreational spaces in any European capital city, and takes up a lot of Dublin thanks to its gigantic size. This stunning hub of greenery was established all the way back in 1662, even though it had been there for thousands of years prior. So, if you like your fair share of historical attractions when visiting a new city, or simply can’t get enough of the great outdoors, a bike ride through Phoenix Park is ideal for you. It’s one of the first things me and José did when we got here, and we had so much fun!
We’ve gone back a few times since because we loved it so much. You’re probably thinking something like, “What’s so great about a bike ride in a park? I can do that anywhere.” Of course you can, but with the views you get in Phoenix Park of the beautiful greenery and Dublin mountains?! Erm, no way. Even in my native England where the countryside is well-known all over the world, I’ve never been to a park with views like this. Plus, it’s not like you can go to any old park and pass a herd of deer as you’re cycling down a hill, like it’s the most normal thing in the world – but in Phoenix Park, you can. Deer have resided in the park since the 1660’s, and some of them even allow you to go up close to them.
There’s a bike rental shop at the entrance of Phoenix Park, and it costs just 5 EUR to rent one for a couple of hours. If you’re not much of a bike person, that’s completely fine! There’s lots of other things to do at the park. Sample the local delights at the tearoom, visit Dublin Zoo, or just lay back on the grass and enjoy the sun (providing there is any – this is Dublin, after all).
Go To A Traditional Irish Pub
This one probably goes without saying, and is heart-wrenchingly obvious. Nevertheless, you do not want to miss going to a traditional Irish pub when in Dublin. I’m only from across the water, but even so, I was obsessed with the pubs in Dublin almost instantly. Contrary to popular belief, the pubs in Ireland are SO MUCH BETTER than the ones in England. The UK can’t beat Irish pubs no matter how hard they try. That’s right, O’Neills – you’re gonna have to try a wee bit harder to match the real Irish pubs.
Anyway, when looking for a pub in Dublin, try your best to find one with live music. Most pubs have live music starting at around 7-9pm, but some don’t, so it’s important to double check upon arrival. Take it from me – there is nothing more magical than drinking a pint of Guinness whilst watching a band play traditional Irish music with songs from the likes of The Pogues and classic numbers like “Galway Girl”. To be honest, this type of thing is probably my favourite thing about Ireland, and will always stay in my heart when I move back to the UK. *sob*
Most pubs offer classic and delicious Irish dishes like Steak & Guinness Pie, Lamb Stew, and Mussels with Brown Soda Bread in a White Wine sauce. All taste absolutely amazing, and go perfectly with a good old pint of Guinness or an ice-cold pint of Orchard Thieves cider. A few of my favourite pubs in Dublin have to be Bruxelles, Hairy Lemon, O’Donoghues, and Peadar Kearney’s, to name just a couple. All of them have something individual to offer so it’s definitely worth trying them all!
Go On A Shopping Spree
Many people don’t realize that Dublin is amazing when it comes to shopping, and instead opt for more obvious shopping hotspots in Europe like London, Paris, and Milan. In fact, Dublin’s Grafton Street is the second most expensive shopping street in the whole continent, and boasts stores like Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger, Karen Millen, and Brown Thomas, which is the place to be if you love Mac and Bobbi Brown make-up, and can’t get enough of handbags. Grafton Street also has high-street shops like River Island, American Apparel, Next, and Topshop. Unlike most high streets, Grafton Street can be surprisingly calm for a capital city, providing you go at the right time. I was strolling through the street a few weeks ago at around 10am, quite by accident, and noticed how calm it was compared to the late afternoon.
Another thing I loved doing this summer was hopping on the Luas from Stephen’s Green (right beside Grafton Street) and taking it directly to Dundrum. It takes around 10-15 minutes to get there, and Dundrum Town Centre is a couple of minutes’ walk from the station. Let me tell you, the first time I went there I thought I was in heaven. It’s basically just a huge complex of everything you could ask for. With restaurants like TGI Fridays, Nando’s, Milano, Eddie Rocket’s and Jamie’s Italian, it’s the ideal spot for your average foodie. On the other hand, the building boasts hundreds of stores, that I won’t even bother naming, because there’s that many of them. House Of Fraser is 3-4 huge floors of amazingness, and let’s just say I spent a long, long time there, much to the annoyance of my fiancé. For the film buffs (or the males in the relationship who wish to do as they please while their other half shops), there’s even a cinema. What more could you want, really?
To be honest I probably should of named this post “My 153 Favourite Things To Do In Dublin”, but we all know that I’d be here all night babbling on and on. So, I had to narrow it down to three. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and I’d love to hear your best things to do in Dublin. Share them with me in the comments section below. 🙂