Join Louise in Dublin. This city is famous for its ceol agus craic (music and fun). The name Dublin comes from the Gaelic dubh linn which means ‘black pool’, although you will also see it referred to by its modern name Baile Áth Cliath, meaning the ‘town of the ford of the hurdles’!
There is so much to say about Dublin and with its rich cultural, political and literary history, there are too many landmarks and activities to mention here. Instead, I will let you in on my favourite places, discovered over a year spent in one of the most vibrant cities in Europe.
My favourite summer hangouts
It’s hard to beat Dublin in the summer – there is just so much going on! The days are long, the evenings are longer and the streets are always full of people enjoying themselves.
Bewley’s Oriental Café (Grafton Street) A great place to kick off your weekend with a full Irish breakfast and a cup of famous Bewley’s tea, before heading off up for a day’s shopping in Grafton Street.
Winding Stair Bookshop (40 Ormond Quay Lower) A little-known gem, this second-hand bookshop spans several storeys of a historical building on the quay. Climb the winding stairs to the top floor where there is a café. Spend as many hours as you like reading books while drinking coffee and eating cake.
Grafton Street One of Dublin’s best known streets, it is the most vibrant spot in the centre of town. There are lots of bustling streets off it with cafes and bars and the area is a favourite of buskers and street performers.
St Stephen’s Green A stone’s throw away from Grafton Street is St Stephen’s Green, a haven of tranquility in the city centre. It is a lovely spot to spend time in the summer sunshine. Find a shady tree next to its lake or soak up the sun in the more open area near the bandstand. If you like history, walk around the green to look at the numerous memorials, statues and busts of famous Dublin past residents.
The beach at Bull Island Another lovely spot for a day out when the weather is good is Bull Island on the north side of the city and a bus ride away from the centre. Brave the waters of the Irish Sea – even when the sun is beating down, the water is still pretty cold!
Quinns (Drumcondra) One thing you must try and do if you are in Dublin for any length of time is to go to a GAA match at Croke Park, either Gaelic football or – my favourite – hurling. The atmosphere at the stadium is always electric and the pubs afterwards are full to bursting with hundreds of supporters that have travelled from all over Ireland to support their country’s team. The craziest post-match fun can always be found at Quinns, where regardless of which team won and which team lost, everyone mixes together ‘for the craic’.
My favourite winter hang outs
Dublin is famed for its pubs –there are 751 of them! – so when the sun is scarce, where best to spend cold winter afternoons than inside one of Dublin’s finer establishments, eating fresh seafood, listening to music and soaking up the atmosphere? To quote a line from my favourite Irish band, “the porter tastes GREAT in the afternoon”. And they should know!
The Oliver St John Gogarty (Temple Bar) This quaint pub, named after the poet and author, is a wonderful place for Sunday lunch on a cold Sunday. I recommend the Dublin Bay fresh prawns with half a pint of Guinness – perfect! As the afternoon wears on, musicians turn up and sit down in a corner, playing traditional music as in days gone by.
The Foggy Dew (1 Fownes Street Upper) The Foggy Dew is another of my favourite places, and not just because of its beautiful name. The atmosphere is a great mix of traditional and contemporary and it is the perfect spot for meeting friends after work or as a starting place for a night out in Temple Bar.
The Porterhouse (Temple Bar) The best live music venue in my opinion is found at the Porterhouse, 7 nights a week. It is also famous for its craft beers, being Dublin’s first pub brewery. The venue is a delight to spend time in, where the staircases between the three storeys wind alongside huge copper vats and pipes and the musicians play from high up on a small balcony.
Of course, no trip to the city would be complete without a trip to the Guinness Factory (St James’s Gate, Ushers) Many people associate Ireland with its whiskey but Dublin is famous for its Guinness – a strong, dark beer said to be made with the waters of Dublin’s famous river the Liffey. A favourite tourist stop is the Guinness factory at St James’s Gate brewery where you can sample some of ‘the black stuff’ and pick up some of the famous advertising merchandise.
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