We had only a brief time in Dublin but there were several things we really enjoyed about our short time there. Upon reflection, these are the things we liked most:
- Live music and the Pubs. Nearly immediately, we embraced the pub culture. There are so many in Temple Bar, where we stayed, and outside. The live music is everywhere, from the pubs to the squares to Grafton Street and these musicians are no joke. Whether they are playing traditional Irish songs, bagpipes, guitars or mandolins or more contemporary tunes the music is everywhere and great to listen to while walking about or quaffing a pint.
2. The People. I mean, charming. Cab drivers, bartenders, tourists and locals, people on the street, waitstaff, museum people. Everyone was out and enjoying life, sharing a laugh and having a good time (well, almost everyone, we did see a few blokes going at it after a few too many here and there). They are also easy to strike up a conversation as well.
3. Storytelling. These folks like to engage and to chatter. We first noticed this at the National Leprechaun Museum, but continued to notice it at other tours we took as well. The National Leprechaun Museum is all about relaying Irish fairy and folk tales, so you would expect such a place to be a bastion of a good yarn. However, as we advanced across the River and towards St. Stephen’s Green we discovered this art is not lost on others. The Little Museum of Dublin is a hodge-podge collection of artifacts donated by Dubliners and segmented by decade where you could spend hours just poking around looking at what hangs on the walls. Buy the “Stand-Up History” tour (we’d read about the Walking Tour which initiates at this museum, but it was sold out) for a 45 minute laugh-out-loud excursion into 200 years of Irish history. Well worth the 10 Euro apiece. Of course, these are pay-for experiences but you may get your share of stories in a pub, taxi, etc. as well.
4. Religious artifacts. The Book of Kells at Trinity College is probably the most famous of these. We visited on a Saturday and you can read about it on our post about our Saturday in Dublin, however the Chester Beatty Library can be easily overlooked and is worth a visit. Sitting in the shadow of Dublin Castle, the library was established in 1950 and opened up in 2000. This amazing collection of artifacts is the result of Sir Beatty’s collecting activities during his lifetime. The main ongoing exhibit is divided into three areas: Christianity, Islam and Far Eastern religions. You can check out ancient copies of the Bible, the Qu’ran and religious manuscripts and prints from around the world. Check it out, a definite highlight.
5. Walkable. Dublin is very compact. You can walk it easily. We stayed in Temple Bar and it was a short walk to Grafton Street for shopping, St. Stephen’s Green and all of our dining and pub options. The Guinness Brewery is a bit more of a walk and Kilmainham Gaol (the jail where the leaders of the Easter Rising were held) is even further, so those may be places to which you cab (we walked to and from Guinness but took a cab home from Kilmainham), but everything else was right there. We are fans of a good stroll, and Dublin makes it easy on you.