As our plane landed in Dublin Airport, I realized that we were up for a great deal of fun. Everything outside the aircraft’s little window was either Green or Grey, a pretty welcomed change from the bright and earth toned landscape that we left behind just 8 hours ago. I hoped it wouldn’t be cold and hard on my body; I had only five days in Dublin, two and a half to spend at the conference, and I had no wish to spend the rest in bed. I don’t usually do that well in cold weather…
It rained most of the time, but it wasn’t that annoying, nothing an umbrella borrowed from the hotel’s concierge and a good rain jacket can’t fix. In fact, the city was so kind to us in many ways that nothing at all would’ve kept us from leaning on the infamous Irish hospitality and from experiencing Dublin’s vibrant settings.
We brought back numerous fond memories, mostly associated with the warm Irish people and their openhearted attitude. Our time there was educational and delightful. Regular doses of history, art, yummy food, inspiring nature, rich culture, entertainment, and a great shopping scene of course, expressively refreshed us. We must unquestionably return for more one day, good thing my multiple entry Irish visa is valid for two years!
In the little time Dublin and I had to get acquainted, it managed to totally win me over. I tried to document our memorable encounters, while providing live updates on my social media channels as promised, which wasn’t so hard to achieve with free WiFi available almost everywhere around the city.
You might have noticed that I’ve been a little too hooked to Instagram in the past few months, so the lion’s share of updates went to my profile there. If you are not following me on Instagram (for some bizarre reason) this post will bring you up to speed, along with some impressions and observations of the place.
Also if you are not following me on Instagram, don’t be shy, go ahead and follow @mysuperspace. My iPhone 5 and I spend plenty of time capturing the beauty of life.
The Bedford Tower @ Dublin Castle
We joined an afternoon guided tour of the Dublin Castle, which saw our initiation into the history of the British rule in Ireland, and the different phases of the Anglo-Irish War, leading up to the country’s independence in 1922.
Selfie in one of the castle’s mirrors. Do you think the queen did that whenever she was bored with running the kingdom?
I am not much of a history buff myself; normally the guide would lose me to clicking selfies at an early stage of narrating the historical preload of a place, this time however I lent her my attention (most of the time) for I was genuinely intrigued by what motivated the Irish free spirits to finally rise and end a millennia of invasions and colonization in their own land.
There is much to be said on the subject, which I don’t intend to bring up in this post, but I will point out the one thing that I found hard to miss when in Dublin, the sense of pride and honor inspired by the Irish patriotic achievements during that era.
At the Chester Beatty Gallery, part of the Castle’s Complex, I was fascinated by the Oriental art collection on display, including rare medieval Quránic scripts. I wasn’t allowed to take photos there, but I assure you that the unique assortment is worth seeing.
The Famine Memorial Sculptures
The Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship Famine Museum
We came in close contact with the particularly grim part of the Irish history at the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship Famine Museum. Inside the replica of the vessel that never lost a soul while transporting two hundred passengers at a time across the Atlantic, to the new world of North America, we understood what is it like to flee from despair and ride towards hope.
Now that I have regulated my climate equilibrium, I was ready for an exciting day out in the Irish countryside. We went on a day trip to Glendalough with Wild Wicklow Tours, which started in the city and took us through a scenic route via DunLaoghaire Harbour, Dalkey and Killiney.
Autumn showing off it’s finest colours
We also visited the Glendalough 6th Century Monastic Settlement and Saint Kevin’s Church, walked to the gorgeous Glacier Upper Lake, enjoyed a delicious lunch at a traditional Irish pub on the way, and learnt all about the peat fields and boglands in the Wicklow Mountains.
Spotted this handsome deer in the Wicklow Mountains
First meeting location from the Movie P.S. I Love You,
The highlight of the day for me was the stop to check out the filming location of one of my favourite chick flicks of all times, P.S. I Love you. Every time I watch this movie my emotional state ranges from laughing my head off to breaking down into multiple episodes of ugly cry, it brings it all out of me and I love it.
Remember this? Are you melting away, just like me every time I watch it?
Who cares if it rained all day, and if the mist didn’t allow us to see anything outside the bus’s window half the time?! I STILL LOVE THE IRISH COUNTRYSIDE.
Side note: If you are wondering whether I still curl up on my sofa with a sizable mug of hot chocolate, watch chick flicks and weep, the answer is a resounding YES, All the time!
Oolong Flower Power – 4 Stephens Street, Dublin – Ireland
That evening, back in the city, my toes froze and my hands searched for warmth in my pockets. A hot cup of fragrant tea to snuggle my cold nose against sounded ideal. It turns out Dublin isn’t a city where such a desire is hard to instantly fulfil. We were truly spoiled for choices when it came to dining venues.
On the way to our hotel in Golden Lane we came across a fabulous tea shop called “Oolong Flower Power Tea Shop”. They had a great collection of flavours to choose from, so we took our time to choose wisely. Angel went for a berry variant, it smelled divine even from a distance. I opted for something more exotic; my pot had a blooming Jasmine and Strawberry flower in it. I waited for the flower to open and come to shape before drinking. Neat.
We ate very well in Dublin. The seafood, especially the organic Salmon and Sea bass was always fresh and tasty.
Shopping was such an enjoyable endeavour that I indulged in whenever I needed a short break from all the learning and networking at TBEX, not that the latter wasn’t fun too! I stocked up on few items that I don’t normally get in Dubai, we got us a couple of new pairs of TOMS, and we found the fall Abercrombie & Fitch collection quite stylish.
What made it even more convenient was that we were never too far away from a taxi. There is a chance Dublin actually has a significant oversupply of taxis, by the drivers’ own admission, all the better for us tourists I guess…
Dublin cabbies turned out to be great storytellers, I learnt so much about the national psyche and social concerns from them.
Old Library @ Trinity College
Haven supplied some of the world’s most creative and influential names in literature such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, This UNESCO City of Literature is heaven to a literary connoisseur. If you’re in it for the love of books, the place to feed your perusing eyes is the Old Library at Trinity College. I finally figured why both these popular attractions are on every Dublin must see and do list that I’ve come across. Walking into the library’s tall building, where 200000 books are stacked up to the ceiling on oak shelves is awe-inspiring, and somewhat shaming at the same time. I better get reading more often, if there are so many books in the world. And that is just one old library.
It smelled agreeably old, and felt notably majestic in there.
Ah Dublin, good times always come to an end a bit too soon. Fortunately, there is always instagram to preserve them in living memory. right?!
Have you been to Dublin before? What were your most prominent impressions of it?