What are your personal favourites in Ireland? This question recently came in from a reader, and I decide on splitting the all-encompassing question in two, one answer will deal with my favourite places in Ireland outside Dublin, while this answer highlights my Dublin favourites.
What are Your Personal Favourites in Dublin?
Any answer to such a question must be, well, personal - and please feel free to disagree without end, debating sense and sensibility of my choices until the cows come home, declaring me to be a madman who "doesn't know the first thing about Dublin" (as I have once been labelled by a staunch supporter of the Temple Bar hype).
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a ... whatever.
And take note that such a list would almost automatically exclude any attractions in the "been there, done that, bought the overpriced t-shirt" category. Instead, these are places that I find myself visiting again and again when visiting Dublin - either for a short peek whether anything has changed, or for a longer time to soak the atmosphere in once more. Either with visitors who want to see more than the main tourist attractions, or in splendid solitude, because that's just my own thing ...
But with out further ado, let me list, in no particular order, some of my favourite Dublin places:
- Moore Street and the Moore Street Mall are firm favourites - simply because there is pulsating life, there is banter, there is easy multiculturalism in action, and there is a lot of well priced, often even cheap food. Grass-roots Dublin, without any pretensions. And Chapters bookstore is nearby too. Find out more about Moore Street here.
- Glasnevin Cemetery - with a million or more Dubliners at your feet, your bound to find something interesting here. Or just ponder the whole mortality thing while shuffling along the often coiling, meandering ways through the mighty necropolis. Find out more about Glasnevin here.
- The General Post Office - first and foremost it is a splendid post office, with all the old world charm you could wish for. And then there are the historical connotations, the Easter Rising and all that. But even without this (after all, the present building is a post-1916 recreation), it still is well worth a gander. Especially as it seems to be eternally earmarked for "rejuvenation". Find out more about Dublin's General Post Office here.
- The Powerscourt Town House - maybe, nay, definitely Dublin's most interesting shopping centre, with loads of little shops to browse in for all sorts of goods ... which are not 99% trendy big names, as you'll find elsewhere. Hop up to Monte Cristo for antique stuff you can afford. Or simply enjoy a relaxed coffee after window-shopping. Find out more about the Powerscourt Town House here.
- The Chester Beatty Library - yes, I admit, I am a sucker for culture, interested in all sorts of stuff, and a bibliophile. Much like Chester Beatty, how gave the whole inventory as a gift to the citizens of Dublin, seems to have been. Always worth a return visit, even if no special exhibitions are on ... and the delightful Silk Road Café makes the whole thins a culinary feast as well. Find out more about the Chester Beatty Library here.
- Trinity College - bang in the middle of Dublin (and at first glance not worth a second glance), Trinity only shows its best parts to the visitor who actually makes his or her way into the inner courtyards, which surprise with a variety or architectural styles and artwork on display. Just walking through the college is fun, as is exploring the nooks and crannies (including Dublin's smallest cemetery). Find out more about Trinity College Dublin here.
- Clonycavan Man and his mates ... this might be a wee bit ghoulish, but not only does the National Museum in Kildare Street see me quite often, but I always make a point to have another look at the exhibition "Kingship and Sacrifice". Yes, the bog bodies. Ancient relics that have fascinated me since I was a child. Always good for a meditation on the ancient world, and what we don't really know about it. Find out more about Clonycavan Man here.
- The village of Howth, north of Dublin City ... there's so much to do and see here, there's fresh fish and seals frolicking, there's bracing walks on piers and cliffs, there's historic lighthouses in stunning locations. There's also the crowds, so generally you won't see me here on weekends. Just sayin'. Find out more about Howth here.
- And I have to mention Amir's Delights, Dublin's Moorish café - for having maybe the best coffee in Dublin, the definitely best mint tea, and those sweets that are worth every Cent. Plus always a friendly welcome to the stranger. A real oasis of hospitality in the centre of Dublin's "Italian Quarter" (that never really took off). Find out more about Amir's Delights here.
And if you want to find out more about my favourite Irish places outside Dublin, follow this link ...