Being a tourist in your own city has many advantages. You know where you’re going and you’re savvy to shortcuts. You know good places to eat and drink, and know what places to avoid if you don’t want to be ripped off. And yet, so many of us here in Ireland really don’t take the time to experience what’s on our doorstep, paired with this insider info. Dublin is a spectacular place, one I’m very proud of. And yet, there are countless attractions I pass regularly without giving them a second thought. When I was living in Spain, so many of the friends I made along the way knew so much about all the spots in the city, and the tales behind each one. I have to admit, when some of those friends came to Dublin for a while, I couldn’t provide them with facts on the same level. This year I plan on discovering landmarks and buildings that are new to me, and plan on rediscovering some of the old, and perhaps unappreciated landmarks I did have a chance to visit in the past.
There’s so much choice, I wasn’t sure where to start! So I began by easing myself in with familiarity. Although I have been to The Guinness Storehouse before, it was some time ago – the first time I went was actually for a party; an Irish Hotels Federation event. The second time was during my late teens, where we had our own tour guide and since then, I have always wanted to go back.
I really enjoy walking through the process of how Guinness is made and the building smells so good (hops plants!) and looks so good – the storehouse is the shape of a large pint glass. Glass panelling makes for a very nice ramble around under natural light, and the entire layout is very interesting, with a clean industrial feel to it, if that makes any sense at all. If you haven’t been, it’s really worth a visit. It takes a couple of hours to get through everything as there is plenty to discover. Below are some images from my recent trip. I included a few bits of the storehouse and of course the view from the Gravity Bar; where you’ll sample the very best Guinness. I bought our tickets online that morning, which meant super fast entry and a 10% discount.
After enjoying a pint of Guinness with a 360-degree view of Dublin as our wallpaper, we bundled up and headed for Trinity to see The Book of Kells. The weather was icy cold and the wind was thin, but looking back, I remember finding the walk very amusing. I guess when all you’ve had to eat is a banana for breakfast and drink a pint of Guinness, you can’t feel anything but fuzzy headed.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times here that my sister is now a Trinity student. Well, it turns out that Trinity students have free entry to The Book of Kells. What a nice perk for our touristy day! The Book of Kells itself was very impressive – the intricate illustrations and lettering are remarkable, and so many people were glued to the glass case, in their own world, decoding Saturday’s page with the help of the humble Smartphone. I have less photographs and none of the book for obvious reasons, but I can share The Long Hall with you! I was so excited to visit – The Long Hall is the most epic library I’ve ever seen. It’s freezing (in a cool way!) and smells of old, old books. The smell of old books is intoxicating, don’t you think? I’m partial to the smell of crisp pages of a new novel too. All books rule. Anyway, the alcoves are lined with sculptures of great philosophers and writers. Each of these little nooks are home to alphabetised editions, and each alcove has a steel beam overhead where wooden ladders can glide along so books along the top shelf are always within reach. J.K. Rowling must have taken inspiration from The Long Hall, surely?
The average ticket price for The Book of Kells and The Long Hall is €11.50 but this varies for students, families and time periods. For more information, click here for the website. It really is terrible that I haven’t been to Dublinia, Kilmainham Gaol or the Viking Splash tour either, which looks like great fun.
I’m glad I started in January; I have so much to cover!
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