10 Alternative Places to Visit in Dublin

This is a guest post by Jenna Meade.
Yes, it’s where people get drunk, maybe have tea along Grafton Street or sit in St. Stephen’s Green Park feeding the ducks, but there is so much more to Dublin. For any city, people grow tired of the same thing. They get bored of the same places, and meeting the same people, but they put up with it for some reason. Maybe they’re too afraid to explore – to expose themselves to new people or a new vibe that breaks up the routine.
I could write a list of ten things not to do when in Dublin, but that would be too negative and overbearing. So instead, here is the alternative list of things you can do to get to know your Dublin better. Believe me, you will love it all the more. However, if you get bored after a few days in the city, consider taking a couple of day trips from Dublin.
1. The Bernard Shaw
This is one of the best hunts you could ever acquire. Here you enter into a fairly normal pub, but once you head down to its basement you will find R+B D.J sets, Dub-Step, Electronic, Indie, Soul, Jazz, Art House screenings – you name it. In other words, The Bernard Shaw has it all.
If that doesn’t float your boat, the beer garden houses a double decker bus; The Big Blue Bus. Its lower level makes delicious homemade pizza: vegan, meaty and gluten free. Upstairs you can sit and eat, or smoke sheesha. The beer garden is enclosed by a wall that is constantly worked on by graffiti artists.
The Bernard Shaw is the perfect place to nestle into the edgier side of Dublin, escape tourists, discover new music, and, I know a few people who have met the love of their life here. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
2. The Workman’s Club
With its leather couches and winged armchairs in front of charcoal fireplaces and oak varnished tables in every room, it feels very much like you’re in somebody’s house. The outdoor area is lit up in fairy lights and there are heaters for the cold nights. The wall’s art is changed regularly, hence why it always looks like it’s under construction. There are stairs leading in every direction in this place, but it’s impossible to get lost – somebody always comes along for a chat in this social hullabaloo haven.
3. The Dropping Well in Milltown
If you’re looking to get out of Dublin city for a bit, Milltown is only a Luas journey away on the Green Line. The Luas drops you just by the river which you can walk along and see the old Mill. Continue towards the weir and you can pop into The Dropping Well.
Originally, this was a morgue for those who perished during the famine of 1847. Now it’s a cozy pub and restaurant. Just outside The Dropping Well, a rhino stands guard in the middle of the river. For whatever reason it was moved there during the night and has remained there since.
4. Temple Bar Book Market and Farmer’s Market
The market is teeming with fresh, organic produce from around Dublin and further afield, like jams, chutneys, cheeses and Belgian waffles. There are also Indian and Italian cuisines, and much more. You could easily have your lunch for free here just by tasting everything offered to you. It’s a great showcase of quality Irish produce and sustainable living.
Just outside the market space, upon Temple Bar Square, there are two or three large carts. You can find stinking old books and cameras, rusty medals and second hand postcards. It’s open only on the weekends so be sure to swing by.
5. Olympia
The Star of Erin, as it was originally known, is one of Dublin’s first Victorian Music Halls. It stands out along Dame Street with its painted glass canopy and wrought iron pillars. This is one of the most beautiful places to watch a play or see a band. It has hosted Interpol and The National for several years now, and more recently Brandon Flowers’ gig sold out.
Sitting or standing, it is always a treat to look at the tiers of plush red seats and gold boxes hanging over the stage. Ticket prices vary from show to show, and there’s always something to see in the Olympia.
6. Ha’penny Bridge Flea Market
Ha’penny bridge flea market is a great venue for young designers to set up stalls and have their work on display. It’s also a fabulous social event to talk to artisans and other retro connoisseurs. Check out their website for other events.
7. George’s Arcade
With such an array of shops it’s easy to miss one, so take your time, have a bubble tea from Bubblicity and immerse yourself in all its retro glory. If that wears you out you can always head to The Market Bar – originally a courtyard for selling cattle – and sit down for some tapas.
With such an array of shops it’s easy to miss one, so take your time, have a bubble tea from Bubblicity and immerse yourself in all its retro glory. If that wears you out you can always head to The Market Bar – originally a courtyard for selling cattle – and sit down for some tapas.
8. The Irish Film Institute
Next door, the IFI hosts a free entry Photography Gallery, where you can have a poke through the selection of art books and postcards. The exhibition changes every week.
9. Smock Alley Theatre
This is a theatre that fights for the arts like no other and makes them readily available to any audience, with plays starting at as little as five euros.
10. The Forty Foot
Formerly a gentlemen’s bathing place and swimming club, The Forty Foot has now become a man’s exclusive nudist delight. The ladies of the 1970’s liberation movement whipped off their clothes and dove into the water, paving the way for equal nudity in the cove.
This spot was used as the opening scene for Joyce’s Ulysses. James Joyce and John Gogarty even lived in the Martello tower nearby, which is now a museum. The water is icy cold here and apparently believed to be healthy, but people swim in it on what we would call ‘a hot day’ in Ireland.
The Forty Four is a picturesque part of Dublin, away from the city buzz, and if you are so inclined you can always re-enact the beginnings of Joyce’s masterpiece.
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Have you visited Dublin?
What other alternative places would you add to the list?
#ireland #cityguides #offbeattravel #dublin #europe

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Daniela Frendo

Daniela Frendo

Hi! I'm a Maltese blogger based in Scotland. I created Grumpy Camel to help travellers connect with places through culture, history and cuisine.

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