It’s the morning after the night before, and you’ve survived a night on the tiles in Dublin. Thanks to the locals’ ebullient hospitality, not to mention their ability to hold a drink, you're feeling a little worse for wear. But this is no time to waste a day in bed nursing a fragile head and dining on paracetamol: there's a beautiful city just beyond the drawn curtains.
Indeed, with these top attractions and activities, you can have your Guinness and drink it too. It won’t matter whether you’ve woken fresh as a daisy or are rocking the ‘dark shades inside’ look, you’ll be up and about experiencing the best of Dublin.
For a cure
If a hair of the dog is in order, pop to the Stage Door Cafe (11 Essex St) in Temple Bar for a deliciously creamy Irish Coffee. This charming spot could hold the remedy that kick-starts your day. Just down the street, embrace Dublin’s obsession with Mexican food at Pablo Picanté (pablopicante.ie). Its vibrant décor, complete with Lucha Libre wrestling masks, offers a festive contrast to the (more than likely) grey and rainy streets beyond. And the food, impossibly huge burritos and cheesy quesadillas, makes for the perfect greasy hangover feast. For a healthy option, why not visit Third Space, a chilled-out cafe in Smithfield, just north of the Liffey, which serves up some amazing wraps and breakfast options.
If you can stomach the crowds, head to Grafton Street for some retail therapy. Down this bustling pedestrianised thoroughfare you’ll find all the essential high street brands, while off the main street there are plenty of unique boutiques, bookshops and jewellers worth exploring. Grab yourself an authentic Irish throw from the Avoca Handweavers, traditionally woven and dyed at the local Wicklow Factory, or splash the cash on a beautiful Celtic ring at Barry Doyle Design Jewellers.
There is nothing better for the soul (especially one that’s feeling a bit iffy) than a lungful of fresh air. On a nice day (translated: if it’s only raining a little) tourists and Dubliners alike flock to the manicured lawns of St Stephen’s Green. Bring a book, take a picnic or just lay back and keep an eye out for Irish A-listers such as Joyce and Yeats – just some of the statues that decorate the park.
Escape the bustle of the city centre with a stroll around the revered grounds of Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious university. The magnificent Long Room and the Book of Kells provide a heady dose of Irish history, and these calm spaces are a great respite for delicate heads.
A historic tour might sound like your worst nightmare on a hangover, but the hour-long Kilmainham Gaol tour is not only good value for money at €6 a pop, it’s succinct and highly engaging, bringing to life over 200 years of revolutionary history.
Spread over five floors, the Guinness Storehouse is a massive sight (perhaps one to tackle when the world stops spinning) but the audio-visual guides are easy to follow and the exhibit itself is interesting, if heartily commercialised. The real gem here is the Gravity Bar overlooking the roof of the old factory; here you can enjoy panoramic views of the city whilst sipping a perfectly poured pint of the good stuff.
A short bus ride from Dublin city centre is the coastal town of Sandy Cove and the James Joyce Museum. Housed in a Martello tower (a defensive fort), it features some fascinating Joyce memorabilia as well as some rare editions of his work. The hardy can take a reviving plunge into the icy sea water of the Forty Foot Pool situated just below the tower.
If, however, the thought of a bus ride turns the stomach, check out the Dublin Writer’s Museum, where after immersing yourself in all things literary you can digest what you’ve learnt with a spell in the relaxing Zen garden.
For the craic
Temple Bar is as lively at midday as it is at midnight. Set aside half a day to wander the cobbled streets: browse the galleries and vintage boutiques, find a bargain at a book stall or in one of the record shops and be sure to check out the eclectic array of weekend markets (the Meeting House Square Market serves up a feast of world foods every Saturday). You can dive into a pub for a quick jig to some traditional music or check out a weird and wonderful art-house flick at the Irish Film Institute.
Sports play a huge part in the cultural identity of the Irish. For a great introduction, take a tour of iconic Croke Park, the stadium home to Gaelic football and hurling (whose frantic action can feel like hockey on steroids). Better still, grab a ticket to one of the matches (Feb–April & June–Sept) and see for yourself just what these games mean to Dubliners.
A pub crawl might be the last thing on your mind. But the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (dublinpubcrawl.com) is a witty walkabout, and the guides really know their stuff, from Joyce to Wilde and Yeats to Heaney, bringing the city's fascinating literary history to life. And when you're tucked up in the cosy warmth of an Irish pub with a pint of Guinness in hand, swapping stories with new friends, you’ll think, ‘Hangover? What hangover?’