Whether you’re taking a break for lent, off the gargle for good, or just want to switch things up here’s a few ways to let your hair down, without a pint in your hand.
Whiskey, Guinness, Poitín … Dublin’s reputation as the drinking capital of the world precedes it. However, if you’re one of the many who’ve had enough of the patchy memory, shakey breakfasts, and days worth of ‘the fear’, you may be looking for a social alternative to drinking.
The world is slowly coming around to the idea that not everyone likes to drink alcohol. Well established beer brands are foraying into the N/A beverage aisles while companies scramble to make themselves marketable for “Dry January” each year. Slower still is Ireland in understanding this idea, but we’re getting there. Ordering a coke in the local is no longer the ‘crime against humanity’ it was once thought to be.
Dublin has a tonne of options when it comes to non-alcoholic events, which represents a welcome change to Irish drinking mentality. But, outside of the classic cinema, theatre, museum, or park ideas, these activities can sometimes be difficult to track down. Babylon’s got you covered. Here’s a list of things you can get up to sober, which you may not have thought of before or didn’t know existed.
Firstly, a great resource for finding non-alcoholic events are groups. Meetup is a great resource for meeting like-minded people of any interest or hobby. You’re not the only one fed up with drinking being their only hobby. Sober Slice is a group based on this idea, it specialises in the organisation of exciting, non-alcoholic events all across Ireland. They update their Meetup page regularly, so check it out here to stay in the loop. You could also check out the Facebook page Things to do in Dublin on the Dry. It’s all in the name really, it’s a page where people share fun things to do that don’t involve booze. And of course, there’s always Babylon Radio’s Top 5 events of the day, which we post every day, 7 days a week. There’s always at least one event that doesn’t necessitate drinking, so check it out in our Culture section here.
Have you ever wanted the opportunity to meet people in a warm, bar setting, without being cornered by that drunken auld fool telling you his whole life story? That’s where the Virgin Mary comes in. Ireland’s first non-drinking bar boasts an extensive non-alcoholic drinks menu full of tasty cocktails and beers. Enjoy your night without the worry of slurring your words by the time last call comes round.
Laughing among friends is one of the finest pleasures in life. Not only is laughing until you cry a brilliant way to spend an evening, but recent studies have actually shown a link between laughing and stress relief, organ stimulation, and immune system enhancement! So, if you’re in need of a little laughter therapy Dublin’s up and coming comedy scene has you covered, with stand-up going on almost every night. There’s a massive range of comedy nights throughout the week, here’s a small selection which guarantee a belly laugh:
Cherry Comedy at Whelan’s
Indoor Rock Climbing
As a hobby, rock climbing has soared in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason too! It combines determination, problem-solving skills, and a full body workout. This is a great healthy alternative to packets upon packets of bacon fries and pints. The next day you’ll feel much better, and will arguably have had just as much fun. Difficulty levels vary from beginner to seasoned vet, so don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, get out of your comfort zone and give it a go:
If you’re not eager to spend your time off scaling a wall using only the strength of your core and forearms, I totally get it. How about some miniature golf instead? You don’t have to be Shane Lowry for this Aztec themed 18 hole course. Conveniently located in Dundrum Town Centre, Rainforest Adventure Golf is a great activity for date night or for a group. It’s open 7 days a week, is fully accessible to wheelchairs, and you don’t have to book a spot before you go. If you fancy spicing things up a bit, why not agree that the first one to get a hole-in-one gets their dinner paid for by the group. That should bring out your competitive side.
Slightly more active than mini-golf, bowling is a brilliant option for a family or group gathering. It’s just like wii-bowling, but in real life! Gather a few friends, give them silly nicknames for the scoreboard, and show those pins who’s boss! Here’s a few options for bowling in Dublin: LeisurePlex has locations all around the city; in Stillorgan, Tallaght, Coolock, Charlestown, and Blanchardstown. Other popular spots are the Superdome and Bray Bowl.
With 14km of cycling paths, cafés, and a load of wild-life, Phoenix Park is a criminally under-utilised amenity which we have right in the city centre. One great way to see all the park has to offer is to rent a bike from the facilities there. Prices for a standard bike start at €6 an hour, or €10 for three hours. There are also electric bikes, and even tandem bikes if you’re a real cheeseball. Why not pack a blanket, a thermos of tea, and a few crisp sandwiches to make a day of it.
Located in Sandyford, Santry and Liffey Valley these indoor trampoline parks are an absolute blast. They feature obstacle courses, foam pits, trampoline dodgeball matches, and of course, the opportunity to bounce around to your heart’s content. If you’ve also got some fitness goals this lent, Sandyford Jump Zone hosts a Trampoline Fitness Class on Tuesdays between 6.30 and 7.30pm. What better way to get yourself in shape then bouncing on a trampoline, check it out here.
Fancy yourself a problem solver, lateral thinker, or genius in general? Go test your mettle in one of the many Escape Rooms Dublin has to offer. If you have somehow missed out on what these are, here’s the low-down: assemble a team of your most brainy friends. Follow the clues, solve the riddles, and figure out the puzzles to escape confinement before the timer runs out. One intuitive angle on the tried-and-tested formula is Escape Boats at the Grand Canal Docks. With two rooms to try, you and your crew have to find a way out of the sinking ship in time! A list of alternative escape rooms can be found here.
I said I wanted to shed light on the lesser-known, sober activities this city has to offer. I feel Dublin Science Gallery merits inclusion, with regularly changed displays which are interactive and a small café, this petite venue can provide hours of entertainment. Totally free and located right in the city centre it’s a great place to have a wander round before a hot cuppa.
The Skill Zone is a one-for-all home of a wide variety of fun activities. A great place for groups, or going solo, the activity zones include baseball, basketball, climbing, shooting, soccer and more! You could spend days in this up-to-date activity centre, so check it out!