Welcoming pubs, lively theatres and ancient architecture can be found in surprisingly close proximity in Dublin. Here’s a guide to making the most of this exuberant city once the conference closes.
Dublin has two cathedrals, Christ Church and Saint Patrick’s. Despite its position high up in the old city, visitors will stumble unexpectedly upon Christ Church’s Gothic façade, as modern buildings now dominate the area. Its atmospheric 12th Century crypt has curiosities like a mummified cat and rat, sumptuous costumes from TV series The Tudors and candles crafted especially for James II on his 1689 flight from England. It's worth booking a guided tour to learn all the secrets of this ancient house of worship.
Saint Patrick’s is Ireland’s biggest church and reportedly the oldest Christian site in Ireland, where its namesake Saint Patrick baptised a group of converts. The Door of Reconciliation is particularly popular with tourists – the earls of Kildare and Ormond ended a quarrel here in 1492 by cutting a hole into the door and shaking hands through it.
No architectural tour of Dublin is complete without seeing Trinity College, Ireland’s most prestigious university. The complex is a collection of Georgian architectural styles, and the front gate is a particularly striking feature, its giant grey arch looming above the perfectly tended lawn of the quad.
Sample the craic
Dubliners famously enjoy a drink, and with around 1,000 pubs in the city, there's plenty of space for visitors to get involved. One of the friendliest is The Temple Bar, a 19th century establishment that won the title of Irish Music Pub of the Year for ten years in a row between 2002 and 2012. Its selection of Irish craft beers is equally impressive, including both the crisp golden Carrig lager and fruity Rowers Red Ale.
In a city that gave the world ‘the black stuff’, few can resist stopping by the Guinness Storehouse. Arthur Guinness began brewing here in 1759, and the tour includes learning how to pour the perfect pint, watching as steam billows from the vats, and of course, sampling some of the legendary stout.
Something stronger still can be sampled at the Old Jameson Distillery. Located approximately 15 minutes from our Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin City, visitors learn how just three ingredients – barley, water and yeast – are used to create this prized full-bodied spirit. Luckily, you do not need to leave the hotel for a great experience, as Radisson offers two sophisticated bars in addition to The Vintage Room, where guests can enjoy champagne, fine wine and aged whiskeys.
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A night at the theatre
For almost 150 years, Dubliners have relied on the Grand Old Lady of South King Street for an evening of raucous entertainment. Known more widely as the Gaiety Theatre, her lively pantomimes, comedies and classical music nights are always popular. Opposite Dublin Castle you'll find the Olympia Theatre. Dating back to 1878, it has a legendary status among music buffs, having hosted acts like REM, David Bowie and the Foo Fighters.
A short walk away from the theatres, Grafton Street attracts some of Europe’s finest street performers – but don't get distracted if you're here for retail therapy. The first port of call for shoppers is Brown Thomas, a landmark department store that opens late every night of the week. The street also claims to make the finest cups of coffee in Ireland at Bewley’s Oriental Café, which has a striking Egyptian-inspired mosaic façade and hosts lunchtime theatre. All in all Dublin has an abundance of attractions and activities that will allow you to unwind after a long day of conference meetings.