Blackpool? No, Dublin!

Blackpool? As the guide on the open top bus confirmed, that is what Dublin means in Gaelic - black pool. But, unlike its namesake on the other side of the Irish Sea, Dublin has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.

It's a remarkably compact capital with a central area that is easy to walk around and sight see. We stayed at the Trinity Capital Hotel, which is handily located for most of the city centre attractions. We loved the eclectic style of the hotel. With its big spacious entrance, filled with quirky furniture. There are plenty of other hotels in the city.

It was also ideally located close to Trinity College and the Temple Bar area - an ideal location to enjoy Dublin on foot.

We started our Dublin experience with a quick jaunt round the corner to Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells. It is fascinating to see and, when you stop to ponder the amount of work that went into transcribing every page in calligraphy and illustration, it becomes even more amazing. It was good to note that even such a perfect work had the occasional error... I suppose we would call them "typos" now!

Visitors to the Book of Kells also then ascend to the Long Room, the old library building in Trinity College. It is a room that takes your breath away. It is long and it is jam packed from floor to ceiling with books - quite a spectacle! Inevitably, also, you start to wonder who would have the courage to select one of the books on the top shelf on the balcony. I got vertigo just thinking about it.

Ha'penny Bridge

Ha'penny Bridge at night

At night time, a walk down the banks of the Liffey is a must. It gives you a flavour for the city, with the lights on Ha'penny Bridge, reflecting in the river. Ha'penny Bridge is what everyone calls it because that used to be the toll you had to pay to cross it, but the official name is Wellington Bridge.

Temple Bar is where many people head for the night life. Don't be fooled, though, the name Temple Bar has nothing to do with drinking places. It was the bar of land beside the river. So, the eponymous Temple Bar is the result of a clever bit of opportunism, not the institution which named a district.

Dublin bars are famous and there are plenty of them. Guinness or Irish Whiskey are the obvious things to drink and the ideal is to find a pub where you can enjoy some authentic Irish Music.

GPO Dublin

The GPO in O'Connell Street, scene of the Easter Rising in 1916

No trip to Dublin would be complete without visiting the GPO in O'Connell Street. This is where the Easter Rising of 1916 took place. The GPO was the headquarters of the leaders of the uprising and you can still see the bullet marks on the pillars of the busilding. Indeed much of the area was destroyed during the fighting.

It is easy to find, with its new Monument of Light - a giant steel pin that sprouts from the traffic island opposite the GPO and towers into the Dublin sky, at night it has a beacon on top. It stands on the sight of Nelson's Column, blown up by the IRA in 1966.

Needless to say, one of the favourite tourist destinations is the Guinness Storehouse, where you will learn the story of Guinness and also be able to buy all things Gunness to remind you of your trip. As part of your admission fee, you qualify for a pint in the Gravity Bar - a circular observation bar right atop the building where you can look out across the city. Even if you are not a Guinness fan, you should try it here - it really does taste better in Ireland!

Empty Guinness

The saddest sight in Dublin!

And, what better on a Sunday morning, than to head into the Georgian Squares for which Dublin is famous.

Dublin is a place for just wandering around. You never know what you will find. We stumbled into a Chinese street market and open-air concert to celebrate the Chinese New Year! There are also plenty of interesting shops and cafes to discover.

One place, close to Trinity College, that is definitely worth a visit is Fallon & Byrne. This is the place to buy quality food - mouthwatering fresh breads, vegetables, cheeses, meats and unusual foods from around the world. It is also a favourite haunt of visitors and Dubliners alike when they stop for a coffee.

Georgian Squares

Take a Sunday morning saunter round the Georgian squares and admire the brightly-coloured doors.
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