Visiting Dublin Ireland
May 7, 2020
“In Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty, I first laid my eyes on sweet Molly Malone. She wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, singing cockles and mussels, alive a live O.”
I lived in Dublin for 8 years in my late teens and early twenties. I had a lot of fun and it is truly a fun city. I love to go back and visit the old haunts and have very much enjoyed showing Dublin to my family.
As I write this Ireland is in Coronavirus lockdown and one of the saddest yet haunting things I have seen is a video made by a journalist as he drove around the empty Dublin streets documenting the face of Dublin in the lockdown. The beauty of the city was easy to see but the sadness of this vibrant city totally deserted hit home. I know the Irish will recover they have a history of devastating circumstances and they bounce back with humor and strength. So please put Dublin back on your bucket list and when this is over, take that trip you wont regret it.
Dublin on the East Coast of Ireland has come a long way since Molly Malone was immortalized in the famous song and has now become a statue close to the Main shopping area of Grafton Street. Erected to commemorate Dublin’s own millennium, a statue of Molly Malone pensively stares at passers-by on the southern end of Grafton Street. Ever ready for a comic put-down, Dubliners immediately christened the well-endowed Molly “the tart with the cart.”
Dublin is now one of Europe’s premier locations. Ireland in general has embraced the common European community but is still quintessentially Irish. Whether you visit Dublin for business or pleasure make some time to explore this wonderful city. It is both modern and energetic and its old traditions are all around.
Dublin’s coastline, wild willful and rugged, can be explored by bus or train journey from the City Center. The Irish people’s Celtic heritage thrives in their creative spirit and love of music. The pubs around Dublin are full of life and everywhere you go you will experience the warmth, charm, and gentle humor of the inhabitants of this tiny land with a turbulent history.
Dublin founded in the 9th Century by the Vikings is split in two by the River Liffey and hosts great rivalry between the inhabitants on both sides of the river. The two main bridges are O’Connell Bridge and the Ha’penny Bridge, so called because of the toll which used to be charged to cross it.
O’Connell Bridge takes you to O’Connell Street home of the historic General Post Office, the first building to fly the Irish flag during the Easter Rebellion of 1916. The beautiful Gresham Hotel is across the street from the GPO.I stayed there the last time I was in Dublin and the breakfast was sensational.
The National Gallery of Ireland is one of the finest in Europe with one whole exhibit devoted to the works of J.B. Yeats brother of the poet W.B. Yeats. Take a stroll round St. Stephens Green before heading to Grafton Street one of Dublin’s most stylish shopping streets. The St. Stephens Green shopping center is exquisite and worth a visit even if it’s just to walk around.
Grafton Street is home to street artists and musicians and has a wonderful atmosphere. Grafton Street is where you will find the most exclusive store in Ireland Brown Thomas.
Take some time to visit Trinity College, the oldest university in Western Europe founded in 1592. The university houses the Long Room home to the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is one of Dublin’s most popular and significant visitor attractions. Dating back to around 800AD, it is one of the most beautiful religious manuscripts in the world. Written on vellum, it contains a Latin text of the four gospels in script accompanied by whole pages of detailed illustration. The book has been on display since the 19th century and has the dubious honor of having been defaced by Queen Victoria. A decorated page and a page of script can normally be seen when you visit. The library contains busts of some of its most famous scholars many of them writers and intellectuals. One of its most famous students was Jonathon Swift who wrote “Gulliver’s Travels”. When done with Trinity College or before the Dublin City bus tour leaves from right outside the college and that is great way to see all the sights quickly then you can decide which ones to go back to for a closer look.
Jonathon Swift later went on to become Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral another must visit on your list. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the 12th Century and beautifully restored with money provided by the Guinness Family one of Ireland’s most famous families.
I love ancient church’s and cathedral’s and my two other must see in Dublin are St. Audoen’s catholic church built in 1841 it is absolutely beautiful and right next door is Christchurch Cathedral another beautiful landmark built in 1028 the history of this place is deep and interesting. Make time to visit their library and archive one of the most comprehensive continuous records of any Irish institution.
The Guinness brewery was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness and is now the largest brewery in the World. No visit to Dublin would be complete without tasting the “black stuff” firsthand. To many, Guinness is one of the most important features of Ireland. With 300 million pints exported every year, it is no surprise to learn that Ireland is the world’s leading beer exporter. Completed at the cost of IR£30 million, the Guinness Storehouse is a fine addition to Dublin’s ever-growing list of purpose-built attractions. Set inside a converted 18th century fermentation building, it comprises of six floors linked by a giant atrium in the shape of a pint glass. Although the actual brewery is not open to the public, the storehouse’s new exhibition space outlines the 200-year history of the company and reveals many brewing secrets. The models and displays of the exhibition are followed by a short film and a glass of the famous brew.
Dublin has many great restaurants and one of my favorites was Bewley’s coffee house in Grafton Street I cannot describe how great this place was. It is with great sadness that I learned that Bewley’s will close its doors permanently as of 5/7/2020 due to the impact of coronavirus.
My favorite restaurant for fine dining is The Trocadero the food and service is amazing and there is wall to wall ambience, the place is frequented by many Dublin celebrities and actors. The last time I was there in August 2019 Philip Lynott’s wife was dining in the restaurant. Many year’s before I had seen her husband Phillip Lynott in The Bailey bar in Duke Street. I recall going to night clubs where Bono and the gang hung our in the 80’s before he was so famous, but I doubt he remembers me!!
If your schedule allows there are some interesting day trips which you can take from Dublin. To the North West is the Boyne Valley. There is historical evidence in this area dating back to 6000 B.C. New Grange passage is said to be the oldest man-made structure in the world dating to 3000 B.C. The Wicklow Mountains to the south of Dublin are sparsely populated and enjoy a slow pace of life. The monastic settlement of Glendalough in the middle of the valley dates to the 6th Century. Founded by St. Kevin this is a powerful, peaceful, beautiful place and well worth a visit. You can take a trip to the Curragh of Kildare for a flutter on the horses. The Curragh consists of 4000 acres and is home to over 60 racehorse trainers. It has produced some of the most expensive racehorses in the world with prices running into 7 figures.
I could talk forever about this wonderful city capital of my home country and a place I called home for many years, but Dublin must be experienced to get the real feel for this great city.
All in all, you will have a wonderful and energetic time in Dublin. Be prepared to walk as it is extremely easy to get around on foot. And you will need to walk off those Irish breakfasts, with bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, eggs, soda bread and pots of delicious Irish tea. Hmmm!!!…..
“Go N’eirigh an bother leat” and have a wonderful time in the Capital of the Emerald Isle.