1.) Many pubs do not serve dinner on Sundays: Although pubs are often a great choice for an authentic and not overly expensive meal, many do not serve dinner on Sundays. You can have your pint of Guinness, but you won’t be able to get a plate of bangers and mash to accompany it. On our last night in Ireland, D and I had eaten a late lunch and so our time for eating dinner was pushed back. We thought eating at a pub would be a fun way to end our trip until after going to four different pubs in the city center area and being told at all of them that the kitchen wasn’t open. It was the saddest thing having to eat an overpriced ham and cheese sandwich in a deserted hotel bar on one’s last night in the Emerald Isle.
2.) Be sure to check out St. Michan’s Church on the North Side: Its current structure dates back to the late 17th century, although St. Michan’s was built on the site of an early Danish chapel in the 11th century, back during the city’s Viking past. Not nearly as impressive or well known as St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Christ Church, St. Michan’s does have real life mummies. The walls in the subterranean vaults contain limestone which has kept the air dry, ideal for preserving a 400 year old nun, a man believed to have been a crusader, and another whose hands and feet were cut off. Also of interest, George Frideric Handel is said to have composed his Messiah on the church’s organ.
3.) Dublin offers a great base for exploring some of the villages along the coast: If you don’t have the time to travel to Ireland’s famed western coast, you can still experience its spectacular coastline along Dublin Bay. The villages of Howth and Killiney in County Dublin are an easy and inexpensive ride from Dublin on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit).
4.) Save yourself some raised eyebrows and potentially awkward situations by refraining from ordering a Black and Tan, especially in the Republic of Ireland: Although the drink is said to have originated in Great Britain and not in Ireland, Black and Tan, a combination of pale ale and dark beer, is commonly thought of as an Irish drink. However, it’s as controversial as a beer can be due to its name association with the Royal Irish Constabulary Force that was sent to Ireland in the early 1920s during the Irish Civil War. The troops were nicknamed the Black and Tans, so the beer’s name is a reminder of the country’s bitter struggle for independence from England.
5.) Be sure to go on a walking tour, or two: As cities go, Dublin is quite impressive. Home to some of the world’s most prolific writers, site of modern history’s most agonizing struggles for independence, Dublin is brimming with history and a walking tour led by one of its knowledgeable locals is a great way to learn and experience it. I personally would recommend the 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour; the guide was fantastic, the content interesting and worthy of any history textbook.