From little-known bars to surprising facts and totally unique things to see and extraordinary places to visit, Dublin City has more than its fair share of secrets.
From little-known bars to surprising facts and totally unique things to see and extraordinary places to visit, Dublin City has more than its fair share of secrets. We’ve chosen six of the more interesting hidden gems that you can weave into your itinerary and make your visit to Dublin very, very special:
1. Shrine of St. Valentine
Yes, the patron saint of love and lovers, St. Valentine, is buried here in Dublin. He was executed and buried in Rome in the 3rd century but his remains were moved to Dublin in 1835 – a gift from the Pope to the Irish people. You’ll find his shrine in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Whitefriar Street which is very close to the hotel.
2. Dame Lane Letterbox
On Dame Lane, about 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel, you’ll find Dame Lane. And, if you look carefully, you’ll see a small, odd-looking, postbox on the wall.
This is a living art project by artist Sarah Bracken. It began in 2008 when she installed it and encouraged passers-by to post ‘Letters to God’, ‘Letters to the Past’ and then ‘Confessions’ amongst other themes. Bracken gathered them into a brilliantly bizarre collection ranging from ‘I wish to win the lotto’ to ‘I’m not really gay, but I do like to tease the boys…’.
3. The Leprechaun Museum
The National Leprechaun Museum is between Jervis Street and Middle Abbey Street on the city’s north side. It opened in 2010 and is thought to be the first leprechaun museum in the world.
Visitors follow a guided tour where the basics of leprechaun folklore are explained and a history of leprechaun references in popular culture revealed, including Walt Disney’s visit to Ireland which led to his 1959 film “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”. There is a tunnel full of optical illusions and a room with giant furniture (see below) which is well worth a visit.
4. Vintage Cocktail Club
Not many native Dubliners even know about this but there’s a secret pub in Temple Bar called the Vintage Cocktail Club. It’s “a refined, speakeasy-vibe bar that offers candle-lit cocktails amid vintage ephemera.” Go on….you’ll find it, if you look carefully. There’s a black door simply with the letters “VCC” on the outside beside 15 Crown Alley, knock on it and see what happens.
5. Iveagh Gardens
Dublin is predominantly a Georgian city and, as such, it has plenty of formal parks and public gardens. Just look outside the door of the hotel for one of the finest in Europe – St. Stephen’s Green. Just a little further up the road, near the National Concert Hall in Dublin are the Iveagh Gardens.
The gardens have a long and interesting history and were gifted to the state by the Guinness family. Today, it’s an oasis of tranquility with an archery field, pond, boating tower, a waterfall that flows over an immense rockery with stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties and a maze, which is a miniature copy of London’s Hampton Court Maze.
6. Georgian Doors
Dublin grew enormously in the 1700s when it became the second most important city in the British Empire (after London, of course). In this time, a huge amount of construction occurred. But the Georgian architectural rules were quite strict and so to express their individuality home owners created colourfully elaborate doors with brassware and fanlights.
That is why you’ll never see two identical doors as you wander through Dublin city. Even the ones that look similar will have subtle differences. To see what we’re talking about, have a look at the Doors of Dublin on Instagram.
There are, of course, lots and lots of other secret places to go and things to do in Dublin. You’ll find us blogging about them here but you can also ask our incredibly knowledgeable concierges who know just about everything there is to know about Dublin City.
Make sure you don’t miss anything by following us on Facebook.