Is it that week again?
Reluctantly you pull out the calendar and count the days to payday. What. The. Hell. Will I survive? YES. Yes you will. After all, the best things in life are free (or thereabouts). Let’s not forget about this gem of a city we call home.
The Great Dublin 8
Ah, the Great Outdoors! We’ll start with the biggest of them all, Phoenix Park. At 700 hectares, Dublin’s Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe, and it’s teeming with life! This free park has everything you need for a full day of fun. Amble the many paths (or rent a Tandem bike if you are feeling really adventurous) and bask in the endless greenery. Discover the animals and all the new life being born in Dublin Zoo, situated near the entrance of the park. This one may cost you a few shiny euros, however, it is worth it when all tickets purchased go to the upkeep of the zoo and its residents, and let’s face it who doesn’t want to check out the safari part?
You will also find the Wellington Monument near the front of Phoenix Park or if you venture further in you will find The Papal Cross. TIP: There is an ice cream/coffee van at both areas all day. If you want to stay on the main drag of Chesterfield Avenue, you will see Aras an Uachtarain, The Papal Cross, The American Embassy, and if you are lucky, you may even run into the odd herd of deer or a lonesome fox. Also, a little inside tip if you want to find (aka Instagram) the deer… they are ALWAYS on the Chapelizod side of the park – without fail. While you’re on that side, you can take a little detour to the football pitches to find over 50 rabbits crowding around the trees and fence that edge the sports grounds, and take a look at the derelict Magazine Fort. Want to visit some donkeys and stand in the shade of a beautiful building? Then Farmleigh near Castleknock is not to be missed.
If you are huge dog lovers, like ourselves, then head across the road from Phoenix Park to the serene, contemplative surroundings of Irish National War Memorial Park. Stroll through wild rose gardens surrounding a monument dedicated to both British and Irish WWI soldiers, and keep an ear out for the echoes of “row” heard from the nearby rowing clubs on the River Liffey. This idyll is practically unknown these days but it is still as beautiful and well-kept as it has always been. Did we mention that it’s an unofficial dog park? Safe from cars, which must be left in the carpark right outside, dogs are free to roam and chase birds, or their own shadows, and play with the other tail-waggers who happen to be around. Who isn’t cheered by a play in the park with dogs on a cold January day?
Loving the small garden vibe and want to be inspired by some modern art? Head to IMMA, located in the most classical building in Ireland from the 17th Century – Royal Kilmainham Hospital. The grounds are awash with modern sculptures and the formal garden is inspired by famous gardens like The Gardens of Versailles. Since you have decided to come all the way out here, you could look into Kilmainham Gaol nearby. Prewarning: this is an incredibly popular attraction, so book tickets in advance!
Want a hike? North, South, Wicklow or all three?!
Heading Southside? Killiney Hill is a must. The views of Killiney beach from here are simply breathtaking.
Going North? Let’s start with the walk from Portmarnock to Malahide, refreshing and only a mere four kilometers. Treat yourself afterward in any of Malahide’s cafes and restaurants, and the town itself is as quaint as they come. Don’t fancy the walk back? Grab a Dart… who’s judging? Speaking of the Dart, if you prefer a bit more of a challenge you can catch the Dart from Malahide to Howth for the cliff walk where scaling rocky surfaces and steep walks are top of the menu.
The more adventurous of you might want to try the fairest walk of all – Glendalough, in Wicklow. This is just a taste of how beautiful Ireland is, and only a stone’s throw from Dublin. WINNER. Want to cross between Dublin and Wicklow? Bray to Greystones is yer man. Two counties in one day – if this doesn’t make you feel like you accomplished something over the weekend, then we don’t know what will!
Not on the Dry pre- payday buzz?
You can literally lift your spirits at Teeling’s Whiskey Distillery. Located right in the heart of the Liberties, Teeling’s is a must whether you are a whiskey enthusiast or not. This is more than free in terms of admission, but it is so worth it. Taste the Spirit of Dublin and rise with the Phoenix (you will feel the heat in there). Literally, watch history being made with Dublin’s first Whiskey Distillery to reopen in over 100 years. If you aren’t too hot and bothered after all that Whiskey, we advise take yourself nearby for a pint in the home of the black stuff down at the iconic Guinness Storehouse. They have seriously done a job on this place and are offering more in the likes of Open Gate Brewery for anyone wanting to taste Guinness with many, if not whacky, twists. The Guinness Storehouse itself is like its very own little stout city. We won’t go as far as the Vatican City, but it’s getting there… was that a bit sacrilegious? We mean no offense!
Museums. If the word makes you say “I’d rather stay at home”, we say give it a go. Three out of four Irish National Museums are within walking range in Dublin city and most importantly – they are all free admission. The Irish National Museum of Decorative Arts & History located by Colin’s Barracks is home to interesting artistic artifacts and offers a little insight into the powerful dynasties of China all the way to WWII. Yes, there is a fighter jet in there! Most importantly there is an entire space dedicated to Ireland’s huge moment in history – the 1916 Easter Rising. After the success of 1916’s centenary, this is definitely worth a visit. Get swept up in patriotic feeling for our little yet proud country, and hear the songs from our unsung heroes.
Let’s reach further back in time with a visit to The Irish National Museum of Archeology on Kildare St. The museum takes us through Ancient Egypt to the Rites of passage at Tara. You might also try the Irish National Museum of Natural History located on Kildare St. If you’re not one to be freaked out by stuffed animals, then this one is for you!
For the person drawn to a more modern, scientific and alternative take on things, The Science Gallery is the answer to your prayers. Here you will find all things relevant in Irelands current cultural scene and universally controversial topics, from Repeal the 8th to Fifty Shades of Grey and everything in between. Bit much? We don’t think so!
Happy Dublin Rambling!
AUTHOR: Amanda Man – The Brickhouse, Community Champion
Amanda is one of Iconics little creative firecrackers. She is a culture vulture and knows every nook & cranny of Dublin’s Fair City.
When she’s not heading up our newest coworking hub, The Brickhouse, you will find Amanda seeking out the next hotspot in the city before anyone else.