Our Favourite 40th Birthday Ideas in Dublin
Looking to celebrate in style? Here are some of our favourite restaurants, watering holes and places to explore in the Irish capital.
There’s no better place to celebrate a birthday than Dublin. There’s something for everyone here, even us finicky folk at Plum Guide. Interested in history? Dublin. Love a good party? Dublin. A bit of a creative type? Dublin. Perhaps you’re a foodie? Yep, you guessed it - Dublin. Whatever tickles your fancy, find inspiration with our guide to ringing in your 40s in the Irish capital.
The Greenhouse was practically built for birthdays and has become the number one spot in Dublin for a celebratory dinner. It’s only been open a few years but has already snagged a Michelin star. Reflecting the very best in contemporary Irish cuisine, the menu changes depending on what produce is in season. Whether it’s Sika deer with mushrooms or foie gras parfait with smoked eel, bask in the luxury of the plush turquoise banquettes, white tablecloths and tabletop orchids. This place is quite popular with anyone who is anyone, so keep your eyes peeled and you might get a surprise sighting of your favourite celeb.
It wouldn’t be a guide to 40th birthday ideas in Dublin without a meal at Chapter One. As you step inside this Georgian basement you’ll feel like you’re entering the Promised Land of gastronomic goodness. Owner and chef Ross Lewis has been serving up haute cuisine for the past 28 years, combining Irish ingredients with exotic flavours. The down to earth atmosphere at this Michelin star restaurant is a refreshing contrast to the flawlessly executed dishes.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
For a blowout birthday meal (come on, you deserve it), Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the place to be. Don your finest evening wear as Ireland's only two Michelin starred restaurant is the ultimate fine dining destination. It’s dripping with elegance - think waitstaff with three-piece suits and silver cloches revealing modern European dishes cooked to perfection. It’s hard not to feel a little giddy with excitement knowing that under your feet there’s a cellar filled with over 20,000 bottles of rare wines - you’ll need the sommelier.
The Lucky Duck
Can’t decide whether you’d rather grab drinks at a pub or a fancy cocktail bar? How about both? Better still, how about both in the same building? High on our list of 40th birthday ideas in Dublin, The Lucky Duck is a godsend for the more indecisive amongst us. This exquisitely restored Victorian building is a multi-level bar-restaurant. On the ground floor, settle in for some pints at the antique bar. Feeling a little fancier? Make your way upstairs (and then upstairs again) for a selection of three intimate bars, shaken-up cocktails, table service and original period features. Getting back downstairs at the end of your evening may prove tricky, though...
If there’s only one bar you visit in Dublin, it has to be 9 Below. With its Art Deco charm, original vaulted ceilings and soft lighting, it’s easily one of the city’s most luxurious bars. The highlight is the opulent cocktail menu, but there's also an extensive wine and whiskey menu with some rare and pricey options - perhaps a glass of €1200 Midleton Pearl 30th Anniversary could do the trick? Yes, really. There are only 117 bottles in the world. Speaking of special, if you’re looking for somewhere memorable to stay in Dublin, take a look at our range of accommodation in the city.
Peruke and Periwig
We’re not exaggerating when we say that Peruke and Periwig is arguably the most unique and memorable bar-restaurant in Dublin - one of our more ingenious 40th birthday ideas in Dublin. This Victorian pub and cocktail bar serves 19th century splendour with plush velvet banquettes, mahogany bookshelves, candlelight and brocade cushions. You’ll find unique cocktails grouped into music genres - feeling a little jazzy? Try saying ‘Peruke and Periwig’ after you’ve had a few Bellini Bottom Blues.
Best places to shop for a gift
Irish Design Shop
If you’ve come to Dublin and forgot to buy a birthday gift (a sign of <s>getting older</s> bad organisational skills), a quick trip to the Irish Design Shop will save you from an awkward situation. The shop is basically a gallery of the best of Irish craft and design. Whether it’s homeware, jewellery, accessories or artwork, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something.
If your giftee is a sucker for homeware, you’re bound to come out of Article with an item or five. This contemporary homeware shop showcases ranges from the best Irish designers to enticing international brands. We hope you’ve paid for extra luggage, because it’s the kind of place where you end up buying a few things for yourself too.
We know we keep banging on about Irish designs, but can you blame us? Kilkenny Design is Ireland’s largest assemblage of Irish designed products. There is something for all tastes, whether it’s stationery, homeware, health and beauty or accessories.
National Botanic Gardens
One of the best 40th birthday ideas in Dublin for plant enthusiasts is a trip to the National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are known for their range of glasshouses designed with different climates in mind. Outside you’ll also find themed gardens, an arboretum and a pond area. With over 15,000 plant species from around the world, perhaps you’ll gain some inspiration for that garden renovation you’ve been putting off.
Irish Whiskey Museum
Although this list already reads more like an alcoholic day dream than a guide to 40th birthday ideas in Dublin, you can’t miss the Irish Whiskey Museum. There are different tours on offer, whether it’s the Classic Tour, Whiskey Blending Experience, or the Whiskey and Brunch Experience. And before you ask, yes, they all include tastings. Plus, as the museum is independent of any distillery, you’ll get to sample a wide selection of Irish whiskey.
A night out at the theatre
Couple your fine dining experience with a night at the theatre. As well as its pubs and Guinness, the Emerald Isle is also known for its literary geniuses, including playwrights like Brian Friel and John Millington Synge. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a culture vulture, make sure to catch a show at one of Dublin’s many historic theatres.
The oldest is the Smock Alley Theatre, opened in 1662. It’s the place to be for a bit of everything - theatre, song and dance. Then there’s the glamorous Gaiety Theatre which specialises in Irish and international productions. Another must-visit is The Abbey Theatre, also known as the National Theatre of Ireland. This theatre played an important role in the Irish Literary Revival and today you’ll find traditional Irish plays as well as classic and new works from across the globe.
Sold on celebrating your 40th in the Irish capital? We had no doubt we'd convince you - we’re experts in this kind of thing after all. Time to take a look at our guide to the best neighbourhoods in Dublin and start planning your perfect trip. If you're making a weekend of it, make sure to include our 2 day Dublin itinerary in your plans.