Dublin is a popular travel destination, known for its rich history, vigorous pub culture, and magnificent nature. In fact, many places in Ireland are popular with tourists and get thousands upon thousands of visitors monthly, with Cliffs of Moher breaking all records with a whopping 1.6 million tourists in a year coming to take in the beauty of this lavish piece of art created by nature.
But sometimes you want to take a step back from the crowded touristy places and discover the real Dublin. The Dublin how the locals see and experience it. Once you find yourself in the airport, take a taxi to your hotel, unpack and sleep off your jet lag, you are ready to go exploring.
The Iveagh Gardens
Away from the busy streets, the Iveagh Gardens is a park well-beloved by the locals and the music scene of Dublin. It used to be private property, but since then, the park has been designated as National Historic property and is now open to the public. However, not many tourists are even aware of its existence, which means that you can enjoy a quiet afternoon in the Iveagh Gardens without the rush of a tourist group. In the summer months, the Iveagh Gardens becomes an outdoor venue for many concerts. You might need to wander around the streets for a bit in order to find this truly hidden gem, but it’s well worth the effort.
The James Joyce Centre
It’s funny how this place managed to stay under the radar for so long. James Joyce is probably the most well-known Dubliner there is. This world-acclaimed author even wrote a collection of short stories all about the people of Dublin. Each year in June, there’s the famous Bloomsday festival dedicated to the heritage of James Joyce. But you don’t have to wait the whole year to pay tribute to his literary genius. Just go to the James Joyce Center, which is a cultural and educational center located on the north side of Dublin. There’s even a museum operating on the premises.
This hidden gem that not even all Dubliners know about, is located in Smithfield on the north side of the city. Hacienda has been gaining some traction in recent years, with many celebrities frequenting the bar, like Ed Sheeran, who’s been there twice already. However, it’s far from being a popular hangout spot for tourists. Mostly, it’s due to the bar’s entrance policy. To get in, you’ll have to knock on the door and wait for the host to let you in. If somehow you get lucky and get inside, you might recognize the interior of the bar from some TV series, as this spot is also quite popular with TV directors, who book the place for filming, sometimes for up to a few months at a time.
The Waldorf Barbers
This barbershop has been around for nearly a hundred years, first established in 1929 on Westmoreland Street and moved to its current location in 1941. The Waldorf Barbers gives off an air of elegance and style. Its interior is modeled after a 1920s New York barbershop, inspired by the time the owner had spent working in Manhattan’s Waldorf Hotel. They’ve been maintaining traditional standards since their opening day and continue delivering top quality service to this day. If you want to get a hot towel shave, trim your beard, or get a proper haircut, this is the barbershop just for you.
Great South Wall
Now, this place is not always considered a tourist attraction and too bad for all the people who’ve missed out on seeing it. The Great South Wall is a 4km wall that goes out into the Dublin bay, opening up a magnificent sea scenery. Build around two hundred years ago, it’s still standing strong. At the end of the walk, you’ll find the Poolbeg Lighthouse, which was built in 1768. The modern construction was re-designed in 1820, re-building it to be higher and slicker. It’s a great place for a morning stroll on a Sunday. You can enjoy the panoramic view and feel a breeze of fresh air on your face.
All of these places are so different yet alike in how they’re all unique and peculiar each in its own way. If you ever find your way to Dublin, make sure to pay a visit to at least a few. There’s something special in seeing the side of the city that’s not overridden with tourism to the point when you can’t even enjoy your time there as you’re on a schedule and the next group of tourists is waiting for their turn. When visiting a new city, you’d want to see it the way the locals experience it and discover some of these hidden gems, which will leave you with some fond memories and make you come back time and time again.