Friday, January 29, 2016

5 Offbeat Things to do in Dublin

5 Offbeat Things to do and see in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a fantastic city to visit, and for a number of reasons. It's incredibly easy to get around on foot, I felt extremely safe touring around on my own, and the people were welcoming and friendly. While you may choose to visit the major attractions such as Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, and the Guinness Storehouse, there are lots of interesting stops just off the beaten path. 

5. The Brazen Head

Grab a pint (and a traditional Irish meal) at the oldest pub in the country! The pub dates back to 1198 and was famously mentioned by literary James Joyce in his book Ulysses. At the Brazen Head you can find live music, Irish storytelling, and plenty of history. With fresh flowers and great courtyard seating in the nicer weather, the atmosphere can’t be beat.

Meet Oscar Wilde in Dublin4. Meet Oscar Wilde

Dublin is a great place for classic literature fans to visit. You can check out the Dublin Writer’s Museum, the Long Room Library inside Trinity College, and James Joyce references scattered throughout the city. However, if you want to get up-close and personal with a famous Irish writer and dramatist, you can meet Oscar Wilde inside the gardens of Merrion Square. Or at least, a smug-faced statue in his likeness. Across the street, you can also find his childhood home with a plaque outside.

Bonus Literary hidden find: in the crypt of Christchurch Cathedral, you can view the mummified cat and rat referenced by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake. 

3. Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham is the Irish version of Alcatraz, and one of the largest unoccupied jails in Europe. On a guided tour you will see the old cells and jail corridors, learn about the Irish revolutionaries who were imprisoned there, and even stand in the courtyard where executions took place. Tales of the poor conditions, child prisoners, and death sentences that were carried out at this prison will send chills down your spine. Just outside of the city centre, Kilmainham Gaol is definitely worth hopping on a bus to visit. 

2. The Lucky Stone 

Inside St. Audoen’s Church, there lies a peculiar Celtic gravestone known as the ‘Lucky Stone’. Despite being stolen numerous times throughout the years (once missing for two decades!), this mysterious stones always makes its way home. Thought to be from the 9th century, there are many superstitions surrounding the stone— it is said to be protected by the ghosts of clergy. However, they won’t mind if you rub it for good luck!

1. St. Michan’s Crypt

Have you ever wanted to shake hands with an 800-year-old mummy? Well, this is your chance. The guided tour of St. Michan’s crypt takes you underground and face-to-face with the corpses of an Irish nun, thief-turned-priest, and rumoured Crusader. The corpses have been naturally preserved thanks to the dry conditions of the crypt. After peeking into the disintegrating wooden coffins, guests are invited to rub the finger of the ‘Crusader’ for good luck. This chilling experience is not for the faint of heart! Luckily, the Jameson whiskey distillery is just around the corner if you need to calm your nerves.

Have you seen any of Dublin's interesting oddities? Let me know in the comments!

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