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Many people say that you don’t need all that much time in Dublin. While the capital of Ireland is certainly a well-visited destination, it’s often regarded as small and touristy, crowded with intoxicated visitors, a place that doesn’t need to be frequented more than once. But there’s actually so much more to Dublin than the stereotypical pints of beer and pots of gold. Next time you’re in town, try your hand at any of these 13 fun and interesting things to do. After you’re done with your Guinness, of course.

RELATED: 11 tips for taking the perfect Ireland road trip

1. Clap along to live Irish music

Head to a ceilidh for good craic. Need a translation? For good fun and banter, head to one of the city’s pub gatherings that revolve around music. It wouldn’t be a trip to Ireland if you didn’t hear traditional Irish music, and there’s no shortage of live performances around Dublin. The Cobblestone is one noteworthy traditional Irish music bar in one of Dublin’s oldest neighborhoods, Smithfield; you’ll find a deep respect for music here. You can catch fiddle players, singers, and other talented musicians and performers showcasing their craft every night of the week.

2. Read a page from one of the world’s oldest books at Trinity College

Visitors mostly come to Trinity College for one reason: the world’s most famous book, the 9th century Book of Kells. But it pays to wander around a bit and explore the shelves of the Long Room of The Old Library, as well as the cobblestone walkways, where you’ll be instantly transported back to the 18th century.

3. Explore real medieval castles with towers, moats and underground chambers

While you’re in the medieval mood, explore one of the most important buildings in Irish history dating back to the 1200’s: Dublin Castle. From the Chapel Royal, a gothic chapel designed by Francis Johnston, to the Medieval Tower and the underground Viking Chamber, the Dublin Castle is a treasure-trove of history and beauty in the heart of Dublin. A bit further outside of Dublin is Malahide Castle, another gorgeous castle that dates as far back at 1175 and is definitely worth exploring.

4. Watch true Irish step dancing at the Old Schoolhouse

If you’re looking for a bit of traditional entertainment in the form of Irish step dancing, head to the Old Schoolhouse Bar & Restaurant near Malahide. This “traditional but modern” pub offers live entertainment and plenty of craic (remember, that’s slang for fun!), including Irish step dancing, plus a year-round beer garden.

5. Netflix and Chill at The Dean

The Dean Dublin is a trendy boutique hotel with many great amenities such as updated rooms, a variety of food and beverage options, and a convenient location. But whether you’re a visiting foreigner or a local taking a staycation, be sure to take advantage of The Dean’s free Netflix, available in every room. Just make sure you turn the volume up loud enough at night to drown out the bass and music of the club downstairs.

6. Take in the best rooftop views of Dublin while feasting on mac ‘n’ cheese

When you’re able to pull yourself away from the endless Netflix options, head upstairs to The Dean’s rooftop restaurant and bar, offering 260 degree views of Dublin. Sophie’s is a delicious option for nearly every meal, from a delicious brunch spread to pizzas and dinners with a sunset view. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time, and don’t leave without trying the mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s the farthest thing from healthy, but it’s worth every last cheesy bite.

7. Sip whiskey and shop for bottles not available anywhere else

Whether you’re an avid whiskey drinker or you steer clear of the brown stuff, touring the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street is a fun and surprisingly informative experience. Guides provide an entertaining lesson on the history of John Jameson in Dublin, before schooling you on how to actually make Irish whiskey, and finally providing you with an aromatic and smooth tasting of the spirit itself.

8. Witness fierce and furious Irish sports in a 100-year-old stadium

Experience Irish heritage in action by watching classic Gaelic sports like Irish football and hurling at Croke Park Stadium, the largest sporting arena in all of Ireland and the headquarters for the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). You can be one of the 82,300 fans that come out to watch matches of Gaelic football, an aggressive sport that resembles soccer, rugby and basketball all rolled into one. If you really want to experience this unique cultural game, give it a go yourself with Experience Gaelic Games, where you can actually play for a day.

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9. Dine under an old church organ and stained glass windows

St. Mary’s Church is a landmark building built in the 18th century that has since been converted into a café, restaurant and bar, aptly named The Church, much to the pleasure of visitors looking for a unique dining experience! With its Renatus Harris-built organ and stained glass windows still intact, guests can sip gin and tonics and dine in the gallery of this historical attraction.

10. Picnic under Ireland’s tallest church

If you’re lucky enough to get warm temperatures or sunshine during your visit, enjoy the clear skies with a picnic in the park adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Opt to go on a (free) tour of the magnificent church, which is the tallest and largest in Ireland, before settling into St. Patrick’s Park with a blanket and some wine among the seasonal flowers.

11. Eat like a local on a secret food tour

Ireland has a bad rep for not serving the most delicious food, but a recent “food revolution” has brought many new and delicious spots to Dublin’s culinary scene. The best way to navigate the explosion of options? Go on a food tour that shows you where the locals eat and drink. Secret Food Tours Dublin has a team of Irish guides that will take you to surprising pubs, food shops, markets and more.

12. Bar hop through Temple Bar

Commonly mistaken for a singular bar, Temple Bar is actually a busy cobblestone neighborhood on the south bank of the River Liffey. The Temple Bar Pub is the anchor of the neighborhood but the whole area is filled with additional pubs and bars, live folk music and restaurants. A go-to spot for nightlife, you can easily hop from one bar to the next while drinking beer or whiskey all night long.

13. Go on a Literary Pub Crawl

Anyone who enjoys theater and literature will love this Literary Pub Crawl, a walking tour of Dublin’s historic pubs led by two actors who introduce Dublin’s famous writers by performing scenes from their works. Think: Joyce, Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Paula Meehan and more. But don’t worry—you don’t need to know anything about these Irish writers beforehand: The actors will explain everything throughout the tour performance!

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Tagged: Europe, Ireland

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Angelina Zeppieri

Angelina Zeppieri

Angelina is a freelance writer based in New York City. You can usually find her on a yoga mat, at the wine store or off on a new adventure. Follow her on Instagram @wherenextangelina
Angelina Zeppieri

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