While some stubbornly cling to the last few weeks of our temperamental summer, others are already looking ahead to autumn in Dublin, not least the people behind the many events and attractions that will keep both locals and visitors entertained throughout the colder months. Here are just some of the best things to see and do in the fair city this harvest season.
Make The Most Of Dublin’s Many Festivals
Autumn is officially Dublin Festival Season – a Fáilte Ireland initiative bringing together nine Dublin festivals, beginning with the Tiger Dublin Fringe (September 10th–25th) and culminating in Dublin Gallery Weekend (November 25th–27th). Throughout September, October and November 2016, the city’s many venues will be taken over by a flurry of exciting arts and culture events, playing host to festivals of music, fashion, theatre, architecture, spoken word and more. The Dublin creative community’s commitment to and talent for the arts has to be seen to be believed – watch the video advertising last year’s festival season below for an idea of what to expect.
In the year of the centenary of the 1916 Rising, a visit to Kilmainham Gaol has never been more apt. In his book on the historic prison, academic and former director of Kilmainham Gaol, Pat Cooke,points out that ‘the opening and closing of the Gaol more or less coincided with the making and breaking of the Union between Great Britain and Ireland.’ Opened in 1796 and closed in 1924, the year after the end of the Irish Civil War, Kilmainham Gaol was the site of the imprisonment and execution of many of Ireland’s most prominent revolutionaries and housed thousands of regular Irish citizens, some on their way to Australian penal colonies. Today the museum is one of the city’s most important attractions, with a new visitor centre having opened earlier this year. If you haven’t seen it yet and you have the opportunity, do it this autumn.
The best way to experience ‘the home of Gaelic games’ is by being part of the crowd at one of the All-Ireland Senior Final matches throughout September, but tickets are like gold dust. If you can’t do that, a behind-the-scenes look at the third-largest stadium in Europe is nothing to complain about. Croke Park offers all-access tours of the grounds, including a visit to the dressing rooms and through the players’ tunnel. Even if sports aren’t exactly your raison d’être, you’ll still find the museum chronicling GAA’s 130-year history interesting, and the Etihad Skyline experience affords unrivalled 360-degree views across Dublin from 17 storeys up.
One of Europe’s largest walled city parks, the Phoenix Park is the ideal place to wrap up warm and enjoy the changing of the seasons in Dublin. Walking down its many meandering, tree-lined avenues, absorbing the changing colours of the fall foliage, you can greet the wild fallow deer that have made a home in the grasslands before stopping by the Tea Rooms for a hot beverage and a cake. But if the Irish weather takes a turn for the worse the park has plenty of indoor attractions, including free weekly tours every Saturday of the main reception rooms of Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the Irish president located within the grounds of the park.
This award-winning yet little-known people’s museum is credited as ‘Dublin’s best museum experience’ by The Irish Times for good reason. Housed in a Georgian townhouse on St Stephen’s Green, it tells the story of Dublin through a three-floor exhibition consisting of over 5,000 artefacts acquired by public donation. Entry is by guided tour only and most sell out, so pre-booking is essential. This autumn, exhibitions include Churchill & The Irishman (running until September 28th), about the life of Brendan Bracken, the son of Irish Republican Brotherhood member and founding member of the GAA Joseph Bracken, who was a member of the British Conservative cabinet.