I might have left a small piece of my heart in the city of Venice, but Dublin will always be my spiritual home. I’ve been there enough times to believe that I am actually Irish now (Oh I’ve got the tenuous family links too, if you need proof!), but until this June, I hadn’t been to the Emerald Isle since 2007. Five long years. Another visit was well overdue.
I first went for a birthday weekend with friends and a love affair with this city began. I know how it sounds to describe a place as “friendly”, but I think it’s appropriate here.
Dublin is a capital city without being too imposing, as many big cities often are. You can find your bearings pretty easily and I’ve always found that the locals seem happy to have you.
Even on my first trip, something about Dublin felt familiar – perhaps because for me it seems to have much in common with my native Liverpool.
These days, it seems a shame that the Irish capital has become synonymous with hen and stag parties, and while it’s true that they still come to enjoy the nightlife, I will always maintain that everyone can have fun in Dublin.
Here are five things to do in Dublin:
1. Visit the Guinness Storehouse
Learn how the famous beverage came to be. Understand the history and discover that the Guinness definitely does taste better in Ireland, when you get a chance to drink it in the Gravity Bar overlooking the city.
2. Drink at least one pint (preferably several) of the Black Stuff
Go into any pub.
Ask for a pint.
Let it settle.
Then do it again.
Wander around the city from place to place and pub to pub, as the fancy takes you…Then stagger home.
3. Eat a hearty lunch
They say you don’t need to eat if you drink Guinness. But then you’d miss hearty stews and the tastes of tradition you get in places like Gallagher’s Boxty House. Irish food is like a big hug for your belly.
4. Tap your feet to some live music in Temple Bar
There’s live music everywhere in the Temple Bar area. Mingle with tourists and locals alike and dance with a random while you sing about the Fields of Athenry.
5. Take a trip on the Dublin Bus hop on, hop off tour
Make sure you choose a bus with the live commentary and be prepared to hop off with your jaw aching from excessive laughter. The drivers are fantastic and you can use your ticket to get to and from all the major sights.
Besides these ideas, there’s much more you can do in Dublin (when you’re not marvelling at the bar staff; they serve about six people at once – pubs in England should take note).
Museums are plentiful. You can while away the hours watching the world go by on a park bench in St Stephen’s Green, or you can shop ’til you drop – whether you flash the cash in upmarket Brown Thomas, or buy souvenir nick nacks in one of the many branches of Carrolls.
Put simply, there’s plenty of craic to be had in Dublin
For places to stay, try Blooms Hotel for good value,The Morgan for a posh, boutique feel (this is next on my list now I’ve tried cocktails at their bar), or push the boat out and stay in luxury at The Clarence.
(These recommendations are all my own)