Fun things to do during a short visit to Dublin, Ireland

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Lauren West/Staff

Two years ago, I spent my summer abroad in Dublin, Ireland working as a publications intern through the Berkeley Global Internships program. I’ve been wanting to go back this fall while I’ve been studying abroad in the U.K. Luckily, I had the perfect opportunity to do so when my parents came to visit. But alas, I had less than 24 hours to show them around! This time crunch gave me an appreciation for trying to get to know Dublin quickly, so here are some quick and easy tips I picked up for getting to know the city when you have no time to spare!

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Getting around

If you’re flying into Dublin, chances are you’ll be taking one of the shuttle buses into the city from the airport. These are the cheapest way to get into the heart of the city. After that, there are plenty of cabs and double-decker buses to get around as well. One special feature that makes bus travel easier in Dublin is that every bus stop has a live sign to let you know when the next buses are coming and where they are heading. Don’t worry — if you get lost, Irish people are very friendly. Don’t be shy about asking for help!

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Sightseeing 

Does this golden sphere look familiar? It’s placed just outside the Berkeley Library at Trinity College Dublin. It’s an incredible campus and has been around since 1592, so there is an amazing amount of history around. These historical phenoms include the Book of Kells, one of the oldest books in the world, if not the oldest. If you choose to pay to go inside, you’ll also get a chance to see the illuminated manuscript and the rest of the gorgeous library. If you’re a bibliophile, you won’t want to miss out! Be sure to take one of the many available bus tours if you have a few extra days. The tours will allow you to visit the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Giant’s Causeway, Belfast and many more incredible places!

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Shopping and dining 

The best spot to shop in Dublin is easily Temple Bar. Located just past Trinity College, Temple Bar is an outside shopping center with plenty of talented street musicians, restaurants and traditional Irish pubs to keep you and your friends entertained. If you’re of age and looking to grow your knowledge of Jameson and Guinness — and don’t mind spending a few euros — it’s highly recommended that you take a tour of a distillery. You can get a drink and also learn something — not bad, traveling Bears.

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History and tradition

If you like history, Dublin is the place for you. There are museums and historical sites for everyone. From Dublinia, an interactive history museum that starts with Dublin’s invasion by Vikings, to beautiful sites such as St Patrick’s Cathedral, you’re sure to find plenty to keep you occupied. If you’re into learning about darker pasts, definitely visit Kilmainham Gaol, an old jail that held some of the revolutionaries from the Easter Rising — an armed insurrection — and is one of the spookiest (and most solemn) sites in Dublin.

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Arts and culture 

Aside from history spots, Dublin also has a fantastic arts community. There are plenty of lovely little additions around the city, such as the many colorful doors that (if you’re like my mom) you won’t be able to stop taking pictures of. If you love art, there’s the National Gallery of Ireland, which is typically free to the public. There are plenty of Irish-writer hotspots to visit, too, including James Joyce’s tower, and the Dublin Writers Museum, for the readers out there. There’s also always a fantastic show or two going on. The famous Gaiety Theatre and the interactive Gate Theatre are both particularly fun times, and you might get to be a part of the show!

However long you get to be in Dublin, you’re always bound to have a wonderful time. Safe travels!

Contact Lauren West at [email protected].