A rainy day in Dublin
Tourists generally don’t come to Dublin for the culture. They come to enjoy the famous craic and soak up the atmosphere of one of Europe’s great drinking capitals. When it’s raining in Dublin, and it does a fair bit of that, the suggestion of “let’s go to the pub” does seem like the most suitable of ideas but it isn’t always the most productive. There are still plenty of indoor things to do in Dublin which will make you feel a little bit better about spending the other 70% of the time in O’Somethingorothers’s.
The first suggestion is an obvious one and doesn’t stray far from the above topic – the Guinness Storehouse. This multi-story visitor attraction – not a working brewery tour – is an excellent way to while away up to three hours. With your entry ticket you get to see all the usual brewing techniques and importantly get to pull your own pint and have a free Guinness with some of the best views in Dublin. It’s also impossible to walk away from the world-class gift shop without buying something.
Now bear in mind though, that this is Dublin’s most expensive popular attraction and will set you back almost €20. It’s also absolute hell on a weekend in summer so if you don’t have the patience for queuing and shuffling behind crowds try to go mid-week instead.
If you’ve blown most of your daily budget on the Storehouse then follow this up with one of the National Museums of Ireland or the National Gallery. This excellent selection of museums and galleries are all free of charge and give you an excellent insight in to Ireland’s history and culture. In a dense cluster of knowledge just south of St Stephen’s Green is the National Museum of Archaeology, National Museum of Natural History (more aimed at kids), National Library of Ireland and National Gallery of Ireland.
Fairly recently on the Dublin scene is Epic Ireland at the CHQ Building on the north side of the Liffey. This ultra-modern and interactive attraction tells the story of the Irish effect on the world through immigration. It’s a really interesting story that’s touched every corner of the globe. With room after room of videos, quizzes and hand-on elements, it's also broken down into bite sized chunks for those of us with limited attention spans.
Dublin is a city replete with religious architecture and a rainy day can be well-used with an exploration of the three beautiful cathedrals of St. Patrick, Christchurch and St Mary. Christchurch has the added feature of a belfry to ascend and is attached to the Dublinia museum where you can learn all about Dublin’s substantial Viking past On the subject of religion, it would be a crime to forget Trinity College’s ancient Book of Kells and the Long Room Library that overshadows it. It's not often that you get to see a book as old as this in such good condition.
Last but certainly not least is Kilmainham Gaol – the fascinating gaol with the emotive links to the 1916 rising. There is a reason I have left arguably Dublin’s best attraction until last: if it’s raining, it will be a challenge to get in. So book your visit to Kilmainham Gaol as early as possible online as turning up will probably not work and it's a long walk to be turned away.
There is also much more to see for tourists with special interests – Dublin Writers Museum for fans of Irish literature, Teeling Distillery (the only working distillery in Dublin) for whiskey aficionados and the GAA Museum at Croke Park if you really want to get to know more about the Irish national sports of hurling and Gaelic football.
And a final cautionary note: Dublin Castle is not a castle.