It can be fun to be a tourist when you are on holiday – taking those cheesy snaps with a pint of Guinness and crossing off all the famous sights. But it can also be great to get a real feel for a place and it would be a shame not to when the destination is quite as fabulous as Dublin.
When you are bored of Temple Bar and done with Dublin Castle grab a rental car from Auto Europe and start exploring the lesser known bits of the city. If you don’t know where to start then read on for some ideas, but sssshhhh don’t tell everyone, otherwise they won’t be the hidden gems any longer.
National Leprechaun Museum
It is fair to say that leprechauns fit into the category of stereotype when it comes to Ireland, but this museum is way under-visited. Instead of just making money out of the little green fellows, it actually looks into the tradition and mythology behind the fairy folk, making it highly interesting.
It is also lots of fun, with the chance to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and visit a giant’s house. It certainly won’t be as crowded as the Guinness Storehouse.
The U2 Wall
Windmill Lane Studios was originally opened as a venue for traditional Irish artists to record tracks in 1978, but has since been used by such mainstream acts as U2, Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison. In reference to this a shrine has emerged on the outside walls, with lyrics, declarations of love and cartoons scrawled on it.
Music fans will surely love this gritty tribute to Irish music and the followers it has gathered across the world. Windmill Lane can be found near City Quay and the River Liffey. It can take a little bit of searching for, but is well worth it in the long run.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without an evening spent in the pub, but it can be difficult to find that famed, yet much elusive craic. Try the Cobblestone on Queen Street, which unlike Temple Bar is where the locals drink. The beer is well-kept and up-and-coming local bands can often be heard upstairs.
As with many bustling tourist cities it is easy to spend a lot of cash on a meal that is just adequate, but not at Green 19. This relatively new establishment on Camden Street is making a name for itself due to its innovative menu and myriad of drinks on offer including craft ales and cocktails.
What’s more, you will be stunned by the bill and not in a bad way. This is one of the best places to get value for money when dining out in Dublin. Whether it is brunch, lunch or an evening meal, you will find your appetite sated.
The Secret Book and Record Store
No alternative guide to Dublin would be complete without mention of this charming emporium of books and records on Wicklow Street. Easy to miss, its entrance is shared by a yoga centre, but hidden inside is a treasure trove of bargain buys.
Even if you are not planning on purchasing anything, it is a great place to enjoy browsing and soaking up the atmosphere. And the chances are you will end up buying something in the end!