Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #6 Dublin, Ireland

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited

I’ve experienced some of the most amazing cities that the world has to offer. From great beaches, climate, friendly people, personal interests, world-famous attractions, architecture, history, and culture, there are many different factors that make a city great, let alone top ten!

#6 Dublin, Ireland – Home of The Guinness Storehouse!

With world-renowned nightlife, literature, history and so much more, I never wanted to leave Dublin; besides, I was a little scared of the driving in Ireland. During my stay, I was able to  drink like an Irishman at Marlborough Hostel, discover the story of iconic drinks at The Guinness Storehouse, trace Dublin’s literary tradition at the Dublin Writers Museum, and follow the disturbing history of Kilmainham Gaol. As an English teacher with Cape Breton, Nova Scotian, roots, there are few better things in life than great literature and history all washed down by the perfect pint of beer. What more could I ask for?

Leaders of the Easter Rising are what led to what is now the Republic of Ireland. Each of the fourteen lead rebels of the rebellion were publicly executed at Kilmainham Gaol, which leaves the jail at the center of Irish history and brutality. This deep rooted history of violence and struggle for freedom aroused my curiosity and thirst for more knowledge. A tour of the gaol gave me an even deeper insight into the harsh conditions in which men, women, and children were subjected to while imprisoned there. It is a sombre, even chilling, place to visit, but absolutely fascinating.

The courtyard at the end is a powerful reminder of how fortunate we are to be free. It is in the Stonebreakers’ Yard that fourteen leaders of the Easter Rising were publicly shot and killed. Among them, James Connolly, who had been wounded and could not stand, had to be tied to a chair to support him during his execution. He was held at Dublin Castle and transferred to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham where he was kept alive long enough to join the others in a public execution.

The Rising and their deaths marked a turning point in Irish history. When I stood in the execution area, I couldn’t help but feel distraught about the Irish struggles in their fight for independence, but the blood of these martyrs made Kilmainham Gaol hallowed ground to the Republic of Ireland.

There is a heavy emphasis during the tour on putting the jail into historic context and I left with a much deeper understanding of the often complex forces which shaped the Irish nation.

Dublin is an unforgettable city with an even more unforgettable past. During my next venture, I was able to connect the two in a magical place where people become more beautiful, witty, and electrifying – The Guinness Storehouse.

The longer you are in The Guinness Storehouse, the better it gets as long as you continue drinking the dark stuff. Guinness plays as much of a role in Irish history as Kilmainham Gaol. The seven floors form the shape of a massive Guinness glass, which would hold 14.3 million pints of Guinness if filled.

By the time I made it to the Gravity Bar, at the top of the glass-shaped building, I had several “tastes” of Guinness and I was about to try my first pint directly from the brewery.

I couldn’t figure out why they would put the drinking area on the top floor of a seven floor building since I’m pretty sure I was not the only person to consume my weight in beer before trying to stumble out of the storehouse. By the time I made my way down the stairs and out the door, I was ready to enjoy the nightlife in Dublin.

Marlborough Hostel was our home while in Dublin, and never was an accommodation more accommodating. What really put this hostel above all others was the staff. It was like we were staying with family. After touring The Guinness Storehouse, sitting on the terrace, drinking, and chatting with other travelers and hostel workers became one of the most exciting evenings of my entire European experience. We were able to share part of Ireland with people from around the world. Their stories and adventures became part of ours and we didn’t even have to leave the hostel. We laughed, shared our travel experiences, and listened to music with 14 other travelers, as well as two Marlborough Hostel workers, from around the globe. It was the equivalent of hitting the pubs, but we didn’t have to walk, pay excessive drink prices, or worry about getting home.

After a night, or several, of Dublin’s finest, Guinness, I longed for a relaxing afternoon of Dublin’s finest, writers, at the Dublin Writers Museum. Dublin is famous as a city of writers and literature, and the Dublin Writers Museum is an essential visit for anyone who wants to discover, explore, or simply enjoy Dublin’s immense literary heritage.

