Travel story Dublin, Ireland
In this travel story arrive in Dublin, Ireland. It is a country with a rich, unique culture that has been well preserved throughout history. Dublin is the capital of Ireland and has been a focal point of much of said history. For a weekend trip, you may find it tough to see everything you want to see as the City is jam-packed with activities and adventures, but it is very condensed, so it is easy to see plenty in a short time.
Irish people are very proud of their culture as for hundreds of years they fought to protect it, and their language from occupiers of the island. This passion has created a wonderful cultural scene nationwide with many galleries, exhibitions and performances being arranged in both Irish and English. The Irish are very friendly and love a chat so if you ever get lost, need a hand finding something, or want to talk when having a coffee or drink, most locals will happily oblige.
Dublin is an old city that was founded by the Vikings in the 9th century. The name Dublin comes from the Irish word Dubhlinn, meaning black pool as water running through the bogland adds a deep colour to the river. Some of the first areas of Dublin settled by the Vikings were Wood Quay. This area is now where Dublin City Council offices reside. The remains of said settlement are now on display in the National Museum of Dublin (Another great activity while in Dublin!).
The Vikings originally came to Ireland to plunder gold and other valuables from the monasteries throughout the country. These monasteries were the first to use the Latin alphabet as we now understand it adding punctuation and spaces between words for ease of reading. They were also fantastic artisans with one of the most famous examples being the book of cells, on display in the centre of Dublin within Trinity College Library. The book is believed to have been created in 800 AD. It is a manuscript in Latin mainly containing the Four Gospels of the New Testament. The book holds incredibly detailed illustrations, iconography and vibrant colours. It is a must-visit as it highlights a cross between Christian and Celtic cultures. A copy can be seen in the Little Museum, Dublin and certain original pages are sometimes displayed within Trinity College Library. Trinity College Library is worth seeing itself and looks as though it’s been pulled out of the world of Harry Potter. The library is situated within the Trinity campus, an idyllic campus in the centre of Dublin which has hosted many of Ireland’s greatest minds, including famed poet Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker (Inventor of Dracula) and Samuel Beckett the playwright.
Aside from the Viking history within Dublin, there are significant amounts of Georgian architecture. This architecture dates back to the British rule of Ireland. Pre-Independence Dublin was one of the most important cities within the British Empire. It was the second-largest port in the empire, enabling vast wealth creation for the British.
This is a controversial time within Irish history but, there is no doubt that the design and style of much of the city was defined in this period. Many current important buildings were built during this period such as the Four Courts and the Custom House. Previous examples are well worth visiting but my personal favourite of the Georgian buildings in Dublin is Royal Hospital Kilmainham which now hosts the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
The Aras an Uachtaráin is another example of Georgian architecture in Dublin. Home to the president of Ireland it is situated within Phoenix park, a beautiful park near the centre of Dublin hosting a wide range of wildlife. Dublin zoo is within the sprawling park as well making it even more diverse! Dublin zoo attracts over a million visitors annually and hosts some very rare wildlife as it is part of international conservation schemes. There is also a TV show about the Dublin zoo where you can see the keepers care for the various creatures who call the zoo home. My personal favourites are the red pandas.
Drinking and Distilleries/Breweries
Aside from culture and art Ireland is recognised worldwide for its brands such as Guinness, Jameson whiskey and Baileys. Within Dublin, Guinness and Teeling’s whiskey brew their stouts and spirits respectively. Guinness is by far the most recognised Irish brand worldwide maybe bar Ryanair. Something that highlights the internationalisation of the brand is that Nigeria is its third-biggest market! Over 10 million pints of Guinness are drunk daily worldwide but every Irish person will tell you it never tastes the same abroad. This is due to two reasons: Firstly, Guinness holds Irish pubs to a rigorous standard of cleaning their equipment. There is a fleet of Guinness vans, dedicated to going around the country regulating the standards of a pint in every pub. Secondly, Guinness doesn’t travel well and is very sensitive, so getting it close to the source is always best. Within Dublin City the St. James’ Gate Brewery lies off the south quays, it was the western entrance to the City during the Middle Ages.
St. James’ Gate Brewery was opened in 1759. Now there is a fantastic interactive tour of the grounds showing the process over seven floors of how Guinness gets from hops and barley, into your glass. The tour ends at the 360° gravity bar providing a clear view across the city skyline, and a chance to pour your own pint of Guinness! If one Guinness isn’t enough to quench your thirst, there are many fantastic pubs on nearby streets boasting a name for some of the best pints of Guinness in the world! If you’re looking for somewhere a bit livelier Temple bar could be your spot.
Temple bar is prominent for its food, music and culture. It hosts a vibrant street life at all hours with iconic pubs, buskers performing traditional Irish music and exhibitions of contemporary art, Temple bar has something for everyone. Most well-known for its bustling nightlife, Temple bar hosts iconic Irish pubs with a variety of atmospheres.
From a cosy snug with trad music to pubs used by students regularly, there are great varieties on the streets of Temple bar. If none of the previously mentioned activities catches your eye the graffiti or vintage clothing in Temple bar could. Temple bar is well known for its graffiti and hosts a tour trail showing you the history of graffiti within the capital of Ireland. While vintage clothing may not seem like it would be at home in one of the biggest tourist areas of the city, Temple bar has a thriving fashion market scene.
During the summer months, Temple bar hosts a daily market called the Cows lane designer market. With over sixty stalls you’ll be hard-pressed to not find something that matches your style. If you are visiting Dublin during the winter don’t fret, you can still find the market at St. Michaels and St. Johns banquet hall inside.
“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” (W.B.Yeats).