Dublin was established by the Gaels in the 7th century A.D. Archaeological records can not confirm that it was at this exact location, at the mouth of the River Liffey on the East coast of Ireland, but it was nearby. Expanded by the Viking invasion in the 10th century, it became the Kingdom of Dublin and Ireland’s principal settlement in 1204, after the Norman invasion. The Gaelic name, Baile Átha Cliath translates to Town at the Ford of Hurdles.
Today, Dublin is the largest city and capital of Ireland with a population of 1,173,179 in the city, 1,347,359 in the Dublin region and 1,904,806 in the Greater Dublin Area as of the 2016 census. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network lists Dublin as a world city with the ranking of Alpha, making it one of the top 30 cities in the world.
Why had we waited so long to come back for a look? It has a great mix of old world charm and new world hospitality. As we stayed here for 3 days, I will simply categorize the sights we saw, rather than provide a daily litany of our explorations.
To us, this city has always been about the River Liffey and the Ha’penny Bridge, named for the toll originally charged when it opened in 1816, providing an alternative to ferries to cross the river. We had seen it many times before, but seldom with the sun on it. This was about to change.
The River Liffey is only 125 km long and flows through the heart of Dublin. Since the early days of ferry crossings, many bridges have been added. Walking along its banks provides a great view of the city on either side. Or, you could be like the bloke below, who had a great idea for an innovative selfie.
Walking along the Liffey and through the neighbourhoods shows Dublin’s rich architectural heritage.
Eating out in Dublin can be pricey, but there is no shortage of pubs, restaurants and good fast food restaurants. Here are but a few:
The Nancy Hands Bar and Restaurant near Heuston Station. Good Guinness, pub grub and desserts. Great atmosphere, with lots of seating.
The Pie Man Cafe, small fast food location at 14 Crown Alley. Daily deals, include a pie meal and a craft beer. We shared a Guinness steak pie with mashed potatoes and mushy peas as well as a sausage roll 16 Euro. This price also included the beer.
Gallagher’s Boxty House at 20-21 Temple Bar. This place is not cheap, but food, service and atmosphere are pretty good. We stopped in here before our evening at the Gaeity Theatre. The boxty is basically a shredded potato pancake, allegedly an Irish food staple. However, our Irish relatives had never heard of it. The waiter upsold us to a plate of Boxty fries and we are glad he did. Lots of beers on tap, but we had wine, which was a little on the pricey side.
The Old Storehouse, 3 Crown Alley, Temple Bar. Decent fish and chips and live music. DO NOT sit next to the stage, if you value your hearing. The mikes are turned up way too loud and even on the 2nd floor, it is difficult to carry on a conversation. Moderately priced and as is the case everywhere in Temple Bar, good Guinness.
The Duke, 9 Duke Street. A great place to stop for a cool drink, with lots of craft beers on tap.
In our wanderings, we tripped across the apartment we stayed at with the kids in 2008. This large bug was nearby as was the mural of the Last Supper.
While we did not spend a lot of time on O’Connell Street, we did manage a walk there on our first day, past the Post Office, scene of the 1916 Easter uprising and the 120 meter high Spire of Dublin (Monument of Light), which has been given many other less flattering names (Spike on the Dyke, Stiffy on the Liffey, Poker on the Croker, Erection at the Intersection and the Stiletto in the Ghetto).
These last shots did not fit any of the previous categories.
We did enjoy our time in Dublin and will stop back again in the future.