Dublin is a beautiful city that I fell in love with the second time around. You are probably scratching your head wondering how you can fall in love with a place. You either hate the place you visit because it isn’t anything like you thought it would be i.e. metro system is hard to navigate, dodgy in many places, graffiti on walls. Or you love the place as soon as you step off the plane i.e. signs that help you find your way, friendly people, cobblestone streets and getting lost makes you love the place even more. Hating or loving a place is how each person perceives it. One person could love a place and want to visit it over and over again and another person wants to leave the same place as soon as they arrive because they don’t like it.
Going back many years, that is how I felt about Dublin. When I visited the city in 1998, I thought the city was chaotic at best and confusing when trying to navigate the car I rented through its city streets. Flash forward fifteen years and my perception of the city has changed greatly. What is that saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover or first impressions aren’t always the most accurate. That was the case with Dublin. You really do need to get out of your car to truly experience all the city has to offer and get a real feel for the place. That is what I did. I walked through the city and really got to experience all the city has to offer this time around. Quite simply, it was magical …… Let’s suffice it to say that my feet got a work-out as a walked among the many streets of Dublin including O’Connell and Grafton Streets.
Did you know that walking throughout the main parts of Dublin equate to 5.46 miles? You can see a lot of the city and stay fit while doing it which is an added bonus. I was planning on booking a tour on one of the hop-on hop-off busses that take you to all the attractions but decided against it because you can see more by walking to all of the places you want to see. In letting my feet do the walking, I was able to get up close to Ha’Penny Bridge. It became one of my favorite places to see and it was free. It isn’t necessarily on the list of must see attractions but I recommend it. What place can you walk over and see love locks or wish locks as they are known in other countries? It was cool to see these locks that people placed from one end of the arch to the other end as well as throughout the structure of the bridge. Who does that? That is a question only people who have done this can answer for themselves and others who ask this question of them. Besides Ha’Penny Bridge, I saw many colored doors that were not the same color. One door might be yellow and the next door could be red or blue. I loved how each building stood out from the next one because the colors were never the same. There were even a few pink and purple doors.
For you fitness buffs than Phoenix Park is the perfect place for running and jogging. I asked reception at Jacobs Inn for the best place for walking and they suggested Phoenix Park. Someone at reception thought it would be a bit too far for a walk but I found it to be a great way to navigate through the city streets as I wound my way through each block that took me to another part of Dublin I had yet to see. I even came this close to the tram that swept past me at an astounding speed. If you ever stay at Jacobs Inn than the route from the hostel to Phoenix Park and back the same way you went is 5.60 miles. That wouldn’t include seeing more of the park than I was able to see while I was there. I didn’t know they had a zoo inside the park. That should tell you how massive the park is and how little I got to see of it. Suggestion for you guys who want to see the Park. Go in the morning. One of the walks to Phoenix Park was done first thing in the morning when hardly anyone was in the park. I felt like I had the whole place to myself. That means I will have to make another trip to Dublin to see what I missed on this trip.
A couple of main attractions I saw while in Dublin:
The Old Library and the Book of Kells – You will need to visit Trinity College where the Book of Kells is housed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the room where the books were located. Basically the book contains the four gospels. They are encased in glass because they are fragile to the touch which makes sense because of the age of the book. I wish I had more time to look at the manuscript closely but there were too many people around the books that you had to squeeze in between people to see them up close. Not sure when the best time of day would be to see them; maybe first thing in the morning or nearer the end of day when the place is closing. As for the Old Library, I had more time to see this and found it to be another one of my favorite places in Dublin. Upon walking into the library, you see rows upon rows of bookcases that are roped off. On either side of the bookcase, you might find a statue of Socrates among others. You can’t walk the length of the library since the back part of it is closed off to the public.
Guinness Storehouse – You will have to ask yourself if you love tours or if you are more into self-guided tours that you can take on your own. That is what sets Guinness Storehouse a part from Jameson Distillery. The storehouse is a self-guided tour which I loved because sometimes I would rather take my time and see things on my own and other times I love taking tours. This wasn’t the case with Guinness because I wanted to meander through the different levels until I got to the main level where they show you how to pour a pint of Guinness. Have you ever wanted to know how to pour the perfect pint? After learning how to do this than you will receive a certificate that you can show your friends and family that you can only get from Guinness Storehouse that shows you have mastered the art of pouring the perfect pint. After you are done than you can take your pint up to the Gravity Bar and see Dublin below you as you sit and enjoy your drink. As for me, I am not a fan of Guinness because it is a much darker stout and thicker of a drink than I prefer. Now a pint of cider is what I prefer over a pint of Guinness. To each their own.
Is Dublin in your plans for the future? Have you visited Dublin and what were your impressions of the city? I would love to hear your thoughts on a city that changed my first impression of it the second time around.