Looking for a city break with a difference? Then Dublin is right up your street. From the creepy to the kooky, we take you on a trip to Dublin’s darker side and beyond….
The city may be famous for a pint of the Black Stuff, but Dublin is much more than that. Beyond the cobbled streets and castle walls of the medieval quarter, the city is filled with curiosities. There are boutiques like The Third Policeman, a treasure trove of vintage threads and antique oddities, and the people’s Little Museum of Dublin, which tells the story of 20th-century Dublin through a collection of cultural and social artefacts donated by ordinary Dubliners (expect a room dedicated entirely to U2, and unopened bottles of lemonade from 1918!).
However, this city steeped in literary history (James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker…) houses some much more macabre secrets. If the grim and gothic is more your thing, head to St Michan’s church to discover several mummified remains hiding in the church’s vaults. Follow that with a visit to the National Museum of Ireland, which hosts both the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition (a grim collection of withered human sacrifices that are mutilated and finely preserved), and the Victorian-esque Natural History building, housing taxidermy, skeletons, and preserved animals galore.
But it’s not all old news here in Dublin. Creating a new story for the city, you’ll find a whole host of cool cafés, buzzing bars and youthful restaurants, like Fish Shop. Dublin is renowned for its quality fish and seafood, and Fish Shop serve up creative dishes using the catch of day, at their two city locations.
Hit the Hills
For a fabulous day trip just 30km out of the city, head south to the Powerscourt Estate on the foothills to the Wicklow Mountains. The estate features an 18th-century Palladian mansion, many themed gardens (including a serene Japanese garden), and offers breathtaking views of the Great Sugarloaf mountain in the distance. If you’ve got time, why not head out on the 6km walk to see Ireland’s highest waterfall (121m). And if you’ve succumbed to the charm of the beautiful Irish countryside, extend your stay and visit the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which has extensive walking and hiking trails, plus a monastic site in Glendalough just waiting to be discovered.