Get into a New Year Groove in Dublin

Climbing Killiney Hill in County Dublin
Climbing Killiney Hill in County Dublin

So you’re planning for New Year’s Eve and suddenly Dublin comes to mind. With a festival dedicated to ringing in 2014, great things are expected for the new year

Get yourself to our capital for New Year's Eve by entering our brilliant competition or buy tickets here for the Countdown Concert that will have everyone dancing.

Now, that’s the party sorted, but how will you prepare for 2014? As you mean to go on, of course. We’ve devised 10 ways Dublin city can help you get into the New Year’s Groove for 2014:

1. Stroll along the beach

You’ve probably resolved to get fitter in 2014 but instead of starting off full throttle, ease yourself into it with a leisurely stroll along one of Dublin’s beaches. Half an hour on the DART will have you breathing in fresh sea air at Killiney or Portmarnock. Extra points if you can brave the cold water.

2. Keep it cultural

It’s always good to get a sense of a city’s history so where better than the Little Museum of Dublin. This quirky spot is right on St Stephen’s Green in a beautiful Georgian building and features everything from fashion photographs to Dublin’s literary heritage. Treat yourself to freshly baked goods in Hatch & Sons downstairs afterwards.

3. Gaze at a masterpiece

See Carravaggio’s The Taking of Christ in the National Gallery. This is one of Dublin’s most famous paintings due to its brilliant backstory. The Taking of Christ was once deemed lost forever until the masterpiece showed up in the Jesuit House in Dublin city in 1990. A classic case of mistaken identity, it was given to the Jesuits under the presumption it was another artist’s work. When it was confirmed as the original Carravaggio, the Jesuits loaned it indefinitely to the gallery where it has enjoyed a pride of place ever since.

4. Grab a bargain (and a piece of Irish design)

The post Christmas sales will be well under way but that’s not to say there won’t be anything left. Wander around the South William Street area and pop into Project 51, Costume, Om Diva and the Powerscourt Townhouse, all of which stock plenty of Irish designers. You won’t find that dress anywhere else!

5. Get into the River Liffey

The Liffey is the heart of Dublin and to truly experience it, you should get right in. Cable wakeboarding with Wakedock takes place in Grand Canal Dock and perfect for blowing away any cobwebs. If you don’t fancy getting fully immersed then grab a coffee and saunter down the boardwalk. If being more adventurous is one of your resolutions, then rafting down the Liffey is a plan with Rafting.ie.

6. Healthy eating

Another popular resolution is regarding your diet. Dublin can help with fresh fish at Bite – yes, a menu highlight is chips with truffle oil but that’s your call. Delicious Irish ingredients are your friends at Fade Street Social, too.

Or look up ‘Dublin pop-up restaurant’ before you arrive to see what’s the latest on the scene. Dublin enjoys a flux of pop-up restaurants, which take residency in a building for a few months and disappear again. Raw food restaurant ‘Hare’ has just finished to rave reviews. We suspect something equally tasty will pop up soon!

7. Soak up the suburbs

Dublin is an accessible city thanks to the Luas, and frequent bus and train services. Two charming villages on the Luas line are Ranelagh (the green line) and Stoneybatter (get off at Smithfield on the red line). Ranelagh is foodie heaven with more restaurants than residents (well, not quite) and Stoneybatter is the artistic haunt where you’ll find a gallery opening around every corner.

Go even further afield on the dart to Dalkey and you can abseil in the local quarry. Afterwards, have a proper Irish feed in Bono’s local pub, Finnegan’s.

8. To the theatre

Dublin is a drama capital (Beckett, Wilde and Shaw called the city home) and there’s always a show on. Choose from large-scale productions at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and the Gaiety Theatre to classic drama at the more intimate Abbey or Gate. Meanwhile, smaller venues such as The New Theatre, Project Arts Centre and Smock Alley Theatre are where tomorrow’s theatre stars cut their teeth.

9. Cycle the city

The bike rental service, Dublin Bikes, means you can sign up short term and whizz around on two wheels for the duration of your stay. A pleasant route to take is the cycle lane starting from the bridge on Grand Canal Street along the Grand Canal to Portobello – an excellent spot for brunch, visiting the Irish Jewish Museum and admiring the resident ducks and swans.

10. Expand your mind

The Dublin Science Gallery encourages learning with interactive and innovative exhibitions managing to make seemingly mind-bending science experiments not just fun, but accessible, too. The current exhibition ‘Grow Your Own’ asks you to consider the consequences of synthetic biology. Visit the Makeshop for some spontaneous creativity. The distinctive building will catch your eye as you saunter past Trinity College and make your way down Pearse Street. Amazingly, admission is free but if you’re truly wowed then make a much welcomed donation!

Let the countdown begin...

Dublin city is ready for 2014. The Countdown Concert will see performances by Madness, The Strypes and Ryan Sheridan; the Leopardstown Races are ending the festive season with a week long festival; you could represent Great Britain in the Procession of Light; not to mention the New Year’s Day Big Brunch in Temple Bar.

Start 2014 as you mean to go on – having the time of your life.

Like the sound of that lot? Our NYE comp will be music to your ears.