27. May 2019

Ireland: Exploring Dublin on foot

In January my mother and I spent a long weekend in Dublin. The first day in Dublin we explored the city on foot and discovered small details and major sights everywhere.

At Christmas, I gave my mother a hotel voucher for a short trip. We looked at the offered cities and hotels, but somehow found nothing that really appealed to us. So I canceled the voucher and we booked flights and a hotel in Dublin on our own. That was in mid-January, more precisely from 16.01. until 20.01.2019. The flight went in the evening and so we could not really do much on the first day. We came from the airport, took the bus to the hotel, checked in, and left later to get some food.

On Thursday, the second day in Dublin, we explored the city. I always prefer to walk as much as possible on the first day in a foreign city. It’s a great way to discover and get surprised by places. We did that in Dublin too. We had breakfast in the small but very good café “koffee and kale” and then started walking. Our hotel was on Great Denmark Street and quite central on the north side of Dublin. So we headed south, passed the O’Connell Monument and crossed O’Connell Bridge.

This bridge is one of the few driveable bridges and is actually wider than it is long. In contrast to the next bridge we saw, the Ha’penny Bridge. Ha’penny Bridge can only be crossed on foot. The bridge received it’s unusual name because of the pedestrian toll that had to be paid earlier in history. The official name Liffey Bridge is hardly used anymore. The Ha’penny Bridge is quite popular and one of the top attractions in Dublin.

We walked through the district Temple Bar, which wakes up properly in the evenings. Most of the restaurants and bars were not open and so we went shopping on Grafton Street. In between, we saw the Molly Malone statue, which is located right in front of St. Andrew’s Church. Molly Malone embodies a well-known Irish folk song, which is referred to as the unofficial anthem of Dublin. The ballad tells the story of a beautiful Dublin fishmonger who succumbs to a fever at a young age and dies.

Definitely worth a visit is the Stephen’s Green Shopping Center, which is at the end of Grafton Street. The mall captivates with its unusual Victorian station hall style metal and glass construction for unusual shopping experiences. The shops in this center are nothing special, but a ride on the escalators to the very top is worth a try. Right next to the center is the park St. Stephen’s Green, after which the shopping area is named.

A little later we were standing in Anne’s Lane under many colorful umbrellas, which were fixed between houses in an alley. That’s probably Dublin’s Instagram spot. After us came even more tourists who shot a few selfies there. 

We were a little bit disappointed by the Dublin Castle. The first thing we saw from the castle were the colorful facades. That caused us some confusion, because they did not look like a castle at all. We did not even visit the castle from the inside, but the exterior didn’t look very ordinary. The castle used to be a medieval knight’s castle. There is not much left of this today, as a fire in 1684 destroyed a large part of the estate.

After wandering through Dublin for a while and it started to rain, we had a piece of cake and a cup of coffee at Queen of Tarts. We chose a piece of the Victorian Sponge Cakes and one of the Carrot Cake. The pies are of course not particularly cheap with € 4.50 per piece, but incredibly delicious. 

When it was getting dark we paid a short visit to Christ Church Cathedral. It has been the seat of the Dublin archbishops since the Middle Ages and a building of the Early Gothic. In the evening we walked a bit through the popular bar district Temple Bar, which slowly awoke and attracted many people. Since we were very tired, we went back to the hotel and fell tired to bed.