Discover the Nerd Side of Dublin

Being a fanboy at the MCM Comic Con ... selfies are part of the game, if you are a nerd in Dublin
Being a fanboy at the MCM Comic Con ... selfies are part of the game, if you are a nerd in Dublin. © Bernd Biege 2015

You know you want to: if there is one opportunity to be as nerdy as you like, it is on travels. After all, nobody knows you. So, when visiting Dublin, why not give your inner nerd free rein? C'mon, there are people traveling on Harry Potter or Outlander tours through Britain, so why not have your fanboy (or fangirl) moment in Ireland's capital too?

At first sight, there might not be that much on offer, I admit. But here are my top picks for those who can admit to being ever-so-slightly different, from the closet comic buyer to the full-blown otaku. Not all of these may be available all the time, but with a bit of planning you can take in what you really want.

Dublin for Comic- and Manga-Nerds

Comic books are often the first step on the slippery slope to full-blown nerd-dom, and who of us has not read about the exploits of the Man of Steel, to the Caped Crusader, the X-Men, or the Fantastic Four? Or, if you are more orientally inclined, has not run with Princess Mononoke, wandered with Lone Wolf and Cub, served with the Black Butler?

Dublin has a number of shops you should visit and these are specialist retailers, not your common-and-garden bookstore with a few graphic novels and manga in the far corner:

  • Dublin City Comics & Collectibles at 46 Bolton Street, Dublin 1 - carries a decent selection of comics and associated merchandise (including some models), offered by knowledgeable and friendly staff.
  • Forbidden Planet at 5-6 Crampton Quay, Dublin 2 - the Dublin branch of the massive UK chain, on two slightly cramped levels they offer (almost) anything your heart may desire, but are not strong on older collectible items.
  • Hidden Treasure Comics on the top floor of the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre - a treasure trove of new and older stuff, from comics to merchandise.
  • Sub-City at 62 Dame Street, Dublin 2 - the longest running Irish-owned comic store, owned by brothers Robert and Brian Curley who run the shop with a lot of love for comics and movie culture.

Also, have a look at Chapters on Parnell Street, Dublin 1 they do stock cut-price new and second-hand graphic novels and manga, though the actual range may fluctuate wildly. And also see the several comic cons below.

Dublin for Cosplay-Nerds

Most cosplayers only come out at conventions, so Dublin might be lucky in hosting a number of events that function as an outlet for these activities. If you don't know what cosplay is, you can read a small cosplay primer here - or just trust my word that it is basically "dressing up as your favorite fictional character". Very often influenced by Japanese culture, but not exclusive to the world of manga and anime.

The conventions to look out for would be:

  • Arcade Con - in 2015 it was held over a July weekend at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
  • Eirtakon - taking over Croke Park in November for a weekend, maybe the most colorful con.
  • Ireland Cosplay Con - by fans for fans is their tagline, one Saturday in June at the Red Cow Moran Hotel for anime, comic and sci-fi fans, gamers, and cosplayers.
  • MCM Ireland Comic Con - very commercial event at the RDS Showgrounds in summer, especially well subscribed by traders, and offering interesting celebrity guests.
  • Nom-Com - Japanese animation and pop-culture convention at the Ballsbride Hotel, covers all areas of Japanese culture and fandom, from language lessons to Tokyo street fashion.

Dublin for Movie and TV Nerds

Did you know that your favorite movie or TV series was actually filmed in Dublin? Ah, well that is a sweeping statement but if it has a Victorian feel to it, it might well be one of the streets of Georgian Dublin that provides the scenic setting. Think "Ripper Street" or check out the locations on the Internat Movie Database by searching for Dublin.

And remember that not only Victorian flair is Dublin's mark on movies from providing the background to "The Tudors" to the perfect location for several Jackie Chan stunts, Dublin Castle did it all. You might want to check out the impossible chase in "The Medaillon" for starters.

Finally, do not forget to visit the Irish Film Institute heaven for cinema buffs, with a good programme off the commercial track.

Dublin for Game Nerds

Let's not talk about video games or board games here - both can be found, but whether you get a better deal than at home, you decide. Though you might give Tara from Tailten Games a look, an Irish boardgame that is really beautiful.

Nope, let's go RPG and wargames, little figures going on adventure or to war. And there are two excellent shops in central Dublin that can provide for your needs:

  • Gamers World at 1 Jervis Street, Dublin 1 - an independent games store that caters for board games, trading card games, miniatures, and gaming accessories. Offers a wide variety of ranges, from historical to Yu-Gi-Oh, from old favorites to the hottest games of the day which you can even try out at store events. Yes, they also stock Games Workshop (see below).
  • Games Workshop at Unit 3, Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 - the big advantage of this store it is Games Workshop. The big disadvantage of this store: it is Games Workshop. You'll find everything (usually) that makes up the current GW franchise, with Warhammer and Warhammer 40K being the strongest. You won't find anything that is not part of the franchise.

    Also have a look into the more conventional stores, if you are looking for odds and ends - Banba Toymaster comes highly recommended.

    Dublin for Science Nerds

    Dublin is full of museums, but if you are into science, head for Trinity College, but neither top study nor to see the Book of Kells instead make the Science Gallery your one stop for both science, art, and a good coffee. Note that there is no permanent collection, so between exhibitions (with a gap of up to three weeks), only the shop and café remain open. Check the exhibition calendar first, to avoid disappointment.

    Dublin for Literature Nerds (a.k.a. "Bookish People")

    Fair's fair: most bookish people, or lovers of literature, won't see themselves as "nerds". Okay, followers of Terry Pratchett (who also has a Dublin connection) and other cult authors exempted. But still, let us spare a thought here for them.

    • The article on Dublin for Book Lovers will give you ideas, fellow bibliophiles from shopping to pure enjoyment in museums. Dublin still has a lot to offer to the literati. From priceless manuscripts to bargain prices and street poetry.
    • If Dublin has a towering literary figure it would be James Joyce. Though not amongst Ireland's four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, though more discussed than read, though Joyce himself left Dublin in disgust as early as 1904. With "Dubliners" and "Ulysses" he created literary monuments to his native city. Which in turn conveniently forgets that Joyce hated her. Though all Dublin can be seen as being of interest to the Joycean, here are the Essential James Joyce Attractions in Dublin.