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blu’s guide to Dublin

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blu’s guide to Dublin

When you’re all partied out after St Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Irish capital offers many historical and cultural activities to help take your mind off your hangover.

In need of a culture fix? The National Gallery of Ireland features a collection of impressive works by the likes of Picasso, Carvaggio, Goya, Monet, Rembrandt, and van Gogh. A current exhibition – Lines of Vision – celebrates 150 years of the gallery, in which Irish writers like Roddy Doyle and Colm Tóibín discuss their favourite pieces in the collection and famed Irish artists such as Jack Butler Yeats, Francis Danby and Mainie Jellett have pride of place. For a more contemporary selection, try the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Entry is free for both museums.

If you’ve been indoors – in museums or indeed the pub – for too long, grab yourself some handmade chocolates or macaroons from Cocoa Atelier in Drury Street and head to St Stephens Green, a relaxing leafy Victorian park in the centre of the city, home to the biggest swans I have ever seen. The gardens in Merrion Square are another city oasis, found next to the Natural History Museum, where entry is free. The park features a wonderful statue of one of the area’s most famous former inhabitants: the inimitable Oscar Wilde. Learn about Ireland’s great literary residents at the Dublin Writers Museum, a celebration of Joyce, Beckett, Yeats and Shaw, as well as Wilde himself.

Sports fans will enjoy a tour of Croke Park – home to Gaelic football and hurling. The accompanying museum details a history of these sports and an opportunity to try them out for yourself (entry for both is €12.50). On St Patrick’s Day each year, the All-Ireland football and hurling finals are held at the Park – the highlight of the Irish sporting year.

Of course, a visit to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a pint (or two) of its famous foam-topped, inky beverage, Guinness, established by Arthur Guinness in 1759. Head to the Storehouse for an insight into the history of the company and its evolution to super brand status. Highlights include a delve into Guinness’ revered advertising campaigns and the finale – a pint of the black stuff in the Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy 360° views of the fair city. Adult tickets cost €18, or €16.20 online.

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