People sauntering across Liffey.

8 reasons to visit Dublin just before or after St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. How many haven’t heard of that festival? But what about the locals that live there, and how do they enjoy life on a daily basis? Moreover, how do they look at you and how can you get to know the Dubliners without the partying that goes on during St. Patrick’s Day? Let us list eight reasons for you to visit Dublin just before or after St. Patrick’s Day. You may be surprised..

1. If you want to explore the local pub culture of Dublin you should come just before or after the St. Paddy’s Day. You will increase the chances of meeting Irish people by avoiding the commotion on the festival day. This city is touristy by any standards and on this day travellers flock to Dublin in the thousands. This means that the Irish are outnumbered and you will run into more tourists and drunken mayhem than usually.

2. Meet more friendly locals by spending time in Dublin before or after St. Paddy’s Day. The Temple Bar area goes back a thousand years. But for all the cobblestone streets and pubs you are more likely to run into drunken tourists than notice any sign of a town center with early medieval heritage. The Irish people that work in the area might not be that open to interact with you when you’re one of many thousands dressed in a funny green hat and tipsy to say the least. Tourism means business and St. Paddy’s Day translates to plenty of work in the hospitality industry. Many locals choose to leave town because of all the partying in The Temple Bar area.

3. See the jolly preparations of celebrations to come, or to be cleaned out, from a local’s perspective. Find yourself a quiet hotel just outside the Temple Bar area and stay there for a week or so. Follow the preparations around the area, talk with pub owners and be part of the excitement before the festivities. If you decide to come after the party, observe as decorations are taken down and the more quiet and relaxed pub life ensues. There is something special about the atmosphere just before or after a large festival. And it’s spelled daily life.

Authentic barber shop. A revolving sign. So 1970s!
Authentic barber shop. A revolving sign. So 1970s!

4. On St. Paddy’s Day itself the local authorities only let a certain number of people into the Temple Bar area. That’s how hectic it gets. To avoid stampedes of drunk tourists dressed in green, the authorities simply placed a cap on the number of people to let into the area during St. Paddy’s Day. If you want to explore a city without the craziness of mass tourism, you’re better off coming just before or after the celebrations. Then you will still feel the atmosphere of the party but without having to “wait your turn” to go into The Temple Bar area. Nor will you have worry about stampedes with drunken tourists around the city.

5. Go fishing. Literally. Check out Rory’s Fishing Tackle which is smack in the center of Temple Bar area and has been around since 1959. Start up a conversation to find out where the best fishing can be found. Buy a fishing rod and go exploring and fishing around Dublin.

6. Take photos of a city decorated for celebrations or just before they are taken down the days after St. Paddy’s Day. There is something magical about a city preparing for a festival. Flags and decorations of all kinds are put up, colors abound. This is the perfect opportunity to do some street photography of a city that is decorated for a festival but without the drunken madness that comes with the actual festival. You’ll be able to avoid all those green colors in your street photos.

7. Get out of your comfort zone and get to know the locals in their own drinking holes. Find out where the Irish go for a pint of beer and show up there with a smile on your face and an open attitude. Chances are that you’ll learn plenty about the festival and the Dubliners as well. There are plenty of pubs in central Dublin that are visited by more locals than tourists, such as The Dame Tavern, Stag’s Head and Turk’s Head. You can walk to these pubs within a few minutes from the Temple Bar area.

8. Show the locals that you care about Dublin without the festival. Learn some Irish banter and throw it around to show respect and good humour as you down your pints. The Irish are good conversationalists one on one and will likely commend you for your efforts. They also know how to banter an entire evening, so be prepared. You will most likely hear so many local jokes and anecdotes that you’ll have a treasure chest of stories to tell your friends and family when you return home. And when the time comes to leave, you will do so with memories of authentic conversations with Irish people. That beats the occasional exchange that goes “Hey, where are you from? Also here for St. Paddy’s. Let’s drink to that!”

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