Today I take a break from talking about music to discuss a delightful new book by Irish writer Shane O’Reilly entitled The 500 Hidden Secrets of Dublin. Put together for the purpose of providing visitors to Dublin with an insight into some of the city’s lesser-known attractions and activities, the 250+ page travel guide encompasses a plethora of top five lists spread out across a hundred categories, covering everything from Dublin’s most important historical sites to the capital’s best budget restaurants and beyond to an abundance of obscure and quirky topics such as alternative shops, lanes to love and unusual architecture.

Opening with an assortment of maps showcasing all of the city’s most popular tourist areas, the main bulk of the text is presented in a well-organised and accessible way, with each section starting with its own straightforward and colourful contents page. All of the top five lists have been given unambiguous yet intriguing titles that are sure to provoke readers’ curiosity and keep them turning the pages, while each of the lists’ entries offer a succinct yet insightful explanation as to why the site or activity in question has been included and what it is about it that makes it worth investigating.

There’s an address and contact information listed for everything as well, meaning that you need only input the data into Google maps to find whatever feature takes your fancy or do a quick search of the url supplied to research things further. The sheer scope and diversity of the locations and ventures covered is also incredibly impressive. O’Reilly asserts in the introduction that he “tried to accommodate the many walks of life that may visit Dublin” and I fully believe that he has succeeded.

There really is something for everyone here. Whether you’re looking for a certain type of cuisine, wondering where you can take the kids for a fun day out, anxious to explore cultural sites, craving a characterful craft beer or just dying to devour a good old pint of Guinness in Dublin’s best pubs, O’Reilly has you sorted. You don’t have to be a stranger to the city to appreciate this book either. The 500 Hidden Secrets of Dublin is a carefully-composed, elegantly-presented and meticulously-researched guide to the Irish capital that’s ideally suited to any international visitor, resident of Ireland or Dublin citizen who wants to plan the perfect day, night or extended stay in the city and get the most out of all of the amenities that it has to offer.

You can pick up a copy of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Dublin for yourself in-store at Easons, Hodges Figgis, Chapters and Dubray Books now. It’s also available to order online via Amazon, Book Depository and Luster Publishing.

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Dublin - book review

Graduate of NUI Maynooth’s Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there’s anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it’s writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at