City Staycation: Finding Dublin’s Hidden Gems
If you visit on the weekend, Dublin is teeming with overseas tourists looking for a good time. They queue outside the Guinness Storehouse (and rightly so, it’s a fascinating experience), they fill the pubs in Temple Bar, and then leave on a Monday morning, having had a great weekend of revelry in Ireland’s capital. This leaves the rest of the week free for locals to discover, and those of us who can take a midweek trip to explore Dublin’s hidden gems. From dawn to dusk, here’s your local guide of what to do in Dublin.
With a big day ahead of you, you’ll want to find somewhere to start your day with a cup of tea. Whilst Dublin’s artisan coffee shops are seemingly growing faster than any other business in the city, there’s nothing like an auld cup of Rosie Lee to start the day. Head to the Queen of Tarts for a cosy, quaint cuppa and a slice of cake for a little sustenance, before heading to the IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art). The tourists tend to head for the National Gallery, but the IMMA is home to some incredible pieces of contemporary art.
With lots of choice for lunch in Dublin, you’ll soon feel quite overwhelmed as you try to pick where to eat. In keeping with this local list of little gems, try the Beshoff Bros for Fish and Chips. Opened in 1939 and having gained a reputation for being the best chip shop in Dublin, Beshoff Bros serve up fresh Atlantic haddock, north Atlantic cod, smoked haddock and scrumptious scampi, handing you be the sustenance you need before you head out again for the afternoon. Lovers of quality, the fish is all caught in clean water, and the potatoes are farmed organically. There is even the option of gluten free batter, so even the coeliacs don’t have to miss out!
You’ll probably want to walk off the fish and chips, and afternoons were designed for lazy meandering. There is plenty of space to do this in Iveagh Gardens. The gardens were designed in the mid 1800s but have a history dating back more than 300 years. Originally designed as a garden for a modest Earl in the 1860s, they were redesigned to boast the many features you see now. Get lost in the yew maze or take a wander around the rosary garden for a lazy afternoon. If the weather isn’t in your favour, duck into the Long Library at Trinity College where you can marvel at the high ceilings and take a wander around the library’s literary exhibitions.
To truly round off a day packed with culture, you’ll have to take a visit to The Gate Theatre. The historic building is home to some of Ireland’s finest creative talent, and regularly hosts touring theatre and ballet. The Gate’s smaller performance, the Gate Studio is an experimental space which hosts artists championed by the gate and often shows unique cross-disciplinary work. Settle into a cushioned seat as you reflect on your day of culture in the capital.
There’s so much more to be seen in Dublin than Temple Bar, and there are plenty of alternative ways to spend your trip. Head out and get lost a little bit, and you might just surprise yourself.