Five Favourite Dublin Experiences – Love Dublin
When Visit Dublin got in touch with me only a few short days ago (there’s no stretch in the evenings at all at this time of year) and asked me if I’d like to be involved with helping them promote one of their latest short films, I was all ears and eyes. The email invite that read the length of the Book of Kells was merely background to the little highlighted link that took me from my email inbox into the world of YouTube to where I was graced with the lyrical voice of Stephen James Smith, the words of Louis MacNeice and the filmography of Motherland. It was such a joy for me to watch and listen to, that I watched it again. The visuals of familiar places, streets and sights rang through of my everyday experience of Dublin but it was the following words that remained etched in my brain because they are true to me …
‘I was not born or bred
Nor schooled here and she will not
Have me alive or dead
But yet she holds my mind’
You could say that Dublin streets and buildings could be those from any city. The weather, well, every city gets rain. What makes Dublin my favourite place to be though, is the spirit of the people in it, the smiling passerby, the bus stop chat with a stranger, the uniting celebratory roar when a pint glass slips and breaks, the banter with a market trader, the giggles on a bus. The many single gloves and lost hats balanced on railings should its owner pass by. Dublin is more alive now than it has ever been and it lives because its heart is beating. Its people is its heart. Their spirit, its blood.
I’ve been lucky enough in life to have travelled far and wide. My experiences opened up my mind culturally and I know that my exploring days are not over. I hope they will never end. When travelling and exploring I’ve always been interested in the not so beaten track and so whenever I am asked about what to see, where to eat, and what to do in Dublin, ‘the town that I loved so well’, I always choose the types of places that I would like to know about when exploring a new city. Visit Dublin’s film above evoked the tourist in me and so I share with you five reasons you should get to know the spirit of Dublin…
Where to Eat – The Woollen Mills, 42 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1
Looking out onto the River Liffey and over the Ha’penny Bridge, The Woollen Mills used to be a place you bought your first knitting needles for primary school or where you chose the material for your debutant dress. Alas those days were numbered and have been gone for many years, thankfully this old building breathes new life onto the streets and into the bellies of its patrons through its delicious menu of freshly cooked dishes, expertly brewed coffees and sweet as pie desserts. Recommended to put a pep in your step.
Where to Drink – The Cobblestone Pub, King Street North, Smithfield, Dublin 7
Take a walk through Smithfield Square, a place of such history and diversity … a market, a fair, an ice rink, a ghost or two and you will find yourself face to face with a corner pub that has stood the test of time. The Cobblestone Pub. A place where a cocktail is a whiskey and red lemonade and a pint of Guinness is just what the doctor ordered whether there is iron in it or not. With traditional music pumping seven nights a week, grab a seat in the snug or prop yourself up at the bar and take it all in.
Where to Watch – The Theatre Upstairs, Lanigans Bar, 10-11 Eden Quay, Dublin 1
One of my favourite places to get my theatre fix is the Theatre Upstairs. Dedicated to supporting the art, this small but perfectly formed theatre is home to a passionate team of Theatre Professionals, and a home from home for national and international production companies, actors and premieres. With ongoing lunchtime and evening performances of new plays that run for a week or two weeks at a time, prepared to be impressed by the talent of rising Irish and Irish based stars of the stage and the welcoming of those who have owned the stage for many a year.
Where to Learn – The Little Museum of Dublin, 15 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
Perfectly named, this little museum is packed to the rafters with love. It started life as a box of artifacts from the 20th Century in 2011, grew in popularity year on year to become an award-winning and registered charity. They know how to greet you and their “City of a Thousand Welcomes” service gets the thumbs up all of the time. If you like U2, then you’ll love the U2 Exhibition on the second floor. Lectures, classes, tours and exhibitions … they’ve got it all.
Where to Walk – The Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin 8
I’m more a lover than a fighter and so to direct you to a War Memorial Garden in Dublin may seem odd but rest assured those with flowers in their hair will be delighted when they take the short bus ride, walk or ‘Dublin Bike’ to this park to relax, rewind, stroll or ponder in. Although I’ve read these gardens to be one of the most famous in Europe, I am continually introducing them to those from Dublin and a far. The walled gardens with blossoming flowers in spring, rowers on the water in summer, the crunch of leaves in autumn and the snow topped trees in winter. This place is beautiful all year around.
*all images courtesy of Visit Dublin