Traveling Dublin Like a Local
We’ve been putting together itineraries for over 25 years, so we’ve had our fair share of experiences. One of the most common questions travelers ask us is: How do you pick out what sites are worth seeing and what would a local recommend?
Consider this: Last year, 10 million visitors immersed themselves in Dublin’s city center, experienced breathtaking views from atop the Cliffs of Moher, toured the iconic Blarney castle, and lolled in the vast rolling hills at Killarney National Park. Now flourishing with a volume of shops, restaurants, lively bars, and entertainment, Dublin can be dizzying for locals and visitors alike. Here are 10 tips on how to experience Dublin like a local, perfect for travelers joining us on our 10-day Taste of Ireland and Scotland trip:
The Guinness Storehouse:
It’s no surprise that the Irish pride themselves on producing the highest quality beer in the world. Although an undoubtedly high traffic area, the Guinness Storehouse is a must-see destination. Discern vintage Guinness advertisements and learn the Irish way to “pour a pint.” Afterward, head up to the Gravity Bar where you can experience unparalleled city views and sip on a grade A Irish beverage.
Quite a misnomer, Temple Bar is actually a riverside neighborhood spread over cobblestone streets. Absorb classic Irish history in the heart of downtown as Temple Bar houses live music, quirky shops, and cuisine from around the world. Best of all, visitors can revel in the iconic Irish character that each edifice encompasses.
A thrilling adventure nonetheless, but an ideal way to experience more history, Wake Dock is Ireland’s first cable wakeboard park. Cable wakeboarding earns its popularity from the exhilarating way a water skier’s rope is pulled by an electronically-driven cable. Even if water sports aren’t up your alley, the water views are unmatched and worth snapping a picture of. You’ll get grand architecture in the background, too.
Drury Street, the center of Dublin’s creative quarter, is home to quaint coffee shops, quirky murals, and vintage design. For all modern lovers, pop over to Kaph, a hip coffee shop that dishes out paleo cakes, coconut milk lattes, and matcha green tea, dubbing it the most up-to-date cafe in town. At 150 years old, Drury street is Ireland’s oldest shopping center. Top off your walk around Drury Street by braving a Bikram yoga class or take a biking course. If you’re searching for a place full of local folks who embrace environmental, social, and economic change in Dublin, Drury Street will not disappoint.
Classic Irish Design:
Shops like The Irish Design Shop and Indigo and Cloth pride themselves on putting a modern twist on Irish classics, such as clothing and handmade soap. Step into these shops to rub elbows with store owners and learn how they have evolved classic Irish clothing to match modern-day trends.
After working up an appetite, indulge in the food from highly rated lunch spots like Brother Hubbard and The Fumbally, which are eclectic restaurants that serve creative Irish fare in an independent setting. Named for the two Hubbard brothers who founded the restaurant on the principle of made-from-scratch, interesting cuisine, Brother Hubbard is helmed by inviting guests to experience similar exciting adventures they have had with food. Bursting with flavor and packed full of nutrients, Brother Hubbard never fails to serve comforting, creative dishes.
Similarly, The Fumbally menu is reined by the chef’s creativity and which ingredients are currently inspiring. Local suppliers, season availability, and personal creation converge to execute exceptional offerings. Current menu items include gluten and sugar-free granola, protein-packed avocado toast garnished with iconic Irish cabbage, and a vast scope of dinner entrees peppered with local fennel.
Looking for a quick snack or want to cook yourself? Specialty shops such as Fallon and Byrne offer local produce in an open-market setting, providing visitors with an abundant selection of local items, perfect for trying your hand at cooking Irish cuisine.
Founded in 1952 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity college is known for its resemblance to Oxford University in terms of its ruined and in-tact Norman and Anglo-Irish structures. Make sure to step into the Long Room, one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions that holds rare literary works and made its claim to fame from Harry Potter movies. Located in the heart of the city center, the historic campus is a picturesque site not to be missed.
Literary Pub Crawl:
Perhaps another misleading term, the Literary Pub Crawl encircles epochal literary writers, such as Oscar Wilde, lending to Dublin’s nickname as the City of Literature. On a guided tour, you will walk along narrow streets as the guide quotes lines from avant-garde novelists such as James Joyce (Ulysses), Samuel Beckett (Molloy, The Unnamable, Murphy), and Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road).
Ride a Bike:
Since time is of the essence, riding a bike is the quickest and most efficient way to experience Dublin in local style. Breeze from Dublin Castle to River Liffey and The Grand Canal in a quarter of the time it would take you to walk. Plus, this can be an opportunity to burn off that afternoon pastry indulgence!
The Irish are known for their outgoing character and inviting persona. Make no mistake, each Irishman and woman comes from a long line of intriguing history and will have fascinating stories to share with you. So strike up a conversation, make a new friend, and learn something new all at once.
There are innumerable ways to immerse yourself in Irish culture. Experiencing the beautiful city of Dublin like a local and knowing what places are on your must-see list play key factors in a trip full of lifelong memories. We hope our top ten tips have not only given you great insight into Irish culture but propelled you to join us on our Taste of Ireland and Scotland trip with us next summer!