Dublin is not only the capital of the Republic of Ireland, but it's also the center of Ireland's gay scene. Having recently legalized same-sex marriage and passed liberal gender-recognition laws, Dublin hosts the wildly popular Dublin Gay Pride in late June.
Dublin's exceptionally congenial attitude extends to its steamy side. The city is home to one of the livelier, larger, and better maintained gay saunas in western Europe. If you're aiming to have a cocktail or two before venturing over to one of the city's saunas, visit the Dublin gay nightlife guide, which lists several fine establishments nearby.
The Boiler House
The Boiler House is Dublin's premier gay sauna and sex club, located conveniently in the lively Temple Bar nightlife district, and also close to several major theaters, pubs, and restaurants. Popular with everyone from students to seniors, and both locals and out-of-town tourists, this favorite haunt for getting on and mingling with locals is just down a quiet lane between Essex and Dame streets, in a five-story building with clean facilities and friendly staff. If you're visiting from out of town, let the gent at the admission window know, and he'll gladly explain how things work.
Standard admission to this bathhouse is 22 euros, but students and those under the age of 25 can get in for 15 euros. Additionally, you can borrow sandals for a 5-euro deposit.
The Boiler House is open 24/7 on weekends; during the week, hours are noon until 6 a.m. the following day. Among the clean and nicely kept facilities, guests can get to know each other better in a TV lounge with porn showing, steam rooms, a dry sauna, a group shower area, and a dungeon-style sling space. Admission entitles you to a locker, and additionally, you can rent private cabins for more intimate encounters.
You can't smoke in the building (nor can you in any bars in Dublin), but there is a heated deck where smoking is allowed. You can also grab an espresso or a bite to eat, as well as buying basic toiletries, in the attractive and inviting coffee bar. Full-body holistic massages can also be booked for 40 euros.
With no website and only a fair reputation among regulars and visitors, the Dock is the less-frequented and much smaller of the city's two gay hook-up spots. It's part of the small and basic Inn on the Liffey Guesthouse, a men's overnight option with cheap rooms. Guests staying at the inn have free access to the sauna and bathhouse.
The property does have a handy location on the north bank of the River Liffey, just a short walk west of Caple Street and Pantibar. Open round-the-clock on weekends, the Dock has a few private rooms and a common lounge and dark room. The staff is also known to be very friendly, and because this venue is smaller, it's good for first-timers who don't want to worry about crowds.