7 Authentic Dublin Experiences For Your Saint Patrick’s Day Holiday
March 19, 2019 8:52am
Kiss me I’m Irish! Yes, Saint Patrick’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday March 17th), and celebrating it in the Irish capital tops bucket lists the world over. If you’re visiting Dublin this Paddy’s Day, you’re probably planning some standard tourist stuff like hitting the parade, drowning the shamrock in Temple Bar, and visiting Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Any why not? These activities are all worthwhile. However, if you fancy some more authentic Dublin experiences enjoyed by locals, especially if you’re in town for more than a day or two, then let Staycity be your guide. Dublin is our hometown, after all, so who better to provide you with the lowdown on how to do Dublin like a Dub this Saint Patrick’s Day?!
1. Get in some GAA
GAA stands for the Gaelic Athletic Association, which is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation, and promotes indigenous Irish sports, also known as Gaelic games. Saint Patrick’s Day is a big day in the GAA calendar, as it’s the day of the All-Ireland Club Championships in Gaelic football and hurling, which take place in the famed Croke Park. These massive games will be full of atmosphere and give you a proper taste of real Irish life. Get your tickets online on the official GAA website, or watch them from a barstool over a few pints of porter and a toastie. Some of Dublin’s best GAA pubs include The Boar’s Head on Capel Street, The Palace Bar on Fleet Street, Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street and Devitts of Camden Street. If you hear mention of ‘shemozzle’ by the way, it’s not Yiddish. It’s a term for an on-pitch row.
It’s also worth noting that Ireland play Wales in the Six Nations rugby on Saturday the 16th. This is an away game in Cardiff, but the Dublin pubs will be absolutely hopping for it. Some great watering holes for it include Searson’s on Baggot Street, Toners on Baggot Street and Slattery’s in Beggars Bush. Be sure to roar ‘c’mon Ireland!’ at the top of your lungs at every opportunity.
2. Adventure to The Blue Light
This cracker of a pub, which is 300-years-old, is situated in Barnacullia, a charming village in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. While it’s best known for its spectacular views of Dublin Bay (on a clear day you can see Wales), they’re not the only draw. There’s also the ‘craic’, AKA fun (you’ll find yourself instantly mixing with the motley crowd of friendly locals, hikers, cyclists and motorcyclists here), the music (there’s live tunes seven nights a week, and a piano gifted from U2, who used to gig here in the late 70s), and more recently, the pizza from their on-site pizzeria! The best way to get here is by adventuring through the woods from nearby Stepaside, which you can reach on the 44 bus from Dublin’s city centre.
3. Shop the Liberties
The Liberties is one of Dublin’s oldest, most colourful, characterful, vibrant and dynamic districts. Nowhere else in Dublin does history meet modernity like in the Liberties, with historic sites such as the Guinness Storehouse sitting alongside modern developments like The Digital Hub, Ireland’s largest cluster of technology firms. The Liberties is also home to Staycity HQ, and our Chancery Lane, Christchurch and Saint Augustine Street properties. And for a day’s shopping and browsing far removed from the usual tourist trail, the Liberties is where it’s at. You’ve got the art galleries, antique and vintage stores of Francis Street (where we’re opening a new Staycity aparthotel in 2021), the markets of Meath Street, and all kinds of everything on Thomas Street. A day in our beloved Liberties is a day so very well spent.
4. Stroll the Great South Wall
One of Dublin’s best kept secrets, this bracing and beautiful pier walk brings you right out to the centre of Dublin Bay, and features the picture postcard Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end. Don’t be put off by the less than pretty journey to it, which brings you through some rather bleak industrial land. Your destination is more than worth it. Indeed, you may even be lucky enough to spot some porpoises and seals along the walk. Occasionally there’s a catering truck at the start of the pier too, playing music and serving snacks and drinks, including hot ports and hot whiskeys. After completing the 8km return journey, you’ll have more than earned yourself a treat or two.
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5. Enjoy some traditional music in The Cobblestone
The Cobblestone (which calls itself “a drinking pub with a music problem”) is one of Dublin’s best venues for trad music, with some of Ireland’s finest trad musicians leading sessions here seven days a week. Pop in any time and you’ll find something going on in this relaxed and welcoming pub that serves an excellent pint of Guinness. Its location is worth exploring too. There’s plenty to see and do in Smithfield, which is home to popular attractions including the Old Jameson Distillery, St Michan’s Church and the National Museum of Ireland’s centre of decorative arts and history at Collins Barracks.
6. Zen out in the Iveagh Gardens
Dublin is blessed with beautiful parks, most notably Saint Stephen’s Green Park, Merrion Square and Phoenix Park. But a lesser-known park is the Iveagh Gardens. Known locally as ‘Dublin’s Secret Garden’ and dating back over 300 years, the Iveagh Gardens began as an earl’s lawn, and has since become an impressive park with features such as a yew maze, rosarium and fountains. And despite being in the heart of the city, it’s extremely still and quiet. You’ll spot many local workers taking time out here. And if all the Saint Patrick’s Day madness is proving too much for you, you should too. Even just 10 minutes soaking up its beauty and serenity is enough to restore equilibrium.
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7. Day trip to Bray
We adore the seaside town of Bray. And while it’s in county Wicklow, it makes for a really short and easy day trip from Dublin, and is therefore more than worthy of a place on our list. The adventurous should start early and get the DART to Greystones (if you’re staying in the city centre, go from Connolly, Tara Street, or Pearse station). This train journey has beautiful views of Dublin’s coast, especially around Dalkey and Killiney. On a sunny day it’s like the South of France. From Greystones (itself a gem of a village that’s worth your time too) walk Bray Head to Bray. This also affords stunning views, and at 7km long, takes about 2.5 hours. The less adventurous (or those with small kids) can get the DART straight to Bray. Once there, just enjoy its simple pleasures. Start by trying your luck in the slot machines of Star Leisure, and if you have smallies, let them loose on the rides. Then get a takeaway fish and chips, perch yourself on the wall of the beach, munch, chat, skim pebbles and look out to sea. Next grab a 99, stroll the promenade, and drink in all the charm and fading Georgian grandeur. And last but by no means least, round your day trip off with a drink in the utterly delightful Harbour Bar.
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!
Travelling to Dublin this Saint Patrick’s Day? Then stay green and stay with Dublin-born Staycity at one of our four city centre locations. Find out more and book your stay here!