Have you ever visited a place, a town, a city that everybody raves about and somehow you have been unable to share their excitement? The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So they say. Sometimes though, the feeling, like good wine or cheese, needs to mature. Revisiting the city might just make that dwindling flame transform into a huge fire of wanderlust! This is exactly to happened to my complicated relationship with Dublin. I visited the capital of Ireland for the first time around two years ago, explored it for two days and left it without any urge to come back. When my friend suggested visiting Dublin to celebrate her birthday, I decided to give Dublin a second chance. And I am so glad I did!
With the flight time of just short of an hour, we were in Dublin city centre before 9 a.m. on Thursday. Desperately needing coffee and breakfast, we headed into a little café to grab some sandwiches and pancakes with Trinity College just round the corner. Established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, the college is a perfect place to start your tour of Dublin. You can enjoy the lovely surroundings, take a stroll round the squares, or join one of the tourist groups- some of the tour guides are quite characters! Don’t be put off by a long queue to see the 9th century Book of Kells (the medieval manuscript of four gospels) as the line of people moves quite quickly. The ticket grants you an admission to the most spectacular library I have even seen- Long Room. With shelves full of old books, neatly put in rows, it is a fabulous place to visit if you are a book worm.
From Trinity College we embarked on a very long walk towards the Guiness Storehouse and Kilmainham Gaol, an Irish prison transformed into a museum. We knew we would not be taking a tour at the brewery so there was just a chance to take some pictures outside the famous gate and since the tickets for the prison were already sold out (the story of my life!), it is only right to say that it is not the destination but journey that matters. On the way we had a chance to take a look at the Dublin Castle, many beautiful churches, quirky streets and alleys (don’t always trust your phone navigation). There are many galleries and museums in Dublin that you can visit for free, so do not worry if your map reading skills are not the best and you end up somewhere completely else than intended- you can always spend ah hour or two making yourself more cultured.
The rest of our trip consisted of quite random ‘oh, let’s go here’, ‘what about this place?’ and ‘we have to go there’- so we wandered the streets of Dublin in no particular order. Just at the end of Grafton Street, a popular and busy shopping street, you will find a green oasis- St. Stehphen’s Green. It is a perfect place to relax, unwind, admire perfectly cut grass. St. Patrick’s Cathedral was unfortunately unavailable in the strictly tourist sense, as we visited it on the morning of Good Friday. Somehow from there, our feet took us to Merion Square with fabulous, colourful houses, James Joyce’s laid back figure and Cadbury’s chocolate egg hunt! Random- told you!
We did of course venture into Temple Bar and proclaimed that drinking ourselves into oblivion is an era of the past. We were approached by a lovely gentleman in he city centre who took pity on our map reading skills (thank you Sir!), we were allowed to ride a bus for half a fare as we did not know that only coins are accepted on the buses in Dublin (thank you Mr. Driver!), I almost got run over on one of the narrowest street, and most of all I fell in love with Dublin! Thank you for the second chance!