Dublin – An Experience Worth Having
They say that you could get a pretty accurate idea of what Dublin looks and feels like by just reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. We say that while Leopold Bloom’s stroll through the city is definitely worth reading about, nothing compares to the real thing. Dublin is definitely a must-visit, and no tourist should be influenced by movies and stories of a gloomy and rainy capital of Ireland. You will be surprised to see just how often the weather here is absolutely lovely.
Dublin is a young and colorful city, with talkative people who enjoy music – some even say that there are as many singers as there are Dubliners in the city. This statement may be a bit exaggerated, but it’s nothing a few pints of Guinness can’t fix! Beer is the national drink in Ireland, and to most people Dublin would make no sense without Guinness. In a way that is true, given that Benjamin Guinness was more than an exquisite brewer – he was also a generous philanthropist who paid for the extensive restoration of the stately St. Patrick’s Cathedral between 1860 and 1865.
Going back in time to learn more about this marvelous city, we find the Vikings settling here sometime in the 9th century. They loved this place so much that they didn’t leave it until the Anglo-Normans invaded them and decided to make Dublin the center of their new colony. This was an important stage in the evolution of Dublin. Another significant moment was the foundation of Trinity College (1591), a project financed by Queen Elizabeth I. The Trinity College Library still holds the Book of Kells, an important illustrated manuscript Gospel book from the 9th century, which is often described as Ireland’s most remarkable national treasure.
As you walk through the city today, you can’t help but notice its remarkable architectural heritage. The truth is many of the buildings that impress visitors today were erected between the 17th and 18th centuries, before Ireland was included in the United Kingdom of Great Britain (1801). After the Act of Union came into effect, Ireland’s economy started to fall and the entire country became affected by poverty, including Dublin.
But things have changed a lot since then, and now the capital of the Republic of Ireland welcomes its visitors in a modern, friendly ambiance, with a truly rich heritage. Tourists can admire many modern constructions as well as historic buildings, such as the majestic Dublin Castle, the National Museum of Ireland, and St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. As a visitor you will also want to see the Irish Houses of Parliament, the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, and the aforementioned St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Speaking of which, did you know that the author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, was also the Dean of this particular cathedral?
After you’ve seen all these important sights, you might feel the need to rest a little and maybe have a Guinness. Well, you will have plenty of options to choose from for that! Dublin is a city of pubs (over 700 of them) and you won’t find two that are exactly the same. Pubs are very special to the city’s culture, especially because they have a unique role in its literary heritage. It is a well-known fact that many of Dublin’s writers found their inspiration in the public houses, next to a pint of beer. And what inspiration did they find! Dublin has been home to four Irish winners of the Nobel Prize in literature.
You can learn more about all that at the Dublin Writers Museum, but if you want to get a clearer image of what the exciting pubs look and feel like, don’t hesitate to enter at least a couple of them. We recommend Mulligan’s, Palace Bar and Davy Byrne’s, but the most importantly the famous Temple Bar, which is still very popular among poets and artists today.
- Due to its mild climate, Dublin can be visited all year round.
- There are plenty of good options in terms of accommodation. The famous Conrad Dublin, the classic Merrion, and the boutique-style Clarence are just a few.
- Do try a traditional Irish stew, some black pudding, black beer, whiskey and barmbracks (usually eaten around Halloween).
- For festival enthusiasts, May is the best month to be in Dublin. St. Patrick’s Festival is an annual event with fabulous parades and lots of fun.
- For souvenirs choose Aran sweaters, tweed jackets, and ceramics.
- Special attraction: the Martello tower where James Joyce lived together with his friend Gogarty.