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Dublin, Ireland

Great Destination:

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Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • Satirist Jonathan Swift was the dean of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral when he wrote “Gulliver’s Travels.”
  • Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the Guinness Brewery at £45 in annual rent (1759).
  • Bram Stoker, creator of the fictional Dracula, was a Dublin native son.
  • The O’Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe that is wider than it is long.
  • MGM’s roaring lion (Cairbre) was born in Dublin Zoo.

A literary capital

Dublin is known and loved for its pubs and the local beer they serve (that is Guinness); beautiful Georgian houses; churches with long histories (including connections to St. Patrick), and the lilt in the voice of friendly residents.

In addition, the Irish are noted for the gift of the gab and an attendant yen to write it all down. The result is a rich collection of Irish poetry, theater and books, and a special reputation for Dublin as one of the world’s literary capitals.

Literature doesn’t always translate into touristic activities, but in Dublin, travelers may visit the Dublin Writers Museum plus museums and birthplaces associated with any of a number of native and adopted sons. Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats are among those born in the Irish capital. There are literary walking tours and even a literary pub crawl with actors bringing writers’ works to life.

Dublin is a walkable city, and a good thing, too. Hoofing it is the best way to take in its parks, spot its cozy taverns and admire the architecture of places with a history, such as the Abbey Theatre, the Custom House, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its countless fine Georgian houses.

Those 18th century houses are a key attraction for tourists, in part because of the iconic 1970s Irish Tourist Board poster called “The Doors of Dublin.” One of the best places to see a collection of Georgian homes is Merrion Square where, as it happens, Yeats and Oscar Wilde were once residents.

As for after-dark entertainment, tradition suggests an evening at the theater and some quality time in the pubs, but today’s Dublin offers more than that. During the economic upturn of the 1990s and early 2000s, the capital emerged as a more cosmopolitan and vibrant place earning it the unfamiliar designation as a hip city. The economic bubble burst but not the city’s appeal as a destination.

If this is a drawback, Dublin has one: It might be raining.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Hang out at one of the city’s historic pubs. Depending on the crowd, the experience may be enlivened by impromptu storytelling and poetry recitals or ad hoc singing and dancing.
  • For the women, run in the six-mile Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon, a charity event held in late spring.Or, for anyone, try the windsurfing in Sandycove.
  • At Experience Gaelic Games, try your hands — and maybe feet — at any of several traditional Irish sports: Gaelic football, Gaelic handball or hurling. Or take lessons in Irish Ceili dancing or learn how to beat an Irish Bodhran drum.
  • Walk some or all of the 82-mile Wicklow Way, which begins at Marlay Park in Dublin and continues through the Wicklow Mountains.
  • Go to the races, either to see horses or greyhounds run.
  • View mummified corpses in the crypt of St. Michan’s Church. They are preserved naturally by the dry atmosphere in the church crypt. Also, it is believed Bram Stoker took some inspiration from his viewing of them.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Plan a walking tour that takes you to sites associated with James Joyce’s book, “Ulysses,” and schedule your trip to be in the city on June 16 when Dublin celebrates Bloomsday.Also, visit the James Joyce Centre and the James Joyce Museum.
  • And, if you like themes, take a walk that focuses on Dublin’s Georgian architecture — and the doors of many colors. There are other possible themes, such as tours built around the 1916 Easter Rising, community pubs, ghosts or rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Learn how the beer is made at the Guinness Storehouse, then enjoy a pint on premises. Also, tour the 18th century Old Jameson Distillery, a session that includes the history of whiskey making, then sample these goods, as well.
  • Try on parts of a suit of armor or dress in medieval robes during a visit to Dublinia, a heritage center that recreates a sense of what Dublin was like when it was founded in the ninth century by the Vikings.
  • Schedule an evening for traditional Irish music and dance. Shows are offered regularly in pubs and in hotels and can include serious foot stomping. Consider the Irish Shindig Nights at the Old Jameson Distillery.
  • Join the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. It is, in reality, a show that moves from pub to pub with professional actors playing parts from the works of the city’s most famous writers. To get into the right frame of mind, see the Dublin Writers Museum first.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Go to Claddagh Records to buy samples of traditional Irish music.
  • Trace your ancestry using the resources of the National Library of Ireland.
  • Tour tradition-steeped Trinity College, and visit the library which houses the original “Book of Kells,” one of the world’s best-known illuminated manuscripts.
  • See a production at the Abbey Theatre.
  • Spend quality time at Dublin Castle, which is the latest iteration of fortifications that have stood on its site for hundreds of years. Sometimes, the State Apartments are closed for state purposes.
  • Take a romantic trip through the city in a horse-drawn carriage.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Visit Dublin at www.visitdublin.com