Oscar Wilde once wrote: ‘Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’ It’s a fitting epigram for his home town of Dublin, where hedonism and holiness, past and future, jostle for space in the city’s rammed pubs and elegant cobbled streets.
If you’re coming to Dublin, come thirsty. With more than 1,000 pubs, some more than five hundred years old, you’ll never be far from a pint of the good stuff. Many swear that Guinness tastes better in its home town, but don’t be surprised if it’s not always on the menu. Hardcore Dubs will point out that now that the brewery is owned by Diageo, it’s no longer a local brew. Don’t worry though, thanks to a new generation of microbrewers and mixologists there’s plenty of craic to be had.
In recent years the Celtic tiger may have lost its teeth, but you’d never know this from the city’s buzzing late-night scene. In fact, the New Frugality has forced restaurateurs to get more creative, and many of today’s hottest venues started life as cheap and cheerful pop-ups, dedicated to making the perfect wood-fired pizza or the most moreish chicken and chips.
While backpackers and stag parties head straight to Temple Bar, Dubs themselves tend to seek their fun elsewhere. Arbour Hill is home to some of the city’s most underrated museums, like the fantastic Decorative Arts & History Museum. It’s placed in the grounds of vast military barracks. If you’re short on time, head to the Little Museum of Dublin, on the edge of bustling St Stephen’s Green. Situated in an elegant Georgian townhouse, this friendly little place tells the recent history of the city through objects entirely donated by locals. You’ll find everything from Easter Rising pamphlets to U2 memorabilia.
But Dublin is a city that always has an eye to the future, as well as a foot in the past. The shopping Mecca of Grafton Street is lined with buskers, all hoping to be the next Bono, while pubs thrum with DJs as well as traditional music. So grab yourself a pint and raise it to a city that, for all its past troubles, still knows how to have a good time.