Dublin is a small city and the Capital of the Republic of Ireland. From The UK accessing this Country is relatively cheap and easy. There are numerous daily flights from various cities within the UK, were flight times are extremely swift at approximately 35 minutes.
Dublin can additionally be accessed by Ferry and there are numerous ports along the West coast of England were a car can be driven onto the ferry and across the Irish Sea.
Dublin is a small city but boasts a huge reputation. It is a very social city and most of the daily life is planned around the locals love for alcohol. Everyone has their favourite pub: for some it’s a never-changing traditional haunt; for others, it’s wherever the beautiful people are currently at. Either way, you’ll have over 1000 to establishments to choose from.
Dublin has existed since the 9th century, and while traces of its Viking settlements have been pretty much washed away, the city is a living museum of its history since then, with medieval castles and cathedrals on display alongside the architectural splendours of its 18th Century height, when Dublin was the most handsome Georgian city of the British Empire and a fine reflection of the aspirations of its most privileged residents.
One thing I have noticed about my trip to Dublin is its character and personality. Dublin has a marginally sophisticated elegance. Dubliner’s at their ease are the greatest hosts of all, a charismatic bunch whose soul and sociability are so compelling. Some may state possibly infectious.
Some Useful Information
ℹ️ Travel: Dublin International Airport is approximately 6 miles (12 KMS) from Dublin city centre. The most cost effective way to transfer from the airport to the city is by the Airlink service, also known as route 747. The Airlink is an express service that departs from outside Terminal 1 arrivals to Dublin’s main bus station Busaras, then to O’Connell Street in the city centre and finally to Heuston, one of Dublin’s main train stations. 747 buses are frequent, departing every 15 or 20 minutes. The Airlink costs GB£5.40 (€6) one way for adults, GB£9 (€10) return.
ℹ️ Currency: The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro (€) currency . The Republic of Ireland is a member of the EU (European Union).
(Northern Ireland is part of The UK and will LEAVE the EU from 31st October 2019)
ℹ️ Credit Cards and Banks: ATMs are common place in almost every shopping street, with several ‘bureau de change’ around the city centre, with almost every retailer accepting Mastercard and Visa. There is no fear of an establishment declining card payments.
ℹ️ Weather: Like the majority of Northern Europe the Winter months are damp, grey and very cold. The Continent sheds its Winter cold around March and days become long and warm during the Summer months until around early October. Ireland does suffer from the effects of storms coming in off the Atlantic Ocean.
ℹ️ Accommodation: I Stayed at the 4* Hilton Hotel located on Charlemont Place. My trip to Dublin was fairly last minute therefore most accommodation has already been reserved. The hotel was good enough, including breakfast, although it was a fair 15 minute walk from the hive of Dublin city centre.
For something a little lavish when not stay at the 5* Shelbourne Hotel at St Stephen’s Green. It’s one of the most iconic and historic buildings in Dublin. Founded in 1824 as three town houses joined together the building has grown to what it is today. It has been host to many social, political and literary traditions, playing a role in the 1922 Irish Constitution. The Shelbourne Hotel is a 5 minutes walk from most of Dublin’s sights. Prices are around £220 p/n.
What Can Dublin Offer?
The vast majority of sights are focused around the social scene of the pubs and bars but if your liver cannot cope with anymore battering then Dublin is steeped in all sorts of historic architecture.
I have highlighted just a few places worthy of a visit.
If you’re looking for a turreted castle you’ll be disappointed. It is not the typical castle forcade found in England or around Europe. Dublin castle was the stronghold of British power in Ireland for 700 years and is principally an 18th-Century fabrication that is more of a mis-match palace than castle. Only the Record Tower, completed in 1258, survives from the original Anglo-Norman fortress commissioned by King John from 1204.
The castle is now used by the Irish government for meetings and functions, and can be visited only on a guided tour of the State Apartments and of the excavations of the former Powder Tower.
Available is a 45-minute guided tours (departing every 20 to 30 minutes, depending on numbers) are pretty dry or as the younger generation say “meh”, but you get to visit the State Apartments , many of which are decorated in dubious taste. You will also see St Patrick’s Hall , where Irish presidents are inaugurated and foreign dignitaries toasted, and the room in which the wounded James Connolly was tied to a chair while convalescing after the 1916 Easter Rising.
Ireland’s most prestigious university is a bucolic retreat in the heart of the city that puts one in mind of the great universities like Oxford, Cambridge or Harvard. Just ambling about its cobbled squares it’s easy to imagine it in those far-off days when all good gentlemen (for they were only men) came equipped with a passion for philosophy and a love of empire. The student body is a lot more diverse these days, even if the look remains the same.
