Enjoy the best of Dublin without spending a dime
The Ha'penny Bridge, built in 1816, was Dublin's first footbridge. (David Soanes/Getty)
Lonely Planet’s Ireland expert Fionn Davenport shares his tips for what’s free in the capital this summer.
June sees James Joyce fans dressing up in Edwardian garb and turning out across the city to celebrate Bloomsday in honour of Ulysses character Leopold Bloom. On 16 June, the James Joyce Centre will host a variety of celebrations, including a special cooked breakfast with black and white puddings and a Ulysses walk with ad hoc readings and dramatisations in settings from the novel. Bring a copy if you have one.
Chester Beatty Library
The best small museum in Ireland, the Chester Beatty Library is home to an intriguing collection of books, manuscripts and other objets d’art from around the world, and is currently exhibiting a selection of 30 paintings from Irish-American mining magnate Chester Beatty’s own private hoard. Representing the Barbizon School (the French art movement that preceded impressionism) you’ll find works by Corot, Jacque and Millet.
Dublin’s perfect stroll for a summer afternoon takes you along the Great South Wall – at four miles, the world’s longest sea wall when it was finished in 1795 – to the Poolbeg Lighthouse. Reach the end and you’ll be rewarded with views of the city skyline, while to the north you can see the nature reserve of North Bull Island and, beyond that, the peninsula of Howth Head.
Held on 30 June, the Dublin Pride parade celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013 and is the enthusiastic climax of a 10-day festival. It’s a raucous and colourful affair – expect rainbow flags, hot pants and all sorts of fancy costumes. There’ll be an added spirit of defiance this year, as 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.
National Museum of Ireland
The schools are busy with exams in June, so you’ll have Ireland’s foremost museum all to yourself. The National Museum of Ireland’s collections include some of Europe’s finest Bronze- and Iron-Age gold artefacts, as well as a number of the most intact examples of medieval Celtic metalwork in the world – notably the 8th-century Ardagh Chalice, uncovered in a potato field in 1868.
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