It’s been called “the best technology conference on the planet,” and over 10,000 attendees from 98 countries came to Web Summit in 2013 – why not join them this year?
“In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pr–” We’ll stop you there. Enough singing. No more cockles and mussels. It’s now time to cast aside any traditional notions of Dublin and instead take note of what a vibrant and modern city it has become, because that’s part of what makes Web Summit such a unique tech conference. Take a scroll through the list below to see the side of Dublin that tourists often miss, from the best shopping and cafes to the most essential cultural activities.
Dublin is home to many old churches, but St Michan’s is unique in that it has an impressive (and spooky) collection of mummified remains in its burial vaults. With some of the remains dating from as early as the 1600s, these crypts have been a visitor attraction since Victorian times. After all that amateur archaeology, you can restore your energy by taking a short stroll east along the tram tracks to Oxmantown, where you’ll enjoy one of the best sandwiches in Dublin.
A relatively recent addition to Dublin’s ever-burgeoning craft beer scene, this comfortable neighbourhood pub is home to one of the country’s most comprehensive selections of quality Irish beer. If you feel too spoilt for choice, you can order one of their tasting trays and you’ll be presented with a custom array of nine craft beers, all for under €20. To soak up the beer, there’s a full food menu on offer also. If you still haven’t had your fill, a short walk up the street in this up-and-coming part of the city will lead you to MVP, the latest venture by the omnipresent Bodytonic, where you can enjoy perusing a small but perfectly-formed cocktail menu.
With one of the best collections of men’s fashion in Ireland, this store is a must-visit for the style-minded male. There is something for everyone though, as you can prop up the counter with one of their homemade Clement & Pekoe filter coffees and flick through one of the many stylish catalogues and books on display. Across the cobbled street outside is one of Ireland premier theatre and visual arts venues: Project Arts Centre exhibits work that is continuously pushing boundaries and intriguing audiences from all over.
Croke Park is an iconic stadium, steeped in history, and has been at the heart of Irish sporting and cultural life for over 100 years. Take a trip here and enjoy an unrivalled state-of-the-art interactive visitor experience and find out more about Ireland’s unique national games and the fastest field sport in the world. You can top off your visit by enjoying panoramic views from the top tier of the stand. If heights aren’t your thing, you can settle your nerves in nearby Glasnevin afterwards by dropping into the Gravediggers pub for a pint of the black stuff.
A perfect getaway from the madness of Temple Bar, The Library Project is an unmissable attraction for anyone interested in design or photography. Spread across two floors, their collection of over 900 unique, contemporary publications is one you could easily get lost in. But if you feel like getting back out amongst the hustle-bustle of Dublin’s main tourist district, there is plenty to offer besides traditional pubs including a whole host of vintage boutiques and other independent shops such as the singular All City Records.
One thing Dublin does almost as well as tech conferences is coffee. The past 5 or 6 years has seen an incredible growth in the quality and quantity of specialty coffee outlets in the city. It is by no means an exhautive list, but our carefully curated guide points out some of the best in the heart of Dublin.
Meander through Dublin’s Creative Quarter – Between South William St and South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2
Centred in and around George’s Street Arcade is a smart collection of design shops, housing the best in Irish and international design and crafts. Outlets such as Article, Irish Design Shop, Industry and Designist populate the area alongside plenty of restaurants and bars. In the arcade itself is a variety of stalls and shops selling everything from second-hand books to custom jewellery.
The traditional Irish pub is probably already on top of your list of things to do in Ireland, but if you are looking for a bar with a more international twist then head to the Izakaya bar, one of Dublin’s hidden gems. Damaged in a fire last year it has since bounced back and continuously proves itself to be one of the coolest spots in the city. The Izakaya boasts a peerless list of the finest whiskies from the Far East, and there’s a constant stream of excellent tunes pumping through the soundsystem. Just around the corner in Ukiyo, however, you can create your own soundtrack by renting a karaoke booth for you and your mates.
Housed inside local arts hub Block T, this open access screen printing studio offers workshops and courses for anyone wanting to create and take home an artwork of their own. 3-D Printing may be the future, but Damn Fine Print Studio allows anyone to enjoy a more anachronistic technology, while you can also purchase some exceptional prints created by top Irish designers and artists. Just a stone’s throw away is the architecturally magnificent Lighthouse Cinema, an independent picture house that has a fascinating programme of special screenings and events. If you happen to be in the Fair City the week before Web Summit 2014, you can book a ticket for their Halloween Party, which includes a one-off screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.