Not long until St Patrick’s Day next month, so why not take a trip to Dublin? It’s Ireland’s number one tourist attraction and for good reason, says unLTD’s Sarah-Louise Kelsey (and not just the Guinness Factory)
This UNESCO City of Literature was founded by Vikings – but don’t worry they left a while back – and nowadays it’s buzzing with good old-fashioned pubs, great grub and home to some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever come across.
Dublin is an inspiration for all and is jam packed with historical tales to tell. With its gracious Georgian streets lined with medieval churches its atmosphere is one to be sought after by its surrounding cities.
“When life looks black as the hour of night, a pint of plain is your only man.”
That’s Irish writer Flann O’Brien, as mentioned Dublin is famous for its literacy, but let’s not forget its star attraction – Guinness. ‘The Black Stuff’ may be world famous but the slow-settling porter (aka the drink that takes the longest to pour) originated in St James’s Gate in the heart of Old Dublin. Arthur Guinness, all the way back in 1759 took a 9000-year lease on the brewery – known now as The Guinness Storehouse – for an annual rent of £45. The building was originally used as a fermentation house and was designed in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture. The Storehouse now offers a trip back in time to retro advertising where you’ll learn the craft of brewing and get to enjoy a pint – poured to perfection – in the Gravity bar where the Dublin views are endless along with the amounts of Guinness.
Now, a pint of Guinness is only as good as the tap from which it is poured, so choose your pubs wisely in Dublin. Many of Dublin’s historic and legendary pubs are clustered together in a place called Temple Bar. With plenty of character and live music every day of the week, it’s the perfect place to wet your whistle. If it’s good craic you’re after, The Temple Bar is one not to miss. Speaking of booze, why not go on a Literary Pub Crawl? Beer and literature – the perfect combination. After all, it is the UNESCO City of Literature so what better way to celebrate Ireland’s many famous writers than raising a glass to them. Why read the notoriously difficult Ulysses, when you could go on a pub crawl of all the places James Joyce wrote about instead?
Wash away your hangover the next day at Wake Dock, Ireland’s first ever cable wakeboarding park located in the heart of the Dublin Docklands area. Wake Dock offers sessions for adults, kids, individuals, groups, corporate teams, hen and stag parties and more (basically it’s open for everyone so you have no excuse not to give it a bash).
If that sounds slightly too OTT for you, you could visit Trinity College, also known as College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin (bit more of a mouthful). Founded in 1592 it is the oldest university in Ireland. The campus is open to visitors and offers 35 tours which showcase the college’s four major squares and provides visitors with over four hundred years of history. You’ll get to hear stories from the college’s famous past students including Oscar Wilde and Jonathon Swift. You can even view the Book of Kells, Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. The 9th century book is a richly decorated copy of the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ.
Coming back into the 21st century, wouldn’t be complete without visiting a zoo. Dublin Zoo is a registered charity which means your visit will help maintain the zoo’s high standards, protect those endangered animals and contribute to its conservation programmes. The zoo is located in the heart of Dublin City in the Phoenix Park. Home to more than 400 animals, it welcomes in excess of one million visitors ever year.
So, there we have it. History, culture, booze, water sports, cute animals, more booze – what more could you ask for? Except maybe another pint of Guinness …