Dublin has been one of Europe’s most welcoming and intriguing cities for decades. However, since Ireland was crowned the Celtic Tiger in the early 21st century thanks to the rapid economic growth it experienced, the Irish capital has become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. This reputation has continued, despite the decline in economic fortunes seen by the country as the global recession took hold. However, while most visitors to the city flock to tourist-friendly hotspots like Temple Bar, the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Castle, it pays to do as the Irish do when you visit Dublin. So while you’re there, make sure you seek out a few handy hints and tips from local Irishmen and women.
Unlike some large European cities, such as London and Paris, asking locals for detailed help and directions in Dublin is perfectly normal and most people will be happy to stop and chat. One element of Dublin life on which you should seek advice is how to get around. The tram and bus network is fairly extensive but can be confusing, so local help will not go amiss. If you’re a keen cyclist, you may also want to ask about the best places from which to rent a bicycle or speak to other cyclists about cycling etiquette. And if you’re planning to stay out at a bar or a club until early in the morning, it’s a good idea to have a reliable taxi number to hand.
When it comes to things to see and do, most Irishmen and women will suggest you visit the main attractions in every tourist guidebook. However, they may also point you towards sights that have a strong association with Dublin’s history, which was often violent during the colonial era. Glasnevin Cemetary on Finglas Road, for example, runs walking tours that take visitors past the graves of illustrious figures in Irish history. Kilmainham Gaol on Inchicore Road, where rebels from the 1916 Easter Uprising were executed, also operates guided tours. If you’re more interested in Dublin’s cultural history, don’t miss a trip to the Dublin Writer’s Museum, dedicated to local literary heroes like James Joyce and WB Yeats, or Merrion Square, which is home to a statue of Oscar Wilde.
For those who want to sample the best of Ireland’s food and drink, a chat with locals can be particularly rewarding. The first thing most Irishmen will tell you is to avoid Temple Bar, the primary location for touristy – and very expensive – bars and clubs. Instead, they should be able to point you towards bars that are traditional but not kitsch – like Kavanagh’s near Glasnevin Cemetery or Frank Ryan’s on Queen Street. Food, on the other hand, is a varied mix of hearty Irish stews and multicultural grub but can also be very pricey. To try a bit of everything at reasonable prices, head to the Epicurean Food Hall on Lower Liffey Street, which is very popular with locals at lunch time.
Although city breaks in the Irish capital may require a substantial budget, the frequent availability of cheap flights to Dublin means that actually getting there can be surprisingly affordable. Looking out for these deals means you’ll have more money to spend during your holiday. And with tough economic times persisting, you may even find some great deals on accommodation, food and drink while you’re in town, and the friendly local population may be able to point you towards these offers.
Paul Buchanan writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.