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Arts & Culture

Dublin’s Top Ten Works of Art

The Book of Kells in Trinity is arguably Dublin’s most famous work of art but what of all the internationally renowned masterpieces housed in the Dublin galleries? Here are ten of the major artworks waiting to be discovered behind doors you walk past every day. In the National Gallery: 1. Caravaggio – The Taking of Christ Caravaggio painted this dramatic scene of the arresting of Jesus in 1602 for the Roman Marquis Ciriaco Mattei. We see Judas identifying Christ with a kiss and the guards moving in for the arrest. The darkness of the painting is lit from within by a lantern held by St Peter, although this is considered to be a self-p

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The Ruby Sessions

Sometimes the queue for the Ruby Sessions is so long that it snakes down the stairs of Doyle’s pub and out the door around past the old plaque on the wall that says “Good times are coming/Be they ever so far away” and down into the dark and puddles of Fleet Street. If you find yourself that far back, your chances of getting in are very far away indeed. These are the nights when word has leaked out into the world that a ‘Very Special Guest’ will be taking to the mic of the renowned live music night, and for the price of a six euro charity donation, you too could be part of the intimate gathering that surrounds the candlelit stage. Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Paulo Nutini, T

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The Royal Irish Academy

On the morning that I visit the Royal Irish Academy, they’re testing out the new Luas on Dawson Street; empty carriages move by while people take time to stop and take in Dublin’s ever-evolving cityscape. The Royal Irish Academy has been located at 19 Dawson Street since 1851 when it moved from its Grafton Street origins to the more spacious Academy House. Sandwiched between Saint Anne’s Church and the Mansion House, you have probably walked past its elegant exterior hundreds of times and assumed that whatever happens inside has nothing to do with you. But the Academy wants you to know that it has. Pauric Dempsey, the Head of Communications, meets me in reception

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Dublin Treasures – The Spicebag

For the love of spice bags... In Dublin pubs, the conversation has now evolved from queries of ‘What is a spice bag?’ and ‘Have you had a spice bag yet?’ to more pressing issues of etiquette and availability. Because everyone’s mother probably now knows what a spice bag is, that celebrated, moreish takeaway meal combo of chicken, chips and spices in a bag (foil or paper) and the occasional bit of onion and red pepper thrown in. She may have even eaten one. Once seen as something only millennials should let past their lips, it’s now gone properly mainstream, and was voted Ireland’s favourite dish at the Just Eat National Takeaway Awards last year. A mere culinary craze? We don’t think so.

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Time for tea

Meet Oliver Cunningham of Wall & Keogh, Dairine Keogh of Clement & Pekoe and Anya Letsko of Joy of Cha. These three are in the vanguard of Dublin’s tea-house renaissance, a movement that’s three parts infusion of leaves to one part charmingly quirky interior decor. Are they operating on a higher spiritual plane than their coffee-fuelled counterparts? Where are they on the vexed question of sugar? Dublin.ie finds out. Dublin.ie: You people are making a bit of a song and dance about tea aren’t you? Why so? Oliver: We do take it seriously at

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People & Community

Meet A Dubliner – Pat Liddy, Tour Guide

Pat Liddy is many things. An artist, historian, writer, illustrator, broadcaster, mapmaker, and environmental lobbyist who has helped make Dublin a global tourist attraction. The author and illustrator of over seven books on the city, as well as others on Irish cultural sites, he is the operator of Pat Liddy’s Walking Tours of Dublin. I was born and reared in what we might call the inner city, which in this case was Phibsborough. So, in the first place, that qualifies me as a true Dubliner, because the definition is “Born between the canals,” isn’t it? If I wanted to come

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Parlez-vous Pirate?

There’s a lot of things you can learn at your local library. And how to speak Pirate is one of them. As a place to learn a foreign language, Dublin’s public libraries have a notable advantage over the city’s other estimable language-learning institutions – the facilities they offer are free! Aside from the foreign language books you can borrow, your library card gives you access to two other invaluable resources. One is a language app called Mango. The other is the more traditional but by no means outmoded method of improving your French, or your Mandarin; con

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Dublin Uncovered: The Liberties

The Liberties is one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods and for Amy Sergison, it’s part of her family history. She revisited the area to explore its evolution. The Liberties is one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods having been around in one way or another since the 12th century. In my memory, this is where my nana lived and my Dad grew up. I have very fond memories of visiting my nana on Basin Street. We would know we were close in the car, even if our eyes were closed because we could smell the hops from Guinness. I remember Greta’s shop (sadly gone today), where the floor sparkled like diamonds and jars filled with sugar barley stood tall on top of

