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March 2017, Dublin – Ireland
“Cheers, guys!” is what you’ll hear the most around here, and not necessarily from people you know.
As soon as we land in Dublin, we realize these people are the friendliest we’ve ever met. Don’t be afraid, they don’t want anything from you. It’s just that nice, cozy feeling that they belong to a community. So socializing is a major part of everyday life.
What can you do here? It’s hard to believe, i know, but we found plenty of free activities in Dublin to keep our city-break on a small budget.
So start your way into the heart of the city, by crossing the iconic Ha’ Penny Bridge. The up and down movement under so many people walking at the same time, gives you the chills!
Make a short stop in front of the Christ Church Cathedral. Most say it’s more beautiful than St. Patrick Church. Not to mention they built a pub (obviously) and a distillery inside!
Then, in a few more minutes you’re in front of the Dublin Castle, an interesting mix of old remains and newer coloured parts. No wonder we heard some locals calling it Legoland. We didn’t have the time to actually go in, but instead went straight to the beautiful Castle Gardens, hosting a helicopter landing area with Celtic patterns.
Just a few meters away, you can spot the Chester Beatty Library, an impressive collection of manuscripts, old drawings and rare books, belonging to a mining magnat. Now it’s open to the public, and for free.
Walk around the Temple Bar area. Because of the poor weather outside, where else can you socialize other than in pubs? Get ready. More than 700 pubs spread around the city. Basically you can try a different one every day, for 2 years. Nice, huh? 🙂
Have a hot chocolate at the Joy of Cha. Delicious.
Don’t know if this is really Irish humor, but there’s a saying I saw written on a wall:
“A hot chocolate would love to hear she’s beautiful once in a while”
Awwh…I love these people.
Last stop for today is Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university (1592).
Can’t really describe the feeling of just walking on the grounds where remarkable people made their way from teenage to adulthood: Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, famous actors, singers or former Irish presidents.
Oh, there’s a travel fact: women were only allowed to study here starting with 1904.
The second thing that takes you by surprise is what you’ll find out about the library: it’s one of the largest in Europe with 4.25 million printed books and manuscripts from Ireland and The United Kingdom. It is also the home of the legendary Book of Kells.
Fun fact: Jack Gleeson from Game of Thrones studied here, and had some hard times.
He was approached a lot by fellow students, and asked: “Oh, are you Joffrey from GOT?”
And he politely replied: “Yes, would you like an autograph?”
But he often got this in return: “Nooo man, I just want to punch your face!” 🙂
If you still have some extra hours, then you must head to the Botanical Garden. No tickets, it’s free.
Lovely grounds, with thousands of flower species I haven’t seen before. And such a fresh air…I would have spent the whole day just sitting on a bench.
And if the city feeling is not enough, try a getaway to the eastern coast, at Howth Head. You’ll find here our 1-day trip to Howth, in 20 beautiful pictures from the cliff walking loop we tried.
I have to end this with a local saying. Irish people love to joke around when talking to tourists, with their Gaelic words with no exact English translation.
So, long story short …we had a lot of craic [c r a c k] in Dublin.
Don’t panic, it’s just their word for good times. 🙂
If you really want to spend some money, go to the Guiness Storehouse. This will cost you 20 euros/person. Honestly, if you’ve been to other beer museums (e.g. Heineken Experience in Amsterdam), there’s nothing new to see.
The Trinity College library, hosting the gorgeous Book of Kells (created around 800 AD), is really worth seeing, for 11 euros/person.
The average price for a meal is €10-€15, and €5 for a beer.
Happy travels and stay safe!