Ireland, without alcohol?!

Old Mar 27th, 2024, 08:36 PM
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Ireland, without alcohol?!

I'm considering visiting Dublin on my next journey to Europe. But all the websites promote Ireland's link with alcohol. I'm not a teetotaler, or a recovering alcoholic. But I am soooo weary of bars and alcohol getting such a large focus in our world. Please tell me there are things worth seeing in Dublin that have nothing to do with getting drunk. Thank you!


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Old Mar 27th, 2024, 09:05 PM
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Is this a joke? Sorry, not trying to be rude, but have you done any reading about Dublin? Just a few things:
Trinity College/Book of Kells
St. Stephens Green
Christchurch Cathedral
Dublin Castle
Beatty Library
National Gallery
National Museum
Just to list a few.
Lots of good music, not all of it in bars, but you can hear a lot in bars without getting drunk!
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Old Mar 27th, 2024, 11:06 PM
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Glad SusanP responded before I did. I might not have been quite so polite
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 12:50 AM
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Oh, my friends, not a joke. I'm venting! But look up the list of "favorite Dublin attractions" on TripAdvisor, and most of them mention alcohol. Thanks for letting me vent.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 01:14 AM
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TripAdvisor is not always the best resource for learning about what a location has to offer. I would recommend getting some good guidebooks and learning more about the rich culture of Ireland. Yes, Irish pubs have liquor, but many also have music, food and a friendly people not drinking to excess.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 02:49 AM
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I don't drink alcohol much, and I am happy to be the designated driver most of the time. I had a great time in Ireland, even in the pubs. It isn't compulsory to drink alcohol or to get drunk. Yes you may see drunks, but then again you may see them anywhere.
Plenty of things to see and do and enjoy without alcohol being involved, same as in any other country.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 03:24 AM
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This is an EXCELLENT question, especially because I myself am so guilty of writing about our time in pubs.

Ireland is so darn beautiful and so full of history. Susan P gave you a good starter list for Dublin, but I must emphasize that an enduring family memory was spent at the Kilmainham Gaol. That experience reinforced the Irish history I had already read and drove me to read more. You are ending up in a city that looks very British, unlike cities on the West Coast, but underneath that appearance were thoughtful brave souls challenging the status quo. The literary history of the city is legend. I think there are writer's walking tours available, something I wish I had done in Dublin (I had loved our Paris Walk's "Hemingway's Paris" tour).

We went to the Guinness thing just as something to do, but believe me, other than the view at the top and the brilliant advertising exhibit at the bottom, it would never even register as a "might be interesting stop" on our list. I can't stand whiskey, so those tours just were out for us. And if you go to pubs and don't drink, you can still experience a lot.
I've met many Irish who were drinking ginger ale, etc.They were there for the craic and the music. I could relate--I come from a teetotalling family who were musicians, and they did just fine.

To that end, if you decide to experience the Trad Music history, check out a Trad Music tour of some type (NOT A PUB CRAWL). ​​​Our first activity in Dublin 10 years ago was a Traditional Music tour, where two excellent Trad musicians met us a one pub, escorted us in the backdoor of another, and then demonstrated everything we would hear in terms of Trad styles in the upcoming week. We knew a lot of that already, but we used that experience to set up our precise Trad Music schedule for the week. In fact, the guys were very kind enough to tell us where we needed to go next that very night to hear more.

But I must admit my favorite concentrated historic area of Ireland is actually in Northern Ireland. Between the cities of Belfast and Derry, we felt we had taken a college course in a week.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 05:31 AM
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Merseyheart let me ask you a question: clearly you are interested in traveling to Dublin. Why? That "why" is whatever interest you nay have in the city and should be your focus for going there.

Just because top reviews on Trip Advisor or any social media site are "top" does not mean you have to do them, too. I think travelers have gotten into this sense of "FOMO" and perhaps are afraid of being judged for not doing what they see on social media; and, get focused on the so-called "must sees" without determining if that is a "must see" for them.

Travel to Dublin because you want to and for the reasons why you want to. With that having been said, alcohol is not the first thing I think/thought of for Dublin. As others have mentioned, yeah, it's there and part of the culture. But only one part of many things to do and experience.

Happy Planning!

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Mar 28th, 2024 at 05:49 AM.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 05:49 AM
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On a recent trip to Ireland with some friends we took turns picking out places to eat. One in the group only looked at pubs and we quickly found that we tired of eating "pub food.", and tired of the pub atmosphere. Dark wood booths, bar with various beers on tap & bottom, middle and top shelf spirits. Great if you want a drink, and the food wasn't bad, but Ireland has so much more to offer in terms of dining options & atmospheres. Every town we stopped in there were many non-pub places to eat - small soup & sandwich shops, sea or farm to table restaurants, etc. Alcohol was available to order, but it wasn't front and center like you might see in a pub.

