The land of leprechauns and Giunness
As a hungarian student, I am proud to say that I got to live in this beautiful place for 3 months, and oh, still I dream about the colorful streets, the hidden alleyways and the soft green grass in Dublin. This is a little inside tip collection for those who want to discover the capital of Ireland-The Green Emerald. So as the first part of my Ireland series, I collected you a few mainstream, but also some inside tips for your trip to the capital of Ireland. The home of James Joyce has a wide scale of sightseeing attractions to offer for the cultured and the curious.
Dublin is a very small city, with an even smaller centre that is easy to get to know and discoverable by foot. Hereby I planned a little tour for you that will take you to the most important sights and I highly recommend you to take this little walk, especially when it’s sunny! ( I would say it is, most of the time, but predicting irish weather is like trying to guess the Lotto numbers. )
Take a tour with me
Let’s start from the top of O’Connell Street, where most of the buses stop. Walk down this majestic avenue with a lot of clothing stores and coffee shops. There is also a Dublin Bus and a Tourist office. Cross the River Liffey on O’Connell Bridge to South Dublin and walk straight on Westmoreland street until you reach Trinity College on your left. Trinity College is the oldest university of Ireland, which has been built in 1592 under Queen Elisabeth. It’s famous for its library which looks just like the one in Harry Potter. Simply magical, definitely worth a visit.
Straight upwards, on your left when you leave the building, is Grafton street, which is the main shopping street in Dublin, mostly with expensive shops, but there is always a good atmosphere to catch because of the countless street dancers, musicians and artists. At the end of Grafton street you find yourself at the entrance of St. Stephen’s Green Park, which is one of my favourite places, and with 22 acres the largest of the parks in Dublin. St.Stephen’s Green is the best spot to hang out during the daytime, with a coffee or an ice cream in hand, just sitting in the emerald grass; enjoying the sun and watching the swans – yes, there are swans – swimming in the lake of the park.
After a chillout in St. Stephen’s, let’s walk back on Williams street, which is parallel with Grafton street. On your right you will reach Powerscourt Centre, which is a huge and very aestethic building, giving home to flower,-book,-clothes and coffeeshops. It was designed to make the most of sunlight which gives the whole space a very spectacular and vibrant feeling. I recommend to drink a coffee there and just enjoy the atmosphere.
Waddling down the street we bump into a beautiful square ( the corner of St. Andrew’s and Suffolk street) with the famous Molly Malone statue, standing in front of Saint Andrews Church. Molly Malone is a popular song by the Dubliners, which became Dublin’s unofficial anthem. Lets walk down on Church Street to reach Dame street, which offers a lot of dining places and coffee shops. If we cross Dame street, and take any smaller one on the left, we reach the tourist’s dream and the lamest place ever: Temple Bar. Temple bar is famous for its “authentic” irish pubs, unreasonably high prices and drunk people after 10pm. Tourists love it because of the buzzing nightlife and live irish music, but I advice you to go a few streets upper to find similar bars, in order to get your Guinness half the price as in Temple Bar. Anyway, it is indeed nice during the day, with its shabby second hand clothes shops, art galleries and (also very expensive!) gourmet restaurants. After you walked around a little bit in the Temple Bar area, you can take any street pointing towards Liffey to have a look at Dublin from the Bachelor’s walk. It’s mesmerizing at night, when the O’Connell bridge is lighten with green colour and the city starts to awaken. Finish your tour by crossing Ha’penny bridge, one of the city’s beloved symbols.
This is of course just one of the many variable routes you can choose to discover Dublin’s beauties, so hereby I collected you the most interesting things to see and visit:
St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral
Both built in a medieval gothic style, the two oldest cathedrals of Dublin are beautiful on the outside and even more spectacular in the inside. Take a tour in these huge buildings and discover the catholic history of Ireland.
Located on South William Street, this very modern shopping center in the heart of Dublin has everything you need: food, bars, antiques, fashion and jewellery. It is worth just to take a look inside and sit down for a coffee. The building itself looks also fab and the decoration is always on point.
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery has always something to offer for the ones that are interested in arts, and the entry is free. In may 2016, for example, you can see Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings in the gallery, but don’t miss on the Masterepieces collection: Caravaggio’s the The Taking of Christ and many more ancient pieces can be found at the permanent installation. I recommend to visit it if you have an hour to fill yourself up with art.
Dublin has a very unique definition of castles: you’ll see it when you see the castle. On one side it’s huge, old, built out of stones and it deserves to be called a castle. On the other side, its bastions are colored red, blue, green and yellow, and the garden looks like a Quidditch pitch. Wow. It’s spectacular and modern. You can find the famous Chester Beatty Library in the building, which has a rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
Bars and Restaurants
If you’re a big fan of beer, Dublin is your place to adore.Anyway, if you’re not, keep it as a secret. If you have spent more than 24 hours in Ireland and you haven’t drank a glass of Guinness yet, locals are not gonna like you…
O’Neill’s on Church Lane is not only beautifully looking with its dark red colored brick structure and the many flowers in the windows, but they brew 63 kinds of beers for every choosy person on this planet. This wide selection of gold, red and brown beers can be accompanied with freshly cooked food served at O’Neill’s.
The Port House is an authentic spanish tapas and wine bar located on St. William’s Street. I honestly had the best Tapas and Sangria combo there, although you have to wait an average 20 minutes in line to get a table. There are crazy crowds, but it’s totally worth it.
The Ivy House is my personal favourite. This little treasure is in Drumcondra, which in one of Dublin’s outskirts, but it’s only 10 minutes away from the city center with bus. They brought pub food to a whole new level and the service is very good. Don’t miss on the buttermilk chicken and the fajitas! Live music on weekends, free beer served to you food. Do we need anything else?
I hope you’ll have a wonderful time in Dublin, and don’t forget: there is a lot more to see than this, but the rest is your job: grab your backpacks and discover this magical place! I guarantee you’ll meet friendly people, dance to great music and drink great beer.