Credit: Dublin Town Stories
You might feel that there isn’t anything to do other than the pub when it rains. You are absolutely right: that’s how some Irish people who are overly fond of a drink excuse their habit. Rain is something we have to accept if we live in Ireland. In Irish Gaelic, we say: Tá sé ag cur baistigh, literally “It (He) is putting the rain” – perhaps referencing some higher power that showers this misery on our heads as an inside joke, again and again.
Many travellers I guide around Dublin ask me what should they wear for a tour and what the weather will be like in this or that season. The truth is, “always prepare for the worst” is the best survival advice I can give. Layers of jackets, raincoat, umbrella – that’s an appropriate kit for any given day in Ireland, even if the morning looks sunny and beautiful. You never know when He decides to put rain on us again. Of course, we have different words for various types of rain: from light pissing drizzle to heavy flogging shower. Anyway, here are some thoughts on interesting stuff you can do in Dublin if the rain is driving you off the city streets:
Ireland is the homeland of George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel and other celebrated playwrights who contributed to the world of modern theatre and to the depiction of Ireland on stage and on screen. Along with classical plays from around the world, Irish theatres offer a unique opportunity to see some timeless absurdist sketches, harsh realism of 20th-century Catholic Ireland, modern reflections on life and death on the streets of Dublin, and everlasting tales of Irish mythology. Have a look at what’s on here.
Obviously, if you’re up for a superhero blockbuster, Irish cinemas have it all in a timely fashion. Alternatively, Irish Film Institute offers a wide range of indie movies, both Irish production and global trends. Lighthouse Cinema Smithfield is another everyone’s favourite venue that runs original short film programs, independent Irish cinema and international film festivals.
Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield might be right up your alley if you are looking for a cosy tour around the premises, with insights into the history of Irish whiskey and sampling thereof. Kilmainham Gaol, on the other hand, is a bit tricky to reach but is definitely a rewarding experience: accompanied by passionate tour guides, you will hear echoes of Irish War of Independence and see graffiti left on the walls by former prisoners. The jail was closed by the Irish Free State government in 1924, but before that, for over a century, it had contained hundreds of people, many of whom were then shipped to Australia or executed.
Museums and Art Galleries
The National Gallery of Ireland is open 7 days a week, including bank holidays, and now offers its Masterpieces App for you to have a taste of its finest art and decide whether you want to visit the gallery. The collection at Irish Museum of Modern Art is constantly renewing itself, adding more contemporary art pieces from around the world. The Little Museum of Dublin is a new popular venue that already gained recognition as the best place to discover the dark side and strange stories of the fair city, from Victorian era to modern days. Hopefully, Adam will be your tour guide. The Gallery of Photography is another curious place to check out if you are interested in photographic stories from Ireland and beyond.
The Winding Stair bookshop is a great place for the rain. ‘Tis great to sit in there, drinking tea out of a dainty cup and reading some of the fiction on the shelves.
Of course, you could simply enjoy the rain (very easy if you have a Senz umbrella), and behold the glorious shine of wet granite, or the alluring glow of reflected light as the raindrops tap an Irish jig on the roofs above you.