I went on a flash trip to Dublin, leaving London very early on a Saturday morning and coming back Sunday night. I had never been in Ireland but had heard a few things about it.
First of all, a friend had told me she absolutely disliked Dublin. The streets were full of strange people (gypsies), beggars, it was not at all like a city, but like a province. That was disappointing. You never like to hear a place you want to visit is actually not worth it. Thankfully I am usually deaf to judgments made by others – I am the kind of annoying, skeptical person who likes to see things for herself.
I was right to do that. I really enjoyed my 2 days in Dublin – did not see any beggars or “weird” people. Everyone was quite nice. And while Dublin may not be my favourite city, I still liked it.
My trip did start with a bus driver trying to use me as a windshield to lit his cigarette. That was fun. All I wanted to know was where was the bus stop. I must say I am not a good windshield – he had to go behind a wall while I looked at him with a stupefied look.
I was also told that in Ireland it rains every day. It’s a country forgotten by the sun. Well, I got a bit of both – Saturday evening it was sunny, blue sky and warm temperature. Meanwhile, my Sunday was blessed with rain for every single hour until evening – when I had to go catch my flight.
What really displeased me about Dublin was the bus system. It was extremely irregular ( had huge issues especially on Sunday, not sure if it works better on working days) and I was lead to believe there was a daily pass I could get. However, I could not find it in any machine or any DublinBus shop. Everybody seemed very surprised at my question as if they had never heard about a daily pass. So, the result of this unfortunate event: having to pay for every single journey in cash. Beware they won’t give you change and only accept coins. So I was very annoyed at this on Sunday.
I started my afternoon in Dublin visiting The Hugh Lane Gallery, which I lively recommend to all the art lovers out there. It exhibits marvellous pieces by Irish artists, with a special sneak peek to Francis Bacon studio – total chaos, but a nice one.
There I discovered the amazing stain glass work of Harry Clarke. It’s so whimsical, one can’t help but stare at it. I was enchanted by The Even of St. Agnes. Absolutely brilliant.
Dublin for me meant only one thing for many years: that amazing old library in Trinity College. Still remember spotting it as a child in one of those glossy, cold, educational encyclopedias and fall in love with it. Can you imagine being surrounded by that? How marvellous it was to finally feel it in my bones. To collect another library on my list. I think only bookworms will understand me. Being a book lover can mean a lot of things and feel in a lot of different ways. For me, the most paralyzing is that intense craving for devouring pages, to access the knowledge within those pages. To devour them.
The Old Library is, therefore, something worth visiting.
The area surrounding Dublin’s castle is also quite enjoyable. I did not enter the castle, but only walked around, and visited the Chester Beatty Library instead. Free entrance where it’s exhibited a fantastic collection of cultural Asian artefacts and religious works. Again, for bookworms, it displays magnificent manuscripts covering the history of the book.
I must always get a glimpse of the ocean every time I can. Checking the weather forecast and realizing sunshine would bless us on that Saturday evening, I took a train from Dublin to Howth where I did the Howth Cliff Walk. It did me so well to feel that unique breeze only the ocean can give you. The ocean was calm and quiet. The cliffs were majestic and menacing. If you can, go to Howth. And, after your walk, you can get some fish & fries before heading back to Dublin. That’s what I did!
On my second day, I headed to Metro Cafe to get a good breakfast. I was craving some nice pancakes and my body was in need of energy after the cliff walk in the previous evening. I do recommend the place – delicious food at affordable prices. Here’s a pic of my lovely breakfast – because we all know it’s the most important meal of the day.
It’s hard to walk around when it’s pouring. I couldn’t take my canon out of my bag and as a result, my photos of that day are exclusively from my iphone. I went to the National Gallery of Ireland, passed through Temple Bar on my way to St. Patricks Cathedral.
By this time I was feeling a bit down with the rain. Did some souvenir shopping and then I needed to head to Kilmainham Gaol, where I had a tour booked to 3:30pm.
This is a visit I highly recommend. Make sure you book it online in advance though, as the visit is only with a tour and there are limited vacancies per hour. You’ll learn a lot about the History of the country and some of the most important uprisings that made Ireland independent of British dominance.
That’s a wrap! Have you been to Dublin? If so, what were your impressions of the city?