Whether you’re visiting the Iveagh Gardens for the Taste of Dublin or when it’s much, much quieter most other days of the year, it’s the perfect jumping off point for a leisurely stroll west toward St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with a few stop offs along the way. Located in the Dublin 2 area of the city and right in the heart of the city, here’s just a few things to explore as you wander round Dublin 2.
Just west of the bustling shopping area of Grafton Street and even west of the newly rejuvenated Creative Quarter, sits a less busy and often overlooked neighbourhood surrounding St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Some refer to it loosely as Dublin 8, others lovingly call it the Historic Quarter. There’s no official designation, but it’s an area well worth an afternoon wander.
Exploring Dublin 8 – The Historic Quarter
We’ll start by exiting the Iveagh Gardens and making a quick detour through St. Stephen’s Green, one of the city centre’s largest and most popular parks. If you’ve just come from Iveagh Gardens on a quiet day, you’ll immediately notice the difference between the two! St. Stephen’s Green is always buzzing with visitors, locals on their coffee breaks from work, and lots of birds swimming in the pond.
From St. Stephen’s Green, make your way back up Harcourt Street, pausing for a quick browse in Kennedy’s Art Store and Gallery. With its location on one of the city’s Georgian streets, it’s fun to imagine art students stocking up here.
If you’re already ready for a break, stop into the Dean Hotel for a drink or snack in their rooftop restaurant, Sophie’s, overlooking the city. Dublin is a relatively small city, so rooftop bars are an exciting way to take in the views.
Up on Camden Street, the Bernard Shaw pub and cafe is a quirky spot for lunch and coffee. It’s also a go-to in the evenings when locals take advantage of the expansive beer garden and resident pizza bus! Take in a little of the street art in the small space surrounding the Bernard Shaw, the tiny block is covered, inside and out!
For a little retail therapy, stop into Dust on Grantham Street and browse their home interiors selection, sourced from around Ireland and abroad by two local interior designers. Just around the corner sits Bernard Shaw’s birthplace, in stark contrast to the modern interior of Dust’s Georgian home!
Wind your way through the little cottages between Camden Street and Patrick’s Street, stopping frequently to snap photos of the colourful Georgian doors. Tucked in the middle of this neighbourhood is a tiny contemporary art gallery called Copper House Gallery which is always fun for a quick snoop.
Cruising up Patrick’s Street, just a little further west, walk through the grounds at St. Patrick’s Cathedral before taking a tour inside. The grounds are busy on dry days when locals bring their children to kick footballs around and play on the Viking playground. There’s often an ice cream truck parked inside the grounds, which makes for a fun sweet treat. If you visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 9am or 5:30pm, you might be treated to the daily performance by the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Choir School students, who study next door and perform twice daily. Quite a treat!
After an informative tour at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, make another stop around the corner into Marsh’s Library to see the 18th century library preserved for visitors today. There are program’s on frequently, with bookmaking classes for children as well as tours that explain a little of the spooky history of the space!
And to lighten up your afternoon following all that history, take a stroll up nearby Francis Street, admiring the city’s antiques quarter. At the top of Francis Street, make sure to peek into the Tivoli Car Park, one of the hidden gems of the city, filled with giant walls plastered with street art. Each year, the parking lot holds a street art festival and the masterpieces are there for the public to see and enjoy all year round.
Finally, to rest those weary walking feet, finish up at the Bull and Castle for a craft brew and a burger. You’ve earned it!
Check out the full range of hotels in Dublin city centre and plan a trip that allows you to set off and explore the city on foot.