South-west of the city centre is one of Dublin’s most historic areas: Kilmainham. This is the home of Kilmainham Gaol, the grim Victorian prison where some of Ireland's most famous political rebels were held – a guided tour is almost like a journey through Ireland's history. If you think the Gaol looks familiar, maybe that's because it's been used as a film set for everything from The Italian Job to Paddington 2. Jump from the past to the present with the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in the spectacular, 17th century Royal Hospital Kilmainham – home to more than 3,500 works by Irish and international artists. You can wander the galleries at your own pace or take a guided tour to see a city at the forefront of modern art.
Continue the modern vibe with dinner in Union 8, which offers simple, seasonal menus in a contemporary space. Or you could mix things up with an authentic Italian meal at O’livia. Linguine with freshly caught Irish mussels gives you the best of both worlds – delicious Irish seafood with a modern European twist.
Smithfield is one of Dublin’s most exciting inner-city villages, located with easy walking distance of the centre. A must-see here is the Jameson Distillery, where you can immerse yourself in the history of Irish whiskey, watch the distilling process in action, and indulge in a few tastings straight from the cask. You can even take part in a whiskey masterclass to learn how to make the perfect cocktail.
Movie buffs will love the Light House Cinema, host to numerous film festivals and events throughout the year as well as regular seasons of classic movies, world cinema and art house specials. But if you're looking for something a bit livelier, Smithfield is also known for its buzzing nightlife. Token offers fun and food with its huge range of classic arcade games. They’ve turned fast food into an art form so order a Cheesed Off Big Dogg and try to beat your Tetris high score. And for live music in an amazing venue, Dice Bar is a Dublin classic. Sample their homebrewed craft beer for a real taste of the city.