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Culture

An Ireland Travel Guide for Nightlife & Sightseeing

Pubs, Clubs and Bars in Dublin

1.    O’Donoghues Bar

This pub, which quickly became my regular spot, provides the total Irish experience. Not only are the bartenders friendly and lovely, but the live music and aesthetic are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Bring an American dollar bill with you… I know it sounds weird, but trust me!  

2.    Johnnie Fox’s Pub

Only 30 minutes from the Dublin city center (Saint Stephen’s Green), this traditional restaurant and pub has amazing Irish food and great energy. It was the first pub I actually went to once I arrived and was everything that I imagined a traditional pub in Ireland to be. I had my first Irish stew here in an iron cast bowl.

3.    The Brazen Head

With indoor and outdoor seating, this popular pub looks like a mini medieval or Viking tavern and is a great place to try your first pint of Guinness. Located right by River Liffey, you’ll hear some live Irish music while drinking and snacking. One of the unique things about this alehouse is its history, which I’ll leave you to discover on your own.

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4.    Peruke and Periwig

If you love trying new drinks or tasty cocktails, you must visit this classy and trendy bar on 31 Dawson Street. I recommend trying the cocktail called Smells Like Teen Spirit. On top of the fabulous drinks, the second floor features a lounge where you can enjoy some modern Irish cuisine. Oh, and dress fancy—it’s a really nice place!

5.    Dicey’s Garden Club

This popular club is known for its cheap drinks and large venue as there is both a nightclub and beer garden. The typical crowd here is university students, from ages 18 to 21, and the lines are exceptionally long on Monday nights. Despite the younger age demographic, it’s definitely a place that I’d recommend going to at least once because the physical space is incredible.

6.    37 Dawson Street

Another great place to get a nice cocktail is this classy bar, with a great atmosphere, tasty food and delicious drinks. It’s locally known for its wide and vast selection of Irish whiskey. If I had to describe what the aesthetic vibe reminded me of, I’d say The Great Gatsby.

7.    Temple Bar

Being the most well-known bar in Dublin, Temple Bar is a must-visit. Although, just know that you’ll be paying double or triple for a pint! It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations and would be a perfect place to stop through for a drink during a pub crawl in the Temple Bar District. I encourage you to interact with the people you meet at any of these bars; you won’t regret it!

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Archaeological and Historical Sites

1.     Leap Castle

Located in Coolderry, County Offaly, this restored castle is believed to have been built sometime in the middle of the thirteenth century. After withstanding centuries of history, it was burned down during the Irish Civil war in the twentieth century. Since being studied by different paranormal investigators, one of the most fascinating things about this castle is the belief that it’s haunted. If you’ve ever been interested in seeing an ancient, haunted house, then this is the right place to go!

2.     McDermott’s Castle

If you grew up loving fairy tales and dreaming about being a princess, Ireland will make all of your childhood fantasies come true. In County Roscommon, this beautiful castle was owned by the McDermott clan until the seventeenth century but traces back to the twelve century. Although the castle was rebuilt due to damage from natural causes and WWII, its history is quite fascinating.   

3.     Rock of Cashel

There are countless local legends linked to this site, with some myths involving St. Patrick casting away the devil himself. Also, it’s believed that St. Patrick walked amongst the grounds of the Rock of Cashel to bring Christianity to the king. Located in County Tipperary, the main structures that remain date back to the twelve and thirteenth century, although life on this site has been traced back much farther. If you’re a fan of art and architecture, I highly recommend visiting this place to appreciate the different architectural styles and Celtic art collection. One of the best things about this historical site is that the structure itself is, for the most part, still fully intact.

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4.     Kilkenny Medieval Mile

Kilkenny offers many different tours for tourists to explore the history and beauty of this quaint, vibrant city. However, you can simply walk along the Medieval Mile and explore many of the sights on your own. While visiting Kilkenny, experience the old and new, the historic archaeological landmarks and contemporary life. Some historical sites that I recommend visiting upon your visit are Kilkenny Castle and St. Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum.

5.     The Derry Walls

Built in the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Derry Walls hold the history of Northern Ireland. They experienced conflict between the Protestants and Catholics, the Unionists versus the Loyalists, and the British versus the Irish. The centuries of historical conflict are essential in understanding this landmark’s complexities; therefore, I suggest either researching prior to visiting the walls or going on a guided tour. If you haven’t already watched Derry Girls on Netflix, the sitcom is set during the 1990s at the end of what is known as The Troubles.

6.     Skellig Michael

Located in the Atlantic Ocean off County Kerry, this island is a monastic site that’s an archaeology goldmine. Keep in mind, this particular place is much more difficult to visit than any other site mentioned here. Depending on the weather, it may not be safe to travel to as the only way to get there is by boat. Although the voyage and journey may not be as predictable as almost every other site in Ireland, it’s definitely worth the view. Fun fact: part of Star Wars: A Force Awakens was filmed here!

7.     Hill of Tara

This was one of the first archaeological sites that I saw in Ireland, and it’s unimaginably extraordinary. Ireland is a country well known for its religious history, and this specific site is the grounds of Paganism and Christianity. Even though it only holds a few physical, historical monuments, the expanse of land has a lot of history within the grounds. I’d recommend doing your research before coming to this site, but you’ll surely meet a local who will gladly share Hill of Tara’s history.

Thalia Anobile

Queen's U '21

Thalia Anobile is the Campus Correspondent in her fifth year at Queen's University.
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