Sometimes the best lessons are the ones learned outside of the classroom. Luckily, studying abroad in Dublin comes with its fair share of outside enrichment. Here are seven activities to do or places to discover in Dublin that will help make your student adventure in this incredible Irish city unforgettable:
Visit Kilmainhaim Gaol Prison
Now a museum, Kilmainhaim Gaol played an integral role in Irish political history, as leaders of various Irish rebellions were imprisoned and executed here from the 1790s to the 1920s. Two of the most famous are Charles Stewart Parnell and James Connolly. Head over early in the day to sign up for a tour, which includes an audio-visual show and various exhibits detailing the prison’s role as a symbol for the fight for Irish independence.
Learn to Speak Gaelic
Celebrate the country’s language by learning to speak it yourself! If you are studying abroad in Ireland, get involved with Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League), which represents the Irish-speaking community and promotes the Irish language throughout the country and world. Sign up for one of the center’s 10-week courses in Gaelic, including beginner and refresher programs, or simply visit the center to learn more about Ireland’s language revival.
Catch a Game at Croke Park
The principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park is the perfect place to discover and enjoy Irish sports during a study abroad program in Ireland. See traditional Irish games in action, such as hurling, Gaelic football, and rounders, and cheer on Ireland’s national football and rugby teams to victory. For the true sports fan, tour the stadium’s museum to find out more about both the history of Gaelic games and Ireland’s greatest athletes.
Celebrate Ireland’s Music and Dance Heritage
Get swept away by the sights and sounds of Irish music and dance while studying in Ireland. Be entertained by fantastic artists and live performances in the city’s many pubs and venues all year long, usually for free. If you’re studying abroad in Dublin during January, take part in the weeklong TempleBar Trad Fest. This huge festival features more than 200 performances of traditional Irish music and dance at iconic spots throughout the city, such as Christ Church Cathedral and City Hall. You can learn the jigs and reels yourself at St. Stephan’s Green during Festival Ceili, which is part of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in March — all dancers welcome!
Purchase Irish Crafts on Grafton Street
One of the two main shopping streets in Dublin, Grafton Street offers a mix of the city’s most expensive stores presenting high-end fashion with more casual shops offering souvenirs and essentials. Visit Grafton to shop for lovely Irish-made products, including Aran wool sweaters, Celtic jewelry, and Waterford crystal. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa from Butler’s Chocolates as you take in the colorful street performances and window-shop, and keep an eye out for the famous Molly Malone statue!
Explore the National Gallery of Ireland
Tour the Irish national collection of Irish and European Art here. Perhaps best-known for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masterpieces, this museum houses more than 15,000 pieces of art, including works by some of Europe’s most beloved artists — among them Monet, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. There is also a collection of works related to the life and writings of Irish poet W.B. Yeats.
Enjoy a Pint of Guinness!
Pub culture is huge in Ireland, and as the one of the most recognized beer brands worldwide, the name Guinness is practically synonymous with Dublin. No study abroad program in Ireland would be complete without taking a tour of the Guinness Brewery and discover what goes into crafting the perfect pint. Savor some of the famous dry stout yourself at the storehouse’s Gravity Bar. You can also grab a pint and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many pubs in the Temple Bar District, home to a lively nightlife and cultural festivals year round.