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St. Patrick's Day Edition - 8 Things To Do In Dublin, Ireland

It can be tough to figure out what to do during a visit to Ireland; the country offers so many intriguing attractions and unique experiences. Since many explorations of Ireland begin in Dublin, here's our list of a few things that you can see if you spend just a couple of days in the city.

EPIC - The Irish Emigration Museum
EPIC shows, with room after room of eye-popping displays, how the Irish have influenced and shaped the world. You'll be given a "passport" at the start of your tour; look for the little machine in each gallery where you can get the document stamped. All 20 galleries have interactive features and you'll be amused as you learn in the music and dance, storytelling, eating and drinking and sports-oriented galleries. The rougher side of Irish emigration is featured in galleries focusing on conflict, hunger and the work community and "achieving infamy," even though the latter looks at some of Ireland's famed rogues in a light-hearted way.

Epic Ireland

Look for the statues
Dublin is filled with statuary, both ancient and modern, and you'll run across it no matter what part of town you're exploring. One of the most popular is the sculpture of folklore's fishmonger Molly Malone, forever immortalized in the song about cockles and mussels. Shown pushing a wheel barrow loaded with seafood, the sculpture depicts Molly with an ample bosom that is generously revealed by her low-cut dress, and the locals have cleverly given the artwork the nickname "The tart with the cart." You'll notice the patina has disappeared from Molly's chest; it is pretty much a given that visitors to the statue will cop a feel, so go ahead and grab a handful. Find Molly on Suffolk Street. Fairly new to Dublin are a series of "talking" sculptures featuring famous Dubliners like James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. Use your smart phone to enable the statues to call you and listen to what they have to say!

Molly Malone statue

The Little Museum of Dublin
Don't let the name of the place fool you; yes the building is small but the Little Museum of Dublin is overflowing with interesting displays. Of special interest to music fans will be the U2 Room where you can see lots of memorabilia relating to the Dublin band, much of it one-of-a-kind. Amusingly, there's a statue of U2 lead singer Bono in a devilish mood; the artwork depicting the famed musician with horns makes for a great photo-op. Keep in mind that the museum does have a limited capacity, so if you want to take the tour and hear the story of Dublin, it's best to get there early in the day.

Devilish Bono at the Little Museum of Dublin

Here's a look at the history of Dublin from the perspective of the Vikings who founded the city. The museum has four main exhibitions, focusing on living like a Viking, death, disease, crime and warfare, excavating Dublin's past, and getting a medieval view of modern Dublin. Depictions of Viking kings and warriors and medieval peasants are incredibly lifelike, and while many are awe-inspiring, there's one that's laugh out loud funny; make sure not to miss the display of the poor peasant sitting on a primitive toilet and bemoaning the fact that he's out of the material used as toilet paper in those days. Yes, there are sound effects!

Out of toilet paper at Dublinia

Marsh's Library
This library is just an amazing place. Unchanged after three centuries, the library holds 25,000 rare books that are housed on their original oak bookcases. Once the first public library in Ireland, Marsh's no longer loans out books (except to scholars on a limited basis) and if you visit you'll need to adhere to no touching and no photography rules. Docents will open a couple of books for you to see though, and they'll point out things like the closet where a mummy was once found, and books with bullet holes in them (bullets came flying through the window during Ireland's "Easter Rebellion" in 1916.)

Marsh's Library

St. Patrick's Cathedral
Many of the reasons for visiting here are obvious; to attend services, learn the church's history and significance to the world, to marvel at the incredible architecture, and to gain spiritual inspiration. But there are also numerous museum-like displays at the cathedral's entry with eye-catching and informative items, such as a rather macabre cast of Jonathan Swift's skull. St. Patrick's Cathedral is the largest (and tallest) church in Ireland; the holy site is located nearby to where St. Patrick baptized Christian converts some 1500-years ago.

Cast of Jonathan Swift's skull at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Guinness Storehouse
Guinness has been making their famous beer for more than 250-years now and you can learn about the drink's history and all that goes into making the brew during a tour of this multi-level museum. At the end of the tour you'll get to drink a pint of frothy Guinness if you so choose. Even better, pay a little extra and attend the Guinness Academy; there you'll learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness and you'll get to drink the results, and you'll also get a certificate to take home and show off to your friends. Tours are self-guided and audio guides are available.

The Guinness Storehouse

The Brazen Head Pub
We've saved this one for last and for good reason! The Brazen Head is Ireland's oldest pub and the best experience here is the dinner show where you'll be entertained by musicians performing traditional Irish songs between courses of your meal. To say the presentation is lively is an understatement; the musicians will have you roaring with laughter and hooting and singing along with many of the songs. If you don't indulge in the dinner show, the Brazen Head also has live music for all every night. Generally the music is provided by local musicians but stars like Van Morrison, the Hothouse Flowers and Tom Jones have performed in the Brazen Head over the years. Reservations are required for the dinner show.

The Brazen Head Pub

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