Saturday, May 14, 2016

Why Dublin is a fun city to explore

The Emerald Isle

We arrived in Dublin in late April to overcast skies which quickly developed into rain.  But we decided to explore anyway. The rain didn't last long and by the time we got to Fleet Street from O'Connell Street, we were walking in chilly sunshine. All that rain keeps Ireland green so it can live up to its poetic nickname, The Emerald Isle.


The Spire

The Spire is a 398-foot monument replacing the Pillar of Nelson which was blown up in 1966. This stainless steel structure was completely installed in January 2003. Its pin like simplicity stands in contrast to the neoclassical façade of the General Post Office (GPO) building on O'Connell Street. The Proclamation of the Republic was read in front of the GPO on Easter Monday in 1916 by Patrick Pearse, one of the seven signatories. (The Irish Times in its article dated September 23, 2015, indicates it may have been Thomas Clarke who read the Proclamation). All seven signatories were executed by the British military. 2016 marks a century since that failed Proclamation, an action now deemed ahead of its time. Among other things, it called for a government of leaders elected by the people of Ireland, both men and women. Women suffrage in Europe, except for Finland, was non existent or restricted to tax paying women or to local elections only during his period. An original copy of the Proclamation is on view at Trinity College.

Fleet Street

Fleet Street is alive with street musicians and revelers. It's an upbeat stroll past rows of bars and pubs stopping here and there to listen to the music and people watch. 

Ha'penny Bridge

The first pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey saw the demise of the ferries that once transported locals across the river. It wasn't free then to use the bridge. It cost a ha'penny, hence the name. This was the same fare charged for using the ferry. Today thousands of people cross the bridge for free.

Doors of Dublin

When they say "Come in" in Dublin, they do so with gusto! These doors are so inviting that I had to stop and collect as many colorful doors so I can make my own postcard. The doors on Merrion Square are particularly attractive.

The Longroom

When we went to view the Book of Kells, I wasn't prepared to also see the impressive Long Room above the museum. There are around 200,000 books in this 65-meter long hall which is part of the Trinity College library system. Imagine having a library card to the Long Room? Oh the books you'll read! 

Busts of writers and thinkers like Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Jonathan Swift observe visitors who take selfies around them. 

Why is Dublin a fun city to explore especially for first time visitors?
1. It is easy to navigate.
2. The Irish people are friendly, helpful, and patient. 
3. Music is in the air. There are mini concerts on the streets especially in the Temple Bar area.
4. So much to see and do, there's something to whet your interests - art, architecture, cafés, history, literature, Guinness and whiskey!
5. Quick getaways to the coast and charming towns like Howth (see my post about this coastal village).

Where to stay:
Best Western Academy Plaza Hotel
10-14 Findlater Place (off of O'Connell Street)
academyplazahotel.ie
The hotel is conveniently located for purposes of sightseeing. We could walk to Trinity College, Temple Bar, Ha'penny Bridge and the Docklands area. There are many restaurants nearby and the shopping streets of O'Connell and Henry are within walking distance. The sightseeing bus tour picks up across the street from the hotel. 

Where to Eat:
The Bank at College Green
The Bank at College Green
20-22 College Green, Dublin
bankoncollegegreen.com

We enjoyed dining in this beautiful restaurant where the food is good and reasonably priced and the service was excellent. The restaurant displays the busts of the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic in 1916. Ireland is currently celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 1916 Proclamation.

Transportation to and from the airport:
Airlink Bus stops at major thoroughfares in the city center.
Buy the ticket from the kiosk at the Airlink bus stop outside both terminals or from the driver.
€10 roundtrip or €6 one way.

Sightseeing:
Hop on Hop off with Dublin Bus Tours with 23 stops close to popular attractions. Check their website for updated information: https://www.dublinsightseeing.ie/citytour.aspx

Where to shop:
Shopping streets: You'll find the big department stores like Marks & Spencer, Debenham, and Penny as well as trendy boutiques like Zara and H&M on Henry Street (off of O'Connell) and Grafton streets. There's an Eason's Bookstore on O'Connell and Nassau streets. Carrolls Irish Gifts sells souvenirs and has branches all over the city.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


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