The city of Guinness beer
Since Dublin is pretty small, I like to wander around on foot, everything you need to see is in the city centre or nearby, just make sure you have an umbrella with you! I swear the Irish weather is like Katy Perry’s song Hot’n’Cold, one moment you’re walking around under the sunshine and, after a minute, it’s raining cats and dogs and you’re soaking wet! I think the whole city is worth the visit but there are some spots that can’t be missed.
It’s a lively, colorful set of small streets full of restaurants, pubs, tattoo shops, cultural centres, art galleries and street musicians singing typical Irish songs. I usually go at lunch time and stop in Crown Alley at The Pieman Cafe for a delicious meat pie and a pint of Guinness. My favourite one is the beef’n’Guinness pie, best meat pie of my life! If it’s night time, a nice pint of beer in one of the pubs in the area is a must. The Temple Bar is the most famous one, the district was named after the pub, and it usually has musicians entertaining the crowd, it’s a very Irish experience to try!
It’s a long and touristic street, centre of the city, full of historical buildings, stores and restaurants. The General Post Office is there, it’s beautiful from the outside and you should spend a couple of minutes inside too. It became headquarters of the rebels in 1916 and it’s where the Proclamation of Independence was first read out aloud to the Dubliners. The Spire, the Monument of Light, a large, pin-like monument, is right in the middle of O’Connell. From O’Connell you can easily reach Henry Street which becomes Mary Street at Liffey Street, one of the shopping districts in Dublin. There you can shop at the Jervis Shopping Centre, Dunnes Stores, Arnotts (..), and at my favourite store, Penneys. A little tip: go check St. Mary’s Church on the corner between Mary Street and Jervis Street: it’s an old church which was turned into a pub. The inside is stunning, they maintained the church semblance with the tall and wide wood ceiling. You can either sit on a stool at the bar or get a table and sip a nice pint of Guinness. (Here’s the link for the bar website http://www.thechurch.ie/).
It’s a very interesting thing you can do on a rainy day, they’ll explain to you how the famous Irish beer is made, it’s story, linked to Dublin’s history, the typical Guinness advertisement and they’ll give you the chance to learn how to brew a perfect pint of Guinness (certificate included) and to taste a free pint. A little piece of advice, if you plan on drinking the free sample you should do the tour AFTER a meal, when I went there it was lunch time, we hadn’t had lunch yet and we ended up getting drunk. It was funny until we decided to go up the panoramic tower. It’s totally worth it, you can have a 360° view of the city and it’s a nice chance to take some pretty cool pictures. Still, going up to the Gravity Bar after a pint of Guinness on an empty stomach was not our most brilliant idea, we were stumbling up the stairs and giggling like idiots.
It’s the oldest university in Dublin, full of students from all over the world. The architecture of the buildings is beautiful and the gardens are wonderful. You can just wander around the campus or go to College Park and watch a cricket match. If you love books like I do, you NEED to see the Old Library, it’s stunning.
St. Stephen’s Green
It’s a nice Park right in the middle of the city, it’s a good thing to do when the weather it’s nice and you don’t want to waste it. You can walk around and admire the little pond, the green lawns and the monuments in honour of famous Dubliners like Sir Arthur Guinness, or you can just chill on a bench, maybe reading a good book. From St. Stephen’s Green you can easily reach Grafton Street, a pedestrian street full of stores. The Georgian style buildings are beautiful and you can spend a nice afternoon of shopping there.
It’s a statue in honor of the famous fisher girl and prostitute, near Grafton Street. The legend says her ghost wanders around Dublin, but, mostly, tourists think touching her boobs is a good luck charm. Considering it took me half an hour to find it the first time and, that, after touching her boob, it started pouring down, I’m not positive it really works.
Dublin Castle and St. Patrick Cathedral
They’re both worth to be seen at least from the outside, walking around the two buildings you can admire the Celtic architecture of the first one and the Gothic style of the second. If you decide to visit the inside of the cathedral make sure you know the Mass timetables, the first time I went there we could not get in because of it.