Things To Do

Things To Do in Dublin City

Dublin City is a vibrant cultural city and the capital city of Ireland. There are a wealth of activities and events in Dublin City for both residents and visitors. Below are some examples of what Dublin City has to offer:

Literature, theatre and the Arts

The city has a world-famous literary history, having produced many prominent literary figures, including Nobel laureates William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Other influential writers and playwrights from Dublin include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift and the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker. It is arguably most famous, however, as the location of the greatest works of James Joyce. Dubliners is a collection of short stories by Joyce about incidents and characters typical of residents of the city in the early part of the 20th century. His most celebrated work, Ulysses, is also set in Dublin and full of topical detail. Additional widely celebrated writers from the city include J.M. Synge, Seán O’Casey, Brendan Behan, Maeve Binchy, and Roddy Doyle. Ireland’s biggest libraries and literary museums are found in Dublin, including the National Print Museum of Ireland and National Library of Ireland.

Molly Malone, Dublin

There are several theatres within the city centre, and various world famous actors have emerged from the Dublin theatrical scene, including Noel Purcell, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea, Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Gabriel Byrne. The best known theatres include the Gaiety, the Abbey, the Olympia and the Gate. The Gaiety specialises in musical and operatic productions, and is popular for opening its doors after the evening theatre production to host a variety of live music, dancing, and films. The Abbey was founded in 1904 by a group that included Yeats with the aim of promoting indigenous literary talent. It went on to provide a breakthrough for some of the city’s most famous writers, such as Synge, Yeats himself and George Bernard Shaw. The Gate was founded in 1928 to promote European and American Avante Guarde works. The largest theatre is the Mahony Hall in The Helix at Dublin City University in Glasnevin.

Dublin is also the focal point for much of Irish Art and the Irish artistic scene. The Book of Kells, a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic Monks in A.D. 800 and an example of Insular art, is on display in Trinity College. The Chester Beatty Library houses the famous collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by American mining millionaire (and honorary Irish citizen) Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). The collections date from 2700 B.C. onwards and are drawn from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Work by local artists is often put on public display around St. Stephen’s Green, the main public park in the city centre. In addition large art galleries are found across the city, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, The City Arts Centre, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, The Project Arts Centre and The Royal Hibernian Academy.

Three centres of the National Museum of Ireland are in Dublin.

Nightlife and Entertainment

There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin and it is reputedly one of the most youthful cities in Europe – with estimates of 50% of inhabitants being younger than 25. Furthermore in 2007, it was voted the friendliest city in Europe. Like the rest of Ireland, there are pubs right across the city centre. The area around St. Stephen’s Green – especially Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street – is a centre for some of the most popular nightclubs and pubs in Dublin.

The internationally best-known area for nightlife is the Temple Bar area just south of the River Liffey. To some extent, the area has become a hot spot for tourists, including stag and hen parties from Britain. It was developed as Dublin’s cultural quarter (an idea proposed by local politician Charlie Haughey deceased), and does retain this spirit as a centre for small arts productions, photographic and artists’ studios, and in the form of street performers and intimate small music venues.

Music

U2Live music is popularly played on streets and at venues throughout Dublin in general and the city has produced several rock bands of international success, including U2, Hothouse Flowers, Horslips, The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, and Boyzone.

Cinema

The two best known cinemas in the city centre are the Savoy Cinema and the Cineworld Cinema, both north of the Liffey. Alternative and special-interest cinema can be found in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, in the Screen Cinema on d’Olier Street and in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Across suburban Dublin are located large modern multiscreen cinemas.

The 02

Situated on the Liffey at the Eastlink tollbridge, the 02  has housed performers including Madonna, Aerosmith, Garth Brooks, Diana Ross, Cliff Richard, etc.

Sport

Croke Park, Europe’s fifth-largest stadium and home to the Gaelic Athletic Association.The headquarters of almost all of Ireland’s sporting organisations are in Dublin, and the most popular sports in Dublin are those that are most popular throughout Ireland: Gaelic football, soccer, rugby union and hurling.

The city is host to the 5th largest stadium in Europe, Croke Park, the 82,500 capacity headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association. It traditionally hosts Gaelic football and hurling games during the summer months, as well as international rules football in alternating years. It also hosts concerts, with acts such as U2 and Robbie Williams having played there in recent years. The Dublin board of the Gaelic Athletic Association play their league games at Parnell Park. The nickname for the Dublin Gaelic football team is “The Dubs”.

