Dawson Lounge, Dublin
There is a beautifully replanted 18th century garden adjoining the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham (Modern Art Gallery) that many visitors fail to spot, and many visitors to Dublin Zoo are blissfully unaware that the Peoples Garden is situated right next to it. Those traumatised by the incarcerated creatures in one can revive their sensibilities by feeding the freer varieties on view in the other - and without the distraction of too many of the humanoid variety disturbing the peace and solitude there.
On a rainy day (they do occur in Dublin!) and if one is tempted to sample refreshments of the alcoholic variety, one can amuse oneself by visiting the Dawson Lounge on Dawson Street - reputed to be Dublin's smallest pub. Locating it is difficult as it is accessed through what appears to be a 'normal' door sandwiched between two Georgian edifices (on your right as you approach the Green) and the pub itself is situated down a perilously steep stairs. The trick is to look up as you navigate the footpath along Dawson Street and locate the protruding advertisement for Heineken Lager. The door beneath is your man! One tip though - don't bring a coachload of colleagues with you, unless you're into sequential socialising! Another nice pub is Bowe's on Fleet Street - literally a minute from Temple Bar but a million miles away in terms of overpriced, overcrowded and overrated drinking establishments (and you might actually meet some Irish people there!). Nice staff - and that always means more than the decor in my book. Speaking of books - the Dublin Writers' Workshop have their meetings there too (members only may attend but at least it shows that the pub has its heart in the right place!)