Why I love Dublin… and 20 reasons why you should visit the city
Visiting Dublin? This is where I tell you why I love Dublin… and 20 reasons why you should visit the city once: things to see, food to eat and hidden gems… all with the eyes of a local!
Is it worth visiting Dublin? Is Dublin really so beautiful? I do not know, Dublin does not seem so much Ireland, I want to visit it quickly and then go exploring the inland areas. In Dublin, it always rains! In Dublin, people only go to the pub! If I look at the list of questions I receive every day in regards to Dublin and Ireland, these are definitely the ones that dominate. Dublin has, in fact, become a destination for mass tourism for a few years now but is usually seen as a city where you pass by before moving into the countryside (which is actually AMAZING!) or it is experienced only for its nightlife, among the most “interesting” in Europe. I landed in Dublin almost 10 years ago after having been to Ireland many many times; we were supposed to stay only for a month, then we decided to stay for 6 months and now, 10 years later, we’re still in the city and we really feel we belong here. So I decided to tell you why I love Dublin and why, in my opinion, you should visit Dublin regardless of what you read about it on dull tourist guides or magazines or blogs you find online.; I want to tell you the reasons why visit Dublin from the point of view of who, the city, has called it home for almost 10 years.
At the end of the article you will surely ask: in short, is everything so perfect in Dublin? No, just as nothing is perfect everywhere in the world but if you choose to visit Dublin you will not need to see the flaws and you just have to see the beauty of a city that knows how to invent and reinvent itself continuously and that, today, is among the most loved and the most visited ever. Today, when someone asks advice on moving here I always say no… but this is another story.
“When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart” – James Joyce
20 reasons why you should visit Dublin
The Dubliners and the Irish
The Irish are, with good reason, considered one of the kindest people and, for this reason, even among the happier in Europe and in the world. The proverbial Irish welcome is not a legend but a reality, and you just have to walk the streets of Dublin (or any other Irish city) to realize this; if you are walking and you are a bit lost, someone will stop asking you where you are from and if you need help, if you go to the pub and order a beer and notice that you are not a local, they will approach and start talking, and etc. The friendliness and kindness of the Irish people are a plus not to be underestimated…
In every corner of Dublin, you will find strong links with literature: James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and the most recent Maeve Binchy are just some of the examples of writers who have told Dublin or who have been inspired by Dublin to narrate the own stories. Bloomsday is one of the best days to be in Dublin.
In the collective imagination in Ireland, we only eat potatoes, stews, and fish but do you know that in recent years the food and wine culture has become very important and today is one of the great boasts of this land? Irish chefs begin to make their way internationally, important events related to food are held every year in Ireland, restaurants experiment but always paying attention to local and seasonal ingredients: Ireland offers a lot in terms of food and Dublin offers a wide choice when it comes to food. If you are looking for non-Irish food, in Dublin you will really have bread for your teeth: the choice of restaurants and places to eat is very high and high quality, you just need to know how to choose. Irish butter deserves a special mention: forget the butter you’ve eaten so far and fill your stomach with Irish butter. Creamy, salty, full-bodied: today when I happen to eat normal butter I genuinely hate it and I think you’ll feel the same way at the end of a holiday in Dublin and Ireland.
The sea… always a few steps away
Dublin lies on the sea. When things are bad, when you want to escape from the confusion, when you want to feel good you just get off and in a few minutes, you are at sea. Or at least, I just have to get off the house and in a few minutes I’m literally close to the sea. And if I do not want to get to the sea, I enjoy the river Liffey: when there’s a river, the cities are always more beautiful.
Forget about Temple Bar and be enthralled by one of the many local pubs (it’s said that there are 365 pubs in Dublin, one for every day of the year!) where traditional live music is played. The Seisiun with local musicians, far from the hubbub of the tourist pubs, and the traditional pubs are still one of the great boasts of Dublin. And when the music starts, it’s really hard not to dance!
History of Ireland
Dublin is a healthy carrier of History, the History of a nation and its people. Still today, the national identity is strenuously defended and the historical resonance monuments, linked to the movements for independence, are preserved in an excellent manner. Do not miss Kilmainham Gaol, the prison where dissidents were imprisoned during the war for independence, and the most famous post office on O’Connell Street, from where the independence movements started.
