By Jeff Game
Take a ride through one of my favorite cities on the planet and discover my five cool things to do in Dublin. Oh, there will be Guinness; there will surely be Guinness.
My love affair with Ireland began long before I set foot on the emerald shores – growing up in an almost “Quiet Man” fantasy world of the love a country I had only heard about from my family – I even acquired the love of the Notre Dame Irish football team, U2 and Irish Spring soap.
That is the American version of loving Ireland and sometimes fantasy does not live up to the hype. However, in my case, finally having the chance to see the real Ireland, the real Dublin, well that has now become a real love.
Footsteps of Joyce
After a long flight to Dublin from Los Angeles, I love coming to an inviting and historical pub like the Auld Dubliner, in the heart of the Temple Bar. Yes, the Temple Bar area can feel like a crowded and vomity night in Vegas. Even so, the Auld Dubliner has a great classic pub atmosphere; traditional pub grub like cuddle and the music is always live throughout the week.
For those not hip to the Dublin pub scene, the Auld Dubliner is a great place to start located near some great hotels, and of course smack dab in the middle of pub central. There is always plenty of craic to go around at this classic Irish pub, and one of my five cool things to do in Dublin
A Sort of Homecoming
From the first time, I saw this little Irish quartet open for the Police I have been a huge U2 fan and have always wanted to walk where the streets have no name. Now even if the greatest band (my blog, not yours) in the world U2 owns a hotel, that does not mean I would want to stay in the”I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” suite or work out at the “Pride In The Name of Love” gym.
More so, the Clarence Hotel is nothing like a Disenyesque themed hotel. The hotel, which is owned by half of U2, Bono and the Edge, is a classy, remodeled, throwback of a sleeping establishment that is located on the Liffey River and has some of the best Irish hospitality in town. The octagon pub will not disappoint for a late night pint and some chocolates.
In God’s Country
Every time I have ever tried Guinness I truly hated the taste and the aftertaste after that. However, once I finally had some of the “black stuff” in its homeland, another great love affair blossomed. Seriously people, Guinness just factually tastes better in Ireland, with its freshness and quality controlled pours and temperature in any pub across the country.
Visiting the Guinness Storehouse and taking a tour in Dublin is a station of the cross to any visit to Dublin and is the birthplace to this nectar of the Irish beer gods. This place is one my favorite places to go in all of Dublin.
Yes, the beer is the main event, however there are four great places to grab some Irish grub -with some menu items with a Guinness theme, as well as the best view of any bar in Dublin -the Gravity Bar at the end of the tour – with your free pint that you get with the tour. Suddenly you have a craving for a Guinness, don’t ya?
Even with the Irish economy hitting the skids and still taking years now to get back on track, one big seismic shift has happened with the Irish food culture and now travelers are booking food tours around the land of corn beef and cabbage. Here are a couple of my favorite discoveries around Dublin.
The Pig’s Ear is a stylish and sophisticated eatery that offers such fare as crispy pig’s head croquette, pan-fried cod and slow cooked duck leg – far from any bland meat and potatoes of the past.
Sit down for lunch at the charming Winding Stair, and you will be treated to some Irish cuisine you may not expect. Included in the meal are the shelves of books by the great Irish writers from the attached bookstore of the same name and a view of the Ha’Penny Bridge.
Step out of your comfort zone and into a couple scoops of ice cream art. I love discovering throwback ice cream shops, yet with a modern flare for creativity and bold ingredients. Murphy’s Ice Cream infuses flavors you may not expect to like in ice cream form, but cannot get enough of this frozen goodness.
How about some regular flavors such as caramelized brown bread, Irish coffee (with whiskey) or their famous Dingle gin ice cream? Some of their adventurous past creations have included pink champagne and candied chili pepper ice cream.
Murphy’s Ice Cream is one discovery you will not regret checking out and may even become addicted. The cold never bothered me anyway.
The landscape of Irish cuisine has evolved in Ireland becoming a serious foodie destination, and there are so many great restaurants you need to discover and find your favs.
Sweet Soul Music
After you filled your belly with pig’s head and Guinness, one great way to top of your night is going to a gig at Vicar Street, one of the top venues in all of Ireland. Upcoming shows include local Glen Hansard, Milky Chance and the Boston hooligans, the Dropkick Murphy’s.
My Mixed Tape – Dublin
I love making mixes for any trip, whether a local trip or across the globe, and I also love finding new, local music. I also have great affection for many Irish artists and no trip to Dublin would be complete without some superb Irish music. Here is my Dublin Mixed Tape.
The Miracle(Of Joey Ramone)- U2
High Hope- Glen Hansard
Ode to Family -The Cranberries
Cherry Wine -Hozier
Rose Tattoo – Dropkick Murphy’s