If it hadn’t have been for the biting wind chilling us to the bone and grey skies being all wintry and grey, Dublin could easily be mistaken for a continental city. Euros and kilometres aside, it has the relaxed and friendly air of a European capital: during the day, people stroll around enjoying the road furniture and stop to chat with passing friends instead of racing through their shopping lists and the city generally lacks the mean-spirited coldness of a rat-race. People here are friendly; they stop to share cake.
At night, the streets come alive with what seems to be half of Dublin braving the cold to enjoy a ‘passeggiata’ while the other half are to be found in the hundreds of pubs that pepper every inch of the city. The pubs themselves are warm, and lively and many either provide a dance floor, or live sing-along-to-the-old-Molly-Malone-classics.
And talking of the lady herself, there’s a lovely statue to the famous inspiration behind that mussels and cockles shanty. We also met more friendly people here.
For a brief taster of the city, a weekend would suffice. Must-sees are of course, O’Connell Street, now decorated with the giant Millennium Spire, St Stephen’s Green (where we met what appeared to be a random bride inviting people to trample her dress, sit on it and eat proffered cake, but who was actually an arts and performance student, with nice cake – see above) Trinity College, with the beautiful Book of Kells, but even more stunning old library, replete with towers of dusty books on ceiling-high shelves, a wonderfully bookish musty smell, and winding staircases, and St Patrick’s cathedral and Dublin Castle (both of which were sadly shut when we went to visit them).
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a trip to the world famous Guinness Factory (be prepared to queue) where you can learn the history, pull a pint, taste the black stuff, and visit the Gravity Bar, which provides a fantastic 360º view of Dublin.
Yet more world-famous drink havens (hard to avoid in Dublin) can be found in the Temple Bar area. The actually Temple Bar itself is impossible crowded, but there are many other bars and pubs in that area to satisfy, along with many restaurants (all of which must be booked in advanced if you want dinner).
Teetotallers and chocoholics shouldn’t despair however, as Butler’s chocolate shops are to be found in all the shopping areas, and here they serve the most delicious hot chocolate. Leprechaun-watches, however, should be wary, as finding the little green ones is a difficult feat to accomplish (to be sure) and sadly, Tipsy and I did not come away with our pot of gold, but we did have a very good time, nonetheless.
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