The museum brought Ireland’s literary celebrities to life through their books, letters, portraits, and personal items. After a four-year Advanced Major in English and a two-year Bachelor of Education degree in English, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, WB Yeats, and Jonathan Swift were my best friends. Their stories had become part of my life; I could tell them as easily as I could talk about my family or close friends.

Regardless of my familiarity with their writing, I still found new things to astound and delight me at the Dublin Writers Museum. The two Museum Rooms presented a history of Irish literature from its beginnings up to recent times. The panels described the various phases, movements, and notable names, while the showcases and pictures illustrated the lives and works of individual writers. As I strolled through the literary history of Dublin, I was reminded of my university years and the hard work and dedication it took to bring me to Ireland in the first place. For the first time in my life, I felt a real connection between the writers and myself. It was at that point that a career as a writer began to fester inside of me; my burning desire to write could no longer be suppressed. I too wanted to be immortalized through my writing.

I am not Irish, but it was in Dublin that history and culture began to make me question my life and my direction. At Kilmainham Gaol, I was reminded of how lucky I am to be free and   of the struggles that others endured to make it that way. At The Guinness Storehouse and Marlborough Hostel I enjoyed the freedoms that I’ve been given and lived in the moment. Finally, at the Dublin Writers Museum, I peered into my future and I envisioned a great life for myself, a life where I don’t have to experience the world in a safe, “normal” way.

It was Dublin, Ireland that prompted me to write my first published text and that passion is still burning strong. Thank you, Dublin! You truly deserve a place in my top ten.

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207 thoughts on “Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #6 Dublin, Ireland

  1. I’m glad you toured Guinness AFTER the prison. 😉

    History is so much better in person, like what you did, than it is read it from a book. I can willingly do a lot more of one than the other.

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    • I actually tried to go to the prison on my first trip to Dublin and ended up passing out in front of 30 other tourists. It ended my tour before it even began, but the guide was nice enough to give me two passes to return at my convenience.

      I guess it had more of an impact on me than I anticipated.

      Have you ever been to Ireland? The Guinness is like gold when it is directly at the brewery. 😉

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley
      https://twitter.com/#!/LesleyMCarter

      Like

  2. I loved Ireland as well. Got my white mustache at Guinness. People are great as well. I just returned from 10 days in Rome and I love Italy. I used to live there and worked there for many years. The people are great, the food is the best and the history is overwhelming.

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  3. Guinness in Dublin is so incredibly different (in a good way) from Guinness stateside… such a rich, deep flavor. I can taste it again reading this! 🙂 I hope you also made it to the Jameson distillery.

    This is a great series, by the way – so far the only place I haven’t been in person has been Santorini – which I now really want to visit!

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      • Aha! Now there’s a thing! Jameson’s! And then you have to try Powers’s (I went to college in the old Power’s Distillery building, I’m sure that’s where I caught the whiskey bug). And did you know that Bushmills, just south of the Giant’s Causeway, is the oldest distillery in the world? Yes, long past the Scots. Whiskey is the anglicisation of “Uisce Beatha”, Irish for “the water of life”, and Green Label Bushmills is the best. I’m sure there’ll be arguments, but sure what would you do without something to “discuss” whilst you drink your Guinness……

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  4. I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland; after reading your post, I will definitely visit Dublin and enjoy all that there is to see that you have so wonderfully shared with us. I’m sure it will be on my Top 10 list too after my visit.

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  5. If I ever am privilege to visit the Dublin Writers’ Museum, that is probably where I will be buried. I would never want to leave. We are all so grateful to Dublin because it triggered your first writing experiences! This is a beautiful post that warms my Celtic heart! Very worthy paean you wrote to those martyrs for Irish freedom, also. The stones really shout,don’t they?

