Just got back from Dublin, where I was for the second time and I want to share some of the not so known activities I’ve done around the city. Everyone knows Dublin is the city of bars and pubs. And when it gets to drinking, I don’t know anyone who can drink a pint faster than an Irish. So fear not the crazy city of bars, because you just found yourself the list of things to do right now in Dublin that doesn’t involve booze.
1. Trinity College and Book Of Kells library
The most famous university in Ireland is the University of Dublin, which has one one college, Trinity College. The university full name is The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin and was establish by Elizabeth I of England and Ireland in 1592.
Today the campus is right in the heart of the city, right across the street from the Irish House of Parliament.
The most visited place in Dublin can be found right on the campus of Trinity College: The Library. This is the permanent home of the famous Book of Kells, the illuminated Gospel manuscript in Latin.
The book is sitting right at the entrance of the old library. The long hall of the library is quite impressive and it’s the home of 200 000 volumes of a total of 6 million volumes, which the library has.
Visitors can also admire the Trinity College Harp, a harp from the 15th century, the official national symbol of Ireland. Does anyone know the coat of arms of Ireland? The harp.
Funny thing is that the famous beer, Guinness has also a harp as their logo. Because Guinness was the first to trademarked the symbol of the harp as their logo, Ireland has turned the harp around. They changed their national symbol to differentiate it from the beer brand.
This seaside town is 20km south of the city centre of Dublin, on the coast, is a must for a day or half day trip. There are buses or trains going all day to and from Dublin.
I took a train to get here and then I walked along the coast, on a high ground, a 5km long path, towards Greystones. I recommend this day trip, and I wish you great weather because the landscape is just breathtaking.
3. Howth Harbour
The north border of Dublin Bay is the Howth Head peninsula, which is a fishing village and a suburb of Dublin city.
The place has become popular with tourists and has many seafood restaurants options. The harbour hosts hundreds of colourful boats and the landscape is just magical. In the bay created artificially, 3 sea lions were putting on a show for the enjoyment of the tourists. Magical.
Then go take a walk on the long pier, all the way to the lighthouse. It will get windy, but it’s worth it. And if you have time, get all the way up on the hill and admire the view.
4. Strolling the streets
I know we are not talking about drinking, but seeing the crowded bars on the narrow streets of the city, is at least a nice walk to get to know the city. And as you get a bit further, the short buildings of Dublin catch your attention with their bright coloured massive doors. I’ve never seen so many red doors in any other city.
The British style is not only seen in the architecture of the buildings, but also in the traffic. Unlike everyone else, their cars have the wheel on the right and drive on the left-hand side of the road. Just don’t get yourself killed because I’ve been on their bus and the drivers stop really close to the people waiting to cross the street or next to the cars in traffic.
Just don’t get yourself killed because I’ve been on their bus and the drivers stop really close to the people waiting to cross the street or next to the cars in traffic.
Speaking of busses, there is a Dublin city hop on hop off bus and the regular buses. If you do get the bus, the famous double-decker, sit upstairs on the first row. That’s going to be a bumpy ride.
The centre of Dublin is a place to stroll around and when your legs get tired, sit on a bench on the quay of river Liffey.
5. Rent a bike
In Dublin, there are many points where you can rent or drop a bike, so it’s the best way to explore. I’ve never taken a bus anywhere in the city, except for the airport. I’ve mostly walked everywhere, it’s not a very big city, and the center is not big. Everything is at a walking distance.
But when you want to see a lot in a short period of time, walking around can be exhausting. So rent a bike and go explore!
Watch out for the direction of the cars. If you come from a country where cars drive on the right side of the road, it’s going to take a little while till you get used to it. Good thing they wrote on the ground which way to look when crossing the street.
6. Visit Dublin Bay
The first time I was in Dublin, I’ve met an Irish on Couchsurfing, to hang around. He asked me what do I want to see in Dublin and I said: “The harbour”. He stared at me for a second, and then he said:”It’s the first time I hear someone saying that, but I’ll take you because it’s my favourite place in the city”.
We used bikes to get there and I loved every second of that road, even though it was raining. Rain is part of Ireland’s culture, so the best way to go is to embrace it and always carry an umbrella or a hat if you are riding a bike.