(authors note: I have more than a hundred photos to share, but the wifi at the hostel is painfully slow. I’ll update the post with photos in a couple of days when they finish uploading…and that timeframe is not a joke…)
I’ve spent the last two days visiting some of the bigger Dublin tourist attractions. In no particular order:
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Easily the best thing I’ve seen so far in Dublin. The building itself is amazing, but even more so is the sheer volume of remembrance sculptures and plaques. St. Patrick’s is well-known for a number of a reasons, but the most commonly mentioned is the contributions of writer Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels and others), who was a Dean of the Church and is buried at the cathedral. I spent 4 hours here and still wasn’t able to read everything. I took a ton of pictures, but they really don’t do the building justice. A must see if you come to Dublin.
Admission: 5.50 euros
National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts & History)
The museum actually has 4 different locations in Ireland. I visited the Decorative Arts & History museum. They have an extensive collection with too many things to highlight individually, but my favorites were the Soldiers & Chiefs exhibit and the “Out of Storage” rooms. Soldier’s & Chiefs chronicles Ireland’s military history from 1550 to present day. The Out of Storage rooms are comprised of floor to ceiling rows of glass cabinets containing thousands of items the museum has collected, and it’s not limited to Irish history. I spent more than 3 hours just looking in the two rooms that hold the out-of-storage collections. The museum’s website has a more comprehensive overview of all their exhibits if you want to read more about them.
Admission: Free (5 euro donation suggested)
St. Stephen’s Green
A beautiful park in the heart of Dublin 2. They have a live orchestra playing in the gazebos on weekends, but it’s primarily just a quiet spot in the middle of the city. I’ve taken lunch and a book to the park every day since I got here, and it’s a nice relaxing way to break up the day.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
The art museum was a mixed bag. The main galleries are closed for renovations right now (odd that they chose to do it in the summer), so there are only two of the smaller side galleries to see. One of them was an extensive photo exploration of the history of the music band Blur. It was nicely displayed and the photos were all excellent, but I couldn’t name a Blur song if someone had a gun to my head (maybe I’m the only one?). The other gallery was even less impressive.
What made the trip worthwhile, though, is the actual building and grounds. The building itself is stunning, and there is a large walkable garden with sculptures and good views. I took a lot of photos, but this is one place where you really need a wide-angle lens to capture it.
Admission: Free (but not clear if that’s 100% of the time or because the main galleries were closed)
Miscellaneous Observations & Suggestions
Americans are a novelty in hostels (at least the one I’m in). I’m the only one here, and everyone has been chatting me up every time they see me because they want to practice their english. It’s been easy to find people to hang out with because of this.
Irish people are very friendly.
It rains here like it does in New England, only with less warning. I’ve been caught out in the rain twice and it’s currently pouring down as I write this. Luckily the rain doesn’t last too long.
If you’re into it, the club scene in Dublin is crazy. Thousands of people partying and moving from club to club until well after 4am on Friday/Saturday nights.
Overall, Dublin is expensive. It can definitely be done on a budget, but you’d have to skip a few things like the Guinness Brewery tour and other major tourist attractions. For example, the Brewery tour costs ~US$25 and the Dublin Zoo is ~US$20. Not a deal breaker by any means, but if you’re attempting to do Dublin on the cheap you’ll have to be OK with skipping a few things.
I won 410 euros (~US$500) last night playing in a poker tournament. I came in first. I like that the Fitzwilliam Card Club posts the tourney results online.
I’ll add some additional photos and some tips and tricks to staying in a hostel I’ve picked up in the brief time I’ve been here. In the meantime, PLEASE:
1. Vote for where I should go after London/UK
2. Comment on this post with a place you’d like to see in the next poll I put up
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