Dublin is a popular destination for those visiting the Emerald Isle, and it certainly deserves to be. Dublin is a city that offers rich culture and heritage, modern city entertainment and conveniences and locals who can enrich your visit, either by calling you a term of endearment or cursing at you. Coming from them, both make you feel welcome.
Welcome to Dublin:
My first impression of the people of Dublin came in the form of the cab driver who took us into the city from the airport. He wasted no time in telling me I was a “f#cking redneck” after I told him where in Ireland some of my family comes from and he then called me that about nineteen times throughout the 30 minute cab ride. Since it was always said with a jolly twinkle in his eye, it somehow seemed affectionate and I promptly giggled every time.
Where to Stay:
The main urban area of the city is relatively small and if you stay in the zones Dublin 1 or Dublin you will most likely be able to walk everywhere you want to go. The area near Trinity College is very convenient for great sightseeing, restaurants, bars and shopping. Check out the Westin at College Green if you’re looking to go slightly fancy or at least walk past it and see if the doorman complements your purse like he did mine.
What to Do:
The Guinness Storehouse is probably one of the most talked about tourist destinations in Dublin. It is certainly interesting and worth the entrance fee, especially for the views afforded by the glass-walled Gravity Bar on the top floor. However, the somewhat lesser known tour of the Old Jameson Distillery is just as interesting, and with a higher alcohol content it’s more bang for your buck, you might say. Both are worth the trip, and both provide complimentary tastings at the end of the tour. There are many sights that can be seen just while strolling the city. Walk through the Grafton Street pedestrian mall to people watch and window shop. Take a stroll through the scenic St. Stephen’s Green Park, or the grounds around Dublin Castle.
Where to Eat:
There are some famous Irish dishes that are a must when visiting the country. For bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) check out The Brazen Head, which is Ireland’s oldest pub and very charming and quaint. For fish and chips, the locals suggested Leo Burdock on Werburgh Street for a traditional sample of this classic combo, and it didn’t disappoint.
Where to get Sloppy:
There are several bars that are known to have the best pints of Guinness and one of those that I enjoyed the most was Kehoe’s on Anne Street. The friendly bar tender provided an entertaining history lesson on the bar and every time he spoke to me he ended his sentences with “my dear” or “darling”. When it’s said in an Irish brogue it has none of the creepiness it could in other locales.
Other pubs to check out where you will find more locals than tourists are The Stag’s Head, JJ’s and The Palace (give Jimmy the redheaded bartender there a wink for me), where on Sunday nights they have a trio of old Irishmen playing traditional songs on the guitar and recorder.
Where to Recover:
For breakfast or a mid-day treat, you can’t miss Queen of Tarts, with locations on Cow’s Lane and Dame Street. They offer breakfast items and coffee, but the pastries are the real draw; cakes, tarts, pies, cupcakes- you name it, it’s delicious.
There is a lot to see and do in Dublin but if you plan well, you could certainly get to it all in a four day visit. If you have more time you could go on one of the many tours of the country outside of the city like Wicklow or Galway. No matter what you end up doing, make sure you take every opportunity possible to chat with locals, as being called “darlin’” or “a f#cking redneck” is the true mark of a good visit.