And so after ten years of living 75 miles from Dublin, it was time to get to know the beautiful Irish capital – the home of Irish Whiskey, cobbled streets and classic pubs on the east coast of the green island of Ireland.
Getting from my hometown in Northern Ireland to Dublin has only cost me £10 (return, Enterprise) but required me to travel extremely early. I didn’t mind that at all and sacrificed hours of my weekend lie-in which gave me more time to discover the city. Below are some of my essentials for long train journeys and travels (although I ended up sleeping the whole way through, the train was THAT comfortable!).
P.S. have you read Light is The New Black yet?
Trinity College Dublin
I arrived around 10am and wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, as I haven’t planned an itinerary for the day, but instead decided to wing it. And so I ended up giving in to my curiosity and checking out the Trinity College grounds. Funnily enough, once upon a time I considered studying at this university!
I wandered around the buildings and ended up discovering the School of Botany, which made me feel a little like I was in Harry Potter, and as if I could pull out a Mandrake out of the ground. After that (getting lost in the process, thanks to the lovely soul who directed me around!), I decided to find the famous Long Room – to my disappointment however, I wasn’t able to sneak in with my student card as I thought I could have (it isn’t an accessible part of the library students could use) – gutted!
The Long Room and The Book of Kells
Le grand fromage. The library of dreams. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Book of Kells exhibition was very interesting as well, but the Long Room is definitely the main aspect which justifies paying €9.50. I have probably spent about an hour admiring the beautiful layout, design and feel of the history of this place. Breath taking! A must go when you’re in Dublin, and in terms of the price – think about it as an investment into a mental photo album in your mind ;).
The Umbrellas Outside the Zozimus Bar
Once I’ve admired the most beautiful of libraries, it was time to venture out into the heart of the city, taking a few stops to appreciate the beautiful buildings and accents of colours, especially as it was a really sunny day. I have accidentally stumbled upon the umbrellas outside the Zozimus Bar, Dublin’s take on the Portuguese Umbrella Sky Project – you can probably tell the Irish weather isn’t the kindest for such exhibitions, but it brightened up my day nonetheless!
The Rolling Donut
And suddenly Karolina has started to feel hungry. I had yet to find a place which catered for a plant-based option regarding donuts, and surprisingly, by absolute chance I found one! I have gone into the Rolling Donut with an attitude of ‘There probably won’t be anything for me but I’ll just have a look at how pretty they are’. And then I’ve seen the sign below. #dreamscometrue – I got the pistachio flavour, yum!
St Stephen’s Green
I wasn’t expecting the weather to be as pretty – it was sunny enough to hang around in the park, so I took the opportunity with no hesitation. St Stephen’s Green is located right around the corner of the busy Grafton Street and has a really similar feel to St James’s or Hyde parks in London. And that’s why I loved it! There are many sculptures scattered around – giving the park more character – a perfect spot for picnics (when it isn’t baltic, of course – but hey, it’s Ireland)!
St Stephen’s Green was a perfect spot for chilling out and a break before another long walk to the Dublin Castle and Dublin City Wall and Gates, something a lover of architecture wouldn’t want to miss!
St. Audoen’s Gate and the Old City Walls
I then strolled west of the city to check out yet another remainder of the history. Would you believe that these walls date back to the 13th Century?(!) This particular gate was one of the main entrances into the medieval city. It really fascinates me that although we live in such a modernized world, such pieces of history still stand strong to remind us there were once times where the walls were needed.
I ended my day with a stroll around the Smithfield neighborhood, taking in the quiet atmosphere which has eventually led me up to Mary’s Street, a busy shopping area. I took the opportunity and spent my evening shopping (I know). The famous Spire, measuring 120m above ground was my final destination and a point where I have finished my day off with a catch up with one of my university buds.
And to top my Irish day trip I have even left with an Irish Dancing trophy… casual? 😉
My overall thoughts: At times Dublin has really reminded me of London (without the high level of hustle and bustle). Considering Dublin’s population stands at ‘only’ half a million, the city is booming with atmosphere while making you feel welcome and comfortable i.e. the level of ‘road rage’ while walking isn’t high. I have discovered the loud shopping streets and the quiet residential areas, and I can honestly say Dublin has got it right.
Dublin, it was a short but a great time. I can’t wait to discover more of the city and in fact Ireland in the years to come. When I visit in the future I’ll be sure to visit Dublinia, Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse – but until then, don’t ever change!
As always, all views are my own.