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Saturday 22 July 2017

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The hidden gems of Dublin

Dublin by night

Dublin is a fantastic location for a stag do, a holiday with the lads, or just a quick escape for a change of scenery. The flights are nice and short (just 1 hour and 15 minutes from London Heathrow) and although prices have risen in recent years, it’s still possible to have a great holiday in Dublin on any budget.

If you want to get to the non-touristy places your best bet is to rent a car so that you can go where you please. That way you’re not relying on public transport to take you everywhere everyone else goes. If that’s not an option or you want to stick to the city centre, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

Night life

If you don’t fancy a Guinness-guzzling getaway there are plenty of alternatives that still allow you to appreciate the best that Ireland’s capital has to offer.

The most famous Dublin bar of them all is The Temple Bar, but you’ll also find most of the population of the city there, as well as lads having a stag party in Dublin. If you want somewhere less touristy try Grogan’s for an authentic experience with a bohemian young crowd, or Kehoe’s, labelled as one of Dublin’s best kept secrets. Of course, if you decide you do want to get in a bit of Guinness appreciation, you should visit the infamous Guinness factory which showcases the history of the black stuff, the brewing process and teaches you how to pour the perfect pint.

For Irish music in the evening, stroll over to The Cobblestone in North Quays which has a music corner downstairs and a paying venue upstairs which books traditional and folk bands. Andrew’s Lane is another option, which has recently been transformed from a theatre into a music venue. This site hosts more leftfield and unusual acts.

The next morning, feed your hangover with a fry up and coffee from Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street in the city centre!

Beside the seaside

If the beach is your bag, you’re spoilt for choice with the sandy getaways along Dublin’s coastline. Seapoint is the best for immersing yourself in local culture; Loughshinny, a small village in North County Dublin has a quiet sheltered bay with a fishing harbour, while Dollymount Strand is great for kite surfing. If you’re after watersports, mind, Surfdock Watersports offers lessons in sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and paddleboarding. This video shows Stand Up Paddleboarding from the school:

Claremont Beach’s West Pier is home to some of Ireland’s best sea food: Ivan’s has a modern feel while Nicky’s Plaice is much more traditional; and Nicky’s will even smoke your caught fish for you.

Cultural activities

If you’re looking for specific activities to do during your stay in Dublin, you won’t be disappointed. One of the most popular Irish pastimes is going to the dogs; and Shelbourne Park in Dublin is one of the country’s best greyhound racing sites. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the bookies, you won’t be able to stop yourself cheering on the greyhounds when they’re chasing that little bunny round the corner. The Stag Company arranges Dublin stag weekend packages which can include a night at the dogs as well as other activities.

Alternatively, find out about the ancient traditional games of Ireland by taking part in a Gaelic Games Experience: play the customary Irish games of Hurling, Gaelic Football and Handball – then find out how to beat an Irish Bodhrán drum and learn about Irish Ceilí dancing.

To get a preview of the fashionable side of Dublin, go on a Le Cool Walking Tour. Introducing you to all the latest in cool culture such as pop up stores, street art, emerging music artists and the latest trends, this two hour tour will introduce you to the city’s cultural staples.

Don’t forget that locals are the best tour guides so if you’re stuck for ideas or want a local’s point of view, ask around and make some friends – you’re bound to find out more about the best places off the beaten track.

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