In this week's post, Brandon lists the 10 best things about Dublin that will make you fall in love with the city.
This week in Dublin was particularly beautiful in terms of weather, and it put me in the mood to write on what I would consider to be the best parts of the city. I hope you enjoy this Top 10 List and that it makes you fall in love just a little bit with what I have made my home for the past few months.
1. Sunny Days
On a sunny, warm day in Dublin, the entire city seems to emerge from the woodwork. The sun draws everyone outside, and it is magical. To see the sides of the canals crowded with groups of people having a picnic lunch and St. Stephen’s Green being packed with Dubliners playing soccer and chatting brings a smile to my face every time.
2. Irish Pride
Whether it’s the fact that hurling and Gaelic football are the most popular national sports or that older generations still root for Connor McGregor even though they find him arrogant, the Irish people hold their island and its inhabitants in the highest regard. You can’t walk through a supermarket without seeing the proudly displayed “Guaranteed Irish” labels on almost every product. Unlike in America, where finding American-made goods is difficult and nearly always expensive, nearly everything in Ireland is from Ireland. It speaks to a national pride that I have not seen countered by any other country.
3. Beach Walks
Although the weather is not always permitting, when you go out on a good day to the beach, Dublin really shines through. You can watch kite surfers race across the sea and dogs playing fetch tearing across the sand. The water isn’t even too bad as long as you stay in the shallows!
4. Street Art
Dotted throughout the city are beautiful works of street art being constantly updated by a litany of artists armed with spray paint. Each work is different, and it really lends a mood to each building. I’ve seen some depicting political activists, others of hummingbirds and flowers, and so many more than I can possibly hope to remember. Sometimes you stumble upon entire alleyways painted wall to wall.
There are many museums in Dublin, and most are free to students and the general public. There’s the Dead Zoo, the National Gallery of Ireland, and several others near city center. Or you could travel up closer to the Phoenix Park to find the Museum of Contemporary Art. You can easily spend an afternoon there, and with changing exhibits, going back every few months isn’t a problem.
6. Phoenix Park
Being one of the largest in-city parks in Europe, Dublin’s Phoenix Park is a sight to behold. Walking the length of it took a group of friends and I almost three hours. You pass by the towering cross, Nelson’s Memorial, and countless rugby fields. You see horse racing tracks and the Dublin Zoo. And maybe, if you’re lucky and you can find them (it’s easier at dusk), you’ll come across the herd of fallow deer that live within the park.
7. Irish Cuisine
Irish cooking is simple and hearty. It’s the type of food you’d want on a cold winter’s night at grandma’s house. However, its far more varied than the stereotyped corned beef and cabbage. You have stews, potatoes cooked a myriad of ways, rashers, coddles, and beef. If you leave a restaurant serving Irish cuisine and you don’t feel stuffed and happy, then you did something wrong and need to turn right back around.
8. Howth Hiking
Dublin’s northern outskirts boasts the small, seaside village of Howth. A quaint town with notable fish and chips, Howth is a great way to spend a free day. Just a quick 45-minute ride away from Griffith on the Dublin public bus, Howth has amazing hiking and breath-taking views of the sea. A day walking about in the hills, breathing in the salt air, and ending with a nice plate of fish and chips is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Another hidden village gem much like Howth, Bray is in the immediate opposite direction: south. Once again only a quick bus ride away, Bray is a bustling town with the Bray to Greystones cliff walk that will take you the better part of a day. However, it is well worth it. With greater cliffs than those at Howth, you can choose the more traveled, paved road along the coast or climb up into the hills on one of the many game trails and find your own way to the peak.
Dublin is a city steeped in rich history. From the original Gaelic ring fort to the Viking settlement to the British occupation, Dublin has seen an incredible amount of turmoil in its time. You can see each aspect of its history as well, be it in the architecture or the many public monuments and statues about the city.
I hope this list has given you a peek into what Dublin has to offer! There are far more things that I could have included on my list, but these in particular stood out. I'm sure that when you come to Dublin, you'll have your own list to share with the world.
Brandon's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.