In the new year, weekend getaways are perfect for term time. A short hop by plane, Ireland has invested much in its cultural identity, represented within the microcosm of its capital city, Dublin. Dublin offers a wide array of attractions to suit almost everyone. And of course, drinking.
One aspect of Dublin worth exploring is the rich nationalist history. With the centenary of the Easter Rising occurring two years ago, Dublin is proud of its struggle for independence, which saw the rise of prominent national figures such as Michael Collins.
The best way of accessing the most information is through various relatively inexpensive walking tours, giving an overview of the main features of Irish History. Walking tours are great for experiencing the events of the Easter Rising, following the movements of the insurgents from the General Post Office around the city. Experiencing the incredible Irish History is also on show at Kilmainham Gaol, where famous nationalist leaders were kept, and the nicely refurbished Glasnevin Cemetery (it’s much more interesting than it sounds!) is only a short journey outside the city by bus, using a handy leapfrog card.
Dublin also has an amazing literary history, being named a UNESCO city of literature in 2010. Writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde were all from the city and James Joyce also set many of his novels in the city. Trinity College is free to wander around, also offering tours, and is home to a national treasure, the ‘Book of Kells’.
If youíre not interested in the historic side of Dublin, Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, is great for experiencing the traditional Irish sports such as Gaelic football and Hurling. Tours around the stadium and the museum are well worth the time, and the Ericsson skyline offers an amazing panoramic view of Dublin. Dublin Zoo is also worth a visit and can be accessed by the bus and has a wide variety of animals.
Of course, one large part of the Irish culture is drinking. The Guinness storehouse, for example, is described as a ‘multi sensory tasting experience’ and the gravity bar located at the brewery offers amazing panoramic views of the city, while having a pint. Even the Queen has visited. Although it is a bit pricy on a student budget, it is a really good experience. The Irish Whisky museum similarly offers a great drink-centred experience.
It goes without saying, there are a myriad of amazing pubs, many of which also offer live traditional music, dotted around Dublin. Temple Bar in particular has a high density of pubs and there are loads of entertaining pub crawls on offer, if thatís your kind of thing. Temple Bar is also home to other great finds such as the Irish Film Institute and Food Market.
Luckily, Dublin has loads of hostels and there are a large number of reasonably priced ones. Even though some aspects of Dublin can be expensive, a well-planned trip can make a weekend affordable on a budget; you can cater the trip to whatever you enjoy and it is compact enough to explore easily.