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The Antique Street

Francis Street is going through some big changes these days, subtle and quiet as they might be. The area is providing a home to new bars, restaurants, and shops. But mostly it’s filled with antique shops, and antiques have been the main business round here for quite a while now. “I opened about 16 years ago,” said Patrick Howard, of Patrick Howard Antiques, “though Francis Street itself has been filled with antique shops for almost 30 years.” Patrick was a fashion designer before he got into the antiques game. “I did that for most of my life, and when I got tired of it I

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Vintage at The Harlequin

Dublin’s vintage scene is thriving. With more vintage stores opening in the city centre, the competition is hotting-up, but so is the demand. So, why the sudden increase in vintage fashion? The inclusion of vintage inspirations by current fashion designers and the media has driven a change in people’s attitudes towards wearing second-hand clothes. You could say the recession has had an impact too. People are more resourceful because of it. They’re more likely to buy second hand now and generally the clothes are longer lasting than high street fashion. There’s also the fact that, thanks to a recent surge in bohemian and hipster trends, Dubliners are striving for mor

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Sports & Outdoors

Dublin Treasures – The Canals

Mentions of Dublin’s Canals, both the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal, pour aplenty through Irish poetry and song. To each canal, a poet’s statue: The Royal has Brendan Behan, turned to look at you if you sit beside him; Patrick Kavanagh is on the Grand Canal, arms crossed and pensive. To each canal, a lyric: the passionate ‘Auld Triangle’ for the Royal; the contemplative ‘Canal Bank Walk’ for the Grand. They are the arteries running through the heart of Dublin unfurling into the countryside. The Grand bracing the city on the southside, stretching west 144km to the Shannon river and The Royal, on the northside, winding 146km to the same river. Yet despite their romantic depiction in poem and song – and perhaps as a result of their everyday lunch-breakiness – they’ve tended to get overlooked. All that is about to change. A small steady ‘friends of the canal’ movement is gaining momentum and these waterways encircling our city may soon be the focus of artful appreciation once more.

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Dublin Outdoors – Niall Davis, Biking.ie

A stone’s throw from the city (this could depend on one’s throwing arm), there’s something extreme going on. Tyres hitting gravel and muck at speed. That’s all we’ll say for the moment, we’ll let Niall Davis from Biking.ie do the talking. Quick note: a “spin” for the uninitiated, like ourselves, is going out on your mountain bike. Dublin.ie: Tell us a bit about Biking.ie? Niall: We’ve two locations, one in the Dublin mountains [Ticknock] and one in the Wicklow mountains [Ballinastoe]. From both those hubs we run bike rentals, lessons, tours, and we act as an information or

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The Forty Foot

It’s an addiction. It’s life threatening. It’s awesome. Huddling together in the bitter cold, on Friday the 13th, under a weak and feeble January sun, they all argue that there’s nothing better. Sure, there’s dramatic stories of nearly dying. But the group is adamant that the buzz is worth it. Great, they say, for the mental health. “It’s the perfect anti-depressant,” photographer Barry Delaney says. Listening to them, you hear the language of addiction, of love, of religion even. I didn’t miss a single day last year. I would feel absolutely guilty if I did Welcome to Sandycove’s famous Forty Foot and

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Vampire jets and vases at Collins Barracks

The National Museum of Ireland… No, wait a second: ‘the National Museums of Ireland’. That’s right, there’s actually four of them – at four different sites. Three of them are purpose-built; the buildings have always been museums: that’s the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street, the Archaeology Museum on Kildare Street and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo. The fourth site, Collins Barracks – which accommodates the Museum of Decorative Arts and History ̵

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Dublin Treasures – Temple Bar Icon Walk

Pitching itself as “the greatest story ever strolled”, the Icon Walk cracks the heart of the Irish people wide open and tie-dyes the backstreets of Temple Bar with its vibrant colours. Like spokes from a hub, the walk’s rainbow-painted laneways radiate outwards from The Icon Factory, a gallery and shop at the corner of Aston Place and Bedford Lane. Founded in 2009 by Barney Phair, this not-for-profit artists’ co-operative is run for the benefit of the many creatives that ply their wares here. These streets are an unexpected treasure trove of culture and colour, splashed across spray-p

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