How to see Dublin and avoid tourist traps

There’s no beating a trip to Dublin any time of year. You could go in the middle of the summer or the dead of winter and be guaranteed a good time.  The Irish capital is known worldwide as a major tourist destination and with that comes the chance you could find yourself in a tourist trap without even knowing it.

So how can you make the most of Dublin and know you’ve had an authentic experience the entire time? By getting advice on everything from what to see to where you need to have a pint of the black stuff.

This is our short guide on how to see Dublin and avoid the obvious tourist traps, and as with all good things in life, it starts with some Guinness.

Where to get the best pint in Dublin

East Lothian Courier: credit: Google imagescredit: Google images

Just like any pizzeria in New York that says it does the best slice in town, there’s no one pub can say it does the best Guinness in Dublin. All you need to know is that it takes time. A proper Dublin bartender will take the full two minutes it takes a pint to settles over pouring it all in one go; a major sign you’re not getting Guinness the way it should be.

For example, a pint of Guinness averages €5-€6 in most Dublin pubs. In Temple Bar, you could be paying €8-9 for one. You can be sneaky and snag a great deal on a pint if you head to Bad Bobs on Essex East St. They keep prices low (great for a central pub) and have free entry on the weekends. It’s a quirky bar with live music every night and has seen surprise guests like Anne Marie pop in to belt out a few tunes.

If you have your heart set on going to the Guinness storehouse, take a tour early in the morning as the Skybar gets incredibly busy as the day goes on.

Where not to drink in Dublin

Two words; Fleet Street. It's one of the connecting streets in to Temple Bar and alot of pubs along that little bit of road can rmap up prices for no reason.  A lot of the bars in Temple Bar can be good the further in you go. A simple rule of thumb: once you walk by the main square, bars after that feel more local.

Where to go when the sun is out

East Lothian Courier: credit: Google imagescredit: Google images

Beautiful days in Dublin are made for the beer garden. A lot of the central bars are tucked away in alleys, so you can’t get the benefit of the sun. If you head south towards the canal, The Bernard Shaw is a top local spot and suntrap that is a major after-work pub on nice days, while Blackbird in Rathmines is great if you can get a seat outside.

It’s important to know that while you might see some people having a drink down by the canal on sunny days, it isn’t legal to drink outside, so please don’t.

Where to go on a night out

Again, unless you’re really caught up in paying too much for a drink and not bothered for getting the real Dublin experience, you’ll want to avoid Temple Bar.

For anyone visiting Dublin to go to one of the massive summer shows at Croke Park, the northside neighbourhood of Dublin Phibsborough (commonly shortened to Phibsboro or Phibs) can be a great spot for an after party. Bars like The Hut, The Back Page and McGowans will give you a glimpse of what a real night out in Dublin can be like, often having drinks promo throughout the week.

For those who want to keep it as central as possible, Dame Lane can be hectic at the weekend in the best way possible. A lot of the bars on Dame Street have back entrances out to the lane, so many people treat it like one big beer garden instead of being stuck in a cramped bar. There are also a few quirky bars nearby to go for one including Mary’s Bar & Hardware on Wicklow Street, a bar designed to look like an old hardware store from the 1950s (it also had a trendy burger bar hidden in its basement).

Where to learn the history

Did you know what Dublin has a history going as far back as the Vikings? Dublinia is a fantastic place to learn about why this small village became the Irish metropolis it is today. It is geared towards children but still has something for everyone.

A big part of Irish history that may be unclear to many is the Easter Rising. It was one of the biggest events that led to Ireland becoming a republic again. While there are some museums in town that give a little detail on the event, Kilmainham Gaol is an old jail in the southwest of town that provides a tour through this period of history and how a failed coup became the biggest event in Irish history.

Where to learn your history

If your family is from Ireland and you’ve never been able to find out where your ancestors are from, there’s a place in Dublin that can help. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is one of the top-rated attractions in the city, where not only can you see how far Irish people have spread across the globe, but you can also sit with a genealogist who will trace back your family history hundreds of years. It’s been used on everyone from Barack Obama to Tom Cruise.

Where to see something different

East Lothian Courier: Little Museum Dublin credit: Google imagesLittle Museum Dublin credit: Google images

Anyone looking for a truly unique memory doesn’t have to go too far when in Dublin? There are dozens of quirky attractions and exhibits dotted around the city like the Little Museum of Dublin or the Leprechaun Museum. If you can find it in the gardens on Kings Inn law school, the Hungry Tree is a large London Place tree that many didn’t notice was slowly growing over and absorbing a park bench. It makes for a one of a kind Instagram photo.

And speaking of weird photo opportunities, if you’re at the north end of O’Connell Street, keep an eye out for the Taximan’s Shrine. This large glass box with a figure of Jesus has a dedicated prayer for all taxi men in the city, who look after it and love chatting about it

Where to get the best local grub

East Lothian Courier: Capel Street Dublin credit: Google imagesCapel Street Dublin credit: Google images

O Connell Street is the most famous street in town, but unless you’re looking for fast food or waiting on a bus, it doesn’t have much going on for foodies. Many of the cafes and restaurants just off it aren’t fantastic (bar the amazing Kimhi Hophouse on Parnell Street), and if you’re a real foodie, the magic lies in walking away from the hustle and bustle.

On the north side of the river, head west to Capel St in the mornings for brunch at Brother Hubbard. It's featured on the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil and their French toast is something else. It can get very busy at the weekend and they don’t take bookings, so you may have to wait a while to get a table.

For anyone staying southside, seek out Farmer Browns in Rathmines for the burgers on their early bird menu. Mad Egg on Camden Court also does chicken burgers that are on another level.

If you’re stuck and need fast food in a hurry, any of the 10 Boojums around town will sort you out. It’s an Irish Mexican chain renowned for their massive burritos and fajitas that won’t break the bank. The location on Abbey Street is also a great place to grab a stool by the window and watch the world go by.

Where to stay

Accommodation is a hot topic in the city right now, especially when it comes to Airbnb and apartment rentals. Rent is very expensive, and many landlords prefer to put their apartments on holiday sites rather than lease out. There are regulations in place that have stopped people allowing apartments that aren’t their main home on these sites, so the price for an apartment can go up drastically on weekends and when big events are taking place.

Our recommendation is to find a hotel on the southside of the city, especially if you’re travelling midweek. Many of the northside hotels cater to guests going to shows and concerts at the 3 Arena and Croke Park,  as do hotels near Temple Bar. Taking it even just a kilometre or so down the road can see you blag good deals at hotels like The Dean, The Devlin and Portobello Hotel.  Always shop around too as it can be cheaper to book on a hotel’s own site rather than comparison websites.

Where to have fun

Dublin is a great city. Everything is within walking distance, and you’re never too far from something fun. We hope you found these titbits to be inspiring enough to help you know where to go next time you visit. You’ll be having plenty of craic before you know it.

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