Child free, in the Emerald Isle? Sounds idyllic doesn’t it. Well here is my guide, to 5 things that I would recommend to do if you are lucky enough to be child free in Dublin for a weekend city break.
First up, I thought I’d give you a little background. I’ve been going to Dublin for nearly 20 years, and have visited around 10-15 times in total. Having got engaged and spent the millennial celebrations in the city, its one I think of very fondly. I’ve stayed in everything from 5 star hotels to bargain hostels and Air B&B’s. Having recently come back from a trip, I thought I would offer a few tips on where I recommend to stay, eat and what to do once you arrive in the next few posts.
Take in the sights!
Whether on foot or using one of the hop on hop off buses, there is so much to discover in the city! I think its useful to do a little planing before you spend a weekend in Dublin, to make sure you don’t miss something you’ll regret. It’s a lot easier doing it without the kids if I’m honest. Though Dublin does offer lots of other things that are good to experience as a family.
If you are anything like me, with a passion to discover a little of the history of a place you visit, as well as go out in the evening and dance the night away, I couldn’t recommend Dublin more. It’s a divided into different quarters and areas that makes it easier to navigate. Once you identify what it is you’d like to see, you can dedicate some time to wandering around those back alleys and hidden nooks, where treasure can be found!
Favourites of mine are :
- The Medieval and Georgian Quarter and Dame District for sightseeing and photography.
- Jamesons distillery, for the whiskey tasting and The Ghost Tour bus (not suitable for children under 14) for a something spooky in the evening, with fun history lessons thrown in.
- Ha’penny Bridge & Trinity college.
Shop till you drop
I know this isn’t something everyone enjoys doing when you have a weekend away, but I think shopping in Dublin is pure pleasure. You can combine it with a meal and a drink close by, and visit shops that you’ve probably never heard of or visited before, as well as old favourites. My only regret is that I often only go there with just hand luggage and no free space to fill!
My recommendations would be :
- Luxury – Brown Thomas
- Irish – Avoca, Irish Design Shop
- Markets – Ranelagh Village Food and Craft market & Georges Street Arcade.
- Vintage – Harlequin & Om Diva
- Kids Shops – The Disney store sells items that are only available globally in the Dublin Disney store, definitely worth a look if you are Disney addicts like us.
Kick back with the locals
Spend a lazy afternoon in a local pub, with the papers, a pint or an Irish coffee. Drink up the lively atmosphere whilst watching a band, or chatting with your fellow pub goers. Take a breath, and relax for a couple of hours.
Now I’m going to recommend the opposite to the guide books here, and say steer clear of the Temple bar area. For a truly authentic slice of the craic go a little further out. You don’t need to go far, and you’ll get to experience live music, sample local spirits, stouts and beers and receive a warm welcome. I’m a fan of pubs such a McDaids, O’Donohues and The Hairy Lemon. They all have a rich history, with plenty of poets and writers frequenting them, used to film movies and famous bands having sung in them too.
Oh and if you are a gin fan, please try the Gunpowder Irish Gin, its amazing!
If you want to enjoy an evening of culture, how about going to one of the many the theaters in Dublin to watch a show. We’ve watched shows like Rent and Thriller whilst in Dublin. The Gaiety and The Olympia Theater would be my top recommendations, as they are brimming with charm and history. Order interval drinks, to enjoy mid performance and book a meal at one of the many nearby restaurants, perfect!
As well as live music in lots of bars around the city, music venues in Dublin, don’t come much more iconic than Vicar street. This is a fantastic intimate space that’s been the home of some legendary gigs over the years, including names like James Brown and Christy Moore. It’s a great place to see acts on the way up, before they hit big too. We recently saw one of my favourite bands ever at Vicar Street – The Hothouse Flowers. The atmosphere was fantastic, friendly and very chilled. I ended up holding hand with the person to my left (a local) who by the end of the night, became my new best friend.
I hope you found this post helps you make you plans for a child free weekend. I’m going to do a round-up of some of the places I recommend to eat in Dublin too, watch this space!