Dirty Old Town- Your GTG’s City Low Down #4

Whether you have landed in search of the perfect pint of Guiness, for a wild weekend, on a literary pilgramage, to trace your family history, or for no apparent reason at all, there is a high chance you may find yourself wandering the streets of Dublin’s fair city at some point during your globetrotting escapades. This week we have a look at what makes the city that brought us Molly Malone, the other black gold (Guiness), Bono, Jaimeson’s whiskey, the Ha’ peny bridge, the 1917 rebellion, Trinity College, and the commitments amongst many other reknowned contributions.

Airport buses

A Dublin Bus Alexander ALX400 in Dublin

A Dublin Bus Alexander ALX400 in Dublin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you ariving on the emerald isle’s prized rebel tarmac, a local bus may be the handiest alternative for you and your wallet when it comes to getting into town. There are Airlink services such as the Airlink 747 that will take you straight into town by luxury airconditioned coach (around 7-10 Euros) but for those who like it rough, local buses 16, 16c, and 41 will get you into the city centre for 1-3 Euros. Pending the frequent drizzle, you are likely to alight at a comfortable walking distance from your accommodation since most of the city centre is is negotiable by foot. A link to Dublin bus is now on your GTG homepage for your further investigation.

Major Airlines

When not hindered by Icelandic volcanoes, Dublin Airport can be a handy launchpad for to-ing and fro-ing around your chosen Euro hotspots. Airlines currently servicing this port include:

# Aer Lingus          # Ryan Air              # Air France               # Air Canada

# United                # Lufthansa           # Flybe                        # Iberia

# City Jet               # German Wings  # Swiss Airlines          #Emirates

# British Airways  # Turkish Airlines  # Air Baltic                  # Norwegian Airlines

# Etihad Airways  # Delta                  # American Airlines   # Air Moldova

And so on….

What’s On?

There are many wothwhile occasions to visit but the follwing are a few of the most common.

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig)...

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) in Dublin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St Patrick’s day  (17th of March anually)

What’s not to like about a national day? especially one celebrated not only in the capital but around the world? (courtesy of some black potatos perhaps?) . Cynics may rightly claim that the paddy’s day ‘craic’ in Dublin is about as Irish as a plastic clover, and the locals may avoid the popular areas like the plague but there is still merit in the modern ‘wearing of the green’ as far as a good party goes. The parade runs along O’Connell street and the general festivities follow the masses as they pour into the city’s ample drinking establishments in all directions. Blackboards will generally anounce particular events and check online with the tourist office for any official programme details.

Bloomsday (16th June anually)

Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrne's pub

Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrne’s pub (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This literary commemoration stems from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joycean enthusiasts involve themselves in readings, traditional Irish breakfasts, costumes, tours and visits to relevant sites mentioned in Ulysses and Joyce’s other works. Your GTG suggests getting in touch with the James Joyce centre for a full explanation of events. http://jamesjoyce.ie/bloomsday/what-is-bloomsday/

6 Nations Rugby

Each year Ireland and her capital play host to matches as part of the nortern hemisphere’s most wide-reaching rugby union battle. Ireland is joined by Scotland, Italy, France, Wales and England in a smorgasboard of kilts, brute strength, melodrama, passion and merry-making. For fixtures please check http://www.rbs6nations.com/.

Street performance world champoinships (June or July anually)

A moment at the street performance world championships

A moment at the street performance world championships

This is when the world’s ‘other’ gifted and talented get together to show off.  Hosted by Dublin’s enchanting Merrion square, this festval brings together the likes of Argintinian Victor Rubilar who holds the world record for his ability to juggle 5 soccer-sized balls simultaneously together with a break dancing crew from New York city. The result is a spectacular crowd pleasing long weekend of entertainment which is all free to get in, but not free to get out.

http://www.spwc.ie/

The great outdoors

Dubliners or ‘Dubs’ as they are notoriously known, due to serious sun deprivation most of the year, really know how to make the most of a pleasent-weather day. If you’re looking to blend in with the crowd, these are the best places to be seen alfresco.

Phoenix Park

Home to Dublin zoo and the city’s largest green area, hours, days, weeks or months could be spent exploring here. A range of cultural events are held here through the summer so again check your Dublin bus and head on down.

St Stephen’s Green

Situated at the South end of the fabled Grafton street, the green is your perfect alternative for a quick lunch with the ducks, a walk around and on a more detailed visit, an exploration of a few monuments.

Merrion Square

Merrion square park is stated amongst one of Dublin’s ‘Georgian squares’. The park is a spacious, labyrinthine alternative providing more privacy for your party. Also fairly central, Merrion square is ideal for a picnic, an impromptu soccer/football/futbol match or simply fine-tuning your juggling skills.

DART points

Dublin’s DART or light rail (not to be confused with the relatively new Luas trams) hugs the more gentle Eastern-Irish coastline North and South of the city. Many points are the ideal place to hop off, walk along the local strip, and/or brave a swim on a nice day, but be careful (Australians, this means you), the sun will still burn… Some of the favourite points on this line include:

  • Kilieny
  • Malahide
  • Howth
  • Bray

Going out

Given our city of choice it has taken us a surprisingly long time to reach the nightlife. In a one-word answer on where to go out to Dublin the easy choice is anywhere. For a quick reference of what’s happening at the clubs check http://www.afterdark.ie/index.php/venue. The Temple Bar area is where many people (especially visitors) will start a night out, especially for a safe bet of something on. Harcourt street is where more of your locals go to let their hair down. Fitzsimmons in Temple Bar is an establishment that offers something for everyone and changes frequently depending on the night or the room you choose to hang out in.

Sightseeing

So you know there’s a lot of stuff to see but what is it? This list is a great place to start depending on how much time you have

  • Walking tour- New Europe and other companies offer a free walking tour of the city and may draw attention to places you want to check out more closely.
  • National gallery- here is the home of some standout Irish works alongside some of continental Europe’s masters, for art lovers and itchy feet on a rainy day.
  • National Museum- with different branches such as natural history, and archeology, check for your closest and opening hours.
  • Guiness factory and Jaimeson distillery- So Guiness stout and Jaimeson Irish whiskey both have their respective homes, check them out and try some samples.
  • GPO (General post office) and Dublin castle- both significant in Ireland’s rebellion of 1916-17, some light reading beforehand will enrich your experience tenfold.
  • Trinity College (Book of Kells)- Still an operational institution, close to most things and a beautiful brush with history, Trinity College and her resident Book of Kells are well worth checking out.
  • Kilmainham Gaol- For a bit of semi-modern Irish history, and even to get out of the immediate city centre, visit Kilmainham gaol, and stop by the museum of modern art.
  • Leinster house- Ireland’s decision-making power-house is centrally located and open for a look on certain days.
  • Croke Park experience- Whether going to a Westlife concert, for some Gaelic sport or just to have a stickybeak, Croke Park is the place to learn more about Irelands traditional sports in the small GAA museum. Tours of the park are available but costly.
  • Chester Beatty library- in the cosy grounds of Dublin castle, this is a lovely bit of culture in a digestible size.

Staying longer?

  • Daft.com- is your first stop to scope the range of available accommodation.
  • Gumtree.com -is your first stop for jobs, some accommodation and other requirements of the world’s favourite online classifieds.

Well as always thanks for joining us and may the sounds of U2 carry you through until next week.

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