Visiting Ireland started in Dublin with a weather being much better than expected. Planning of sites to see was really important considering that we only had a day to walk around after an overnight flight. A few practical suggestions – it is worth to get a Dublin Pass as it allows you free access to a number of sites in Dublin and makes it faster to enter in many places. It is also useful to purchase a Leap Card at the same time to eliminate a need for cash when traveling on public transport around Dublin. You can top it up if you need. Extensive public transport network will help you reach all the sites in Dublin but for most part it is easy to walk around the city.
Dublin is a unique city as it has two cathedrals – St. Patrick’s and Church of Christ. St. Patrick’s (left) was founded in 1192 and is definitely a must see in Dublin. While the outside is not as spectacular as some other cathedrals, for example Koeln Cathedral, it is amazing inside. The best part of visiting it is that you can use your flash to take pictures, so take advantage of this. There are beautiful colored windows that can be challenging to photograph. The biggest challenge is to take shots without other people in them to reflect the beauty of the church rather than crowds visiting the church.
A short walk away is the second cathedral – Church of Christ, currently serving as the seat of Archbishop of Dublin (below). It is the site of most official events. And actually we did not manage to see the interior as there was a new priest consecration. The building of the cathedral is linked by a walkway to Dublinia, a museum dedicated to Viking history of Ireland and Dublin in particular.
No trip to Dublin would be complete without visiting Jameson Distillery or Guinness Storehouse. Even if you are not a whisky of beer drinker, it is worth visiting both sites as they offer an interesting insight into how those typical Irish drinks fit into Irish culture, history and economy. You learn about the manufacture of the drinks, about the people who made them popular and how this affected a greater population. If you are over 18 and like to have a taste, both sites offer you a complimentary drink included in an admission price. Interiors of both buildings are dark so you may want to use a fast lens and a flash. At the Guinness storehouse the place to visit is the Gravity Bar. While having a drink there is one way of enjoying it, the other is the 360 view of Dublin. On a nice and sunny day it is a must!
Another important part of Dublin is literature, James Joyce being one of the main literature figures connected with Dublin, despite spending a lot of his life overseas. You can enjoy a literary pub crawl, writers’ museum and visit James Joyce center. Photography is limited in the center, allowed only in the exterior parts of the museum. In my opinion it was not as exciting as Thomas Mann house in Lubeck, but still worth visiting especially if James Joyce is your favorite author.
City center is full of life and people, coming and going. You can escape the excessive crowds either in St. Stephen’s green or around Trinity College. Sitting down on the stairs and just watching people pass you can be very relaxing.
Now that you have walked a lot and are really tired let’s find someplace to enjoy the evening, have some good Irish food and a pint. Choices are many and you can find pretty much anything you wish to eat. While you can settle for fast food, Asian or any other cuisine of your choice, I strongly recommend trying Irish food. One of the areas that come highly recommended is Temple Bar neighborhood. There are pubs, restaurants and live music most days of the week. So get right in and have a pint. Cheers!