14. Explore Ireland’s oldest public library
When you think of things to do in Dublin, you may not place a cosy read at the top of the list. However, when libraries are this stunning, priorities change. A favourite haunt of Jonathan Swift, James Joyce and Bram Stoker, Marsh’s Library is the oldest public library in Ireland and contains over 25,000 books and 300 manuscripts. Hidden away in a quiet corner of the St Patrick’s Cathedral grounds, the library opened back in 1707 and is one of the last 18th-century buildings in Ireland still used for its original purpose. On a darker note, some of those bookcases still bear scars from the dramatic events of the 1916 Easter Rising. The morning of Sunday 30 April saw a British army machine-gun spray the library with bullets, the holes of which are still visible today on the original oak bookcases.
15. Tour a whiskey distillery inside a church
The sight of gleaming copper pot stills backed by ethereal light emanating through colourful stained glass windows makes a trip to the Pearse Lyons Distillery a wholly unique whiskey experience. Built in 1859, St James’s Church is easy to spot with its glass spire soaring above the stone nave, making for a bizarre architectural contrast. There are four separate tours to choose from (including a VIP tour led by the head distiller) and plenty of opportunities to hear the stories behind this quirky spot and, of course, to sample their quality Irish whiskey.