Social Programme

We have planned an exciting social programme for you so that you can experience the best in Irish food and entertainment. We will provide details shortly.

We can tell you that our gala dinner will be held in the Old Jameson Distillery on Friday 18 September. You will have to pay separately for this fabulous night, but it will be well worth it!

10 free things to do in Dublin

1. All of the government-run museums in Dublin are free and open to the public. Try the National Museum for Natural History, also known by locals as the “Dead Zoo” because of the many taxidermied creatures that live on in the old building. The National Museum for Archaeology has an exhibit on mummified people who were found throughout the country in peat bogs, and the National Museum for the Decorative Arts has an exhibit called “What We Wore,” featuring Irish clothing through the ages. These museums are closed on Mondays and national holidays.

2. More of a museum than a library, the Chester Beatty Library holds a collection of artifacts and antiquities donated to the city of Dublin by mining magnate Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The library holds original illustrated copies of the Qur’an and the Bible, and the exhibit on the Art of the Book gives you an in-depth look at the way the written word developed in various cultures over centuries. Make sure to take the stairs all the way up to the rooftop meditation garden to look out over the city.

3. The Science Gallery, set just inside the gates of Trinity College, combines the nerdiness of science with the cool factor of an art gallery. You’ll find exhibits focusing on the science of desire and risk, blood, or surface tension. Manned by helpful Trinity College post-graduate students, the exhibits aim to push visitors to ask questions and spark discussions about how the theories of science intersect with our lives on a daily basis.

4. Dublin’s well-manicured city parks provide peaceful escapes in the midst of busy city streets and sidewalks. The buzziest one is St. Stephen’s Green at the top of Grafton Street, where you can watch the swan family in the pond. For the best picnic, try Merrion Square on a Thursday at lunchtime for the local food stalls. And for real peace and quiet, visit the Iveagh Gardens, where you might be the only non-local. The city parks close at dusk, so keep an ear out for the ringing bell that alerts visitors to the closing iron gates.

5.Trinity College sits on over forty acres of space in the center of Dublin city, surrounded on all sides by high wrought iron fencing. As soon as you enter through the giant wooden door, the city noises fade away. You can take a guided (paid) tour hosted by Trinity College history majors, or simply wander your way through the grounds, visiting the campus art gallery and even catching a cricket match on a Sunday afternoon.

You can tour Aras an Uachtarain (pronouncedare-as an uck-tah-rahn), the residence of the President of Ireland. Tucked into Dublin’s largest park, Phoenix Park, Aras An Uachtarain was built in 1751 as the more modest home of the Phoenix Park ranger. After several renovations and extensions, the grand white building now resembles America’s White House. Visit the Phoenix Park Visitors Centre for tickets, which are on a first-come, first-served basis.

7. In addition to the national museums, Dublin has a selection of galleries, both large and small. The Hugh Lane Gallery, next to the (also free) Garden of Remembrance, has Francis Bacon’s entire London studio set up in the back. The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery has a two-month-long annual exhibit each summer that is full of amateur and acclaimed artists. The National Gallery of Ireland has short tours several times each day to introduce visitors to their permanent collection.

8. Each Saturday, Meetinghouse Square in Temple Bar transforms into a farmer’s marketwith stalls full of produce, cheese, baked goods, olives, and even oysters. Meetinghouse Square happens to have a beautiful permanent umbrellas overhead, making it a great destination even on soggy days. Tip: visit the Llewellyn’s Orchard stall for hot cider with a shot of Irish whiskey that’s warming even on the dreariest of days.

9. You can probably skip the shopping scene on Grafton Street (which is filled with chains you’ll find in the U.S.); but the buskers are reason enough to stroll down the wide pedestrian street. A classically trained pianist regularly rolls his full-size piano down the street from the tram line, while a novice fire-breathing magician often takes up residence at the top of the street and looks for audience help with his straitjacket unicycling. And around the holidays, you might even find Bono himself out with Glen Hansard.

10. No matter where you are in Dublin, you aren’t very far from rows of those postcard-perfect Georgian doors. Stroll Henrietta Street on the north side of the city or Merrion Square on the south side of the city, and marvel at the paint colors, intricate door-knockers, and boot-scrapers. Remnants from the 1700s, when Dublin was the largest and most prosperous city in the British Empire after London, the Georgian homes were built with red brick facades and stunning ceiling plasterwork. To get a glimpse of what a Georgian home would have looked like in the time they were built, visit Number 29 Georgian Museum (entrance fee applies).

Credit: Conde Nast Traveller