1. When it comes to genuine Dublin pubs you’re on the right track if you get to bohemian Nearys or homely Kehoes but for something really different it’s got to be the Hacienda Bar of Little Mary Street. You’ll have to ring the doorbell to get in but brilliantly eccentric owner Shay will make it worth the effort. Get there quick, it was the recent setting of the video of I Draw Slow’s new single ‘Valentine’, starring Aidan Gillen and this quirky bar is only going to get more and more famous.
2. Merrion Square’s National Gallery houses Ireland’s finest art collection and entry to the permanent collection here is free. But why not try the Irish Museum of Modern Art instead? It’s a stone’s throw away from Kilmainham Gaol, it’s also free and its impressive gardens are worth the trip alone.
3. Tourists flock to the Brazen Head, reportedly Ireland’s oldest bar. For something more peaceful try the Central Hotel’s Library Bar on Exchequer Street. It’s cosy & comfortable with plush armchairs & an open fire. Keep it quiet though, those who have discovered this hidden gem are very protective of it.
4. The Irish Film Institute is a fine place to catch an indie film on a rainy day. They’ve lots of quality homegrown Irish productions which will give you a good insight into the country. But another cinema popular with locals is Smithfield’s Lighthouse. Such is the passion that when it was threatened by closure in 2012 locals & fans set up a self-funded campaign to keep it operating.
5. If the commercial feel of the huge Guinness Storehouse is not up your street then try the Old Jameson Distillery, also in Smithfield. It’s still a big brand product but the small scale of the factory and the personal nature of the tour might just suit you better.
6. At Dublin City Hall you’ll find twelve murals in total, eight of which depict a famous legendary or historical scene. Impressive indeed, but for real Dublin art head to the old Windmill Lane studios and their graffiti plastered walls. It’s not the most accomplished art you’ll ever see but it is where U2 recorded their first 3 albums.
7. On a sunny day you can follow the crowds to Stephen’s Green or Trinity College, they’re located at opposite ends of Grafton Street. But those in the know head to the Iveagh Gardens, situated behind Harcourt St. This more tranquil park has fountains, statues & a sense of ‘poetry’. If you know what I mean.
8. The Little Museum of Dublin is gaining popularity and it’s hardly a secret any longer but pop along anyway. You’ll see what Dublin was like in 1961 (grim, probably) and an exhibition called “U2 Made in Dublin”.
9. Instead of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Christchurch how about Rathmines Church? Most people have only seen the massive green dome from the outside, but it’s just as impressive inside. With its restaurants, pubs & beautiful canalside setting this village is well worth a visit anyway.
10. Dublin Bikes. Hardly a secret because they’re lined up in big blue rows all over the city but they still remain a bit of a mystery to many of the population. Join for €10 a year or pay a one off fee with your credit card. All you have to do is leave them back at any Dublin Bike location throughout the city within the next half hour.