Dublin City Guide
Dublin is a city with many different faces. It is a truly cosmopolitan city and from the moment you set foot in Dublin you will be able to hear a dozen different accents and languages being spoken around you. And yet it still retains its Irish-ness and its identity, a difficult thing to achieve for many major cities today.
Dublin city centre is a compact, straightforward area to explore and whether you arrive by plane or ferry, one of the first things you will notice is the ease of getting around in Dublin. Nothing seams to be very far away and, in fact, the majority of sights and attractions are easily doable by foot. If you have accommodation in the city centre then you can walk from the Writers Museum, which features Ireland's greatest literary talents, in the north of the city centre, to the Chester Beatty Library, an art museum housing rare books, manuscripts and paintings in the centre of the city, to Temple Bar, Dublin's famous nightlife district. Along the way you will encounter various statues and sculptures, making a walking tour of the city an exciting and fulfilling experience.
The River Liffey, which runs through Dublin, also offers the chance to take some beautifully scenic walks, one of which will bring you to Dublin castle, built in 1204 by King John who ordered it to be constructed as a fortress for the city. If you still crave a little more of the outdoors and walking in open spaces, then Dublin has some beautiful parks, including Phoenix Park, the largest urban park in Europe, which contains lakes and landscaped gardens and is situated just two miles west of the city centre.
Other attractions include Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university, which has seen many famous names pass through its doors, including Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift, and is the keeper of the Book of Kells. The National Museum of Ireland is another attraction which visitors to the city often seek out, and if you are visiting Dublin with children the zoo is a must.
But probably the most famous pull of Dublin, and perhaps the whole of Ireland, is Guinness. For some reason it really does taste different when you drink Guinness in Ireland, and even people who never normally drink it and profess a dislike of it, will find themselves acquiring a taste for this nourishing drink when they are in Dublin. If you have even a passing interest in such things the Guinness Storehouse will provide you with a unique opportunity to trace the history of Guinness, beginning with Arthur Guinness who first set up his brewery here in St James's Gate in 1759. Moving on from there you will find the Old Jameson Distillery in the centre of Dublin, which will take you through the history of Irish whiskey.
If you want to see a lot in a small amount of time then you can take a Dublin tour bus, which will drive you around from one attraction to the next with a guide pointing out places of interest. You can also take a ghost bus in the evening. But if you prefer to be in the centre of the action a walk through Temple Bar in the evening is probably for you. Temple Bar is a quaint little area of cobbled streets lined with restaurants and bars, including the inevitable Hard Rock Café and the original Temple Bar, an unassuming corner pub which sees crowds of tourists queuing up to photograph its unusually painted exterior. By day Temple Bar is a fairly quiet place, with a fantastic book fair every Saturday and a relaxed, low key atmosphere. By night it comes alive with street buskers and entertainers punctuating the walkway and some traditional Irish restaurants to tempt visitors inside.
All in all Dublin has a little of everything and succeeds in pleasing people of all different ages and backgrounds. It is most definitely a European city, but Dublin is still packed with Irish history at every turn.