The island of Ireland is known around the world for many things. Not only is the scenery some of the most impressive in the world, you’ll also find world-class food, drink, music and a rich and varied history. If you’re looking for a truly authentic experience in Ireland but don’t have the time to leave our capital city, we’ve put together a list of traditional Irish experiences you can have right here in Dublin
Traditional Irish music has been a part of the Irish culture for as long as Ireland itself. Songs and stories passed down from generation to generation means we are singing the same words and dancing to the same tunes as our forefathers. While it can be difficult to find an authentic traditional music experience in Dublin, it is absolutely still possible! For a real traditional experience, why not head out of the city to the Merry Ploughboy Pub? They have live music and dancing shows throughout the weekend and also serve some delicious traditional food.
Unfortunately, the Irish language is not widely spoken in Ireland, least of all in Dublin. Just 41% of the Irish population claim they can speak the native tongue and there are very few areas where Gaelic is the principal language, none of which are in Dublin. If you want to enjoy a cúpla focal (few words) of Irish Conradh na Gaeilge is a great place to start. They offer classes from beginners to advanced and often have Irish language social events too. If you want to practice what you’ve learned, several Irish-owned pubs and shops in the city encourage ordering and conversation in Irish too.
While we’re so much more than the drunken Irishman we are often stereotyped as, it’s hard to deny that pubs and drinking are a huge part of Irish culture. We use them as places to celebrate, commiserate, catch up, cheer up, socialise and sometimes just to hide until the rain stops! Traditional Irish pubs are unusual, unique and authentic above anything else. They don’t care for fancy artwork or high-end furniture, preferring to concentrate more on comfort and friendly service. Toners Pub on Baggot Street is a perfect example.
The Irish coast may be small when compared to our European counterparts, but it is mighty. The Dublin coast looks across the Irish Sea and it’s amazing how few people explore it when they visit. A walk along the coast, on one of the many walking/hiking trails, will give show you the very best of Dublin and some of our most scenic views. Explore the coast with a cliff walk in Howth or a stroll along Dun Laoghaire pier with an ice cream. There are many interesting landmarks along the coast to explore too, like Malahide Castle and Dalkey Castle – so be sure to bring a camera!
If you know anything about Irish History, you’ll know there is much excitement, sadness and elation all packed into the relatively short history of the country. From civil wars in our recent history to famines that wiped out over half of our population, Irish history is so interesting. Visiting one of Dublin’s world-class museums will give you a good idea of our past, present and the exciting scientific developments we look forward to in the near future. One of the best things about visiting Dublin is the number of free things to do and see including all of our public galleries and museums. Although it’s not a free attraction, Guinness Brewery has been a huge part of Ireland’s history since 1759 and the storehouse tour is an informative and fun activity that will teach you about the famous drink and its roots in Dublin.
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