Travel | Dublin – A magical escape

If you’re stuck for something to do this summer without spending loads of money, grab your mates, book in to a hostel and spend a week exploring the magical city of Dublin. Its perfect blend of lively nightlife and impressive historical sites is bound to appeal to all student tastes.

A trip to the Guinness Storehouse, although clichéd, is a must. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the beer making process, the free pint of Guinness and the completely unrivalled panoramic views of the city from the Gravity bar on the seventh floor make this tourist hotspot well worth a visit.

On sunnier days, take a walk through the city along the beautiful River Liffey to Phoenix Park, which has over 1500 acres of sprawling, green lawns and woodland that are just perfect for picnics. Here is also the home of Dublin Zoo, which houses adorable red pandas, majestic elephants and a restaurant where meerkats scamper around in their enclosures as you eat. Although not an ‘Irish’ experience exactly, it’s great value for money and a breath of fresh air from the hectic rush of the city.

For something more in touch Ireland’s traditional culture, try the Irish Leprechaun Museum. The experience requires a certain suspension of belief to be thoroughly enjoyed, but as you are guided through the selection of enchanting rooms, including the Giant’s Room, a glass maze and a walk-through rainbow, and entertained by a fascinating selection of stories from Irish folklore and mythology, you will soon be wrapped up in this charming little world where magic still exists.

The Temple Bar district is the best place to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and bohemian vibe of the city, with an eclectic array oftemple pubs and plenty of live music. However, don’t expect drinks to be cheap. If you take the local’s advice, they’ll send you to Dicey’s night club on Harcourt Street, which provides cheap entry, reasonably priced drinks and an amazing DJ – an essential visit to complete the perfect Dublin night out. There’s a wide variety of restaurants of various cultures scattered across the city, but for an authentic Irish experience, head to Quays Irish Restaurant. Here in the heart of the Temple Bar district, there is plentiful Irish grub and beer.

Flights from the UK are a bargain, and as long as you book in to low-cost accommodation, a trip to Dublin is an affordable experience. Abraham House hostel, just off O’Connell Street in the centre of the city, is ideal for student groups. Cheap and basic, but with friendly staff and all necessary facilities, it provides everything you could possibly need for a short stay in the city.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little closer to home this summer, Dublin has a lot to offer students seeking a fun and relaxing mini-break. Great food and drink, a lively atmosphere and a little sprinkle of Irish magic make this city an unforgettable experience.

Jessica Murray

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