I wasn’t ready for how musical Dublin is.
Out on the streets and inside the pubs, live music, from Irish folk to contemporary rock, permeates an inviting atmosphere that smells like Guinness and friendship.
In Temple Bar, the cobbled and historical Entertainment Quarter south of the River Liffey is not rare to pop into charming bars with signs that read, “We Do Not Have Wi-Fi. Talk to Each Other!”
Talented youth earnestly perform Gaelic folk songs on virtually every corner. Any city stroll, from cultural landmarks to famous pubs and back, infuse the experience with a live soundtrack.
History and culture are everywhere. You can see it, hear it and even taste it. It gives you an idea of how proud the Irish are of the homeland. And rightfully so!
Trinity College at the University of Dublin is one of the most precious landmarks. It houses the emblematic Long Room Library, which displays the Book of Kells.
Other treasures include one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 14th-century Brian Boru harp.
A delightful stroll through the gorgeous campus is the best way to process all that history and connect spiritually with prominent Trinity College alumni like Oscar Wilde.
Naturally, we alternated with a quick pub stop, where we enjoyed a pint of Guinness along with the crowd’s energy (not only were they not on their phones, but almost everyone was dancing to live folk music).
Back in the sightseeing circuit, we passed St Andrew’s Church, which oddly is not a house of worship, but a food hall and former Dublin’s Tourist Office. The ubiquitous street musicians belted out tunes outside.
The National Memorial to members of the Defence Forces in Merrion Square Park is a solemn, pyramid-shaped glass and bronze tribute to those who gave their lives for Ireland.
The Spire of Dublin is a 390-feet stainless-steel monument located on the former Nelson’s Pillar site on O’Connell Street.
In 1966, the IRA bombed and destroyed Nelson’s Pillar. The attack brought an era of decline for the area. In the 1990s, the city sought to revitalize it by commissioning a new monument
The early 13th-century Dublin Castle (image featured) served for centuries as the headquarters of English and—later—British administration.
After Ireland’s independence in 1922, the castle became the property of the newly formed government. Currently, it’s a civic complex and one of the country’s main tourist attractions.
St. Stephen’s Green is a historical public park in the city center. It originated as a medieval leper hospital. It was reopened in 1880, maintaining its Victorian layout as a green oasis in the middle of Dublin.
Aside from serving as a sanctuary to gorgeous birds and plants, the park features monuments to historical figures like Sir Arthur Guinness. His statue overlooks the Royal College of Surgeons from St. Stephen’s Green.
After all that walking and sightseeing, we returned to Temple Bar for a well-deserved pint of Guinness. The area is home to several cultural institutions, including the Irish Photography Center and the Irish Film Institute.
The neighborhood is also home to the Temple Bar Pub. The Dublin City Council listed the mid-1800s property as a Protected Structure and recorded it in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Not your average “Irish Pub,” indeed.