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A Gaelic football or hurling match in Croke Park– rain, hail or shine, you can’t beat the energy and atmosphere that goes hand in hand with a match day on these hallowed terraces. Alternatively, join the green army and enjoy the thrill of an international rugby or soccer match across the Liffey in the Aviva Stadium.

If that’s not enough drama for you, pull up a seat at the Abbey Theatre and catch a production of one of Ireland’s finest stage plays or check out a visiting Broadway/West End musical at the Grand Canal Theatre or The Gaiety.

Dublin is the epicentre of Ireland’s arts and cultural scene. Over at The National Gallery of Ireland, it’s free to observe the works of the great masters including Rembrandt, Carvaggio, Picasso and local hero, Jack B Yeats. Meanwhile, more sights for sore eyes can be found at Temple Bar’s contemporary Gallery of Photography.


Even if your travel budget doesn’t stretch to the designer price-tags of Brown Thomas, it costs nothing to stop and admire the store’s elaborate window displays, some of which wouldn’t look out of place in the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

The architectural gem that is St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is Grafton Street’s crowning glory. It may look like an overgrown greenhouse but inside you’ll find a good selection of clothing and gift shops, as well as a rooftop art gallery.

Nearby, The Loft Market in Powerscourt Townhouse, showcases the latest designs by Ireland’s up-and-coming fashion talents every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 -6pm.

Around the corner, on Nassau Street, you’ll discover more Irish tweed and hand-knit woollen garments than you can shake a shamrock at.

Arnotts, an institution for Dublin shoppers since 1843 is located over on Henry Street (just off O’ Connell Street). Generally speaking, cheap and mid-priced clothing stores make the area around Henry Street/Mary Street/Jervis Street the shopping destination of choice for bargain hunters.

While you’re in the area, try your luck with the cheeky market traders on the adjacent Moore Street. Look out for babies’ prams filled with everything from trays of apples and oranges to giant Toblerones –whatever they’re selling it’s usually ‘5 for €2… love’.


Dublin has a thriving restaurant scene. From trendy pop-up restaurants and quirky eateries such as The Winding Stair to well-heeled establishments such as Shanahans, Dublin’s local and international menus tantalise diners of every taste and budget. Traditional Irish pub grub is always a tasty, wallet-friendly option. Davy Byrne’s menu is good and varied but is most famous for authentic dishes including Dublin Bay prawns and warming Irish stew. Some of the city’s hippest and most ambient restaurants and cafés can be found in and around the St Andrew’s St/South William St area. You’ll find cuisine from just about anywhere in the world here – go explore, you won’t be disappointed.

Eating on the go? Try the fish and chips at Leo Burdocks, a favourite with locals, actors and rock stars since 1913.

For a taste of Irish home-grown goodness, sink your teeth into some organic fare at Temple Bar’s Food Market which sets out its stalls every Saturday between 10am and 4.30pm.


A pint of Guinness from the summit of the Guinness Storehouse at St James’ Gate, Dublin offers stunning 360 degree views over the whole city. Otherwise, Dublin’s streets are filled with historic pubs, stylish wine bars and trendy nightclubs. Temple Bar might market itself as nightlife central, but you’re likely to meet more tourists than locals in pubs such as The Temple Bar and Oliver St John Gogarty. For a more genuine Irish pub experience, head to O’Donoghues or Kehoes.


Ireland is renowned for being the ‘land of a thousand welcomes’ and the capital is certainly determined to make you feel at home. High-end hotel options include The Dylan, The Merrion and The Morrison, but cosy boutique guesthouses such as Number 31 offer guests a stylish retreat too. Jury’s Inn and The Clarion provide mid-range, value for money packages. Meanwhile, cheap and cheerful hostel accommodation is available at popular backpacker haunts The Times Hostel and Abigail’s Hostel.


As James Joyce proved in Ulysses, Dublin is so small and compact that you can easily walk your way around the city in a day. Follow in his famous footsteps and take a literary tour of Georgian Dublin, beginning at The Dublin Writers’ Museum.

For a poignant insight into Ireland’s turbulent history, a guided tour of Kilmainham Gaol is a must. Prefer a relaxing stroll? Head to Grafton Street and enjoy the free street performances by artists and musicians. Take a wander around the historic cobbles of Trinity College and pay a visit to the Book of Kells. Alternatively, save your legs and rent a bicycle in the Phoenix Park where you can stop off at Dublin Zoo or spot native deer at rest and play in the park.

Get out

Head for the hills of Wicklow and see “The Garden of Ireland” in all of its glory. Wicklow highlights include Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall and Glendalough, famous for its monastic settlement and spectacular scenery.

Alternatively, go west and learn more about Ireland’s equestrian heritage at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Co. Kildare.


Dublin has given birth to some of the world’s greatest musical talents. From Thin Lizzy to U2, The Dubliners and The Script, you’ll be spoilt for choice when compiling your Dublin soundtrack. If you get the chance, try and catch the next big thing live at Whelan’s, or settle down for a traditional Irish music session at The Cobblestone.


The rain – layer up, bring an umbrella and be prepared to experience four seasons in one day!