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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 06:04 AM
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Adding additional thoughts, sorry for another post!

For giggles, I looked at the Fodors site for "top" attractions. What the author/publisher viewed as the top spots, only one was centered around alcohol (Guiness, unless I missed one), the rest not: https://www.fodors.com/world/europe/...s-to-do/sights. This basically has most/all of SusanPs list.

They are listed in alphabetical order. It then goes into a list of probably lesser known attractions, also in alphabetical order. Perhaps this may give you a starting point?

What is the "top" site or "must see" of a destination is relative to the writer. For a site like TA, it is probably 5-star reviews that drive that "top" list. And, those reviews are subjective to the one writing it. And TA does not have controls in place for authentication of those reviews and legitimacy of them.
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Old Mar 28th, 2024, 03:29 PM
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DH is teetotaling, I am not. We did visit the Guiness Storehoouse and agree with above that except for the marvelous top floor view, it is quite pedestrian. Years ago it was possible to visit the actual brewery, but now they have this Disneyfied place instead. We heard that the same is true for Jameson's so gave that a pass (I had been to the actual distillery a few decades ago) but did tour the Teeling distillery, a family owned business being revived by a pair of young brothers that was fairly brief but interesting.

The place we enjoyed most of all in Dublin was the EPIC museum - we spent hours there. It traces the impact of Irish emigrés around the globe in an interactive but not hokey way. And your ticket allows multiple entrances so you can exit to the nice food court then return.

The famous library at Trinity College is undergoing some renovations - every single book is being taken off the shelves for the first time in 300 years, cleaned by hand and digitized. There is an alternate venue on campus that has been built to accommodate the Book of Kells and related items.

St Patrick's cathedral offers free docent led visits.

Gallagher's Boxty House in Temple Bar area is a lovely place to savor the traditional Irish dish in several iterations and while alcohol is available it is not booze centric by any means.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 08:46 AM
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Everybody isn't drunk in Dublin. I drink but have hardly ever been drunk in my life, and dont' even like the type of drink Dublin is famous for. That means Guinness beer and whiskey, I can't stand either of them.

Aside from the above ideas, I enjoyed a trip to Malahide Castle just outside Dublin. You can get there easily without a car

https://www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie/
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 03:50 PM
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Alcohol is quite a thing in Ireland, I don't want to deny it. I have an Australian friend who moved to Ireland to teach at Trinity College. She didn't drink at all, and she was tired of being approached to have a drink - people can get quite pushy - so she joined the Temperance League. They wear a ribbon on their chest, I think much like the ribbons for breast cancer (I don't know the colour). People evidently see it and recognise that the wearer isn't approachable in that way.

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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 01:39 PM
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Although I definitely enjoy good beer and alcohol, one very interesting museum tour in Dublin is 14 Henrietta Street. It is the story of tenement living in Dublin and was fascinating!
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 04:17 PM
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Dublin's just like (most) any other city. Plenty to do without being drunk to do it. Even aside from the touristic things, remember that most pubs, perhaps outside the Temple Bar area, aren't the equivalent to a bar such as you'd find in the US. Local pubs are great places to pop in for a bite to eat and the whole family is welcome. No need to order alcohol to enjoy.
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 05:01 PM
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thanks for the suggestions

Oh, thank you all for the kind suggestions. Planning travel is a challenge, isn't it. You have a point about patronizing a pub just for the meal, not the alcohol. I've done that in the UK. I often visit Liverpool, so I thought it might be nice to add another country for my next journey. I like castles and cathedrals, green spaces, and riding public transit. The immigration museum sounds good, as does the Book of Kells. I am startled by the high rates of the hotels, but I know that hotel prices have gone up everywhere. And yes, it pays off to check *several* travel websites to see the favored attractions. Hooray for Fodor's Forums.
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Old Apr 7th, 2024, 02:51 AM
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Despite the stereotype about 25% of Ireland's adult population are non-drinkers.
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Old May 1st, 2024, 01:18 PM
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We are on our Irish trip right now and not big drinkers either. Of course you can pop into a pub but you will find lots of other things to do especially if you are into history and the outdoors.

We did a food tour which was lovely because we got to see how the locals live but not be immersed in the drinking culture even though it did end with a pub visit but it was very low-key.

I definitely wouldn't let drinking put you off of your trip to Ireland as it's a very beautiful country with lots of friendly people.
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