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  6. I long to travel as much as you, and mark my words I will ! i have been to Dublin several times now, having just come back from 2 nights there and feel I have yet to experience what it has to offer properly ! Just looking through your posts now and they are great ! Better then any travel guide you could buy in the shops x

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  7. First of all, thank you for liking my blog post, really, really nice of you! Secondly, you really highlight well how intriguing Ireland’s past, often very violent at the best of times, has been. To be fair there are still parts of Ireland that are still quite dangerous today. Ireland is a unique place and almost warrants its half independence from Britain / UK. I only live across the water in England, yet I’ve never visited Ireland, let alone Dublin. Your post, however, reinforces to me how much I’m really missing by not having yet visited!

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  8. Absolutely, Dublin is also one of my favourite cities. I love St. Stephen’s Green – where people sunbath in summer with a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius –, the streets in this area and Trinity College. Always have your umbrella ready: three downpours a day and some sunshine is excellent weather! Thank you for this post!

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  9. You have ME yearning for Dublin now!

    Well written and beautifully enticing! I too am an English Major and love my Literature, though my Memory inhibits recounting titles and authors…Unless I review a bit and then it all comes back…

    I noticed you left out Joyce…why? A specific reason? Just curious as I do enjoy his work.

    Thank you for leading me here!

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    • While I love Dubliners and found good writing in Finnegans Wake, James Joyce has never been one of my favorite. I did read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses with very little interest and thought it was appropriate to just leave him out.

      What would you like to do when you finish your English Major?

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley
      https://twitter.com/#!/LesleyMCarter

      Like

  10. I have visited Ireland myself and it is amazing how much I miss it. I never knew you could miss a place as you would a person. I can’t wait to go back!

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  11. I live in England, and yet I’ve never been to Dublin! (: It sounds fantastic, and I’d particularly like to visit the writer’s museum, being the Wilde junkie that I am. I’m glad you had a fantastic time in Ireland!
    (:

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  12. looooove. we’re set to head to ireland (home of my strong and stoic ancestors) next year, and I am beyond excited. tres jealous of all your adventures!

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  13. Love this blog!! So glad to find you (and thanks for liking my blog!) I agree with you about the fabulousness of both Dublin and London. Visited the former years ago, before the Irish economic boom, and lived in the latter. So magical and now that I’m travelling very little due to mom-hood, it’s lovely to remember. Galway is also a most amazing place. I hope you are able to keep your travels up once you are a mom, although I found that from about 7 months to age 4, long-distance or international travel was certainly doable, but not very enjoyable. And from their point of view (remembering a harrowing trip to Scotland for a family reunion), we paid thousands of dollars for them to hang out with relatives they don’t remember and have a grand old time with sticks, stones and mud! Still glad we went though.

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  14. As long as I can recall I’ve wanted to go to my “home” country of Ireland. Oddly, Dublin was never on the list as much as the West coast. I am pretty sure you’ve changed my mind! Guinness is enough of a reason to go to Dublin, Neh? ; )
    Thank you for sharing this with us. Slainte!

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  15. thank you for liking my post today. I just read your post and the one about you going to a refugee camp and now I feel incredibly guilty for bitching in my post today about seemingly trivial stuff. *sigh* . You are a great writer and an amazing person. I wish I could aspire to something else than getting off the couch and pouring another glass of wine after my day. cheers!

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  16. Great post – I managed to get to Ireland once, and spent most of my time in Temple Bar 🙂 fell in love with the music to the point we got a 5 piece Irish band for our wedding when we returned. I didnt get to see much of the historical places so it was great to read about them 🙂

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  17. Love this post! Traveling to Dublin in June to visit and stay with my old roommate. Im so excited and it’s good to hear its such a great place. Have you traveled to Dublin from LOndon? I want to take the train/ferry but my old roommate said there wasn’t much sightseeing on that route.

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  18. I am heading to Dublin in March, so excited! I am going to read all of your posts on Ireland because we plan to tour some parts of the country and I would love to see what you have experienced! Thanks!

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