How to Spend a Brilliant Birthday in Dublin
When the Irish go out, they know how to have a good time. Here’s why you should spend your next birthday in Dublin.
Dubliners know how to have a good time. Filled with pubs, live music, and Guinness on tap, there are few better places to celebrate a birthday milestone than Ireland’s lively capital. Visitors are often drawn to Temple Bar, a boozy tangle of cobbled streets and bars; the scene of a thousand pub crawls and hen dos - much to the ire of locals. Dublin has so much more to offer beyond Temple Bar; we’ll show you precisely where to go for an authentic birthday experience. So, whether you’re here to party, or looking for a relaxed city break, join in the craic with our guide to spending a brilliant birthday in Dublin.
Let’s get it out of the way. Temple Bar is Dublin’s pubbing capital, and you might expect, it throngs with tourists. If your idea of a good time consists of inebriated singalongs with strangers (and hey, who’s judging), then this is the place for it. While it’s true that Temple Bar is one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods, it isn’t where you’ll find the most authentic Irish experience. That said, it’s a handsome part of town, and certainly worth seeing if you’re in the area. The Temple Bar is the most popular pub on the stretch, and it’s a travellers’ rite of passage. The pub claims a rich tradition of ‘dispensing hospitality since 1840’ and if you’re looking to celebrate with a rowdy rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, stumble here after dark. Just time your trip wisely to avoid the Sodom and Gomorrah display of last orders.
Few scenes better convey a taste of traditional Dublin than a cosy, wood-panelled pub and a roaring open fire. As old and storied of any of Dublin’s historical landmarks, there’s a wealth of classic pubs to choose from. Typical Irish pubs feature an enclosed seating area known as a ‘snug’ - a wooden enclave nestled at the front of the pub with its own entrance, so you can sip your pint in seclusion. The iconic Long Hall is a good place to start; the interior of red leather and glistening hardwood has barely changed since they first pulled a pint 250 years ago. Locals also swear by Mulligan’s, an old-fashioned pub with a literary tradition that counts Seamus Heaney and James Joyce among its legendary patrons. There’s even a
grouchy characterful landlord to boot, adding to the air of authenticity.
When you think of Dublin, windswept beaches aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind, but that’s precisely why it offers a relaxing time by the sea. Granted, the weather is brisker, and the beaches blowy, but catch it on a good day (read: no rain) and a trip to Dublin’s coastal regions make a surprisingly pleasant day out. Bring a blanket, a picnic, a bottle of wine -and a birthday cake- and explore the shingle beaches of Sandyrock, straddled by hillsides of yellow tussock. A purlieu of coastal life, the pretty town of Dalkey offers the opportunity to kayak to the nearby Dalkey island, with seals bopping off the surf. A Birthday adventure you won’t forget in a hurry.
One of Dublin’s essential attractions, the Guinness Storehouse provides excellent context on the city’s inextricable link with the black stuff. Arthur Guinness first brewed here in 1759; hundreds of years later, Dublin is still celebrated as the city where Guinness originated. Take a trip to the storehouse to learn all about its history, and once you’ve worked up a thirst, raise a pint to the city from the seventh-story Gravity Bar: the views are second-to-none. Downstairs, the dining hall serves a decent repertoire of typical Irish dishes and Guinness-infused classics; the steak and ale pie is particularly good.
Floating down the lattice of canals that make up the River Liffey, the narrowboat-cum-culinary hotspot of La Peniche offers a completely different take on sightseeing. Book it privately for a birthday cruise, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. A unique and totally memorable dining experience, Dublin’s floating restaurant sets sail on the Grand Canal, only ten minutes from St. Stephen’s Green.
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