Visit Dublin for its history and culture, not just its nights out

SALT and vinegar, fish and chips, Ant and Dec, sun and sangria.

Some things go together like a (scarf and) glove. And so it is that a break in Dublin has always meant a giddy Guinness binge.

Flybe’s new route to Dublin from Southend airport makes the Irish capital, and its famous Temple Bar, more accessible than ever before
Flybe’s new route to Dublin from Southend airport makes the Irish capital, and its famous Temple Bar, more accessible than ever before

Credit: Holger Burmeister / Alamy Stock Photo

But my challenge was to head to the vibrant Irish city and venture farther afield than its splendid bars.

Leaving the hen and stag parties to their raucous fun, I witnessed a whole new world on offer.

And all now in touching distance for millions of thrillseekers thanks to Flybe’s new route to Dublin from Southend airport — a stress-free hub within 60 minutes of central London.

I stayed at the 5H boutique Dylan Hotel in an affluent area of Dublin close to the River Dodder.

The trendy Dylan Hotel is located along the River Dodder in a posh area of Dublin
The trendy Dylan Hotel is located along the River Dodder in a posh area of Dublin

© 2017 Ashley Morrison.

After spying the TV in my luxury bathroom, it took some persuasion to venture out at all. And the hotel’s tasty Tavern Restaurant & Bar — offering locally sourced dishes such as crab — was a bind to leave.

But I made it out and headed to the National Gallery of Ireland, re­opened after a six-year refurbishment. From Rubens to Rembrandt, the collection, founded in 1854, features some of the world’s greatest ever painters. Among its 12,500 works are extensive Irish art and fine examples of Italian Baroque.

Rather than a pub crawl, I was hooked on a culture binge and next up was the Little Museum of Dublin, set in a cute Georgian townhouse. There, I took in the fascinating story behind the city.

This non-profit “people’s museum” was launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects. And more than 5,000 artefact donations later, it is a quirky one-stop shop for history fans. Unsurprisingly it has been voted Ireland’s Number One Museum on TripAdvisor. A personal favourite was the fascinating U2 exhibit.

Learn about country's complicated past at the Irish Emigration Museum
Learn about country’s complicated past at the Irish Emigration Museum
The museum aims to tell the stories of some of the 70million people who claim Irish heritage around the world
The museum aims to tell the stories of some of the 70million people who claim Irish heritage around the world

I continued my cultural tour with a visit to EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum. The interactive centre, in the vaults of the 1820-built Custom House Quarter in Dublin’s Docklands, tells the story of “10million journeys” of Irish emigrants. I was handed a passport on arrival which was stamped at 20 “check-points” around the attraction, and used as a virtual postcard. I had a blast and this is a fun learning experience for all ages.

Outside the Epic, I then boarded a Vintage Tea Tours bus to take in more city sights, including Phoenix Park and Trinity College, while enjoying tea and scones.

Spend an afternoon with Vintage Tea Tours and you can see the sites and have a cuppa at the same time
Spend an afternoon with Vintage Tea Tours and you can see the sites and have a cuppa at the same time
The bus tours will bring you around to sites like Trinity College and Phoenix Park
The bus tours will bring you around to sites like Trinity College and Phoenix Park

On my second day, I again swerved the bars and was instead drunk on the beauty of coastal villages just 30 minutes from the city centre. First stop was Howth Castle — and a cookery school established in its Georgian kitchen. I learned how to cook lobster salad followed by pan-fried hake, chorizo and leeks.

A “feast of the sea” masterclass offered a fascinating introduction in how to prepare fish.

You can now attend cooking classes at Howth Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, now
You can now attend cooking classes at Howth Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, now

Howth Harbour is a must for seafood fans, with a selection of cosy fresh fish restaurants and boat trips.

And what better way to walk off a tasty cod or ray than a hike along stunning clifftops, spotting sea lions among the fishing trawlers below?


Last stop on my cultural journey was Malahide Castle and Gardens, featuring 250 acres of parkland.

A private home for more than 800 years, it is now said to have five ghosts and I felt a chill down my spine as I walked around the historic chambers.

I was ready for a wind-down. So I dropped in on some of the city’s ­traditional boozers — O’Donoghue’s, Doheny & Nesbitt’s, Toners and The Baggot Inn — and ordered a few pints of the black stuff.
History, culture, and a night out on the Guinness . . . Dublin offers a craic like no other.

Go: Dublin

GETTING THERE: Flights from London Southend to Dublin with Flybe cost from £29.99 per person one-way. For more details or to book, see flybe.com.

STAYING THERE: One night’s room-only at the Dylan Hotel costs from £95 per person based on two sharing.

OUT & ABOUT: For more information on Dublin, see ireland.com.

Source: thesun
Visit Dublin for its history and culture, not just its nights out