If you’re taking the traditional tourists’ lane in Dublin, attractions including Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Temple Bar, and Guinness Storehouse may be on top of your travel plans. Besides, ticking off these destinations is ideal for first-time travelers, right?
But if you’re a curious traveler, planning to go off the beaten path and explore secret places of Dublin from a different angle, then you’ve come to the right page.
From churches with mummies and saint’s remains to 1920’s-inspired speakeasy pubs, here are great hidden gems in Dublin a lot of locals know about but you may have never heard of.
1. Mummies at the St. Michan’s Church:
Walk along the Church Street and you’ll stumble upon what seems to be an unassuming church but is actually one of the best-hidden gems of Dublin. It’s the St. Michan’s Church, the first church to be built on the Northern side of Dublin.
Step inside and you’ll witness its dark, “well-preserved” secrets. Located in the stone chambers underground are several mummies from between the 17th and 19th-centuries. The mummies were members of some of Dublin’s richest families, and you may see them for yourself during select times for a small fee.
2. The Relics of St. Valentine:
Saint Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians. His biggest crime? He was caught officiating the weddings of Christian couples during the persecution.
Not many people know that the patron saint of lovers was buried in Dublin. While his skull lies in Rome, his other relics were taken to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. This church continues to be a famous place of pilgrimage especially on St. Valentine’s Day for people seeking love.
3. Sweny’s Pharmacy:
This hidden gem is a 19th-century turned bookstore and craft shop for any bibliophile. It’s once visited by the famous Irish writer James Joyce, and even listed as a location in his popular novel, Ulysses.
When your Dublin hotel is in the south, you can merge your visit to the Sweny’s Pharmacy with a trip inside the nearby National Gallery.
4. Marsh’s Library:
Don’t feel like braving the crowds at the Trinity College Old Library? Nestled down a small side street with cherry blossom trees, and just a few meters away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a library that’s been standing for hundreds of years.
Marsh’s Library is the prettiest and oldest public library in Ireland. This is where a few Irish icons like Bram Stoker, James Joyce, and Jonathan Swift studied.
5. Rory Gallagher’s Guitar:
Dubliners pay homage to one of the best Irish musicians of all time: Rory Gallagher. Ten years after his death, the city decided to pay tribute by crafting a perfect bronze replica of Gallagher’s guitar, a legendary Fender Stratocaster. They hang the guitar in the Rory Gallagher corner, a bricked wall of a local Meeting House, to properly honor his memory.
6. The Leprechaun Museum:
Whether you’re obsessed with the leprechaun folklore, magic, legends, and myths or you just want creative shots for your IG feed, the Leprechaun Museum is worth the visit.
The weird and wonderful museum features a guided tour about the Irish folklore and a tunnel full of optical illusions. There’s also a room with giant furniture where you’ll feel as small as a leprechaun.
7. Vintage Cocktail Club:
Everybody knows the Temple Bar and its famous nightlife spots. However, not many folks (including native Dubliners) know about the secret pub tucked away behind an inconspicuous doorway in the Temple Bar called “The Vintage Cocktail Club.” It’s a refined candle-lit, 1920s-style clandestine bar, inspired by the golden age of speakeasies, silent movie thespians, and the like.
Hint: There’s a discreet black door with letters “VCC” on the outside beside 15 Crown Alley. Don’t hesitate to knock and see what lies ahead.
8. The “Georgian Doors of Dublin”:
Speaking of doors, there’s a reason why the doors in Dublin houses are vivid and quirky.
Way back in the 1700s, the Georgian architectural rules were quite strict, rendering all homes to look similar: stone or brick cube-like two-story building, symmetrical arrangement of doors and windows on the front façade, and a side-gabled roof.
With this, homeowners express their individuality by creating colorfully elaborate doors with brassware and fanlights.
Today, these quirky Georgian doors are an established visual attraction in the capital. When you’re not in your Dublin hotel, wander around to spot these doors. You can find a goldmine of quirky doors at Merrion Square.
Carmina Natividad is one of the travel-savvy writers for IMI Residence Dublin, a modern hotel offering leisure travelers affordable and exceptional accommodation in Dublin Ireland. This frugal young lady believes that traveling shouldn’t be expensive. She loves sharing money-saving hacks on lodging, traveling, and dining.