There are plenty of things to do off the beaten path in Dublin if you take the time to explore the city. The Guinness factory and Dublin Castle are great tasters to start with, but once you’ve been there, you’ll want to explore more of the ‘real’ Dublin.

    You can learn to play Gaelic sports, discover Dublin's literary past at the haunts of Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, or escape to the rolling hills just outside of the city. Dublin has a lot to offer, and once you step off the beaten path, you'll learn just why it holds a special place in so many hearts.

    1

    National Leprechaun Museum

    Travel through time at an interactive museum of tales and folklore

    The National Leprechaun Museum, aka “The Louvre of leprechauns”, is a museum based on Irish folklore and mythology, from leprechauns to fairies. Less of a museum and more of a tour through interactive displays and activities, it will give adults and kids alike a good story of their own to tell.

    The tour guides will tell you the stories, linking them with local geography and customs, which really gives a sense of how Irish culture developed. The guides are super enthusiastic and make a special effort to keep the kids entertained. If you don’t have children, we’d recommend going for the evening tour, where you’ll be let in on some of Dublin’s darkest secrets…

    Location: Twilfit House, Jervis St, Dublin, Ireland

    Phone: +353 (0)1 873 3899

    Map

    photo by YvonneM (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Marsh's Library

    Find peace and quiet among ancient books

    Marsh's Library, Ireland's first public library, has been open since 1707 and sits nestled behind St Patrick's Cathedral. Whether you're a bookworm or just after a bit of peace and quiet, it's a great hidden spot to check out, right in the center of the city.

    The interior is magnificent, with Baltic oak bookcases housing over 25,000 books from the 16th-18th centuries. Bram Stoker spent time researching witchcraft here, and James Joyce was a regular, too. The design has barely changed over the years, so you can feel the inspiration these literary giants found in the smell of old books and the comforting silence.

    Location: St Patrick's Close, Dublin 8, Ireland

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 9.30 am to 5 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +353 (0)1 454 3511

    Map
    3

    Glasnevin Cemetery

    Admire a grand Victorian cemetery

    Glasnevin Cemetery is Ireland's largest cemetery and is the resting place of around 1.5 million people, including many influential figures from Ireland's past. It sits at the north end of the city, spanning 50 hectares, with an entrance to the National Botanic Gardens on the east side.

    The cemetery is hauntingly beautiful, with grand monuments of different styles dating back to the 1860s. There's a museum onsite as well, where you can learn about the forefathers of Ireland who are buried here. We’d recommend taking a tour of the museum and cemetery, so you can hear their story.

    Location: Finglas Rd, Glasnevin, Dublin, D11 XA32, Ireland

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 882 6500

    Map
    4

    Drimnagh Castle

    Explore a Norman castle in the suburbs

    • Photo
    • Families
    • History
    • Unusual

    Drimnagh Castle is Ireland's only castle with a full moat and was built by the Normans in the 13th century. Sitting in the western suburb of Drimnagh, toward the end of Long Mile Road, it's much more off the beaten path than Dublin Castle.

    The castle is a great place to immerse yourself in history, and you're bound to get an intimate tour full of gruesome tales. It's amazing to explore, with a stone bridge over the moat, grand halls and secret passages all to be discovered. The tour guides have a real enthusiasm for the place and it's a real hidden gem of Dublin.

    Location: Restoration Project, Long Mile Rd, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm, Fridays from 9 am to 12.30 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +353 (0)1 450 2530

    Map

    photo by CraftyCaedus (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Iveagh Gardens

    Stroll around a hidden city park

    Iveagh Gardens is a public park heading toward the south of Dublin, hidden behind the National Concert Hall. In fact, it's surrounded by buildings on all sides, so you'll only really find this hidden gem if you go looking.

    The gardens are lovely to walk around, and they stay much quieter than the neighboring St. Stephen's Green. There's a maze and a fountain, and you can barely tell you're still in the city. If the weather's good, then it's a great place to relax over a picnic.

    Location: St Stephen's Green, Park, Dublin 2, D02 HX65, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 475 7816

    Map
    6

    The Séamus Ennis Arts Center

    Experience traditional Irish arts and culture

    The Séamus Ennis Arts Center sits right on the border of County Dublin and County Meath, just north of the city. It's a spot barely known among tourists, so if you're looking to enjoy Irish arts the way locals do, it's well worth a visit.

    The center hosts a variety of music and dance performances, workshops and exhibitions throughout the year, all promoting traditional Irish heritage. Check the calendar to see what's on during your visit, but if you'd rather just pop down, the café has some great food. All cooked fresh to order, you'll find a real home-cooked Irish meal here.

    Location: Naul, Co. Dublin, Ireland

    Phone: +353 (0)1 802 0898

    Map

    photo by Kieran Campbell (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Experience Gaelic Gamest

    Play the Irish national sports

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Experience Gaelic Games is a place where you can learn to play 3 national GAA sports of Ireland: hurling, Gaelic soccer and Gaelic handball. Not many people outside of Ireland have heard of these, but they're the most loved sports by locals - in fact, the national GAA stadium, Croke Park, is the third biggest in Europe.

    The facilities are excellent and the trainers are professionally certified. All abilities are welcome. You'll be placed in groups and get taught the basics of each sport. Refreshments are provided, and whether you’re in 1 big group or mixing with others, the trainers guarantee an active day full of laughs for all.

    Location: C/o Na Fianna CLG, Mobhi Road, Glasnevin,, Dublin 9, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +353 (0)1 254 4292

    Map
    8

    Oscar Wilde Statue

    Take photos of the colorful author lounging in the park

    The Oscar Wilde Statue is found lounging on a rock in the corner of Merrion Square Park in Dublin. It's a little off the beaten path so it's easy to miss, but once you're there you're likely to have no company while you admire and take photos of it.

    The statue captures Wilde’s colorful character, not only by the colored rocks used to build the statue, but also by the wry smile etched in skillfully by the sculptor. It’s guarded by 2 other statues, one of Wilde’s wife and the other of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus.

    Location: Oscar Wilde Monument, Dublin, Ireland

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9.30 pm

    Map
    9

    Dublin Ulysses tours

    See Dublin through the eyes of a much-loved author

    • Photo
    • Couples
    • History
    • Unusual

    Dublin Ulysses tours are a great way to explore the city, especially if you want to discover some quiet places off the beaten path. The guide knows the book inside out, allowing you to really see the city through James Joyce’s eyes.

    You'll follow the footsteps and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and Dedalus, from Sweny’s pharmacy – now a bookstore – to Davy Byrne’s, where Bloom’s famed gorgonzola sandwich is still on the menu. Even if you haven’t read the book, it’s an enjoyable way to explore Dublin, especially with a local’s knowledge on hand.

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm, Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm

    10

    Howth Head Peak

    Escape to nature on a wildlife trail

    Howth Head Peak is a rocky peninsula to the northeast of Dublin that gazes out over the Irish Sea. There are a number of nature trails up to the peak, which take you quite literally off the beaten path.

    The trails aren’t difficult, but can take a few hours, so make sure you’re stocked up on snacks and water. Wildlife lovers will feel at home here, with a wide variety of flora and fauna to keep you company along the walk. Howth village and harbor are on the north-eastern side of the outcrop, ready to welcome you for a well-earnt meal at the end of the day.

    Location: Howth, Dublin, Ireland

    Phone: +353 (0)1 840 0077

    Map
    John Frodsham | Contributing Writer

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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