If you’re playing the Irish Open this weekend, good luck! But, if it all goes wrong there’s plenty to do in the beautiful city of Dublin…
1. The black stuff
It’s officially against the law to take a trip to Dublin and not visit the Guinness Storehouse. Okay, it might be a bit of a tourist trap but where else can you pour your own pint of the black stuff without being ‘politely’ asked to leave? Inside you’ll discover everything you ever wanted to know about Ireland’s most famous export, before retiring to the seventh floor Gravity Bar for the perfect pint (included in the price of admission). Book your ticket online and you’ll get 10% off the entry fee of €18. If you’re feeling flush you can try the Connoisseur Experience, a 90-minute tasting session of the most popular Guinness variants, for another €30.
2. Horsing around
If you’re still playing in the Irish Open on Easter Monday, congratulations! You’re on the final table and you’re set for a bumper payday. If not, get yourself to Fairyhouse Racecourse for the Irish Grand National. Local jockey Barry Geraghty won it on the favourite Shutthefrontdoor last year in front of 16,000 well-lubricated fans.
3. Time, gentlemen
The Stag’s Head is one of Dublin’s most famous pubs, with a huge elk’s head watching over you in the main bar. It’s rumoured that Quentin Tarantino was refused a drink after trying to pull rank which, if not true, is a fantastic story. Don’t go on Good Friday though – all the pubs in Dublin are shut.
4. Gamble, gamble!
If you’re running hot at the poker table, why not head to Dublin’s most famous casino and card club for some after hours action? The Fitzwilliam Casino & Card Club is open 24/7 and shows all the big sporting events but, be warned, you can’t drink alcohol on the premises so don’t turn up looking for a late-night refresher.
5. Get steaked
Francis Xavier Buckley opened his first butcher shop in Dublin in 1930 and his name now graces the best steakhouses in the city. F.X.BUCKLEY is rated third out of 1,926 restaurants in Dublin on Trip Advisor but, more importantly, comes with a personal recommendation from ex-PokerPlayer editor Ross Jarvis. And he likes his meat.
6. Poker gods
If you’re after a bit of history and possibly a bit of run-good from the big man upstairs, Christ Church Cathedral is one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions. The medieval crypt is the earliest remaining structure in Dublin and is one of the largest in Britain. It also houses a mummified cat and rat, known locally as Tom & Jerry.
7. Craft ales and stew
The Porterhouse is Dublin’s oldest pub brewery and only sells its own beers– like its Oyster Stout, made by shucking fresh oysters into the conditioning tank. Use it to wash down the Irish stew and settle down for live music every night of the week. It’s got three Dublin locations now and the Central bar won Craft Beer Bar of the Year 2014.
8. Ryder redux
Play a round of golf at the K Club on the course that hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup – the first time the event had been held in Ireland. Team Europe smashed Team USA by 18.5 points to 9.5, and you can relive the experience on the stunning Palmer Ryder Cup Course. The equally challenging Smurfit Course offers an alternative to bitter Americans.
9. Strong stuff
If you prefer your drink stronger than Guinness, check out the world’s first whiskey museum. For €15 you get a standard tour of the Irish Whiskey Museum, which includes a tasting experience of three of Ireland’s finest whiskeys. For €18 you can go VIP with a free souvenir to save you buying something from the airport on the way home.
10. Celebrate in style
If you win the Paddy Power Poker Irish Open your first port of call should be The Decent Cigar Emporium, where you can pick up some of the finest Cuban cigars in the world, including three Cohiba Siglo VIs for €85. Light one up and take a moment to bask in your spectacular achievement, before hitting the bars and celebrating in style.
Best of the rest
Dublin is a fantastic city with plenty to do if you get knocked out of the poker early. What’s more, all the attractions are in a fairly compact area either side of the River Liffey, making it easy to get around by foot.
If you’re looking to shop, head to Grafton Street and Henry Street, the main pedestrianised shopping districts. Temple Bar, with its narrow cobbled streets, offers a much better retail experience though, with some great drinking holes and cafes.
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