Aviva Stadium is the venue for home games of both the Irish Rugby Team and the Republic’s national soccer team.  However, as part of a joint venture between the IRFU and the FAI, the Stadium then known as Landsdowne Road was demolished and was replaced with a 50,000 all-seated stadium in 2009.

Dublin is home to six FAI League of Ireland clubs, Bohemian FC, Shelbourne FC, Shamrock Rovers FC, Saint Patrick’s Athletic FC, UCD AFC and Sporting Fingal FC. Dalymount Park in Phibsboro, the traditional Home of Irish Soccer, is now used only for home games of local club Bohemians. Rivals Shelbourne and Shamrock Rovers play at nearby Tolka Park in Drumcondra, while St Patrick’s Athletic play at Richmond Park in Inchicore on the south west edge of the city. The other senior soccer clubs are University College Dublin, based at the UCD Bowl, Belfield, and newly-formed Sporting Fingal, who play at Morton Stadium, Santry.

The National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown is the first building to open in the Sports Campus Ireland. There are several race courses in the Dublin area including Shelbourne Park (Greyhound racing) and Leopardstown (Horse racing).

Dublin Horse Show, Ballsbridge

Dublin Horse ShowThe world famous Dublin Horse Show takes place at the RDS, Ballsbridge, which hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982. The national boxing arena is located in The National Stadium on the South Circular Road, though larger fights take place in the Point Depot in the docklands area. There are also Basketball, Handball, Hockey and Athletics stadia — most notably Morton Stadium in Santry, which held the athletics events of the 2003 Special Olympics.

The Dublin Marathon has been run since 1980, and the Women’s Mini Marathon has been run since 1983 and is said to be the largest all female event of its kind in the world.

Shopping

Dublin is a popular shopping spot for both Irish people and tourists. Dublin city centre has several shopping districts, including Grafton Street, Henry Street, Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Jervis Shopping Centre, and the newly refurbished Ilac Shopping Centre (all popular meeting-places for decades). On Grafton Street, the most famous shops include Brown Thomas and its sister shop BT2, being akin to Bloomingdales in New York City, for example. Brown Thomas also contains “mini-stores” such as Hermès and Chanel on its Wicklow Street frontage. This is Dublin’s nearest equivalent to a Designer shopping street such as Bond Street in London or 5th Avenue in New York City.

Dublin city is the location of large department stores, such as Clerys on O’Connell Street, Arnotts on Henry Street, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street and Debenhams (formerly Roches Stores) on Henry Street.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar (Irish: Barra an Teampaill) is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin, Ireland. Unlike the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is promoted as “Dublin’s cultural quarter” and has a lively nightlife that is popular with tourists.

History of Temple Bar

Temple Bar, Dublin City

The area is bounded by the Liffey to the north, Dame Street to the south, Westmoreland Street to the east and Fishamble Street to the west. It probably got its name from the Temple family, who lived in the area in the 17th century. Sir William Temple, provost of Trinity College Dublin in 1609, had his house and gardens in the area. Alternatively, it could have been named in imitation of the Temple Bar in London. However it got its name, the earliest historical reference to the name Temple Bar is on a 1673 map.

Fishamble Street in Temple Bar was the location of the first performance of Handel’s Messiah on 13 April 1742. An annual performance of the Messiah is held on the same date at the same location. The republican revolutionary group, the Society of the United Irishmen, was formed at a meeting in a tavern in Eustace Street in 1791.

In the 1980s, the state-owned transport company Córas Iompair Éireann proposed to buy up and demolish property in the area and build a bus terminus in its place. While this was in the planning stages, the purchased buildings were let out at low rents, which attracted small shops, artists and galleries to the area. Protests by An Taisce, residents and traders led to the cancellation of the bus station project,  An Taoiseach Charles Haughey (deceased) was responsible for securing funding and, in 1991, the government set up a not-for-profit company called Temple Bar Properties to oversee the regeneration of the area as Dublin’s cultural quarter.

Present Day Temple Bar

The area is the location of many Irish cultural institutions, including the Irish Photography Centre (incorporating the Dublin Institute of Photography, the National Photographic Archives and the Gallery of Photography), the Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, the Irish Film Institute, incorporating the Irish Film Archive, the Temple Bar Music Centre, the Arthouse Multimedia Centre, Temple Bar Gallery and Studio, the Project Arts Centre, the Gaiety School of Acting, as well as the Irish Stock Exchange and the Central Bank of Ireland.