Dublin the capital of Ireland has been the centre of the art, history, and culture of Ireland for over 1000 years. First settled by the Vikings and then the Normans, Dublin has witnessed most of the pivotal moments in Irish history. This is one of the reasons the city is one of the most visited in Europe. That said, I’ll not focus on well-known attractions but rather present some of the most unusual things to do in Dublin.
Visitors from all over the world come to learn of Ireland’s culture, language, creativity and more and a lot of this can be found in Dublin without ever venturing further. For your first trip, here are some expert tips you might need to plan your Ireland itinerary.
Some of the most historical locations are already on every visitor’s list, these include the GPO and the Guinness Storehouse. But what I am about to put forward, they are well-known by the local community but devoid of tourists.
Unusual things to do in Dublin in a day
Dublin like many cities has plenty of off-the-beaten-path locations which don’t see as many visitors, or if they do people may not know why they are so famous.
For this piece, I am going to look at a few places that you may want to add to your must-see list. These are historic and culturally significant places dotted around Dublin that I think are definitely worth checking out. But if you’re short on time, then this is a perfect guide if you have only 2 days in Dublin.
Next Read – The 52 Best things to do in Ireland!
Located in north Dublin next to the Royal botanical gardens, Glasnevin Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Ireland’s famous dead. This includes politicians, literary greats and culturally significant individuals.
You can reach the cemetery from O’Connell Street on buses 140, 40,4,9 and 83. These will drop you at the entrance or the nearby gardens. If you are left in the gardens just keep an eye out for the round tower, you definitely won’t miss it.
You can take a tour of the cemetery with one of the local guides and learn of the history of the cemetery, the people who rest there and why it is so important in Ireland.
Being the first official cemetery for Catholics in Ireland, the cemetery now holds more people than live in the city of Dublin.
The tours provide a great insight into Ireland’s past and some of its famous residents while also having a unique history itself.
St. Stephens Green and monuments
You more than likely will find yourself in this park at some stage during your time in Dublin. Being at one end of Grafton Street it is a beautiful spot to relax and unwind after a long day sightseeing and shopping. What you might not know is the history of the park.
The park was incorporated into Dublin City around 1664, before that it was swamp land the lay outside the city limits. It was used exclusively by the wealthy in the city and was surrounded by high walls to ensure the public could not get in.
The park was only opened to the public in 1877. Much of the layout and design of the park is due to the funding by members of the Guinness family, something which is common with many public spaces, buildings, and parks throughout Dublin.
St. Stephen Green was later used by Volunteers during the 1916 Rising. During the rising, the only person permitted into the park was the gardener who was permitted to feed the ducks, a strange occurrence, one of many during the rebellion.
The park in its current form is now adorned with many artworks depicting Ireland’s history and culture. These include a bust of James Joyce, a famous Irish author, A bust of Robert Emmet a rebellion leader and a bronze statue of Theobold Wolfe Tone, the leader of the 1798 rebellion, you can see a pattern emerging here.
Among all these are small gardens, lakes and play areas for kids. A great mix of relaxation and history in one place.
Suggested – A complete guide to Dublin Attractions!
Croke Park is a brilliant destination for anyone who wishes to know more about Ireland’s native sporting games and their effect and importance within the country. Many visitors are surprised to find out that we have our own native games, the finals of which are held every year in Croke Park the home of Gaelic games.
The stadium, one of the largest in Europe can be visited throughout the year when sporting events are not taking place. There are several tour options including a skyline tour in which you will see Dublin from a unique point that many visitors do not get to see.
During the tour, you will learn of the development of the games from historic times to their current form and the turbulent birth of the Gaelic athletic association (GAA).
You will come to understand the importance of the games in Irish history and culture and of the grounds themselves which have been witness to many historic events themselves. You may also have the chance to try out some of the equipment used and the rules of the games which are far different from many other sports from around the world.
It is almost always a surprising highlight for visitors to the country and an amazingly unusual thing to do in Dublin – don’t you agree?
St. Michan’s Church
The final destination of lesser-known historical places in Dublin is St. Michan’s church and the mummies which reside there. The church is located near Jameson’s distillery on the North side of the city.
The church was founded in 1095 and has undergone several changes in time. It was once a haven for Vikings and is now the home of 800-year-old mummies.
The exact reason why the bodies have been preserved is up for debate. Explanations range from Methane gas or possibly the limestone walls, whatever the reason it has left several well-preserved bodies. These can now be viewed by the public.
I hope some of these locations inspire you to visit lesser-known parts of Dublin and better yet the rest of Ireland. There are many more ancient historical locations throughout Ireland worth discovering and truly unusual things to do in Dublin.
Ireland has some of the most incredible places to see and which is why it is perfect as an Unusual Honeymoon destination here are some tips for you to plan a trip to Ireland. Check out this perfect Ireland itinerary for a hassle-free trip. If you want to extend your trip to Northern Ireland which is best explored by road, rent a car to explore majestic places in Northern Ireland.
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Eoin is a guest writer for The Wandering Core, an Irish travel blogger from Ireland who’s been travelling on and off for a few years visiting and experiencing as much as possible. He tries to focus his blog on the ups and downs of long-term travel and how to make it a sustainable way of living. Eoin has regular jobs when needed but has never really liked being told what to do so this is his attempt to showcase how he get away from that life. He writes at DollysQuest. You can also follow him on Facebook or Instagram.
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great article.. thanks for the information…
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Love this! There are always so many guides on the typical must see/do things, which are nice. But, I also love going off the beaten path and discovering the true gems of a city.
Love this list of unusual places to check out in Dublin. Wow, mummies at St. Michan’s church. Truly fascinating. Really love this off the beaten path approach!
I’m always for traveling a little deeper and being introduced to new spots! I really do need to check off seeing a Gaelic football match during my next trip to Dublin and Croke Park seems like the perfect spot!
Looks like an interesting list to explore unusual sites..and I think it’s always interesting to find something off beat even in popular tourist spots
Its always great to read about places that are not quite on the tourist trail! I had no idea there were mummies like that in Dublin. I keep meaning to make it to Glasnevin and just haven’t found the time to fit it in yet!
Oh my goodness, I fail at Dublin! I have been through soooo many times and missed all of these. I always seem to end up shopping, meeting friends or going to a pub. I’ll get my arse in gear and actually explore a bit next time! 😉
I especially like the look of Glasnevin cemetery. It looks like a lovely place to wander around, especially as today is halloween!!
How awesome is this list!? I’m always on the hunt for the off the beaten path ideas! You’ve rounded up some seriously cool things!
Very interesting list! I would deffinately recommend St. Stephen’s Green. I brought a picnic lunch, rented a bike, and spent the afternoon there.
Girl I just got back from Ireland and din’t see ANY of these. And I live for spooky sights like cemeteries! Guess I will have to go back! 🙂
Such an interesting list of things to do! Thanks for sharing, I’m always on the lookout for less touristy things to do in a place 🙂