A pint at the Guinness Storehouse, the Book of Kells at Trinity College, a selfie with Molly Malone’s statue just off Grafton Street—even first-time travelers to Ireland will have heard of these popular Dublin sights and activities.
If, however, you consider your interests to be a bit different and you prefer battling orc hordes over tourist hordes, Dublin is still very much the city for you. With a student population of over 100,000 and a tradition of creative types settling here, there’s fun and nerdy stuff in abundance. Check out the following suggestions for places to get your nerd on!
Shop for Comic Books or Games
With a thriving scene of young artists, Ireland, and particularly Dublin, has much to offer to the contemporary comic connoisseur. Whether books, collectibles, board games, or card games, the city’s proprietors of nerddom have you covered.
Right down in the city center, Dublin City Comics and Collectibles on Bolton Street is a great place to start your journey. Just take a turn into Bolton Street while your normie friends wander on to check out O’Connell Street, and enter this little collector’s paradise. These guys stock everything from the latest releases to rarities, and they’re happy to help you track down that one issue you’ve always wanted to add to your collection.
Further down towards the Liffey awaits a haven for tabletop and trading card enthusiasts: Gamers World on Jervis Street is exactly what the name says. From D&D to Star Wars, from family to war games you’ll find everything you’re looking for—and a whole lot of stuff you didn’t know you needed.
Situated in South Dublin’s chic Dundrum Shopping Center, Big Bang Comics has regular in-store events and signings. The enthusiastic staff will be happy to help you find your favorite titles—or discover new favorites while browsing their extensive selection.
If you’re still up for more (and not broke), there’s also Forbidden Planet on Crampton Quay, Sub City on Dame Street, or Hidden Treasure Comics in St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center.
Chill Out at an Arcade Bar
Fancy some Donkey Kong with your hotdog? Then look no further than Smithfield, where Token has been attracting gourmet gamers since 2017.The cozy premises house around 20 arcade machines with such eternal classics as Mario Kart, Double Dragon,and good old Space Invaders. Once you’ve bought your tokens to operate them, you can spend hours here shooting, jumping, and cursing when you inevitably lose. When you require a cooldown, Token has beers on tap, a broad selection of cocktails, and a menu that accommodates all tastes and diets from vegan to gluten-free.
Go to a Con
Dublin is host to a bunch of nerdy congregations ranging in size from massive to cozy and personal. They’re on throughout the year with an emphasis on different topics, so you’re bound to find an event that suits your interests and schedule. The following is just a small selection of happenings.
Dublin Comic Con is Ireland’s largest pop culture event. Having started small in 2013, the con now attracts up to 20,000 visitors and media guests such as Dean Cain and Jim Beaver. As of 2018, there were spring and summer DCCsin March and August, respectively, both comprising all aspects of pop and nerd culture. The event takes place at the Convention Center in the Docklands area. Cosplay is encouraged.
Octocon, the national Irish Science Fiction convention, is 26 years in the running and takes place every October. Its venue in recent years has been the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown, and the focus remains on all things sci-fi, whether the medium is books, TV, comics, or movies. Octocon has featured such illustrious guests as Gail Simone, George R. R. Martin, and the late Terry Pratchett.
If games and specifically retro games are your thing, then the 8-Bit Conference is the event for you. This friendly and familiar con has its home in Griffith College, just beyond the southern city center, and welcomes a couple thousand guests every July. There are plenty of original consoles to try your hand at Street Fighter II, Mario Kart, or Zelda, and cosplay is encouraged.
Other conventions in and around Dublin include Comic-Con Ireland in late summer, Shurikon in February, and J-Con in October.
As you can see, the Emerald Isle’s capital really does offer something for everyone—even the pickiest among us nerds.