The campus is a masterpiece of architecture and landscaping beautifully preserved in Georgian aspic. Most of the buildings and statues date from the 18th and 19th centuries, each elegantly laid out on a cobbled or grassy square. The newer bits include the 1978 Arts & Social Science Building. A great way to see the grounds is on a walking tour, that depart from the Regent House entrance on College Green
Trinity’s greatest treasures are kept in the Old Library’s stunning 213ft (65m) Long Room, that houses about 200,000 of the library’s oldest volumes, including the Book of Kells , a breathtaking, illuminated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament, created around AD 800.
The Long Room gets very busy during the summer months, so it’s recommended to go online and buy a fast-track ticket (adult €13/GB£11/US$14.50), which gives timed admission to the exhibition and allows visitors to skip the queue. You’ll still get only a fleeting moment with the Book of Kells , as the constant flow of viewers is hurried past.
Museum of Natural History
Dusty, weird and utterly compelling, this window into Victorian times has barely changed since Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone opened it in 1857 – before disappearing into the African jungle for a meeting with Henry Stanley. It is a fine example of Victorian charm and scientific wonderment, and its enormous collection is a testament to the skill of taxidermy.
The Irish Room on the ground floor is filled with mammals, sea creatures, birds and some butterflies all found in Ireland at some point, including the skeletons of three 10,000-year-old Irish elk that greet you as you enter. The World Animals Collection , spread across three levels, has as its centrepiece the skeleton of a 65ft (20m) long fin whale found beached in County Sligo. Evolutionists will love the line-up of orangutan, chimpanzee, gorilla and human skeletons on the 1st floor.
Dublin City Hall
This beautiful Georgian structure was originally built by Thomas Cooley as the Royal Exchange between 1769 and 1779, and botched in the mid-19th century when it became the offices of the local government (hence its name).
Thankfully, a more recent renovation (2000) has restored it to its gleaming Georgian best. The basement has an exhibit on the city’s history. The Story of the Capital is a multimedia exhibition that traces the history of the city from its earliest beginnings to its hoped-for future.
Guinness Factory Tour
Skip the line at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin with this fast-track entrance ticket and enjoy this seven-floor, immersive experience at leisure! Breeze past any wait lines and go straight inside to discover the story of Guinness, perhaps the world’s favourite Irish brand. Learn about its 1759 origins at the adjoining St James’s Gate brewery; discover how the iconic, black and creamy stout is brewed; and taste some variants. Then, finish with a free pint of Guinness at the seventh-floor Gravity Bar as you drink in spectacular views over Dublin!
Make your own way to the Guinness Storehouse, the seven-floor exhibition space at the St James’s Gate Brewery in central Dublin, where Guinness was first brewed in 1759.
Temple Bar District
Discover Dublin’s traditional pubs and wonderful Irish music with a pub crawl through historic Temple Bar. This could take days! The Irish pub remains the social focus of Irish culture and is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions.
While most cities around the world boast of at least one offspring of Celtic drinking culture, the original Irish pub remains a rare commodity. On this entertaining musical pub crawl you’ll visit authentic establishments in the heart of Dublin.
Temple Bar is a hive of activity where artists, designers and young entrepreneurs have set up small art galleries, cafes, theatres and colourful shops. The pedestrianised streets allow you to walk freely through the narrow cobbled alleys running close to the banks of the River Liffey.
River Liffey Tour
Drift down the River Liffey on a leisurely 45-minute cruise from the heart of Dublin. The cost of the tour is around €14 (GB£12/US$15). With a local guide providing professional commentary, each cruise can accommodate up to 48 passengers on any sailing, offering maximum comfort and safety. The boat is wheel chair accessible and suitable for young and old alike.
Discover all aspects of the history of the River Liffey and of Dublin city itself, from the first arrival of the Vikings 1000 years ago, to the rapid development of the city during the 18th and 19th Centuries to become a major European capital, and of the subsequent decline and more recent redevelopment of Dublin’s Docklands.
One thing you will begin to notice quickly as you walk around Dublin is the amount of Street Art along the streets.
Some of it will take a keen artists eye to decipher its content, other wall paintings are actually quite lovely. Always have your camera at the ready to take a snap of what maybe lurking around the next street corner.
As a concluding note: if you haven’t noticed walking around this compact city Dublin has some incredible architecture. Most of the building’s are of Georgian style, and for me, I was in ore at the ornate and decorative doorways. I was certainly caught up in obtaining photographs of the vibrant colours and styles….