For a capitol city with a turbulent past Dublin is one of the more laid-back places to visit.
The city’s architecture, especially the Georgian style, captivates both first and veteran visitors. Flat-fronted townhouses built of brick are best seen in along cobblestoned Henrietta Street. Leinster House, the mid 18th century Palladian design of architect Richard Cassels, became an inspiration for the White House decades later.
Dublin has been a destination of choice for centuries since Vikings settled at a fording place on the River Liffey. While the Scandinavian raiders’ luggage was basic at best, there is no doubt Sven or Gunnar would have appreciated having a number of the Baggalini Messeger Bagg’s with them. Lightweight and created from crinkle nylon the sling bag comes in a series of color combinations makes it perfect for ocean crossings, matching any outfit and having plenty of space for paperwork, lipstick and a bit of armor.
The General Post Office (GPO) on the Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, is another classic building. With its six fluted Ionic columns and classic symmetrical styling the building was completed in 1818. 98 years later, the GPO served as the headquarters for Irish nationalists while they battled the British forces during the Easter Uprising. The bullet holes can still be seen today in the columns.
Irish struggle for independence is told through the numerous statues along O’Connell Street’s median. Most are 19th and 20th century patriots, like Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell and the impassioned James Larkin with large hands raised skyward.
Glasses are raised high at the Guinness Storehouse during its daily self-guided tours. Since 1725 the dark brown stout ale with its distinctive taste from roasted unmalted barley has been made here. At one time it was heralded for it health benefits, though at the time drinking from the Liffey was not desirable.
Temple Bar, on the river’s south bank, is a neighborhood known for its cultural and nightlife riches. This is where you will find museums like the Irish Film Institute. Follow up a cultural event by heading out to a pub. The Oliver St. John Gogarty is one of the best-loved. On weekend mornings Temple Bar buzzes with markets full of flea market finds and freshly made items, like cheese, from rural farms.
Getting outside Dublin to places in nearby County Wicklow will allow you to enjoy the
beaches of Portmarnock and Malahide and go bird watching along the coastline. Catch a DART bus for an economical ride with the locals.
Back in this compact city walking is a popular mode of transportation; so having a trusty handbag to hold your necessary items is key. Wander up Grafton Street, which is car-free, and encounter street performers among dining and shopping establishments. Many Dublin buskers have gone on to globally respected musical careers such as the acclaimed acoustical guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.
At the College Green end of Grafton Street find the beloved statute of Molly Malone, the fictional fishmonger pushing a wagon of cockles and mussels. College Green serves as an entrance to Trinity College was where literary types like Jonathon Swift, Oscar Wilde and “Frankenstein’s” Bram Stoker studied.
Created in approximately 800 A.D. on calf vellum it is highly illustrated books of the Christian Gospel. Multiple pages are bound in four volumes and available for viewing. It is also where the famed Book of Kells resides.
Dublin is a small enough to be covered at the beginning or end of a longer European journey or from the East Coast hop over for a long weekend of fun. And doing Dublin should be experience enjoyed by all.
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