Dublin is one of the most cheerful places on the planet, a city devoted to talk, smoking, drinking, philosophising and discussing world and Irish politics.
Dublin’s compact downtown makes it easy for any tourist to see all the sights on foot. The Trinity College offers an excellent narrated slide show about the history of the city. You can wander on the well-maintained university grounds and even visit the library where the Book of Kells is displayed along with thousands of other precious tomes.
Just as you are about to leave the grounds, there will be a young student offering a walking city tour along with an excellent if convoluted history of Ireland and Dublin. Don’t miss it! You will probably learn about Irish history in a matter of two hours than you did studying books for years provided of course the student you chose was eloquent and could tell the story! There are many students offering walking tours. As everywhere else some are better than others.
After the walk you will probably be tired enough wanting a good pint! Have no fear Dublin has over 1000 pubs with a respectable choice of Irish, British and continental European draught beers, and bottled products. Irish like draught, as most beer connoisseurs, because it is fresher and tastier. Pasteurisation or micro-filtrations bottled beer diminishes the taste.
Be prepared to see a lot of people smoking. There are no no-smoking pubs!
Dublin is a city in which landmarks are better known by their mocking nicknames than their official ones. It is a place where the language is cherished, writers are idolized, and almost every bar contains at least a few budding Irish poets.
Dublin is an ancient (1000 year old) city. Vikings were there first, followed by other tribes then it became a Georgian city, a Victorian city, a modern metropolis and – a European city.
City fathers encouraged many writers, poets, philosophers and generally artists by favourable social policy to make Dublin their home. The objective was to make city cosmopolitan and forward thinking. They succeeded admirably.
Irish have fought long and hard with English, who they claim have impoverished the country. There is nothing English about Irish except the weather. It changes all the time and moist prudent people carry an umbrella at all times.
The River Liffy into the north and south side divides the city. Walk along the river and then O’Connell Street, a broad, bustling wide road flanked by a multitude of stores, shops, restaurants, hotels and obviously pubs. If you want to buy Irish linen go to the department store and in the basement you will find the largest selection in the country. The side streets are full of surprises. Here hawkers sell cigarettes by the packet or in singles. Anyone who has the slightest interest in beer must visit the world-famous Guiness brewery, a short walk from downtown. Here you will see a “ taped tour “, then will be guided to an authentic, huge pub and offered two pints, expertly drawn the freshest Guiness you will ever have. Enjoy both pints!
No one will force you to drink quickly. Have a chat with an Irish tourist, if you see one. Have a ball.
But Guiness is not the only brewery in Ireland. There are others, however Guiness is the most famous and largest. Killkenny and Clery’s are two other Irish breweries you might want to visit, if you have time.
Visit the James Joyce house on Grafton Street and later have a quiet drink in the international bar on Wicklow Street just around the corner.
A visit to Dublin Writers Museum (18-19 Parnell Square N) is a must where you can study all kinds of paraphernalia J. Joyce, B. Behan, J.P. Donleavy, W. B. Yeats and F.O. Brien used.
Most impressive are the farmer’s markets in the city where crusty men and women offer an array of home grown and imported produce.
Molly Malone’s statue on Grafton Street is an absolute must, and tea in the nearby tea room is optional.
If you go: Air Lingus and Canadian charter companies (Transat) operate several direct flightsto Dublin from Toronto.
Hotels: Ireland offers many grades of hotels and accommodations from luxury operations to bed and breakfast. Make your reservations before departure.
Call 800 223 6470 The Irish Tourist Board or log on www.irelandtravel.ie
Food: Irish food is not known for its refined dishes, but there are down to earth recipes to satisfy most palates. Pub food varies from passable to excellent.
For more information consult www.ireland.com