Top of the morning to you! We’re posting some archived words and today we’ve chosen Dublin, a literary city and easily one of THE best I’ve ever visited. I hope you make it feel welcomed.
Out of every country I’ve visited, Ireland might just be the easiest one I’ve moved around in – the convenience is just too good kiddies (I’d originally intended on doing a tour but my Irish friend convinced me not to, and he was right) and the same can be said for its capital, Dublin.
One of your gateways into an ‘oppressed nation’ (shared by the natives oh so many times) of storytellers, in which a good friend of mine hails from, it’s my hope that this post about a urban world of words will convince you to book that ticket.
Naturally one must get there first. I took one of the many Ryanair flights out of London Gatwick but unfortunately I was delayed for several hours. Luckily there were some ladies coming back from Egypt and a young couple, ‘hipster-hat and her boyfriend’, all of whom were on the same flight as me, to have a conversation with. There was also some sponge-like excuse the English calls McDonald’s but that was a freebie paid for by the airline. Now, Dublin!
I had two full days here before my bus to Belfast and I must say… they were very good. For those who haven’t been, walking around ‘the black pool’ is a memorable experience so make sure you have some shoes worth wearing out.
I got my first taste of the city by taking a free walking tour (I love these things) with a friendly named Ian who was all sinful talk (swears I meaneth) and he wasn’t holding back. I met him at my hostel, Jacob’s Inn, on Talbot Street should anyone need a recommendation (DO NOT take the jar of Nutella at breakfast time!)
My guide Ian was hilarious; he shared Dublin’s history with such enthusiasm and wasn’t shy about putting down Irish architects; a digital clock in the dark brown River Liffey and the towering ‘spike’ in the city centre he dubbed ‘the erection at the intersection’ were some choice topics I can recall.
Ian wasn’t kidding!
Without getting into much colourful detail, everything he said can be summed up with these age appropriate words, ‘They’re really quite hopeless,’ but there are some nice buildings to look at that don’t leave you wondering, Why?
Moving on, that walking tour was all I needed to become acquainted with Dublin.
On my first full day I had the priviledge of seeing some beautiful sights, some of which I hadn’t anticipated.
Trinity College was there of course and Dublin Castle which I was overjoyed to learn was a filming location for Penny Dreadful.
My inner fan boy was hoping to spy Helen McCrory paying a visit to the set but no such luck I’m afraid (THREE SEASONS IS NOT ENOUGH JOHN LOGAN!)
Dublin most certainly has some nice architecture – take note that I’m not a Ted Moseby when it comes to architecture – and I have to say that the buildings, of which I saw, came with so much character. Now you can understand the title of this post. These buildings have character and just walking down a side street was enough to satisfy.
Now onto the second day, of which I saved my walk through Trinity College’s amazing library for. Having read up on the city beforehand I was sure it’d be a trip to the Guiness Brewery for a few hours, despite my dislike for the fish guts… and the fact that I’m not a big drinker (I took a bit of piss in Ireland, I will add), but this second day was all about happy accidents.
The information desk at the airport gave me some information which revealed not only that Dublin has a leprechaun museum but that the city has been the home to many upon many famed and influential authors.
I was embarrassed for having overlooked this little factor – I’m a huge reader and I want to have a novel published one day (the dream since I was nine years old) – so on that second day I had my free breakfast, made a list of what I needed to see and made sure I knew where to go. This was going to be good.
First stop, the Dublin Writers Museum. I couldn’t take any photos inside the building but if I could I would have a shot of the first edition Dracula by Bram Stoker to induce some envy. I was inches away from this bad boy, one of my most favourite reads, and I will never forget it. The museum wouldn’t let me take any pictures but I’ve sourced this one from Google.
Next I was onto the National Leprechaun Museum; since I was seven I’ve held a fascination with mythology and folklore so it’s safe to say that I had plenty of fun here (further note, Ireland is THE place for mythical settings).
The guide, Sinead, kept us laughing and informed, reinforcing the ‘Ireland has been an oppressed’ fact, and sharing everything about changelings, giants, banshees and of course, leprechauns.
Fun fact, it’s Disney’s fault that leprechauns are green. Thought provoking, I know. The mouse has a lot to answer for.
After that it was a long walk through the city, taking in the character I’ve seen on so many James Joyce covers, passing the countless pubs and hearing Falling Slowly by Hansard and Irglova which the locals were divided over – it was playing whilst I typed this up. Finding my way back to Trinity College, I bought a ticket for the library and turned the flash off on my Samsung.
There was the Book of Kells, the alleged Harp of Brian Boru and of course the Long Room itself. I’ve always wanted to see a traditional library with towering shelves that one would need a ladder to access.
Walking through it has since inspired a bit of weird fiction currently in the works; ‘an Irish Elysium with a heart of Atonement‘ is all I’ll say for now.
Following that was a free spell in the National Gallery of Ireland – sorry, no pictures – and then a walk through Merrion Square in search of the Oscar Wilde statue.
Had it been a dry and sunny day I would’ve dropped to the ground and opened a book in that picturesque garden. There was a peace.
And that’s what I have to say about Dublin. There’s a lot to enjoy, of that there is no doubt, and from here there’s plenty more to embrace. Once more, Ireland is an easy nation to move around in. I don’t know why I ever considered a tour group.