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10 Ways To Challenge A 'Normal' Night In Dublin

By aidan

December 20, 2016 at 12:10am


Wander through town on a Friday night and the streets are aglow with neon signs and a scurry of heels. Beyond the thoroughfare meanwhile, where Netflix and clicking kettles insulate nights in, jostling tends to be reserved to the couch: prizing a remote away from a flat mate or lunging into a bag of crisps.

Certainly if the door to a ‘typical night’ was left ajar, the scene would quickly descend into Groundhog Day with one weekend imitating the other. But in a city like ours, where culture and fun are always in close proximity, there’s no reason to feel inhibited when it comes to new ways to relax or play – and when we watched Finbar 247 give a whole new spin to the idea of 'challenging the night', we realised that there was far more to this city than meets the eye. The lads roller blading around the city gave us an impressive view of night time sporting activities in this fair city. If you want to do your own nocturnal activities keep reading.

Here are just 10 examples...

The Happenings

Often the endless days of summer feel as though they’re passing you by through double-glazed windows. Long walks are for people with time while flip-flops and are limited to those with holidays to attend.

But the longer evenings mark the return of The Happenings, whose outdoor cinema and music events are the perfect excuse to snuggle up in a new setting with a scuttle of treats.

Events run May – September, while this weekend’s Happenings kicks off in Phibsborough with Roddy Doyle’s The Van, perhaps in lieu of Dublin’s One City, One Book last month, or possibly because it’s a class film. Either way, blankets are suggested while rubbish bags are essential (litter isn’t tolerated).

As The Happenings’ slogan goes: Create always. Have fun. Be nice.


The Ski Centre

Jetting off to Switzerland, skis and poles in tow, tallies in around the average person’s monthly salary. And anyway, the opportunity to carve your way through crisp, freshly fallen snow has passed (it’s May after all). But there’s no reason not to try and capture cozy luxury mid-year.

The Ski Centre in Sandyford, located 5 minutes from the Green Luas line, caters to novice and advanced skiers alike. The slopes are made from a carpet-like material and speed and gradient are determined based on needs and ability. Classes and once off lessons are affordable, especially in summer, while boots, skis and poles are provided. It isn’t Switzerland granted, but it’ll give you a taste of the good life.


The Science Gallery

This May, The Science Gallery on Pearse Street peels back the veneer of domestic bliss to expose the home, from microbial to millennial, and ask of the future of our homes; what are the right homes to build in a growing city? Is housing just a numbers game?

Showing till July and open until 8 on weekdays, HOME\SICK: POST-DOMESTIC BLISS combines art and science to challenge the concept of the home. Attendants are on hand throughout the exhibition (usually seen wandering around in Science Gallery t-shirts), and as always they can give you a friendly tour of the exhibition space free of charge.



You said you’d get fit in January yet the first quarter’s come and gone and you’re still clinging to your favourite trackies and tipping back regular Coke. Fortunately getting fit in summer isn’t limited to the gym (nor was it in winter now we think about it).

Salsa Dublin, based in River Bar, O’Connell Bridge, run classes throughout the week including Bachata and Kizomba. Lessons span from beginner to advanced and classes are as cheap as €5 if you opt for two sessions.


Book Clubs

Delving into a meaty title can be daunting, especially when your phone’s hopping and every meal feels like a MacGyver rerun with bowtie pasta. Regardless of where you stand on the reading spectrum however, you may have noticed that Hollywood’s been hitting the bestsellers list recently.

With news that Donna Tartt’s 900-page epic The Goldfinch has been picked up by Warner Bros, or that Lupita Nyong’o is poised to star in Americanah later this year, it’s easy to feel disparaged and wonder ‘Who has the time to read?’

In Dublin, book clubs often seem elusive and limited to friends’ front rooms. Yet they’re offered throughout the city in public libraries, independent book stores such as Company of Books and Gutter Bookshop as well as cultural venues like The National Gallery and Light House Cinema (whose book discussion is followed by a film viewing).

Burying your nose in a book can seem hard work, but it becomes that much easier when you’ve something to work towards.



The mid-morning commute and post-work dash to the bus can take away from the city’s magic. But a sparkle pervades the city in summer as the water ripples beneath a setting sun.

Rather than travelling the city by foot however, explore it by boat beneath the bridges and down the quays on City Kayaking’s Night Tour. Gear is included in the price while trips are suitable for both groups and individuals.



With summer here, it’s easy to write off indoor activities for an iced coffee and dinner outside. But before the summer really takes off and barbecues invites are underway, take a pause and culture yourself at one of our world-class theatres. Whether it’s Romeo and Juliet (The Gate), The Field (The Gaiety) or Hedda Gabler (The Abbey), there’s no excuse when it comes to live performances.

If you want to see new writing, albeit with a recognisable lead, then take a look at The Project’s Before Monsters Were Made which runs April 30 – May 16th.


Rock Climbing

Perhaps you want to build your upper body strength or maybe you just need a night away from the iPhone. Either way, ascending an indoor wall is an exciting way to test your endurance and push your mental strength.

Gravity, Inchicore and The Wall, Sandyford are nodal points for beginners with a fear of heights. On the other hand, if scaling high walls gives you a kick then head north to Awesome Walls, Finglas for a sense of the outdoors, inside.


The Adventure Rooms

Perhaps you watched Jim Henson’s Labyrinth too many times, or maybe there’s nary a day you challenge both sides of your brain. In any case, Adventure Rooms is the perfect place to orchestrate an escape from the humdrum weekend.

With 60 minutes and a handful of clues to engineer your exit, this alternative evenings has the added bonus of being in easy reach of most city-centre bus routes, car parks as well as the Luas (Jervis being the closest station). It’s located right beside LOAM Advertising and has a red door. Mind you, if you can’t find your way to the front door without a struggle, then abandon all hope of actually succeeding in the game itself.


Stitching and Bitching

You might have been in the game for years or perhaps you want to break out that first set of sticks. Either way Dublin Knitting Collective should be the first port of call with knitting sessions running throughout the week across city. Whether you’ve your eye on a scarf or felt inspired by the 109-year-old man who clicked his way through a multitude of mini penguin sweaters, a night on the twist stitch is a great way to knitwork. Sorry, network!



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