Dublin: Beyond the Guinness Storehouse and the Book of Kells
About five years ago, I was changing money in a tourist information centre in Dublin. I overheard a tourist information worker being asked what a couple could do in Dublin during their stay and he reeled off the usual suspects - the Guinness Storehouse and the Book of Kells at Trinity. After pausing, seemingly unable to think of more, he then mentioned the Dublin Wax Museum. At this point, I nearly jumped across the counter.
For a number of years Dublin has had a limited stock of classic visits - also including Jameson Distillery and St Patrick's Cathedral - that have ended up on every visitor's Dublin list whether the attraction was suitable for said tourist or not. Don't get me wrong, these are all excellent attractions in their own right but people visiting Dublin needed a better choice (or a better advertised choice even).
Happily, in the last couple of years there have been a number of worthy additions to the Dublin tourist scene and plenty have been a success.
First up, Epic The Museum of Irish Emigration is an award-winning attraction that's definitely the pick of the bunch. Ireland has had a huge influence on the world through culture, politics, sport and more and this interactive museum explores the Irish diaspora throughout the world through hundreds of stories, images and videos. There plenty here to keep both young and old people with little attention span (yours truly included) entertained throughout.
There are two more historical attractions that are very good but also a bit niche. GPO Witness History and Glasnevin Cemetery are probably those to visit if particularly interested in delving deeper into Irish history and if you've a couple of days in the Irish capital. In the centre of Dublin on O'Connell Street GPO Witness History explains the 1916 Easter Rising - a failed but significant attempt by the Irish to gain their freedom from British rule. A genius explainer video which gives a blow by blow account of the uprising in the which the rest of the museum is built around. Slightly north of the city centre is Glasnevin Cemetery where just about every important political character from over 200 years of Irish history is buried. The insightful tours give a great overview of the cemetery's inhabitants but a base knowledge of Irish history is definitely recommended. It's still a strangely nice place to be in the sun and there's a climbable round tower with views of Dublin.
Certainly not new or unique at all but Kilmainham Gaol is probably Dublin's best historical attraction and should really be number one on your list. It's far enough outside the city centre that it can often be overlooked and it's only easily accessible by the hop on hop off bus and by taxi but well worth the journey. A very popular attraction that must be pre-booked to avoid disappointment (it's a long way back if the whole is day booked up)..
Up until 2015 there were no new whiskey distillery openings in Dublin in 125 years so no wonder everyone was pushed to the Jameson Distillery. Now the rough and tumble district of the Liberties alone houses the distilleries of Teelings, Pearse Lyons, Roe & Co and the Dublin Liberties. They're all shiny new, heavily invested in products with Teelings Distillery the first to spring up and probably the most authentic and Pearse Lyons Distillery as a part history-part distillery tour in a renovated church venue.
Finally, after a day of sightseeing, before hitting Temple Bar for drinks, perhaps get a paddle of new brews at Guinness's experimental Open Gate Brewery. This ticket-only micro brewery experience ditches any semblance of a tour for a tasting of up to ten beers that may never even make it past those four walls. This feels like a bit of an event to start your night.