U2 and international music
Dublin is the U2 and the U2 are Dublin: a strong bond, contradictory and often opposed by the Irish themselves but that, willy-nilly, is part of the city. More information here.
Experimental and classical theaters
The literary and musical tradition of the city is transposed also on the theatrical level: in the city, the theatrical offer is wide and varied and certainly, the classical performances held for example at the Gaiety Theater, are flanked by the experimental performances of the Abbey Theater, always a hub of Dublin’s cultural activities.
The ease of access to nature
Less than 30 minutes by DART, or fast train, you can reach beautiful places that can be visited in just one day. Howth with its cliffs, Bray and its bay, Wicklow, and Glendalough to name just a few: you can rent a car or travel by public transport and let yourself be enchanted by the true Irish nature a few steps from Dublin.
The Liberties and the popular neighborhoods
In Dublin there are areas not yet completely touched by modernity and bustle: it is the case of the Liberties, the area up in the north that is characterized by its cobbled streets, low houses and old industrial architecture from the past. It is one of the popular areas of Dublin, the one that is kept alive by voluntaries and neighborhood associations that make sure that this whole area is enhanced without being deprived of its identity. It is here that a whole network of new and artisanal whiskey distilleries is developing, bringing the flourishing of the nineteenth century back to life when Ireland was a world producer and exporter of whiskey.
Creativity, creativity, creativity
Music, literature, art, and creativity in the round: Dublin is a breeding ground for talent in various sectors. The Creative Quarter, in the Powerscourt area and behind, is breathtaking.
A strong sense of community
You do not live on football alone and the Irish know it well: Gaelic football and rugby are the two main sports in this city and throughout the country. Gaelic football, in particular, is the national sport: it is practiced by children and even by girls, and all players do it voluntarily without getting paid at all. Utopia? No, community spirit. A game at Croke Park is simply unmissable.
There is street art everywhere in Dublin and the movement grows day after day: in the Camden area, in the Liberties, in the lesser known areas of Temple Bar (Love Lane). The city inspires creativity, in the face of those who say that everything is always gray!
The Irish Sky
After years of Irish life, I can say with certainty that there is no sky more beautiful than that of Ireland. Sunsets and sunrises are fantastic in Dublin and they do justice to a colorful city despite the weather.
The simplicity of small and big things
You can walk around Dublin by foot, with no need to travel by car or by taxi: if you think it is a minor thing, think only about how difficult it is to move on foot to London where to get from one point to another of the city take hours. Or in Rome. Or in Milan.
Parks, parks, parks and more parks
From the central Stephen’s Green to the farthest Phoenix Park, not to mention Merrion Square and the unknown Iveagh: Dublin is full of parks where you can stroll, relax, sunbathe when the sun peeks out. Do not underestimate the importance of a park when visiting a city: at some point, you will be tired of walking on concrete and you will need green!
Needless to say that the Guinness is another reason why Dublin should be visited: not the Guinness Storehouse, or not just the Guinness Storehouse, but the Guinness of the population, that fetish that for centuries has been part of Irish and Dublin culture. The Guinness is part of Dublin and Dublin is part of the Guinness … it does not matter if today it is a multinational because the “black stuff” will always be the representation of a strong and sanguine society, which with a smile manages to defuse even the most unpleasant.
Local is better
Despite being a multi-ethnic and, today, multicultural city, the bond between Dublin and Ireland is very strong and there are more and more initiatives aimed at enhancing local products, be they food and wine or art, or anything else. A way to remain attached to tradition despite the changing times.
Dublin is full of super local and hidden places, which can be discovered only by living (that’s why you have to follow us: because we know these things!): there is a private vintage club where you can enjoy cocktails immersed in the atmosphere of the 50ieeverydayday readings Joyce’s Ulysses at Sweny’s, and the calendar is packed with theatrical and cultural events “off the radar”. In short, appearance really deceives …
You can do many things … without spending a euro
Dublin is expensive but with a little ‘organization you can do many fantastic things without spending even one euro. Read my guide to the 21 free things I recommend in Dublin.
Are you ready to travel to Ireland and explore its Capital city, Dublin?
Are you heading to Dublin and do you want more information on customized tours but also on things to do, where to eat and drink and more? Write me an email or follow me on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation! If you want to have photographic tips on what and where to go to take good pictures get in contact with Giuseppe, based in Ireland as well.
[All pics are copyright Giuseppe Milo]