In a lot of ways my visit to Dublin in summer met my preconceived notions of what Ireland would be like; It rained – a lot! The people were fun to be with, exceptionally welcoming and friendly. The pubs were tremendous and the food and drink excellent. Dublin is a great city, lots to do and see all within easy reach. The on-off tour around the city is a must-do. What I did not expect, and more fool me is how busy Dublin is.
As a capital city, it is full of workers, tourists and the residents who must put up with it all. What this means is that within Dublin itself, lots of people, busy roads and certainly some very heavy traffic at certain times of the day. The traffic was something I had not given thought to, foolish I know, but that’s how it goes sometimes. The very pleasant surprise for me was the efficient city transportation. On the advice of friends, I bought a LEAP visitors card at the airport. This integrated card can be used on all public bus and rail, giving good discounts on the standard prices. I found it very useful as I used the LUAS a lot during my stay to manoeuvre my way around Dublin to the various places of interest.
I stayed a little outside the city at a great place called Malahide. Now, this fitted into the image of what I imagined an Irish village to be. Again, transport was so easy, the DART got me into Dublin for my digital marketing conference (with George from DigitalNovas) and back again with no traffic snarls – just what a break should be like! The view, along the North Irish Sea, made the journey very pleasant.
Malahide was a reasonably busy town while I was there, and after paying a visit to the lovely beach one afternoon with family, I could see why. Something else I did not consider, Ireland as a beach destination. My image of waves crashing against rugged cliffs was dented. Further discussion with Irish friends informed me those images existed but also to did lovely bays and beaches. I did not get to see too many beaches as I had limited time, but apparently, there are any number of lovely beaches all around Ireland – if you know where to look. As with anything Irish, ask a local, but be ready for a long answer. Any directions, (except in the city itself), came with a story. Told in lovely Irish brogue they are always worth listening to but not if you are in a rush!
I found there was another perfectly good beach at Loughshinny, but we should have checked the weather before heading to the beach, as you might have guessed, it rained! That notwithstanding we had a lovely afternoon there, visiting the Folding Cliffs and Smugglers Cave and a few drinks in the Celtic Corner of the Yacht Bar. That night a group was playing, The Bogs (aka Bog O the Loughs) and we were treated to a combination of traditional Celtic music mixed with modern, in a great and lively style. To answer the unspoken question, of course, I tried a Guinness, not the drink for me but an Irish Black Russian, that’s another tale. Vodka, cola topped with a header of Guinness, now that is as smooth as velvet and certainly worth visiting again for.
Ireland offers an adventure to anyone who visits but ditch any preconceived notions you might have and enjoy not just the history of Ireland but also its modern face. They blend very well and offer so much to any visitor to the Emerald Isle. Do bring an umbrella with you, though. J