- People-watching from the balcony at Bewley's: The human traffic of busy Grafton Street flows past the tiny balcony at this beloved cafe, immortalized in literature and a favored hangout of Dubliners for a century. Stopping here for coffee and cake is still a quintessential Dublin experience.
- Walking through Temple Bar: Yes, it's touristy, yes, it's loud, and yes, it's the kind of place where people in giant leprechaun costumes hustle for change in return for photos. But the energy of Temple Bar is electrifying. Its restaurants and bars buzz with life, its galleries and cutltural centers overflow with innovation.
- Watching the sunlight inside St. Patrick's Cathedral: Late afternoon usually means Evensong's organ rehearsals in this historic cathedral. As the sun starts to dip, watch the glowing color on the walls as the light shines through the stained-glass windows.
- Sauntering through wooded walks at Iveagh Gardens: So close to busy St. Stephen's Green and yet a world away, this secluded Victorian garden has a cascade, armless statues, a rosarium, and shady woods—all made for solitary afternoons.
- Gaping at the manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Library: Not all that well known even among Dubliners, the Chester Beatty is quite simply the best small museum we've ever been to in Ireland. Why stand in long lines to see a couple of pages from the Book of Kells when this is here—and for free?
- Catching a traditional music session at the Cobblestone: You won't have to look far at all to find live music in Dublin's myriad fine pubs—but if it's true authenticiy you're after, you need to know where to go. And this, for our money, is the cream of the crop.
- Taking afternoon tea at the Shelbourne: You don't have to be an overnight guest to sink into a huge leather armchair at this classic Dublin hotel and demolish a tower of cakes and daintily trimmed sandwiches. If you're in the mood for a history fix afterward, sneak upstairs to find room no. 112. This is where the Irish Constitution was written in 1922. If nobody has booked the room—and the concierge is in a good mood—you might even get a peek inside.
- Listening to a master storyteller spin a yarn: The last few years have seen a resurgence in the age-old art of storytelling, with a new generation embracing this captivatingly simple art form. There's a magic about it that feels almost primal. An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies is one of the most unexpectedly fun nights out Dublin has to offer—and appropriately enough, it's held in what might be Ireland's oldest pub. If you believe the story.
- Deciding who serves the best pint of Guinness: Guinness might be available the world over, but it really does taste better over here. (Throw shade on anyone who tells you it's because they use water from the Liffey—Irish Guinness is unpasteurized, unlike the kind they export.) So where's it to be? Doheny and Nesbitt? The Long Hall? Grogan's Castle? Hard to tell, but it's always a mouthwatering moment watching the pint being pulled slowly and then settling, ready to be sunk.
- Enjoying the foodie culture: During the "Celtic Tiger" boom years of the 1990s and early 2000s, Dublin developed a gastronomic scene quite unlike anything it had experienced before, with a host of cutting-edge restaurants taking the city by storm. Many are still here, but the current trend towards a rediscovery (and reinvention) of traditional Irish flavors is even more appealing. Places like Gallagher's Boxty House in Temple Bar are embracing Ireland's traditional food heritage afresh for a new generation.
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